The Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies marks an important moment this week. For the first time since our establishment in 2010, we have transitioned from limited, brief runs to a journal with a weekly publishing schedule. This has resulted in a significant increase in workload for our student volunteers and volunteer editors. Last week marked the end of our first full, weekly publishing issue, Issue Number 5, Fall 2012. With this new weekly format we have greatly expanded our volume and presence. We are also providing broader offerings of reviews of books, documentaries and other artifacts for teachers and researchers, as well as innovative content derived from the cooperative program between the journal, North Star Academy’s eighth grade global studies classes, and the College of St. Scholastica. Other projects are being developed and will be forthcoming in the coming issues, such as undergraduate participation in the scholarly review process, Visualize the World class material project, papers from cooperative conferences, a new column on teaching by our new editor and host teacher at North Star Academy, Ms. Lynette Smith, and a new forum on issues pertaining to borderlands.
Now, we begin Issue Number 6, Spring 2013, by welcoming another new editor, Sarah Hamilton. Among other tasks, Professor Hamilton is taking the lead in helping us coordinate and develop content provided by graduate students in world history and global studies. One of The Middle Ground’s key tasks is to create common space for students and teachers on all levels, around the world, and this new initiative is an important contribution to that mandate. It is my great pleasure then, to bring to you Professor Hamilton’s introductory essay, and the first of four reviews under her editorship. Next batches of books and documentaries for review for this series will be posted by the end of this week. Please continue to follow this page for updates on new items in this section. My gratitude to our student volunteers, outreach coordinators, editors, and to all of the friends of the journal for your enthusiasm and support.
Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies, March 2013
This issue of The Middle Ground inaugurates what will be an ongoing collaboration between the WHA graduate student committee and the Midwest World History Association. In an effort to expand the journal's outreach and service to graduate students in the world history/global studies community, each issue will include a dedicated space for writing by graduate students and recent graduates, offering an opportunity for peer-reviewed publication and expanding the journal's outreach in the world history/global studies community.
Graduate students and new hires are a fast-growing component of the WHA's membership and our interests will, to a substantial extent, define the future of the organization. Like students in other fields, we are wrestling with concerns about various approaches to graduate education, the academic and non-academic job markets, professional formation, and work-life balance. Unique to the world history arena, however, is the increasing population of students eager to bolster their "global" or transnational credentials, even at universities without a dedicated world history program, to meet the perceived emphasis of the contemporary job market. Seeking advice and guidance, these students have met with a relative dearth of resources amid an increasingly crowded and competitive field.
The Middle Ground hopes to alleviate this problem, serving as a forum for students to share their experiences, to offer advice to their peers, and to get their own work read by other members of the world history community. We encourage graduate students at any level of study, as well as recent graduates from graduate programs around the world, to submit ideas or completed essays that they would like to see published in this space. What does the field look like, from your perspective? What resources would be helpful to you as you chart your course through your graduate program? If you are interested in reviewing a book, sharing an opinion piece, suggesting a theme, or describing your experiences with an issue you feel is of interest to other graduate students, we would be happy to hear about it.
In this issue, we feature four book reviews written by graduate students with widely varied previous involvement in world history. Some of these authors are designing dissertation projects on transnational themes, while others have no previous experience with world history and come to the Middle Ground. As such, they represent the potential of this forum for reaching an audience outside of the MWWHA or the WHA's existing membership and involving new scholars in our ongoing work. We hope you enjoy their work, and look forward to a fruitful collaboration in the future.
Sarah R. Hamilton, Contributing Editor. Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Michigan, sarahrha (at) umich.edu