• Leeds Studies in English: A History

    Alaric Hall (see profile)
    Early Medieval
    University of Leeds. School of English, Periodicals, Medievalism, Philology
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    Despite the epistemological importance of the scholarly journal, few thorough histories of individual academic journals have been written, especially of journals in the arts and humanities. This article uses both archival material and oral histories to construct a multifaceted history of Leeds Studies in English (LSE) from the beginning of its ‘new series’ in 1967 to its merger with the Bulletin of International Medieval Research and transformation into Leeds Medieval Studies in 2021. Where appropriate, the article also examines LSE’s earlier incarnation, Leeds Studies in English and Kindred Languages, which ran from 1932 to 1952. By studying a journal embedded in a particular university department, the article develops a novel institution-based and intergenerational history of English Studies and Medieval Studies over the last century, distinct from histories that focus on the biographies of individual scholars, or on intellectual developments without regard to the quotidian institutional structures that shape and mediate intellectual life. The history of LSE provides nuanced perspectives on the fracturing of nineteenth-century philology into English Literature, English Language, and Linguistics during the twentieth century, and the internationalist reconfiguration of philological methods as Medieval Studies in the later twentieth century and early twenty-first. The article also lends time-depth to current debates about the place of voluntarism in journal editing and about how journals and libraries can best make research as widely available as possible. Moreover, it offers perspectives on these debates specific to the arts and humanities, which tend to be marginalised in discussions of academic publishing due to their focus on the natural sciences.
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    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    6 months ago


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