Many of you know that each year, Gale Owen-Crocker and I (under the auspices of DISTAFF) organize several sessions on medieval dress and textiles at the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo and the Medieval Congress at Leeds. And many of you have asked me over the years whether you can get published versions of the papers from these sessions, many of which present groundbreaking new findings in this field.
I have always answered that question by explaining that the Congress does not publish proceedings, and individual presenters are responsible for finding publication venues on their own. However, because there is no journal specifically devoted to dress/textiles topics of this period, publication can be a real problem both for scholars trying to find a publishing venue and researchers interested in their work. New findings are often scattered piecemeal in journals in tangentially related areas (literature, art, archaeology, women's studies, etc.) or in volumes of "collected essays," often on some particular period or place. Too often they go unpublished.
This situation is about to change.
Boydell and Brewer, whom many of you know as a publisher very prominent in medieval studies and with a strong specialty in dress & textiles and material culture topics (they've reprinted the MOL books, for instance) are adding an academic journal, provisionally titled "Medieval Clothing & Textiles," to their extensive journal lineup. This journal will serve the dual purpose of providing a place for scholars in this area to publish interdisciplinary work that doesn't fit so neatly into more standard academic areas, and of making it easier for researchers to learn of new scholarship in this field.
Like many of the other academic journals Boydell publishes, Medieval Clothing and Textiles will be annual. The first volume is targeted for publication in late 2004 or early 2005. Each volume will cover a range of places, periods, and disciplines - literature, art, documentary research, archaeology, trade/economics - and will include at least one paper concerned with experimental reconstruction of medieval techniques. It will also be peer-reviewed, of course; at this point the editorial board includes Frances Pritchard and John Hines from the UK, and Monica Wright, Miranda Haddock, and Shelly Nordtorp-Madson from the US (with further additions likely). Editors will be Gale Owen-Crocker and me.
Boydell also are quite aware that non-academics make up a good proportion of their purchasing audience in material culture topics, so they will be marketing the new journal equally heavily to living historians, re-enactors, and independent scholars. (Some of you may remember me asking on this list a few months ago for names of organizations with an interest in this field; that was for use in our discussions with Boydell regarding mailing lists and marketing possibilities.)
To begin with, we'll be drawing most of our papers from the DISTAFF sessions at Kalamazoo and Leeds, which include anywhere from 12 to 18 new papers each year. It is quite something to realize we're facing a new journal not with the typical worry of "will we get enough papers," but of "where will we put all the ones we have?" We have at least enough submissions promised to fill two or three volumes already, not counting the new ones generated from each Congress.
It looks like I will be very, very busy in the coming months. Wish us luck! I'll keep you posted of developments. (And yes, I hope to have a paper of my own in the first volume, assuming I pass peer review ;-) )
You are welcome to forward this announcement to appropriate lists, but please drop me a note to tell me where it's going. I may eventually want to send follow-up announcements, and it's useful to know who's already heard.
Co-Editor, Medieval Clothing & Textiles