By Jo Reger
As I sit down to write this at the end of 2015, December 31st seems like a particularly good day to sit and think about the year past and the year to come. For me, the past year has been one of many transitions. I started 2015 on sabbatical, working at my own pace (with lots of yoga interspersed). I end 2015 sitting in my office reviewing manuscripts for Gender & Society and working at a pace dictated by the need to keep turnaround timely for editorial decisions (while thinking I need to get back to yoga someday soon). And although I am working alone today, I have not gone through this transition by myself. In the past year and a half, I have assembled an amazing editorial team, figured out how to hire and pay everyone, found computers for the managing editors, rid the editorial office of mice and ants — all in the process of transitioning this journal from a research, doctoral institution to a regional, public university with no graduate program in sociology.
As we move into 2016, I am finally completely confident that the transition can be done but not without the assistance of people that I need to thank publicly. At the very top of the list is Joya Misra, the outgoing editor, who has been more than gracious with her time, guidance and insights. She leaves a very high bar for me to meet as editor of this esteemed journal. She will continue to serve as a model of what feminist mentoring and scholarship looks like for me and for the journal as we move forward. Her managing editors were valuable resources for us as we began the transition. I thank Cassuandra Rodriguez, Mahala Stewart, Elisa Martinez and most of all, Laura Heston, who we had on speed dial for the months from May through October and who was so generous with her time. I am also grateful to Katja Guenther, Chris Bose and Jennifer Reich for their assistance as members of the SWS publication’s committee.
I am also indebted to the editorial team that will take the journal into the next four years. I think of them as my dream team – Deputy Editors Amy Stone, Melanie Hughes, Krista Brumley and Rachel Einwohner. In a short period of time, we came together as a team and they inspire me with their dedication to journal. I rely heavily upon their expertise and thoughtful analyses. On a daily level here at Oakland University, I feel blessed to work with the managing editor team — Lacey Story, Linda Gjokaj, Elizabeth Paré and Jenny Lendrum. When Beth found fulltime employment elsewhere, Jenny stepped in and didn’t miss a beat in keeping up with the duties of the journal. We work together in a couple of rooms in an older building on campus that we have made a safe, fun and feminist space. We laugh, we work (and we spend an unusual amount of time decorating). I am grateful for this space that makes every day—a day I want to come to work. And so while the journal has found a new home, we have also found a home in the situating of the journal.
Our offices at Oakland would not be possible without the work of Bonnie Kwit, the assistance of Cathy Rush, the daily ministrations of Lynn Bernardi and the support of the College of Arts and Sciences and Dean Kevin Corcoran in particular. (We also have a guy we call the “Mouse Man” who comes in to check our traps. We are very grateful for him). Off campus, unseen but not un-valued is Julie Voelck who carefully copyedits everything we send her. Her attention to detail is something I have come to depend on. I am also delighted to be showcasing the work of Oakland professor Andrea Eis on the cover for the 2016 year. I am a great admirer of her work and grateful to her for immediately agreeing to do the cover and working with us to find the right image.
With all of these amazing people working with me, I am excited for the year to come. We have lots of ideas and ambitions for the journal as well as the goal of maintaining the quality and impact that it has on the discipline. You can look forward to our first issue as a team with the symposium on Theorizing Rape through Time, Place and Relations in February. The essays in this symposium represent some of the most important scholars working on issues of gender, violence and sexual assault. I look forward to hearing other’s reactions to these essays. To help you integrate the symposium into your classrooms or research we will post blogs from some of the authors as well as podcasts. Keep an eye out for these on the Gender & Society blog in the weeks to come. We will also be updating Gender & Society in the Classroom and spreading the word on articles that work well in the classroom.
I know I speak for the entire team that we are looking forward to a year of maintaining the high standard of scholarship in the journal as well as introducing some new ideas. So here’s to the idea of transitions and the exciting years ahead for the journal and for all of us dedicated to feminist scholarship that makes a difference in the world.
Jo Reger is a professor of Sociology and the director of Women and Gender Studies at Oakland University in Michigan. She is the current editor of Gender & Society.