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Do Any of You Read JAAR?

September 14, 2009
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… or do you think it sucks like I do?

To be fair, there is some good stuff in there at times, but I never look forward to seeing the latest issue. That’s kind of sad.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim permalink
    September 14, 2009 5:44 pm

    if its like jbl then no. im not as interested in the entrails of the gnats as some, though.

  2. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    September 14, 2009 5:48 pm

    I’m not really familiar with the contents of JBL. What’s right/wrong with it?

  3. Jim permalink
    September 14, 2009 6:24 pm

    it focuses mostly on the inane. you can read essays akin to ‘how the particle he is used in prophetic literature when the prophet is portrayed as standing on his head and drinking lipton tea’.

  4. September 14, 2009 6:40 pm

    Yeah, Jim’s right on with the gnats’ entrails. The JAAR tends to publish highly polished articles on quite obscure stuff. Not always, mind. Sometimes you get some very good articles that speak to broader issues in the discipline, but it’s “flagship” attitude means that it wants to publish what it sees as definitive or game-changing articles in the discipline, so it means that a lot of what they publish is going to appeal to a small number of people.

    And they can get away with it, too. Since the publication comes with membership of the AAR they have a captive audience of 10,000 or so. I guess they focus more on citations, than readership. Fair enough, too.

    As Jim says about JBL, it’s also the case with the American Sociological Review, the publication of the American Sociological Association. That sometimes finds itself in the recycling bin plastic wrapper and all. There were *three* articles I recall reading in the dozen or so issues they sent to me before I switched journals. I can remember each of them.

  5. Jim permalink
    September 14, 2009 7:40 pm

    cbq has far better and more interesting essays. sjot is always fun. and jsot is midway between jbl and cbq

  6. September 15, 2009 4:50 am

    sjot is always fun. and jsot is midway between jbl and cbq

    Why, it sounds like your talking about party drugs now, Jim…

  7. September 15, 2009 8:42 am

    My sense is the same on JAAR. I find myself using decades-old articles about Hegel or the death of God periodically, but nothing current has very much attracted my attention. I did enjoy the 2006 issue with a number of articles on the place of religion in the academy- this was actually the first issue I received as an AAR member, and it was a good introduction to the wider world of religious studies for a theology student. But I haven’t been too diligent about keeping up since then, though the volumes sit on my shelf rather than in the trash bin.

    I think part of the problem is the breadth that they shoot for in a flagship journal, which will inevitably leave a chunk of the readership uninterested for any given article. But I’ve also been a little disappointed in the work that gets in there too; I’m somewhat old-fashioned, I suppose, but the articles often don’t strike me as “game-changing”. I think this is grumbling I could make about lots of journals in the humanities and social sciences, however. I thought as a young and upcoming student/scholar I could have avoided some of the more corny theory stuff of the 80’s and 90’s, but alas, not always.

    Another thing that has struck me is how oddly colloquial some of the book reviews are in JAAR. I don’t need stodgy archaic prose or anything, but the extent to which some reviews sound quite unprofessional has surprised me.

  8. September 15, 2009 8:44 am

    (When they send out the June issue in September, it also discourages being overly excited for the next one to come.)

  9. September 15, 2009 5:50 pm

    I do not read JAAR, though I wouldn’t object to placing an article there.

  10. September 16, 2009 6:10 pm

    They stopped sending it to overseas members. Though I never read it I still think that’s bullshit.

  11. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    September 16, 2009 6:19 pm

    It sounds like there’s a consensus …

  12. October 7, 2009 1:22 am

    I tried to put a few volumes on my toilet for some intellectual reading while on the crapper, and I couldn’t finish the one article I thought I’d enjoy.

    That’s when I realized I wanted to read Roland’s post again about the erotics of certain theorists, because my libido dies when I open the JAAR. Of the issues I’ve collected for free at random book give-aways, I’ll be leaving them behind when I graduate.

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