A New Era for the Journal
The editors are pleased to announce volume 16 and a multitude of changes that coincide with its release.
The Name Change
The biggest change is the title of the journal itself. After more than 25 years as Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology (PRE), the editorial board voted to change the name to Ethnomusicology Review. This decision was not taken lightly or hastily and came after many years of discussions about the position of the journal within the discipline and the academic world in general. Members of the editorial board had anecdotal evidence that suggested the word Pacific in the title led to confusion about the scope or purpose of the journal. An online survey conducted earlier this year confirmed that fact. The most prevalent misunderstanding was that the title implied an area studies approach limited to the Pacific Rim or Asian music. Other respondents were erroneously under the impression that the journal was a publication of the Southern California and Hawai’i chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, or that we only published the work of West Coast scholars. Thus, the name change allows us to break from these misconceptions and clarify the journal’s scope and relevance in the field.
The New Website
After the name change, the most prominent difference for the journal is our completely redesigned website. We have come a long way from the website's earlier iterations, a history briefly chronicled in a recent blog post. We are now using Drupal as a dynamic and scalable content management system. As open source website authoring software, Drupal fits the Open Access mission of EMR, but remains powerful enough to be used by big-name firms and organizations. You have very likely encountered Drupal before—probably without knowing it—if you have visited sites such as WhiteHouse.gov, Rutgers.edu, The Economist, PRI’s The World, Warner Bros Recordings, Universal Music, BobDylan.com, Amnesty International, and thousands of other major sites. The transition to this system has enabled us to become metadata-friendly, allowing indexers and databases to easily “harvest” our publication data for more accurate indexing and search engine results.
The new site also has the option for readers to post comments or questions related to all pieces. This addition is intended to replicate a conference-like setting in which the audience interacts with the author, but the comments are fully moderated to maintain a relevant and respectful atmosphere.
One entirely new area of the site is the “Blogs” section. We are now beginning to host full-featured blogs written by ethnomusicologists doing research around the world. This section is intended to be informal and constantly expanding, a forum on the pulse of contemporary music research. We invite you to contact us about hosting your own blog on this site. We have an easy-to-learn author interface on par with any service such as Blogger, TypePad, or WordPress. Unlike those sites, however, the blogs will provide you with an automatic audience of like-minded individuals. If you intend to write a fieldwork or research blog, this would be the perfect venue to host it.
If you are reading this editorial, then you probably already at least glanced at what volume 16 has to offer. However, we would like to highlight a few exciting contributions. First, Prof. David Shorter’s “Sounding Board” piece challenges staid notions concerning academic publication, encouraging instead an innovative “multimodal” approach to scholarship and the presentation of our work. The second “Sounding Board” piece is a collaborative effort between Ethnomusicology Review and a Native American DJ collective known as A Tribe Called Red. This project dusts off archival wax cylinder recordings, giving them new life, and places audio, rather than text, at the center of the intellectual statement.
Our authors are increasingly taking advantage of the journal’s online format. David Font-Navarette’s piece on the album Congotronics will, over time, move up in search engine results to be listed next to the very journalistic pieces he is critiquing, serving as an important intellectual intervention in a fraught discourse surrounding popular “world music” acts. Expanding upon Michael Figueroa’s use of audio in a media review in volume 15, book reviews by Katherine Stuffelbeam (on Burns’s Female Voices) and Scott Linford (on Kaufman’s Woody Guthrie) both successfully employ video clips to give the reader deeper insight into their respective topics.
Embracing the “review” function of our title, we have again published a number of prize-winning papers from regional SEM meetings. If you serve as an officer in a regional chapter of SEM, please take note that we offer publication consideration for prize-winning papers. Hopefully this incentive will also encourage further graduate student participation in regional SEM conferences.
Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoy the new volume and our new website!
(Submitted by Nolan Warden with contributions from Andrew Pettit, Logan Clark, and Jessie Vallejo.)