A Jewel-Spewing Mongoose, eh?

by John Holbo on June 1, 2011

My daughters got interested in the Ramayana because we’ve been to Bali and seen some shadow puppets and golden deer dancing. (For the foreseeable future, the golden deer crown I helped Zoe make, for this thing she did at school, is going to be my signal achievement in the ‘damned fiddly art projects you help the kids with for school’ category.) We also watched Sita Sings The Blues, which they thought was great. They insisted on fast-forwarding through the ‘boring’ bits about Nina and her long-distance relationship, but they loved the bits in which the unreliable shadow puppet narrators offer inarticulate commentary and mis-assembled chat about Hindu religion, Indian literary history, so forth. The girls asked me to fill in the blanks.

I know my Greek mythology. (Norse? Of course!) Hindu religion and Sanskrit literature? Fortunately, I found a couple beautiful books suitable for kids of all ages, by animator/artist Sanjay Patel. The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow; and, even better, Ramayana: Divine Loophole [amazon links].

You can see numerous page scans from the books here and here. Lovely pictures. [click to continue…]

Academic (philosophy) publishing in journals

by Ingrid Robeyns on June 1, 2011

The academic journal Theoria published recently a roundtable on philosophy publishing. For those of us who have been active as paper submitters, referees, and (associate or guest) editors, it doesn’t contain spectacular new insights – though I found it nevertheless interesting. Yet importantly, this kind of ‘behind the scene’ information is essential for graduate students who aspire an academic job, or postdocs who want and need to strengthen their position: it gives information on how academic journals really work, what counts and what is relevant etc. For many graduate students and junior scholars it is hard to get this information if one isn’t lucky to be mentored by a senior scholar who has the relevant experiences and knowledge, and is willing to share them.

All the editors who took part in the roundtable observe that it is increasingly difficult to find referees. This confirms my experience as an Associate Editor of Feminist Economics, and also reflects the crazy number of requests I get to review papers from all sorts of journals, and also on papers where I strongly doubt I have special expertise. So I’ve been wondering for a long time: is this system sustainable? Is there a way to reward referees, or another way to create positive incentives for refereeing (whether material or immaterial)? Or is there no need to ‘fix the system’?