JAAR Editor Search
Charles Mathewes will complete his term as Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion at the end of 2010. To assure a smooth transition, the Academy has now initiated the search for his successor, who will begin a five-year term on January 1, 2011.
Position Description: The Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion gives leadership to the organization and production of the AAR’s scholarly quarterly.
Major Responsibilities Include: Receiving manuscript submissions and seeing to their peer review; communicating with authors and potential authors; recruiting and working closely with the book review editor; organizing, recruiting, and working with an editorial board and associate editors; organizing and submitting copy for each issue of the Journal in a timely way to the production editor at Oxford University Press; checking proofs; planning future issues; maintaining regular communication with the AAR Executive Office. In addition, the Editor should bring to these tasks energy and imagination regarding the future of the study of religion and of academic publishing, with particular interest in the emerging field of electronic publishing. The Editor conducts a JAAR Editorial Board meeting during the AAR Annual Meeting, and writes a semiannual report to the AAR Board of Directors and Publications Committee. She or he will be an active member of the AAR’s Publications Committee (requiring an annual weekend meeting, usually in the spring). The JAAR Editor must be an AAR member.
The JAAR editorship is a volunteer position, as are all non-staff leadership positions in the AAR. The editor’s home institution typically provides support in the form of released time, office space, student assistants, telephone, and mailing expenses. Oxford University Press and the AAR provide a modest administrative budget to cover the costs of an annual editorial staff meeting and, as appropriate, expenses beyond those covered by the editor’s home institution.
Application: If you are interested in this position, please submit in electronic form a letter that addresses your qualifications and offers a sense of your vision for the Journal, as well as your CV, to email@example.com. The search committee has begun reviewing materials and asks that applications be submitted by September 25, with a view toward making recommendations to AAR President, Mark Juergensmeyer, by November 15. The new Editor will be expected to be in regular contact with the current Editor during 2010, taking over full responsibility on January 1, 2011. The new Editor will also take the lead, during 2010, in finding a new Book Review Editor for JAAR.
What are the most exciting and rewarding dimensions of the job?
Intellectual stimulation and the challenge of working with people literally all over the world on topics of real and lively concern. Also, helping to shape the conversations in the field in ways that are simultaneously more and less directly powerful than by your own work. Helping people get their thoughts best expressed — you get a lot of kind words from authors, which is always nice.
How much of a time commitment does being JAAR Editor entail?
Depends on your model for the job. Certainly having a good staff can help, and using your Editorial board well (and so too your associate Editors). Probably you should anticipate not doing less than ten hours a week on the job, and maybe five more hours doing email in a week. There are some times in the year when that can double. And of course when you start the job, you should expect a larger time commitment.
What will be the main challenges of the job?
Reminding reviewers, so as to get reviews done in a timely manner; ensuring that your staff are fully doing their jobs; keeping up with the wide range of obligations that the Editor personally has (editing papers for publication, selecting papers, deciding among conflicting reviews); handling difficult contributors or submitters; negotiating the challenges of a large email correspondence.
What logistical and financial support can I expect from the AAR and OUP?
Both the AAR and OUP are enthusiastically committed to JAAR and want to support the Editor in substantive ways. There is no salary or stipend for being JAAR Editor, but there is financial support (which will be discussed in more detail with finalists) to help with the running of the journal. So too, the AAR staff and Journals staff at OUP will be happy to help you get started and help you do your work along the way.
What logistical and financial support should I seek from my institution?
It will be a great opportunity for your institution, that so prestigious a journal be based there, and it is a very powerful pedagogical tool for the students who work on JAAR. So it is natural for the institution to help you in your work as Editor in ways that you mutually agree on: for example, by a course reduction, by providing the funds to hire an Editorial assistant part-time, and by providing office space for JAAR.
Am I responsible for finding a Book Review Editor? And must the Book Review Editor be at my institution?
Yes, you will be responsible for leading the search for your Book Review Editor, though again, the AAR staff will help you in the search. The Book Review Editor does not need to be at your institution.
Can I keep or change the Editorial Board, as I wish?
Yes; obviously, continuity is a virtue, but you will be able to recreate the Board as you find best. You may wish also to have a small group of associate Editors, who help you more specifically and proactively regarding specific areas in the study of religion.
How many meetings a year does the JAAR Editor have to attend?
The Editor will meet with her or his Editorial board at the Annual Meeting, and also attend the AAR’s Publications Committee meeting as well. The Editor also attends the Publication Committee’s spring meeting at OUP in New York. Such travel is supported by the AAR.
Must the JAAR Editor be based in the USA?