A Sign of the Times: 21st-Century Edited Collections

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As Call for Contributions to edited volumes inundate our e-mail, it seems imperative to question how these volumes represent twenty-first-century academic life, the appeal of print publications, their place in our own personal libraries, and whether this trend will endure. The well-edited volume opens a much-needed conversation, inclusive of diverse voices. New, cutting-edge scholars dialogue with those who are well-established. Narratively speaking, the careful development of a uniting arc produces a compelling argument that entices the reader to add it to their growing collection. Part of the appeal is how this new conversation responds to previous conversations while filling lacunae and building new directions of thought. The ability to collaborate with co-editor(s) can open a volume in exciting ways, as can the “happy accidents” that occur when what originally seemed a crucial chapter does not materialize. This essay explores the notion of creating a cohesion of vision in contrast to the fragmentary narrative nature of edited volumes. How does this form of scholarship, which by its very nature contains gaps and silences, address crucial holes in current research? This seeming incompatibility seems particularly fitting to current unstable times, as we redefine what we consider as “normal.”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-266
Number of pages10
JournalContemporary French and Francophone Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • cohesion
  • Edited volumes
  • fragment
  • gap
  • unstable times

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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