By Spencer McTighe
Why does it matter?
Humanity is perhaps one of the most successful species in Earth’s history, coming to outperform the majority of the competition through our technological advancements, global reach, and sheer population size. Despite of these achievements, or perhaps because of them, there are still major divides between mankind that have only continued to become more prominent in recent times. While gender and racial issues are the more infamous examples of these disagreements, the concepts of nationality, culture, and ethnicity clashing amongst differing countries cannot be afforded to be overlooked. Yet, if we are to ever to stand a chance of solving these problems, said problems must be made known to the public. But how, you may wonder. Individual countries often have a hard time with considering differing viewpoints within their own borders, so how could that be done on an international scale? It was this question that led me to scheduling a Zoom call with Dr. Morgan on the 17th of November.
Who is Dr. Morgan?
Among other titles, Dr. Nina Morgan PhD is the currently the Editor-in-Chief for The Journal of Transnational American Studies, additionally having been an editor for several other similar publications, such as the Routledge Companion to Transitional American Studies. Dr. Morgan has worked on a professional level with scholars worldwide for many years, and she has spent just as long publishing work. Interacting with so many people internationally has led to several out-of-country trips, visiting places like Morocco and Japan.
“Pride is less of a feeling than satisfaction.”
-Dr. Morgan, after being asked about her favorite publication.
What exactly does she edit?
The Journal of Transnational American Studies, or JTAS for short, is an online publication that operates through a massive web of peer revision, having two issues published annually. The primary goal for this journal is to stretch the horizon the interdisciplinary studies of American culture abroad. It should be noted that the JTAS is one of the few electronic publications that is permanently archived by the Library of Congress. Currently, it boasts a monthly viewer base of around five thousand to six thousand people across the globe.
What are some of the important aspects of her job?
Throughout the interview, Dr. Morgan made it clear to me how much of a group effort her work truly is. In order for an issue of the JTAS to be published, all essays must be approved by her to make sure they’re academically appropriate, before they are then given to her assistant managers to review the drafts with experts in the profession the essays discuss, before it actually can begin the peer review process at all. Oftentimes, given the nature of the topics discussed, Dr. Morgan will personally join the editors during the review period of what she called “special segments of the journal”, which will also be discussed by that larger editorial board. Even though there are only six months between issue, the meticulous editing process and the knowledge that these works will be viewed by an international audience “almost as a political document”, the amount of times spent on these publications actually range around twelve to eighteen months to ensure the validity and quality of the work.