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(November 1, 2001, Gazette)

Women’s studies journals
Challenging the way we view the world

Members on the International Network of Women’s Studies JournalsMembers on the International Network of Women’s Studies Journals gathered in Halifax this past September to discuss the challenges they face as editors and future collaborations.

Journal editors from around the world came together in Halifax this past September to take part in a workshop titled Writing Women In: Developing Women’s Studies Journals in the New Millennium. The workshop came into being, according to Dr. Marilyn Porter, at the eighth International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women that was held in Norway in June 1999.

“At the congress, there was a small meeting of editors of women’s studies journals, and from that we decided to develop the International Network of Women’s Studies Journals,” she said. “We limited it to two journals per country and we tried to recruit as many journals from the south as we could.”

There were a total of 36 participants at the workshop, representing 24 journals and 18 countries. Journals came from India, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Sudan, Uganda, Argentina, Uruguay, several European countries, U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia and South Africa. The journals varied considerably. Some of them were published by universities, others by community organizations. Yet, each journal had one thing in common – the desire to reflect and discuss the lives of women.

The network is an opportunity for editors and managing editors to get together, share ideas and discuss strategies for overcoming both practical and political obstacles.

“Right now it provides support, the opportunity to talk to each other and compare problems and solutions,” said Dr. Porter, a professor in Memorial’s sociology department. “Ultimately, the network will provide increasingly complex mechanisms for bilateral exchange of guest editors, referees, editorial panel members, and more. We are interested in publishing a print anthology of previously published articles on a common theme, and developing a Web site.”

Participants had the chance to share the challenges and triumphs they face as editors of women’s studies journals, and discuss possible solutions.

“We are also considering the possibility of collaborative electronic publishing,” Dr. Porter pointed out. “We are looking for continuities and ways to support each other. We know that the cost of paper alone in the south is very high, so we are considering the cost of having some journals printed in the north, as one of our options.”

The response from participants was enthusiastic. Everyone involved was happy to be there.

“Editing a journal is a very lonely kind of business,” said Dr. Porter, who edits Atlantis: A Women’s Studies Journal. “All involved were delighted to have like-minded people to talk to and share ideas with.”

And this workshop is only the beginning for the International Network of Women’s Studies Journals. Plans are already underway for another meeting to take place during the next International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women taking place in Kampala, Uganda, in July 2002. And after that the network plans to host a workshop on editing skills. Until then they will be busy laying the groundwork for a detailed work program, and establishing an organizational framework for future projects.