Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Culture & History Digital Journal (C&HDJ) is an online, open access journal that began publication in 2012, using the Open Journal Systems (OJS) management and publishing system. It is issued in June and December, and features “original scientific articles and review articles, aimed to contribute to the methodological debate among historians and other scholars specialized in the fields of Human and Social Sciences, at an international level.”
The editors note: “Using an interdisciplinary and transversal approach, this Journal poses a renovation of the studies on the past, relating them and dialoguing with the present, breaking the traditional forms of thinking based on chronology, diachronic analysis, and the classical facts and forms of thinking based exclusively on textual and documental analysis. By doing so, this Journal aims to promote not only new subjects of History, but also new forms of addressing its knowledge.” This reviewer wasn’t sure just what to expect given this description, but here’s what she found.
In the current issue (vol. 1, no. 2, 2012), Rafael Sagredo Baeza’s editorial, History through Travel and Travelers, aims to connect the monographs that follow with the theme of “the movement of someone in space and time, with the experience of the journey.” Those monographs: “The China of the Jesuits: Travels and Experiences of Diego de Pantoja and Adriano de las Cortes,” “Illustrators of the New World: The Image in the Spanish Scientific Expeditions of the Enlightenment,” “Science and Passion in America,” “In a world without faith and dominated by ambition: Representations of Brazil and the Portuguese in the First Half of the Eighteen Century European Travel Literature,” among others, do follow this theme – but the extensive notes and references to be found at the end of each piece and the subsequent treatment of that material seem to illustrate that “traditional forms of thinking based on chronology, diachronic analysis, and … textual and documental analysis” are, in fact, heavily in play here – so it’s not clear that there is, in fact, a “breaking [with] the traditional forms of thinking.”
That said, the material is well-researched, documented, and explicated in a variety of formats: editorials, dossiers (monographic articles around a theme), single articles, and Writing on History pieces (literature reviews and trending papers), with all material appearing in English (although acknowledgements in some pieces indicate translation has been done for them, and the quality of that translation varies).
Not a “must have,” but C&HDJ is a journal about which it’s worth letting cultural history scholars know.