A quick skim through some subscription journals: review note

‘Review note: a quick skim through some subscription journals’, Honest History, 7 June 2016 updated

Update 18 June 2016: Nicholas Farrelly and James Giggacher write in the Canberra Times about the history of their highly successful academic blog, New Mandala, which seems to the present reviewer to be an example of the wave of the future.

Those of us who work in universities like to think that academics and their ideas have the power to make the world a better place. But all too often, scholarly insight and knowledge fails to reach the wider world: locked behind journal pay walls, echoing around empty lecture theatres, or collecting dust in lonely libraries. Surely, we can do better.



If you are involved in non-institutional public history, like Honest History is, you can’t afford academic journals and other publications that charge a subscription or a (frequently exorbitant) fee per view. These titles are instead the favourites of university libraries and the staples of course reading lists. (We are an affiliate member of the Australian Historical Association, however, which gives us access to History Australia.) We try to keep up, nevertheless. Here is a note on what is in recent issues of four subscription journals. There are even some free articles.

Australian Book Review

Andrea Goldsmith reviews David Rieff’s In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies. This is free full text. Honest History had a highlights reel of the book.

Alistair Thomson reviews Memory and Migration in the Shadow of War: Australia’s Greek Immigrants after World War II and the Greek Civil War by Joy Damousi.

Honest History’s Peter Stanley reviews Unnecessary Wars by Henry Reynolds. Honest History has a review note and links to material on this book.

Seumas Spark reviews Anzac Day: Then & Now, edited by Tom Frame. Paddy Gourley reviewed the book for Honest History.

Australian Historical Studies

You can buy the latest issue (posted online 15 May) for $109 or try some free access options. The latest includes Shurlee Swain on the removal of children, Fred Cahir and others on Indigenous fire practices, Deirdre O’Connell on black jazz musicians visiting Australia, Mei-Fen Kuo and John Fitzgerald on Chinese students in White Australia, Honest History’s Carolyn Holbrook on intellectuals and politicians in post-war reconstruction, and Sean Brawley on ASIO in the 1970s.

Among the books reviewed in this issue are Graeme Davison’s Lost Relations and Stuart Macintyre’s Australia’s Boldest Experiment. The publishers, Taylor & Francis, show the number of times each article has been viewed since posting, which could be exhilarating (or not) for authors and useful for readers having to decide whether to spend their money ($41, whether for a 15 page article or a two page book review). How much of this money do authors get, one wonders?

History Australia

This journal is joining the Taylor & Francis stable, presumably with some effects on pricing. Meanwhile, Number 3 of 2015 includes:

  • Lyndon Megarrity (free text) on the late Geoffrey Bolton’s poignantly titled classic about North Queensland, A Thousand Miles Away;
  • Richard Waterhouse on Australian popular ideology and the outbreak of the Pacific War;
  • Louise Prowse on how local historical societies in New South Wales explored Indigenous history in the 1960s and 1970s;
  • Matthew Radcliffe on Australia’s perceptions of Asia in the years 1955-65;
  • Veronika Folkmanova on Indigenous medicine;
  • Phillip Deery and Lisa Milner on political theatre and the state in Sydney and Melbourne, 1936-65;
  • Clinton Johnston on the depiction of death in Australian art of the Great War; and
  • Stefan Petrow on protecting animals in Launceston, 1879-1906.

There are also a number of reviews of exhibitions to do with war (some of which were also reviewed in Honest History) and half-a-dozen book reviews.

Journal of Australian Studies

Volume 40, Issue 2, 2016, published online 24 May, Taylor & Francis again, is an issue on ‘Feminism and the museum’ and includes articles from about ten authors, including Mandy Paul on ‘Women are transmogrifying: history, feminism and Australian museums, 1975-2001’ and Petra Mosmann on ‘Encountering feminist things: generations, interpretations and encountering Adelaide’s “scrap heap”‘. The books reviewed include Klaus Neumann on refugees, Graeme Davison again, and Frank Bongiorno on the 1980s.

Taking advantage of the Taylor & Francis ‘article views’ clicker and going back a few issues to Volume 39, Issue 3, published online 29 September 2015, we found that the average number of views for JAS articles (not including book reviews) was 56. Fifty-six views in eight months. Honest History can do much better than that; we are always looking for new authors.

David Stephens



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