Curating the Canon: Editorial Decision-Making, Bias and Privilege in Publishing
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractIn September 2003, the independent publishing house Continuum launched a book series under the banner of “33 1/3”. These were, in the publisher's own promotional literature, “short books about classic albums”. But who decides what constitutes a classic album, and who decides which authors should write such books? Using an autoethnographic approach to analyse the curatorial thinking and strategy behind this book series, and through close analysis of the online discourse around it, the article innovates by exploring the commercial and curatorial practice of one publishing imprint in the first decade of the 2000s. By focusing closely on the work of one editor and drawing on primary data concerning book proposals that were accepted or rejected as well as reader reactions to those decisions, I illustrate how decisions are made and how editorial bias might impact the authorial voices that publishers choose to amplify. Finally, the article examines curatorial practice in publishing in light of more recent discussions of inequalities and imbalances of power (along both gender and ethnic lines) in the industry.
CitationBarker, D. (2021). 'Curating the Canon: Editorial Decision-Making, Bias and Privilege in Publishing'. Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change, 6(1), pp. 1-15.
JournalJournal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change
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