Council of Editors of Learned Journals

MLA 2023 Sessions

287 - How the Money Works

6 January 1:45 - 3:00 PM

How do the finances of scholarly journals work—and how might they work? How do traditional academic publishers survive, and what other models are possible? What does it take to start a journal—and keep it afloat? Are affiliated organizations, or rich institutions, necessary partners? How might we reimagine these working conditions? Panelists ponder these and related questions.

Presider: Debra Rae Cohen (Distinguished Professor of English Emerita, U of South Carolina)

Speakers William Breichner (Johns Hopkins Univ Press), Tina Yih-Ting Chen (Penn State), Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Michigan State Univ), Marquard Smith (University C London)

** CELJ Annual Awards will be announced at this panel's end **

326 - What To Do with Reviewer 2?

6 January 3:30 - 4:45 PM

Presider: Eugenia Zuroski (McMaster Univ)


"Gatekeeping and Mentorship can Co-Exist," Brenda Machosky (Univ of Hawai‘i, West O‘ahu); "Indigenous Scholarship and Review Relations," Kailin Debicki (McMaster Univ); "Collaborative Reviewing and the Technological Death of Reviewer," Cheryl E. Ball (Executive Director, CELJ)

MLA 2022 Sessions

320 - How to Get Published

7 January 3:30 - 4:45 PM

Editors of leading journals in languages and literatures provide advice for scholars seeking to publish articles in the humanities. Topics include selecting journals, querying editors, understanding the peer-review process, and revising for publication.

Presider: Susan Tomlinson (U of Massachusetts, Boston

Speakers Michael Tavel Clarke (U of Calgary), Eugenia Zuroski (McMaster U), Faye S. Halpern (U of Calgary), James Phelan (Ohio State U, Columbus)

366 - Journals in Collaboration

7 January 5:15 - 6:30 PM

Journal editors and writers sometimes seem to labor in isolation: journal editors work with editorial boards but may seek other contexts for collaboration, and the disciplinary or period-based boundaries that define many journals, or the anonymity of journal processes, can stymie efforts at collaboration. Participants share ideas that encourage collaboration between authors and journal editors.

Presider: Janine Utell (Widener U)

Speakers:  Brenda Machosky (U of Hawai'i, West O'ahu), Pardis Dabashi (U of Nevada, Reno), Michael Bérubé (Penn State U, University Park), Erin Spampinato (Graduate Center, City U of New York), Megan Quigley (Villanova U), Erica Gene Delsandro (Bucknell U), Debra Rae Cohen (U of South Carolina, Columbia)

515 - The Special Issue and the Journal Mission

8 January 1:45 - 3:00 PM

Panelists focus on the role of the special issue in the environment of the academic journal. How do editors see the purpose and function of the special issue? What processes do editors use to determine that a special issue’s topic is timely and important? How does the special issue support, enhance, or potentially reshape a journal’s mission?

Presider:  John N. Duvall (Purdue U, West Lafayette)

Speakers:  Yogita Goyal (U of California, Los Angeles), Mari Yoshihara (U of Hawai'i, Mānoa), Carolyn J. Sorisio (West Chester U), Tina Yih-Ting Chen (Penn State U, University Park), Peter Lurie (U of Richmond)

After the Inclusivity Statement:  Shit or Get Off the Pot

9 January 10:15 - 11:30 AM

Panelists highlight how journal editors and societies in the humanities have not only created statements on diversity, inclusivity, equity, and anti-racism but also taken action to effect changes at their venues and institutions in the hopes of seeing radical change in the scholarly communication landscape.

Presider: Cheryl Ball (Wayne State U)

Speakers:  Jean Lee Cole (Loyola U Maryland), Dorothy Kim (Brandeis U), Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State U), Rebecca Walton (Utah State U)

MLA 2021 Sessions

Click to read longer descriptions and/or biographies of session panelists and presiders in Google Docs.

36 - How to Get Published
7 January 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Editors from ARIEL, Legacy, and Narrative demystify the process of publishing in scholarly journals for graduate students and the recently hired. Their breadth should appeal to a wide range of emerging scholars, as should the promise of some insider knowledge. The session includes an interactive component and allows substantial time for questions and answers.

Nora Gilbert (U of North Texas, Denton)

Faye S. Halpern (U of Calgary)
James Phelan (Ohio State U, Columbus
Michael Tavel Clarke (U of Calgary)
Susan Tomlinson (U of Massachusetts, Boston)

160 - Opening Publishing to the Public?
7 January 5:15 PM - 6:30 PM

How should journal editors engage with emerging questions of originality in the humanities in an age of personal archiving and digital on-demand or social publication? As the digital era matures, scholars, administrators, and publishers recognize the need for robust archiving practices, even as state-funded institutions are fulfilling their mandate to make publicly-funded research accessible to the public. Many institutions therefore encourage researchers to self-publish their own peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed research in digital repositories, often located in university libraries. In addition, many researchers, especially under-resourced or under-represented ones, rely upon informal publishing networks, including social media groups, Twitter feeds, and other facets of the digitorium, to “profess” their scholarly expertise, originality, or (in its crassest form) to “stake a claim” to a particular idea or phrase. Many editors and publishers have yet to reckon with the consequences of this shift for our peer-review processes, while others have. This session takes on these issues with three presentations and a generous Q&A period.


  • Ethics, Originality, and Attribution in the Age of the Personal Digital Repository
    Sujata Iyengar (U of Georgia)
  • Writing in Public
    Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Michigan State U)
  • What Do Journal Editors Really Think about Open Access? Results of a Survey
    Wendy Queen (Johns Hopkins University Press)

Cheryl E. Ball (Wayne State U)

436 - Maintaining Journal Quality in the Downsized Humanities
9 January 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Editors from Eighteenth-Century Literature, American Literature, Cormac McCarthy Journal, South, and Narrative will discuss the impact that shrinking graduate programs and fewer early career scholars have on the number of journal submissions in the humanities. What strategies do editors employ to ensure that their journals continue to publish the best scholarship possible? In a time when submission numbers are down in the humanities, when might an editor decide that it’s time to shutter a particular journal? The Annual CELJ Awards will also be announced at the end of this session.

John N. Duvall (Purdue U, West Lafayette)

Priscilla B. Wald (Duke U)
Stacey L. Peebles (Centre C)
Sean D. Moore (U of New Hampshire, Durham)
James Phelan (Ohio State U, Columbus)

600 - Editing and Inclusivity
10 January 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Panelists discuss structural racism in scholarly journal publishing and peer review and the perspectives of editors who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

Janine M. Utell (Widener U)

Eugenia Zuroski (McMaster U)
Dorothy Kim (Brandeis U)
Joycelyn K. Moody (U of Texas, San Antonio)
Christina Cedillo (U of Houston, Clear Lake)

631 - Publishing While Precarious: Problems and Practices
10 January 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

A collaborative panel between CELJ and the MLA Committee on Contingent Labor in the Profession

Joseph Fisher (Georgetown U)
Pamela A. Lim-McAlister (U of California, Berkeley)


  • Dispatches of a Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaire, Jennie Lightweis-Goff (U of Mississippi)
  • Editing Mindful of the Non-Tenure-Track Majority, Anicca Cox (Michigan State U) and Amy Lynch-Biniek (Kutztown U)
  • Treating Contingent Labor with Compassion: Strategies in Journal Publishing for Reducing Wait Times, Dennis Wise (U of Arizona Tucson)
  • Publishing the Precariat, Sujata Iyengar (U of Georgia)

MLA 2020 Sessions

108. How to Get Published
Thursday, 9 January 3:30 PM-4:45 PM, 4C-3 (WSCC)

Editors from ARIEL, Legacy, and Narrative demystify the process of publishing in scholarly journals for graduate students and faculty members at any stage of their academic careers. Their breadth should appeal to a wide range of scholars, as should the promise of some insider knowledge. The session includes an interactive component and allows substantial time for questions and answers.

Michael Tavel Clarke (U of Calgary)
Faye S. Halpern (U of Calgary)
James Phelan (Ohio State U, Columbus)
Susan Tomlinson (U of Massachusetts, Boston)

Nora Gilbert (U of North Texas)

215. Inventing and Inheriting Scholarly Journals: Perspectives on Beginnings
Friday, 10 January 8:30 AM-9:45 AM, 401 (WSCC)

Editors from a variety of journal types discuss the implications of starting a scholarly journal and of taking one over and reinventing or refreshing it.

Stephanie Foote (West Virginia U, Morgantown)
Bruce Holsinger (U of Virginia)
John Nieto-Phillips (Indiana U, Bloomington)
John G. Peters (U of North Texas)
Renee R. Trilling (U of Illinois, Urbana)
Adam Zucker (U of Massachusetts, Amherst)

John N. Duvall (Purdue U, West Lafayette)


316. Publishing for the Digital Humanities
Friday, 10 January 1:45 PM-3:00 PM, 607 (WSCC)

Sponsoring Entity:
Council of Editors of Learned Journals & TC Digital Humanities

Participants discuss the digital in scholarly publishing. Depending on one’s role as scholar, editor, publisher, librarian, or reader, the digital might refer to open access, open (or closed) peer review, the publication of digital media objects-as-scholarship and digital humanities projects, and the role of tenure and promotion within this rapidly changing landscape. Speakers represent publishers who have broken new ground in these areas.

For related material, see our long proposal description.

Nick Lindsay (MIT Press)
Laura C. Mandell (Texas A&M U, College Station)
Siobhan McMenemy (Wilfrid Laurier University Press)

Cheryl E. Ball (Wayne State U) 


633. Fifty Years of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals—and Forward
Saturday, 11 January 5:15 PM-6:30 PM, 401 (WSCC)

1. Fifty Years of Change: Editors and Learned Journals, Marilyn S. Gaull (Editorial Inst.)
2. Reflecting B(l)ack on a CELJ Session at the 2011 MLA Convention, Joycelyn K. Moody (U of Texas, San Antonio) 
3. Value Added: CELJ’s Chat with an Editor Program and Serving Authors and Editors Past and Present, Michael E. Cornett (Duke U) 

[Note: We are saddened by the passing of Marilyn Gaull. Her speaking slot will be replaced by a history of CELJ’s Editor’s Notes/Bulletin, presented by Cheryl Ball.]

Cheryl E. Ball (Wayne State U)


Chat with an Editor

The CELJ is committed to mentoring authors at all career stages.  MLA members—especially new faculty, emerging scholars, and graduate students—are invited to meet with a journal editor—”Chat with an Editor”—to discuss their writing for academic publication. This opportunity, managed by the Mentoring Coordinator, is provided at each MLA Convention by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, and is one of the organization’s signature events.

The “Chat with an Editor” session may address submission to a particular academic journal or address submission to academic journals in general. Topics may range from formulating a publishable project to understanding the review process to responding to the editor’s letter or readers’ reports about a submission. The “Chat” is intended to be a form of professional mentoring, one that will strengthen scholarly publication and academic career progression.

Contact CELJ Mentoring Coordinator Nora Gilbert to sign up for a 20-minute appointment with the editor of your choice (

“Chat with an Editor” Schedule of Editor Participants, MLA 2020

All sessions will be held in WSCC Rm 609

Friday, 1/10

Marshall Brown, MLQ, 10:00 – 11:00

Logan Browning, SEL, 11:00 – 12:00

Faye Halperin, ARIEL, 10:20 –11:20

Bruce Holsinger, New Literary History, 10:20 – 11:20

James Phelan, Narrative, 10:00 – 12:00

Susan Tomlinson, Legacy, 10:00 –12:00

Gary Totten, MELUS, 10:00 –12:00

Adam Zucker, English Literary Renaissance, 11:00 –12:00

Saturday, 1/11

Thomas O. Beebee, Comparative Literature Studies, 10:00 – 11:00

Michael Tavel Clarke, ARIEL, 10:00 – 12:00

Michael Cornett, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 10:00 –12:00

Anne Fernald, Modernism/Modernity, 10:00 – 12:00

Daniel Hack, Victorian Literature and Culture, 11:00 – 12:00

Rajani Sudan, Configurations, 11:00 – 12:00

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