Do you like whiteboards? Are you excited by oversize pads of paper on easels? Then you'll want to hear all about our editorial retreat.
Last month the acquisitions editors at Nebraska conducted a self-study aimed at setting our priorities for the next five years. The official results of our retreat are, of course, written in code and kept in a briefcase handcuffed to my wrist. But here's a taste of what you can expect:
1) More social science. Nebraska's had some pathbreaking books on environment and food in our At Table and Our Sustainable Future series – check out something like Green Illusions, if you haven’t already – and we've got one of the best lists in the anthropology of indigenous North America anywhere. But there's an opening for more along these lines, particularly given excitement on campus about the Water for Food Institute and similar initiatives. We've already started to grow in that direction with the announcement of a new series called Critical Environments – led by, among others, the hotshot geographer and public intellectual Julie Guthman, author of “Why Michael Pollan Makes Me Want to Eat Cheetos” – which will explore the relationship among science, politics, and environment. You'll start to see a more diverse portfolio in anthropology, too, particularly in fields like public anthropology, environmental anthropology, and ethnographies of the contemporary United States.
2) Connecting the West to the world. Nebraska is already thinking hemispherically through our programs in borderlands and Mexican history. Expect more transnational perspectives on the U.S. West as we publish books on the Pacific World and Latino/a studies.
3) All things digital. We're doing ebooks, sure, but look for projects that help sort through how scholarship and teaching are shaped by the digital turn. Here too we're drawing on the expertise of the University of Nebraska faculty, particularly at the Center for Digital Humanities.
4) Big ideas. Readers expect to be shaken up by the University of Nebraska Press, winner of two Bancroft Prizes in the last three years and publisher of heavyweights like Jacques Derrida and Ilan Stavans. Under the new(ish) rubric of American Studies and Cultural Criticism – and in collaboration with terrific partners like Frontiers, arguably the leading journal of feminist scholarship – we're planning to push things further, defining new scholarly fields and setting intellectual agendas across disciplines.
5) News you can use. We’re already a leading publisher of reference volumes and guidebooks about the North American West. Over the next five years we’ll expand our list of practical books with a new series on teaching at the college level edited by Jim Lang, a columnist at the Chronicle of Higher Ed. We'll also publish more books that apply scholarly expertise to big, relevant topics in politics, economy, and environment.
It probably goes without saying that Nebraska will, in 2018, still be going strong in established areas like sports, Native American studies, literary nonfiction, and Western history. I expect these robust lists to benefit from the press’s expansion into new areas, and look forward to providing updates in this space.-Derek