MAA News – From the Editor’s Desk

We at Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies are ringing in the new year with a new practice: an occasional editor’s column in the Medieval Academy of America newsletter designed to share with members announcements of the new scholarship we are proud to publish in the journal, new policies approved by the Editorial Board, and new initiatives we have recently undertaken.

The January 2023 issue, Speculum 98/1, brings together five substantive Mediterranean-inflected articles from scholars representing diverse disciplines and institutions, and in various stages along diverse career paths, academic and otherwise. The issue leads with Thomas E. A. Dale’s topical “Cultural Encounter, Race, and a Humanist Ideology of Empire in the Art of Trecento Venice,” the presidential address he delivered at the annual meeting of the Medieval Academy of America in 2022. It is followed by a co-authored piece by Susan McDonough and Michelle Armstrong-Partida,“Amigas and their Amichs: Prostitute-Concubines, Strategic Coupling, and Laboring-Class Masculinity in Late Medieval Valencia and the Mediterranean”; Dawn Marie Hayes, “The Case of Geoffrey of Hauteville, Lord of Ragusa: A Story of Leprosy and Legitimacy from Norman Sicily”; Alan Elbaum, “‘The Fire in my Heart and the Pain in my Eyes’: Interdependence and Outburst in the Illness Letters of the Cairo Geniza”; and Hélène Sirantoine, “Cartularization and Genre Boundaries: Reflection on the Nondiplomatic Material of the Toledan Cartularies (End of the Twelfth to Fourteenth Century).” Close readers of the journal will notice that for the past several years, articles are now prefaced by abstracts to make them more discoverable by the search engines we all use to conduct our research and, that as a rule, each issue now contains five articles instead of four, a commitment made on our part to publish as many of our accepted articles as quickly as our contracted page limit per annum allows.

With the new year, I’d also like to bring to your attention our newly revised style sheet for our contributors (here). It includes an important statement, approved by the Editorial Board, on “Terms, Terminology, and Naming.” The statement contains guidance on how to deal with fraught terminology contained in medieval texts and contemporary usage of those terms. We ask that all contributors familiarize themselves with this guidance before submitting work to the journal.

As already noted, our January issue has a Mediterranean theme. More themed issues will follow; indeed, over the course of three years, starting in 2024, every January issue will be shaped and themed in its own way by various guest editors. The January 2024 issue, dedicated to the theme of “Race, Race-thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages,” is designed to interrogate the exciting scholarship on race in “the networked interrelations and interdependences of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe.” It is now well underway and is being edited by the team of F. X. Fauvelle, Nahir Otaño Gracia, and Editorial Board member, Cord J. Whitaker. Next up, the January 2025 issue, honoring the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Medieval Academy of America, will be edited by Karla Mallette and Roland Betancourt. It seeks to examine how medieval studies has been shaped by its institutions, namely its “departments and disciplines, professional and social organizations.”  And finally, in January 2026, paying tribute to Speculum’s centenary anniversary, the journal will publish an issue entitled “Speculations,” a prospective issue that in 50 short essays will speculate on the future of scholarly work in medieval studies. It will be edited by a collective from the Editorial Board. You can expect to see the CFP for that issue circulated at the annual meeting of the MAA in Washington, DC, next month.

And finally, speaking of the annual meeting, I take great pleasure in welcoming you to DC, my institutional home and the journal’s headquarters.  The conference program, co-organized with great care by my colleague Jennifer Davis and MAA Council member Laura Morreale, reminds us of the value of returning to in-person meetings to share our work. Please do drop by the Speculum table hosted by our publisher, the University of Chicago Press, to meet our staff and to talk with us about publishing in the journal. Or, alternatively, come to the session on “Publishing in Journals” on Thursday, 23 February from 3:30–5:15, where I am participating as a panelist and will be very happy to take your questions. I look forward to seeing you in DC!

Until then, on behalf of the staff of Speculum, let me wish you a very happy 2023!

Katherine L. Jansen


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