The reputation of those who study the Renaissance and early modern literature and culture might not be considered cutting edge. But, in February, DU English professor Scott Howard went high tech, launching the first e-conference targeting the group on a Web site called Appositions.
“Bringing scholars together to further everyone’s work is vital,” Howard says. “Just in this field alone, there are probably 50 to 75 societies all hosting conferences; it is impossible to participate in them all.”
Now, scholars, researchers, educators, writers and students can participate in a free peer-reviewed conference, without the expense of travel, lodging, registration or entry fees.
“When we called for papers in April of 2007, we really didn’t know what we were going to get,” Howard says. “We were very happy with the turnout. Twenty-four people submitted papers; of those we published 17 on the site.”
Mary Lindroth, an associate professor of English at Caldwell College, heard about the e-conference by chance and submitted her paper “Moliere’s ‘Liquid Societies’: Ivo van Hove’s and New York Theatre Workshop’s Production of The Misanthrope,” which was published on the site.
While the process is similar to a traditional conference, in that papers are submitted, accepted, then revised, Lindroth says there are enormous advantages to the e-conference.
“Traditional conference audiences tend to be limited to presenters only and thus audience sizes can fluctuate wildly, leaving some presentations with very few audience members,” she says. “The e-conference is taking place throughout the month of February so my paper has a life that extends past the 90-minute panel format of traditional conferences.”
Matthew Steggle, who teaches English at Sheffield Hallam University in England, is the editorial advisor for Appositions.
“I’ve worked on a number of electronic publishing projects in this area,” Steggle says. “I think Appositions is something new and exciting. I hope it helps scholars find new ways of working together.”
After the e-conference, the editors will invite the scholars of the strongest papers to revise or expand their articles, which will be published in the Appositions Journal in April. This new journal will be published on the same Web site annually.