13years. 3 MLA editions. 16 professorial voices. 37 art contributions. 58 authors. 111 editors. 656 footnotes. 1,503 pages. 33,300 hours of work done by student editors. aspeers by the numbers gives an indication of the scope of a project that began over a decade ago with a seemingly simple question: “Is there a demand for a graduate-level publication in European American Studies?” (Koenen and Herrmann iii). In each of the years to follow, this question was answered in the affirmative, and so the journal grew and prospered, offering graduate students a space for inquiry and analysis, debate and exploration. While the mere numbers give evidence of the productivity of the student editors, contributors, and faculty members in terms of quantity on the one hand, they also show the quality of our teamwork, of the collaboration efforts, and—yes—of the resilience involved.
From start to finish, the process of putting together this journal—deciding on a topic, writing the call for papers, reading the submissions, drafting feedback letters, editing the articles—is firmly in the hands of the student editors. In the course of this process, they become familiar with the most important aspects of academic work in American Studies, and thus gain intimate insight into the central concerns, methods, and problems of their chosen field. In the end, they hold in their hands the fruit of their collaborative labor: the thirteenth edition of the first, and currently only, peer-reviewed graduate-level print journal in American Studies in Europe.
The previous editions of aspeers have explored central questions of the field, and, in their respective topical sections, have focused on a wide variety of issues: mobility, technology, crime, food, memory, anxiety, health, youth, monsters, alternative cultures, anger, and, with the present installment: pride and shame. aspeers thus gives testimony to the multifacetedness of American Studies as a discipline and the academic rigor of its junior researchers, and it also reflects the diversity of each editorial team.
For us as head editors, the process involves its own challenges and rewards, many of which are rooted in the collaborative nature of this type of project-driven teaching and learning environment. The ‘continuity of change’ we were literally faced with has provided us with ample opportunity for non-academic invention, discovery, and exploration. Ultimately, it is not without pride, but certainly without shame that we present the thirteenth issue of aspeers, carrying on an important tradition and ushering the journal into the second decade of its existence.
- Koenen, Anne, and Sebastian M. Herrmann. Foreword. aspeers, vol. 1, 2008, pp. iii-v. www.aspeers.com/article/foreword08.