Suresh Canagarajah

Personal Information | About Me  |  Publications  | Mission

 

I have many missions in life. Coming from a country where ethnic conflict has destroyed more than 80,000 lives in the past 20 years, I am an activist for peace and social change. I am also a critical practitioner, who cares about connecting education to justice and empowerment. I situate teaching and learning in the broader social and political contexts  to help students negotiate the forces that work for domination or change. I also come from a tremendously spiritual community. I love to spend countless hours on counseling, conversation, reflection, and spiritual exploration with individuals and groups.

 However, a mission that will occupy my professional interest for the next two years is reforming the academic publishing conventions. Why next two years? I complete my service as editor of TESOL Quarterly in December 2009, a position that enables me to leverage some of the changes I have in mind.

 What is the problem with academic publishing?

Academic writing holds a central place in the process of constructing, disseminating, and legitimizing knowledge. However, for linguistic, discursive and material reasons, many scholars experience exclusion from academic publishing and communication which functions mostly in English and located in the West. Therefore the knowledge of minority, remote, and under-resourced communities is marginalized or appropriated by the more developed communities. Also the knowledge of wealthy communities is legitimated as established knowledge and spread to other communities.  Implicated in this process, academic writing/publishing plays a significant role in the material and ideological hegemony of certain privileged communities.

Having taken this office in January 2005, I have managed to accomplish the following:

n  1. Changed editorial board composition: there is greater balance between members from Northern and Southern hemisphere universities.

n  2. Established a mentorship program: authors of promising articles from off-networked communities are invited to correspond with members of the editorial board on ways of revising their articles.

n  3. Encouraged atypical genres of writing and research

n  4. Created a more accessible editorial office

n  5. Send complimentary copies to third world universities

n  6. Relatively more open access to the journal—TQ is now available in JSTOR

n  7. Noticeable diversity in authors and research from a wider geographical spread

 

To read more about my publishing mission, go to:

http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=209&DID=3150

 

To read more about the TESOL Quarterly or to make a submission, go to:

http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=632&DID=1031

 

Any ideas on ways of broadening access to TESOL Quarterly, or other issues in reforming academic publishing? Send your thoughts to: asc16@psu.edu