Transformative Works and Cultures issue no. 38 will usher in a new structure: the sections Theory and Praxis will be replaced by a new section, Article, and the journal’s word minimums will change. The new changes are already reflected on TWC’s submissions page. An Article’s length will be a maximum of 8,000 words, plus a 100–250-word abstract. A Symposium piece’s length will be a maximum of 4,000 words, plus a 2-sentence abstract, bumping it up from the previous length of Symposium pieces.
TWC’s new co-editors Mel Stanfill and Poe Johnson, who officially assumed their roles on January 1st, spoke to the importance of these changes in order to better reflect “the reality on the ground,” per Stanfill. The co-editors believe that these changes to the structure of submissions, though subtle, will allow the journal to grow in unexpected ways.
The collapse of the Theory and Praxis sections into the Article section, for example, stems largely from years of trial. “When TWC started, it was a new thing without many models, explains Stanfill. “The design of the different sections was an educated guess. 36 issues later, it’s been road tested, and we’ve found some things that aren’t quite optimized. So now we’re optimizing.” Johnson adds that the “distinction between Praxis and Theory has always seemed undefined” and this collapse allows for more clarity to both authors and reviewers.
On the subject of setting a maximum to the word length of the Symposium pieces (which ultimately surpasses the general word length of the section until now), the co-editors shared that this change aims to move this section into one that generates “more thoughtful, thorough, and concerted pieces.” Poe Johnson explains that, “Symposium can and should be doing a lot more than it has been. I love the idea of Symposium. I love that it’s a space that, on the surface, beckons for scholars to run through or around walls. Ideally, it should be a space where radical and experimental research and gray literatures should thrive.” Stanfill agrees increasing the length of Symposium will “encourage scholarly exploration and proper contextualization for those types of works.”
Ultimately, both Johnson and Stanfill understand these changes as needed and necessary. “TWC has, can, and should be a space where writers feel free to shake the walls a bit or a lot,” Johnson states. “I want to see work that both historicizes and reimagines what fandom looks like and what fan studies can be. And, again, I think the longer lengths can allow for that.” Similarly, Stanfill confidently shared that, “TWC will continue to be the premier destination for fan studies and I’d say we will certainly continue our commitment to a generative peer review process that will help develop junior scholars.”
In looking towards their tenures as co-editors, both Johnson and Stanfill spoke to the adjustment period and, most importantly, their hopes of achieving the goals they laid out when they accepted the roles. For Johnson, for example, achieving these goals begins with “investing in new relationships and seeking out those people who have perspectives that differ from the orthodox fan studies community […] they aren’t going to publish at TWC unless we show them that we’re a welcoming and generative space for their work. To my mind, that’s our first step.” And with that, Transformative Works and Cultures begins its foray into an exciting future with Poe Johnson and Mel Stanfill at its helm.