You can’t really call an online conference really fun, but it’s easy. You don’t have to search hours on booking.com for hotel rooms that fit the department’s budget, you’ll never miss a call because of a train delay, and you can’t get lost looking for a 3.62 meeting room or an ‘Aquamarine’ room.
No, you just watch (and give) all the lectures at home, behind your laptop. Can’t get close. However, in the past year and a half, I have hardly been able to attend the lectures given by colleagues. Attending a conference at home is easy, but it also has a drawback: you may be “at a conference,” but you still have access to colleagues, children, and other disabled people.
When I’m in Lisbon for a week, I don’t go up and down on Wednesday afternoons to give a lecture. But when I’m only at home, I don’t say no when a colleague asks for help. At conferences elsewhere, I enjoy going to conference dinners, but at home I don’t scream that I’m not eating because I’m in a virtual barroom.
So I should have known it wouldn’t work. I had a web conference on Friday. If I had to leave the house, I would arrange a babysitter, because Friday is my baby’s day. But now I thought: The only lecture I really want to listen to is during my afternoon snooze, no problem. Anyway – tantrum, diaper poo, losing a pacifier, a hug from bed, long story short: five minutes before the end of the lecture I was sitting at my computer, not even daring to go online.
Do you speak English fluently? Then the piece will be returned immediately
And so I missed something that I was very curious about: the introduction of the new Historical Medical Journal European Journal of the History of Medicine and Health (EHMH).
Now, new magazines are really the last thing we need. More of what we can read is already being published, and another journal is just adding to the endless stream of articles.
However, I am glad that EHMH is coming. It is a magazine with a mission: more space for the history of non-English speaking countries. Britain and the United States are somewhat over-represented in historical journals today. An important reason for this is the dominance of the English language. Scholars speak and write primarily in English. This is useful for understanding each other. But it also makes everything that comes from English-speaking countries seem more important – while the history of England is not necessarily more interesting than the history of Romania, Hungary or Italy.
But since British and American historians write in English, their histories have become the norm. Historians from other countries constantly have to explain why their history is also interesting. It must also be in perfect English. Because an article with grammatical errors or skewed formulas is immediately returned by most English-language journals to the author, with the task of properly editing the piece first. There is often no money for it in the less affluent countries (just as it is, by the way, in the filthy rich countries that keep cutting back on their universities every third Tuesday of September).
In this way, the author reaches a wide audience
EHMH’s refreshing solution: researchers can submit articles in all European languages. An excellent way, of course, to ensure that all European countries are already covered in the magazine. Only after the initial revision will the article be translated into English. So it will be published in English after further evaluation. With a bilingual summary and, optionally, the full manuscript in the original language, on the website. In this way the author reaches a wide audience both nationally and internationally, while he can simply write in his own language.
Get your cake and eat it: So it’s still possible.
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