Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Critical Arts

For a Special Issue on

The (new) politics of publishing in South Africa

Abstract deadline
15 October 2023

Manuscript deadline
31 January 2024

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Beth Le Roux, University of Pretoria
[email protected]

Veronica Klipp, Wits University Press
[email protected]

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The (new) politics of publishing in South Africa

Call for Papers:  The (new) Politics of Publishing in South Africa

Essays in honour of Monica Seeber

The South African publishing industry has been around for more than a century, and its fortunes have often been linked to the dominant ideas of the time; indeed, apart from a small number of so-called ‘struggle publishers’, it often served the interests of the ruling elite under apartheid. Challenges such as the small size of the market for books, what is often referred to as ‘lack of a reading culture’, and the many languages spoken in South Africa remain important in the post-apartheid period. So what has changed since 1994? How has the industry responded to the challenges of the new democracy, and to what extent has it been able to grow and transform under a new dispensation? This special issue seeks to investigate such issues and examine the possibilities for change.

Against this background, we invite submissions for a special issue on ‘The (new) politics of publishing in South Africa’. The ground-breaking book, The Politics of Publishing in South Africa (2001) provided an overview of the scenario as it was then, under the guidance of the late Monica Seeber. In the years since then, much has of course changed – but much that was problematic in 2001 remains unresolved today. This special issue seeks to bring the narrative of the book in South Africa up-to-date; and to dig more deeply truisms such as ‘lack of a reading culture’ and misperceptions such as ‘black people don’t read’.

Possible topics include:

  • Historical and socio-political contexts
  • What drives the writing and publishing of knowledge, ideas and entertainment in a society; who writes, what is written, who gets published and by whom?
  • The relationship between the state and private sector as regards writing and publishing, including state book policy and book development
  • The ‘transformation’ of the industry, not only of ownership but also of ideas and mindsets
  • Challenges that constrain reading development among the black majority, e.g. indigenous language development and translation; myths and attitudes
  • Where is innovation happening in publishing today?

Submission Instructions

We would like to invite scholars working in any field relating to publishing or print culture to submit articles. Emerging scholars and industry practitioners are welcome to submit articles or shorter reflections.

Abstracts of around 100 words should be submitted first, to both of the guest editors - [email protected], and [email protected]. We expect to confirm acceptance by the end of October 2023. Full papers should then be submitted via the online manuscript submissions portal for Critical Arts. Remember to select the special issue when submitting your paper to ScholarOne.

We expect the issue to be published in the second half of 2024.

Any queries can be sent to the guest editors.

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