Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
The International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity is “a forum for interdisciplinary scholarship in the … field of the cultural history of modernity worldwide.” For the purposes of this journal, 'modernity ' is conceived as “a concept, as a problem, and as a period. The concept is rooted historically in the Enlightenment and its alter ego Romanticism. Modernity involves, on the most abstract level, contested ideas like universalism, cosmopolitanism, authenticity, progress, individuality, equality, reason, identity, aesthetics and religion…. As a period, modernity essentially but not inevitably covers the years between 1750 and the present.” Both the editorial board and advisory board are international in makeup, with expert members from a wide variety of universities and disciplines, and the web site states that, “HCM is the only journal focused on modern cultural history that publishes in open access.”
Material published here is quite fascinating, with recent articles including, “Yes, There is No Crisis - Working Towards the Posthumanities,” (which speaks to public concern about the relevance of the Humanities, as well as about internal fractures within the Humanities. The author ultimately argues that “the Humanities can and will survive their present predicament and contradictions to the extent that they will show the ability and willingness to undergo a major process of transformation in response to both technological advances and geo-political developments”); “Blurred Lines - History, Memory and the Experience of Time,” which explores “the growing consciousness since the late 1980’s of the catastrophic character of the twentieth century;” and “The Cinematic Depiction of Conflict Resolution in the Immigrant Chinese Family: The Wedding Banquet and Saving Face,” which “argues that the importance of studying the ways in which the protagonists try to come to terms with incompatible value systems, lies in the capacity of film to reveal the complex negotiation between tradition and modernity, as well as the socio-cultural specificity of the conceptions of modernity.” All of these articles underscore the publishers’ observation that, “Above all, modernity requires a serious practical effort.”
Considering the importance of and increasing emphasis in the humanities and the rest of the liberal arts on cultural history, and given the period covered by this journal, it is a title of which librarians at academic, public, and special libraries need to be aware, and ready to offer researchers across the humanities and social sciences.