MLA 2017: Periodicals, Editorship, Race and Ethnicity
This roundtable invites consideration of how acts of collaboration and editorship might perforate historical acts of writing and reading. We thus respond to important recent work on immigrant, Latin@, and African American print cultures that intersect in their attention to periodicals. In doing so, we regard a structural lack—the dearth of scholarly conversations moving across boundaries of case studies or specific communities—while emphasizing the ongoing work of uncovering these important, “incomplete histories.” Using theories of archival attention, such as Frances Smith Foster’s African-American multilingualism, Rodrigo Lazo’s “migrant archives,” and Kirsten Silva Gruesz’s “cultural ambassadorship,” participants can compare notes on editorship, authorship, and periodicals across boundaries of race and ethnicity.
Specifically, we ask participants to engage larger methodological questions about the study of editorship and ethnic affiliation through case studies of historical newspapers. Organizing questions for this roundtable might include:
- How are processes of collaboration illustrated or dramatized in historical newspapers addressed to specific communities? How did writers, readers, and editors understand their inter-related goals in creating ethnic publics?
- How do specific examples help to posit or answer questions of address, readership, and circulation: how do papers focus on external or internal communities?
- What alternate formats (illustrations, weekly supplements, serial fiction, advertisement sections, special issues/topics) do editors pursue?
- How are editors reprinting in translation: what’s the relationship b/w reprint materials and language communities, and how do editors facilitate that?
- What are the historical or archival difficulties of emphasizing editorship instead of authorship in reading ethnic periodicals?
- How does our sense of various papers’ content, audiences, or circulation within or beyond their immediate communities shape our corresponding sense of how to read and interpret those papers? How does a focus on editorship and collaboration affect our contemporary methods in literary and cultural studies?