Lecture: What Makes a Great Periodical Editor?
Or Seven Theses on Editorial Plurality
Matthew Philpotts (Liverpool) helds lecture at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities
Monday, 4th of June, 16.45 – 17.45 h
Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI), Goethestraße 31, 45128 Essen
What do editors actually do? What makes a good editor? Or perhaps more importantly, what makes a successful editor? From the Times Literary Supplement to Les Temps Modernes and Novyi Mir, from The Criterion to Die neue Rundschau and Spare Rib, there can be no doubting the influence of literary-intellectual magazines in selecting and shaping our cultural knowledge, our beliefs and values. But we still know surprisingly little about how these crucial cultural institutions were led and managed and even how day-to-day editorial duties were undertaken in practice. Above all, it is difficult to reconcile the reality of editorial practice – so often mundane and resolutely collective – with the stubbornly persistent myth of the singular charismatic editor.
In this lecture, Matthew Philpotts (Liverpool) explores these issues by drawing on the corpus of editors that forms the empirical basis for his most recent project, Editing the Twentieth Century. Viewing editorship through the lens of cultural sociology he argues that plurality is the defining and recurring feature of editorship. The most effective instances of editorship are those characterised by a plurality of dispositions and competences, whether that is realised through a single ‘plural actor’ or through a wider and collective ‘redaction’. But successful editorship is ultimately determined not by editorial skill alone, but by the social conditions in which editorship is practised.
The lecture will be held in English, questions in German are very welcome.
Matthew Philpotts, cultural scientist at Liverpool University
Roman Léandre Schmidt, speaker for contemporary history at Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org
The lecture takes part in the annual meeting of the working group „Kulturwissenschaftliche Zeitschriftenforschung“. This years’ meeting is themed under the topic „Establish, publish, embody: Magazines and their maker“
About the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI):
The Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen belongs to the three universities of Bochum, Dortmund and Duisburg-Essen, which form the University Alliance Ruhr (UAR). The KWI promotes excellent interdisciplinary research in the humanities, social and cultural sciences and maintains close co-operations with regional, national and international partners. It conducts basic research on the principles of modern culture with regard to relevant questions of contemporary societies. The institute engages in civic education and outreach programmes by organizing public events and co-operations with cultural institutions as well as the media.
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