«The Bridge-MOCT» продолжает представление академических журналов, посвященных постсоветскому пространству. Ранее мы рассказывали как о научных изданиях, имеющих институциональную историю в несколько десятков лет, так и о журналах, возникших в последние годы: «Этнографическое обозрение», East-West Journal of Ukrainian Studies, Slavic Review, «Киноведческие записки», портале historians.in.ua и других. В этом номере – беседа с историком Кристофером Уордом (Christopher J. Ward), редактором журнала The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review.
The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review has a history of about four decades. How did it start? How is it different from other journals focusing on the region? What is your focus, as a journal?
The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review (SPSR) began publication as Soviet Union/Union Soviétique in 1974 under the editorship of Charles Schlacks, Jr. as a journal dedicated to the history of the Soviet Union. In 1982, Professor Ellen Mickiewicz, then of Emory University, became the journal’s second editor. In 1989, Professor Joseph Wieczynski of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University assumed the journal’s editorial duties, and in 1992 he oversaw the change of this publication’s name to its current title. The following fifteen years saw a change in publisher from Charles Schlacks to Brill (the current publisher) and the tenure of my predecessor, Professor Vladimir P. Buldakov of the Institute of History at the Russian Academy of Sciences. I assumed the position as editor-in-chief of SPSR in March 2010. SPSR is a peer-reviewed journal which focuses on the history of the Soviet Union and its successor states, including but not limited to the Russian Federation. The journal welcomes original, scholarly submissions in the form of articles, essays, and book reviews relating to Soviet and post-Soviet history, particularly the realms of social, environmental, and cultural history. We are unique among the journals in the field in our commitment to publishing articles on the environmental history of the Soviet Union and post-Soviet states and also in that we publish Russian language articles, which some journals in the field do not.
Who are your readers at this time, both geographically and from the point of view of disciplines?
Our readership includes scholars in many fields, including but not limited to history, political science, geography, ethnology, sociology, ethnography, and linguistics. Geographically, our readership is concentrated in North America and the post-Soviet states, although a growing numbers of SPSR’s readers come from Eurasia, East Asia, South Asia, and Australasia.
How did the journal change in the last, say, five years? What are the tendencies? Who are your contributors?
In the last five years, SPSR has increased its publication frequency from two issues to year to three issues a year. In addition, our contributors now include more scholars from the former Soviet Union as well as junior scholars from around the world than in the past.
Can you as the editor change or “alter” the trajectory the journal follows?
Brill, the publisher of SPSR, has given me a wide latitude to steer the journal in the editorial direction I choose. For example, my decision to publish more Russian language submissions and articles by junior scholars was heartily supported by the journal’s publisher.
Can you, please, name some specific issues or sections that were initiated during your tenure?
Since I became editor-in-chief in 2010, SPSR has published two special issues of which I am especially proud. The first of these, guest edited by Lisa Kirschenbaum, was entitled “World War II in Soviet and Post-Soviet Memory” (SPSR vol. 38, no. 2). This special issue was published in 2011 and consisted of six articles that examined the phenomenon of the Great Patriotic War in individual, local, and national narratives. Contributors to this special issue included Jonathan Brunstedt, Stephen Norris, Alexis Peri, Karl Qualls, and Elizabeth Wood. The second special issue, guest edited by Laurent Coumel and Marc Elie, was entitled “A Belated and Tragic Ecological Revolution: Nature, Disasters, and Green Activists in the Soviet Union and the Post-Soviet States, 1960s-2010s” (SPSR vol. 40, no. 2). This issue was published in 2013 and consisted of six articles that examined the environmental history of the Soviet Union and the post-Soviet states. Contributors to that issue included Carole Sigman, Aliaksandr Dalhouski, and Eva Bertrand.
You are a scholar and, at the same time, a journal editor. How do you “divide” your time between these two (or more?) roles and identities? Do you have a smaller teaching load at the university because of your responsibilities as the editor? Why would the university be interested in that?
It is a constant challenge to devote sufficient time to my duties as editor of SPSR while making time for my own scholarship, but I strive to balance both obligations. I am currently researching a book-length project on the history of the Sibaral water diversion plan, which calls for the redirection of the currently northward-flowing Siberian rivers such as the Lena, Ob, and Irtysh toward the south in order to provide water for the arid regions of Central Asia. My institution, Clayton State University in metropolitan Atlanta, has adjusted my teaching schedule so that I have enough time to devote to my editing duties. One of my university’s motivations in making this accommodation for me is that my university affiliation appears in each issue of SPSR, which boosts the university’s image.
Can you say a few words about the editorial board? Do you try to get people form several disciplines? What are these disciplines?
The SPSR editorial board consists of both senior and junior scholars from the disciplines of history, linguistics, and political science, all of whom have published major works in their respective areas of specialization. I am particularly proud of the editorial board’s gender balance and wide range of methodologies and scholarly perspectives that are represented. Finally, the membership of SPSR’s board rotates so that new ideas and strategies for the journal arrive at regular intervals.
Thank you for the interview and for your work as an editor and a scholar.
It was pleasure to be interviewed by The Bridge-MOCT. Thank you for your interest in The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review.