ECDS Helps Post45 Journal Move to Emory University

Banner featuring Professor Dan Sinykin and image from Post45 launch poster

A Note to our Readers: We hope you are well during these difficult times. As of Monday, March 16, the on-campus ECDS office is closed until further notice as we move to working remotely. Please email us at ecds [at] emory [dot] edu with questions or to set up an online appointment, and please check for updates.

A Note from our Blog and Social Media Coordinator: This blog post about the launch party for Post45 was drafted before the extension of Spring Break and the announcement that Emory University would be transitioning to remote work. It is important to follow the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization for public health management by practicing social distancing (see CDC website for more information). As the events of this blog post took place before university closings, however, I believe it is important to still celebrate our community’s successes. Stay safe and continue to support one another! –Amy S. Li (Digital Humanities Fellow and Social Media Coordinator at the ECDS)

Earlier this month on Wednesday March 4, the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS) hosted a launch party to celebrate the move of Post45 (a leading open-access and peer-reviewed journal of contemporary literature and culture) to Emory University. Emory became home to the online journal in January 2020, as the Department of English announced on their website. Professor Dan Sinykin (English) is a member of the Post45 editorial team and also currently serves as editor of Post45’s public-facing wing “Contemporaries.” The ECDS has assisted with the journal’s move, facilitating the transfer of Post45 to a new ECDS-maintained website, managing server settings, and working on an upcoming redesign of the website. In addition, the Post45 Data Collective will peer review and house post-1945 literary data on an ECDS-designed, hosted, and maintained website, set to launch publicly in September 2020.

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Sinykin presented remarks at the launch party, explaining that Post45 was founded in 2006 as a scholarly collective to promote the study of American literature and culture. The collective holds an annual conference, runs a books series with Stanford University Press, and in 2010 launched the publication of its open-access journal. “The journal has two parts,” Sinykin says: “It is a fully-operating peer-reviewed journal, and it is a public-facing site that hosts dynamic conversations on what’s happening right now in literature and culture.”

The peer-reviewed journal and the public-facing blog have both recently published compelling articles. At the ECDS reception Sinykin highlighted a peer-reviewed issue of Post45 titled “How to Be Now” (Issue 2). The issue’s editors, all scholars of contemporary literature, wrote about bringing “the dominant feeling of contemporary experience — anxiety — into our scholarship.” In late February 2020, the public-facing Contemporaries published “The Pain Cluster,” which brought together interdisciplinary perspectives on pain from a sociologist, a philosopher, literary scholars, and poets.

Screenshot of “The Pain Cluster” published to the Contemporaries blog

Speaking about the upcoming Post45 Data Collective, Sinykin remarked that the immediate motivation for the collective was that the data produced by scholars “would be more powerful together than separate.” The collective, he added, “will produce standards and protocols by which these datasets are peer reviewed and thus citable—a (still) innovative proposal for even existing digital humanities publications. The computational/digital infrastructure (i.e., metadata management, web architecture, etc.) will be managed by the ECDS,” and the collective will also “work in partnership with HathiTrust to develop consistent metadata standards and build on existing open access repositories.” By curating and annotating metadata, the Post45 Data Collective hopes to “further enable computational approaches to post-45 literature and literary culture,” thereby supporting a growing number of scholars working in digital humanities and other interdisciplinary fields.

Other speakers at the reception included ECDS co-director Dr. Allen Tullos and ECDS Systems Lead Chase Lovelette. Guests mingled and spoke about Post45 over food and drink. Emory University English Professor Ben Reiss summarized the significance of the journal coming to Emory, calling it a “very exciting event for the English department and for humanities scholarship more broadly.  Although by academic standards, it is still a fairly young journal (not even 15 years old!), it has established itself as a go-to venue for work on contemporary literature and culture.” Situating Post45 within the scope of digital humanities, digital publishing, and public scholarship, Reiss added: “Because it was born digital, it was able to innovate its formal features in ways that print-bound journals have been slower to develop.  Mixing long-form peer-reviewed essays with hot takes and more experimental pieces in its Contemporaries section, the site is extremely lively and inviting to a wide readership.  As the journal settles into its new home, I look forward to the conversations and collaborations it will inspire among our faculty and students.”

See the slideshow below for more photographs from the Post45 launch party (taken by ECDS’s senior video producer Steve Bransford, PhD and edited by Amy S. Li, Woodruff Graduate Fellow in Digital Humanities and ECDS Social Media Coordinator).

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