Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kicked off the Editorial Board!

First I had a paper rejected from the journal Science. Now I've evidently been removed from the Editorial Board of the journal Reviews in Anthropology. Wow, is my career going down the tubes? What's next? Will my students leave me for another adviser? Will NSF ask for their money back? Will my artifacts in Mexico be put out on the street?

I'm not too surprised to find that my tenure on the board of Reviews in Anthropology is over. They just changed editors, and I wondered if the editorial board would turn over too. Some journals have entrenched boards, people who serve for decades; others have regular procedures for turnover in the board. I think the latter policy is best. But I didn't know how RIA worked, and I was a bit surprised to get the new issue (41-1) and find that I am no longer listed with the board. Well, that's fine with me, but it would have been nice to get some kind of a notice about this. Something along the lines of, "Thank you for  your service, but as you know [or maybe don't know] board members serve for three years and your tenure is at an end."

RIA is an interesting journal. They only publish book review essays. Given my liking of book reviews, this was a good journal to be involved in. I did get fed up with their policy about the composition of the essay proposals, though. Editorial board members have to submit several proposed essays each year (lists of books and potential reviewers). This was generally interesting and fun, but they started enforcing a policy that each essay had to include books from as many subdisciplines of anthropology as possible. While the promotion of cross-subdisciplinary work is a worthy goal, there are other types of valuable essays. For example, one book review essay I wrote for them (before joining the board) compared Trigger's Understanding Early Civilizations and Adam Smith's The Political Landscape. Even more  interesting to me would be essays that cross disciplinary boundaries, having books, for example, on state formation from archaeology, political science, sociology, and history. But no, they wanted only the subdisciplines of anthropology, something I found intellectually limiting.

Anyway, RIA publishes some really outstanding book review essays (and a good number of pedestrian descriptive essays). Check it out. I wonder how long it will take them to stop sending me the journal for free.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's because you are very upfront! (and I mean it as a compliment)