The Network of American Periodical Studies (NAPS) is a new research initiative, set up by Sue Currell and Victoria Bazin that aims to bring together scholars working on American periodicals (magazines, newspapers and other periodical publications) from any historical period. Sue Currell is a reader at Sussex University, Chair of the British Association of American Studies and author of The March of Spare Time (2005). Her current research examines the relationship of the arts with political discourse in the journal New Masses published between 1926-48. Victoria Bazin is senior lecturer at Northumbria University, author of Marianne Moore and the Cultures of Modernity (2010) and is engaged in research on The Dial magazine. She recently published ‘Hysterical Virgins and Little Magazines: Marianne Moore’s Editorship of The Dial’ in The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 4 (2013), 55-75.
NAPS brings together scholars from a range of historical periods in order to stimulate further dialogue about how we study periodicals and why we study periodicals. The network focuses on research on American periodicals, given the transnational nature of magazine and newspaper circulation, we anticipate that scholars working on periodicals from around the world may well find NAPS a useful network for identifying synergies and connections between America and non-American print cultures. The network defines ‘America’ not simply as the United States but to include the nations that form that continent.
The methodological challenges of working with periodicals have been clearly articulated in a number of ground-breaking studies of magazines over the last decade. Ann Ardis, Sean Latham, Adam McKible, Jason Harding, Mark Morrisson, Suzanne Churchill, Laurel Brake and Robert Scholes, to name just a few, have introduced a set of key terms that assist us in developing critical approaches to periodicals helping us to make sense of the ‘public’ face of the magazine, its internal and external dialogics, the role of advertising, periodical networks, the bibliographic codes and the dynamic juxtaposition of the verbal and the visual. The expansion of periodical studies has no doubt been at least partly the result of large-scale digitization projects such as the Modernist Journals Project, the Modernist Magazines project and the developing Pulp Magazines project. Certainly digitized archives are not only important in terms of research but are also invaluable pedagogic resources for students and teachers. At the same time, as numerous scholars have pointed out, digitization has its limitations especially for those of us interested in studying magazines published after 1922. Such methodological issues raise wider questions concerning the ways in which digital mediation influences our critical approaches to periodicals.
NAPS seeks to address such questions by promoting and supporting scholarship and criticism on periodicals, by organising dedicated panels at conferences, forging links with other organisations and networks and promoting collaboration between institutions and across disciplines. It also aims to provide a forum for discussing the pedagogical opportunities of periodical studies as well as developing postgraduate and postdoctoral research in this area. If you would like to join NAPS please send an email to Victoria.Bazin @northumbria.ac.uk providing your contact details and affiliation.