What does Open Access mean to me: James Baldwin Review 

What does Open Access mean to me: James Baldwin Review 

Posted by Jessica Foster - Friday, 25 Oct 2019


Journal Profile

Online ISSN: 2056-9211
Print ISSN: 2056-9203

Published annually

You can read every article from James Baldwin Review for free online at manchesteropenhive


Support for James Baldwin Review has been generously provided by Emory University, Northwestern University and The University of Manchester.

Top articles (from the last 6 months)

  1. Sonny in the Dark
    Jazzing the Blues Spirit and the Gospel Truth in James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”
    By: Steven C. Tracy
  2. The Uses of Race and Religion
    James Baldwin’s Pragmatist Politics in The Fire Next Time
    By: Courtney D Ferriter
  3. “Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition”: At Home in the Life and Work of James Baldwin
    By: Douglas Field

Open Access Q&A with the editors

What is the aim of the journal?

The stated aim of James Baldwin Review is to “invigorate scholarship on James Baldwin; catalyze explorations of the literary, political, and cultural influence of Baldwin’s writing and political activism; and deepen our understanding and appreciation of this complex and luminary figure.”  Tough this mission statement was crafted over five years ago with the release of our first volume, it still drives our editorial policies and choices.  We seek to bring the many conversations being had about and around James Baldwin together, in hopes of fostering greater communication and discussion across disciplinary, cultural, and geographic boundaries.

Please can you introduce yourself and your role in producing this journal?

Dwight A. McBride currently serves as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of African American Studies, and Distinguished Affiliated Professor of English at Emory University. An award-winning author of numerous publications that examine connections between race theory, black studies, and identity politics, McBride is the editor of James Baldwin Now (NYU Press, 1999), and one of the founding editors of James Baldwin Review. His other works include Impossible Witnesses: Truth, Abolitionism, and Slave Testimony (NYU Press, 2002), Black Like Us: A Century of Gay, Lesbian, and Bi-Sexual African American Fiction (Cleis Press, 2011), and Why I Hate Abercrombie and Fitch: Essay on Race and Sexuality (NYU Press, 2005). McBride has co-edited several collections and posthumous volumes, including A Melvin Dixon Critical Reader (University Press of Mississippi, 2006), Racial Blackness and the Discontinuity of Western Modernity by Lindon Barrett (University of Illinois Press, 2013), and the Lambda Literary Award-winning book The Delectable Negro: Human Consumption and Homoeroticism in U.S. Slave Culture by Vincent Woodard (NYU Press, 2014). McBride’s newest book, Poetics, Politics, and Phillis Wheatley is forthcoming. McBride was recently named President of The New School in New York City, effective spring 2020.

Justin A. Joyce is research associate to Provost McBride at Emory University, one of the founding editors of James Baldwin Review, and currently serves as the Managing Editor for James Baldwin Review. His work on James Baldwin has appeared in James Baldwin Review,  A Historical Guide to James Baldwin (Oxford, 2009) and in the James Baldwin in Context (Cambridge, 2019) edited volume. Joyce has co-edited A Melvin Dixon Critical Reader (Mississippi, 2006), Racial Blackness and the Discontinuity of Western Modernity (Illinois, 2013), and the Lambda Literary Award winning study The Delectable Negro: Human Consumption and Homoeroticism in U.S. Slave Culture (NYU, 2014). An interdisciplinary scholar of American literature, film, and popular culture, Joyce’s writing on the Western genre has appeared in Western American Literature, Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Great Plains Quarterly, an edited collection on the HBO series Deadwood (Bloomsbury, 2013), and is the subject of his first monograph, Gunslinging Justice: The American culture of gun violence in Westerns and the Law (Manchester University Press, 2018).

Douglas Field is Senior Lecturer in Twentieth Century American Literature in the School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures at the University of Manchester and one of the founding editors of James Baldwin Review. Field’s extensive work on James Baldwin has appeared in numerous journals, edited collections like James Baldwin in Context (Cambridge, 2019) along with his own edited collection—A Historical Guide to James Baldwin (Oxford, 2009)—and, most recently, in All Those Strangers: The Art and Lives of James Baldwin (Oxford, 2015). Editor of the collection American Cold War Culture (Edinburgh, 2005), Field has also curated several exhibitions on Beat poetry and reviews regularly for The Times Literary Supplement.

Why did you choose to make James Baldwin Review open access, and how does this fit with your aims for the journal?

We chose to pursue Open Access for James Baldwin Review primarily out of a commitment to making high-quality writings and scholarship widely available to all, free of charge.  While there are many quotes and snippets of Baldwin’s writings available online and utilized widely on social media, most of these are presented without context or a full understanding of the origin and aims of Baldwin’s writing. It is our hope that by broadening access to Baldwin’s works and providing thoughtful commentary about his influence and contemporary relevance, more and more individuals and communities may be emboldened and heartened by Baldwin’s daring ethic of honesty and compassion.  Fostering deeper considerations of inspiring writers is one of our guiding aims, and the global access available through an Open Access platform allows James Baldwin Review a far greater reach than a subscription based journal.

Some of our readership, for instance, does not have access to traditional academic libraries or databases.  Without an Open Access model, we’d surely lose many of these readers.

Why is open access important to you and what are its benefits for both readers and contributors?

Beyond the benefit of increasing our readership by making high-quality scholarship and writing freely available, Open Access helps our contributor base as well.  Because our partnership with Manchester University Press does not require our authors pay publication fees, we receive submissions from around the world and are able to publish a variety of voices and perspectives.

Finally, an Open Access platform allows James Baldwin Review to more seamlessly promote our volumes via social media, which makes a good deal of synergistic sense for an online journal.  When a reader—or potential contributor—sees notice about our journal through their social feeds, they can access our content freely, often with one or two simple clicks and redirects.  To have a paywall in the middle of this trail would surely lessen our readership and our potential author pool.

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