An antidote to frustrations in academia

29 05 2009

Doing research is a lot like blogging. I often find myself asking the big questions. So what? Who cares? Why bother? Pessac Léognan or Chasse Spleen? Sex before or after dinner? You get the picture. I guess Phillip Vannini feels the same way. Maybe that’s why he sent out this call for papers.

Much too often research in the social sciences and humanities suffers from an ivory tower complex, the symptoms of which prevent wide audiences from fully enjoying the processes or appreciating the value and utility of research. As a result, research is often destined for and consumed by a small cadre of readers who have access to both the narrowly accessible media in which research is published, and the difficult lexicon that characterizes academic writing.

As new, experimental, blurred genres of research, as well as new distribution media, new academic imperatives, and new ideas and wills emerge, the need to popularize academic research grows. How to popularize research is, however, neither always clear nor easy. Students and scholars often lack a comprehensive vision of the contemporary possibilities available and the procedures involved. The goal of this book is to provide students and scholars with such a broad and thorough overview and serve as a companion for any research method course or as a handy reference for career academics.

Since the goal is to make research popular, the means themselves should abide by that principle. Therefore, I am not interested in editing a dry, tedious, abstract book. I am seeking witty, fun, funny, enthusiastic, thrilling, suspenseful, dramatic, performative, artistic, documentary, provocative, innovative, sensual, sexy, genre-blurring, multi-modal, multi-media, charismatic, experimental, funky, cool essays (each essay doesn’t have to ALL of that, but should include at least SOME -). In other words, I am seeking to collect examples and reflections of ways in which research in the social sciences and humanities can be more like popular culture (albeit without abandoning itself its trashy tendencies).

Interest from a highly established publisher has already been expressed. The book will include up to 25 chapters. If you are interested in contributing please do not send me an abstract. Abstracts and executive summaries are nasty to write and awful to read. Just send me an email and capture my fancy. This call for papers has no true deadline, as I’ll close the doors when I have collected enough interesting stuff. Hence, do not delay getting a hold of me! Please forward this call to all your friends and colleagues whom you think might be interested. First drafts of chapters will be due in the fall of 2010.

Essays will need to be short and to the point (5000 words), and include both a general body of references to an established or new way of doing research (a particular genre, or medium, or strategy, etc.) and one (or more) examples of the writer’s own innovative and creative ways of popularizing research. Email me at

Will do, Phillip. Will do.




One response

30 05 2009

Brilliant. Irresistible 😉

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