Frequently Asked Questions Regarding SHEAR’s New Partnership

SHEAR logo, which is an engraving of an eagle holding a banner that says How will this move change my experience of SHEAR?

For the vast majority of members, most of the changes will be in the background. The work of the Society – our governance, journal, conference, and recognition of scholarship – will continue as it has. We will upgrade some of our online activities (including our website and membership enrollment). SHEAR will continue to work with institutions in the Philadelphia Consortium as opportunities arise. At the same time, there will also be new opportunities to work with Virginia-based partners for interested members (please see more on the Virginia Consortium below).

How will the move to UNC Press change the JER?

The continuing editor thoroughly scrutinized the proposal from UNC Press and feels confident that readers will not notice any substantive change to the journal. This also offers us the opportunity to offer both print and online subscriptions to the JER. The JER flourished at Penn Press, and we are deeply grateful for Penn Press’s support of our work. We look forward to working with UNC Press as we continue to experiment and innovate in a changing academic publishing environment.

What will happen to the Panorama?

SHEAR owes an enormous debt to Will Mackintosh, who has sustained the Panorama with little institutional support for many years. After July, Will is stepping down and the Panorama is excited that Emily Arendt will be taking his place. The OI proposal includes funding to support updating/migrating the current website and for ongoing maintenance, so expect a new look and features soon! Like the JER, the Panorama will continue to operate under the sole editorial supervision of its editor and the JER.

How will this change help under-resourced scholars?

One concrete opportunity will be an online fellowship program (limited to SHEAR members) that will include access to digital resources through William and Mary’s Swem Library. Details will follow in the fall. Moreover, as a result of the conversations over the last few months, both OI and MCEAS are looking for new partnerships that would also provide even more robust support for under-resourced scholars.

Will this change make an impact on SHEAR’s promise to work towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization?

Most immediately, this change will free up resources so we can fully fund our DEI fellowships for at least the next four years, while we launch a more sustained fundraising effort.

What if this arrangement does not work out?

We plan to do a full review of our partnership in five years, while setting up an annual review for various elements of our partnership. Five years is also the average length for a press contract for the JER.

What will SHEAR do as part of the Virginia Consortium?

Among other activities, SHEAR will join a working group that will address the challenges of producing and disseminating research about Early America. We will also immediately join a steering committee that will help create connections among Virginia archives, libraries, and research centers. We will share more details and opportunities in the fall.

Can I see the partnership proposal? 

Sure, click here to read it.