Academic book reviewing has become a seriously endangered art. For too long, it has been painfully obvious that reviews are used chiefly to pad out journal content. Among the factors which prevent the genre from being taken seriously are inadequate word-limits for the development of a sustained argument, the lack of stringent peer-review processes and the tendency for completed reviews to await publication for longer than it takes the average academic to write a book.
We wish to reinvigorate this neglected feature of academic research and intellectual engagement. Taking the London Review of Books as our model, we wish to develop in Global Discourse a review section that encourages meaningful engagement between readers and authors capable of moving discussions forward and maximising the impact of monographs.
To this end, we have organised a Book Reviews Panel consisting of experienced reviewers committed to producing substantive reviews of the latest research, and a Doctoral Book Reviews Board, based at Lancaster, responsible for liaising with reviewers and publishers, peer-reviewing reviews, contributing reviews and determining the winners of our annual book review competition.
Review symposia and annual book review competition
These organisational developments support our successful review symposia model, in which books are subject to a series of reviews and a reply by the author. We have published symposia on the work such figures as Noam Chomsky, Andrew Linklater and Cynthia Weber, Guy Standing, Mark Purcell, David Graeber, Michael Shapiro, Axel Honneth, Bruno Latour and Graham Harmann, Since 2015, we have also run an annual book review competition, in which three outstanding books are selected for examination in symposia consisting of up to three reviews of 1,000-3,000 words each and authors’ replies of up to 5,000 words each. Prize winners include Stuart Elden, Nadia Urbinati, Wil Verhoeven, Jason Stanley, Madawi Al-Rasheed, James A. Harris and Gareth Stedman Jones.
Appreciating the potential of reviews to contribute to their respective fields, reviewers will be given up to 3,000 words to produce pieces that do not merely reconstruct, but actively examine in depth, the core claims and implications of the work at hand. Our preference is for pieces that focus on intensive exploration of specific elements of the monograph at hand. Exposition is necessary only insofar as it is required to understand, accurately, the core claims examined. The longer the submission, the more the piece must go beyond exposition and engage with other literatures, meaning that 2,000-3,000 is the transition point between an extensive review and a review article on several monographs. In particular, we welcome submissions that seek to explore and evaluate the application of theory to real world issues. Given that space is of a premium, we reserve the right to request condensation during the peer-review process if it is felt that the key arguments of the piece can be articulated more concisely. Reviewers ought to aim for around 800 words for a review consisting of two main points of critique of a single monograph, extending upwards according to the number of points of critique and literatures engaged.
Quality and time sensitivity
Understanding the importance of quality, all submissions will be peer-reviewed, with longer submissions accepted as review articles suitable for REF inclusion.
Emphasising the need to promote good writing, submissions will be reviewed with attention to style. Submissions must also conform to our house style.
Recognising that research is time-sensitive, we aim to publish reviews online within four months of the reviewer receiving the book. This means that reviewers have a maximum of two months in which to complete their reviews. The editors then have two weeks in which to organise and return reviews of the manuscript. The author then has two weeks in which to complete any revisions, with the remaining time allocated for copy-editing.
Organisation and contacts
The book review section will be edited by a Doctoral Book Reviews Board, based at Lancaster University, which will be Chaired by Rosamund Mutton (email@example.com) and overseen by Dr Mark Garnett (firstname.lastname@example.org). In addition, an international Book Reviews Panel, consisting of experienced reviewers from a range of disciplines and backgrounds will contribute reviews and suggest candidates for the annual book review competition. The Book Reviews Board will review all submissions in conjunction with external referees.
Publishers are invited to submit books at any time without further solicitation, with submissions directed to:
Politics, Philosophy and Religion
Doctoral Book Reviews Board
Rahaf Aldoughli: Lancaster University, UK
Francis Dawson: Lancaster University, UK
Idreas Khandy: Lancaster University, UK
Ya-Chu Lee: Lancaster University, UK
Emily Lynn: Lancaster University, UK
Rosamund Mutton: Lancaster University, UK
Philip Pedley: Lancaster University, UK
Book Reviews Panel
Øivind Bratberg: University of Oslo, Norway
Andrew Scott Crines: University of Liverpool, UK
Ecem Karlidag-Dennis: University of Northampton, UK
P. Sean Morris: University of Helsinki, Finland
Gianfranco Pasquino: University of Bologna, Italy
Revecca Pedi: University of Macedonia
Meysam Tayebipour: Lancaster University, UK
Jennifer Todd: University College Dublin, Ireland
William Boothby: Geneva Centre for Security Policy and Lancaster University
Further details: http://www.tandfonline.com/rgld