Dear Friends of the NEQ,
We hope that you are all safe and well. We are open for business despite being locked out of our offices and having to coordinate our editorial in isolation and remotely. Fortunately, despite being locked out of our quarters in the Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston, we have been dragged into the technological present. Having long considered that the only benefit of the personal computer was that it allowed me to make wholesale edits without having to worry about renumbering footnotes, I now find that Andrew, Danny, and I can copy-edit remotely and I (especially) learned to read submissions electronically rather than in hard copy.
What might get overlooked in our isolation is the production of new scholarship on New England history and literary culture. When I was about ten, I remember being in a souvenir stand with my parents and seeing an ashtray with the following caption: “When you’re up to your butt in alligators, it’s easy to forget that your original goal was to drain the swamp.” What was hilarious to a ten-year old now seems like wisdom in these troubled times. In the current pre-occupation with managing our COVID-imposed isolation, I am concerned the scholarly enterprise gets overlooked. With this in mind I hope to enlist you in our solicitation for submissions both to the Quarterly and for the 2020 Whitehill Prize competition. Please consider finishing that article or encouraging colleagues and students to submit something for our consideration. Readers of recent issues will also note that we have tried to introduce different forms of scholarly conversations—see for example our special issue on the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (March 2018) and our forthcoming conversations on Gordon Wood’s The Creation of the American Republic and Mark Peterson’s The City-state of Boston in our June 2020 number—so we would welcome suggestions as well.
Finally, we have tried to provide a forum for the discussion of teaching on our website, Innovations in Teaching, and can think of no better time for a conversation about the teaching of New England history and literary culture in this era of distance learning. We hope that you will consider this as well.
Of course, all submissions should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org in both word and pdf documents. Thanks again you to all our friends for your past support.
Jonathan M. Chu
Editor, The New England Quarterly