Recently, I edited a volume of the Danish journal for the history of ideas, Slagmark, where I serve on the editorial board, together with my colleague Tobias Dias, who is a Ph.D. in the History of Ideas in my department.
We had a lot of great contributions, and though the volume was more than two months delayed for stupid, usual, journal-editing reasons (a senior colleague recently said that editing a journal volume is “like herding cats” — I totally agree), I’m really happy with it.
It’s also an example of how great things can come out of not really getting what you expect. In the call for papers, Tobias and I had tried to encourage submissions dealing with the impact of Marx in areas not usually connected with his name. We’d have loved an article on Marx’s impact in the fields of evolutionary biology or architectual history, for example. However, that’s not what we got.
The content of the volume ended up being more in the style of classic ‘Marxology’, with a few noteworthy exceptions (like Jørn Erslev Andersen’s great essay about the Danish situationist Asger Jorn’s engagement with Marx’s Capital). However, the contributions are still so varied and of such a high quality that the end product turned out great anyway!
Apart from the editors’ introduction, which you can read here (in Danish), I had three contributions to the volume:
- Tobias and I conducted an interview with US intellectual historian and professor of history at Washington University Andrew Hartman about his research on the reception of Marx in the US,
- I translated two letters from the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher by Arnold Ruge and Karl Marx, including Marx’s famous letter about the “ruthless criticisms of evything existing”,
- And I wrote an introduction to the two letters, introducing the Young Hegelians and their specific concept of ‘Critique’ (capital C).
All in all, it was a great first experience editing an academic publication.