The Heroic Age
This column was initiated in order to address the needs and concerns of a growing number of scholars, readers, and contributors of the The Heroic Age: the independent scholar. The current job market, which has been depressed in the area of academic medieval studies and the humanities for a number of years, will probably never recover to the glory days of the 1960s and 1970s. The baby boomers have moved on, and now we have Generation X'ers and whoever else the public decides to nickname in the future. As an independent scholar in medieval studies, I have chosen and directed my career into librarianship, an area of similar study, while still maintaining my scholarly output and studies in the areas of medieval musicology, liturgy, and Anglo-Saxon England. Though this entailed another master's degree, the steady income and monthly bills that collected in my mailbox were of primary importance in deciding to become a librarian. The growing numbers of independent scholars raises a number of important issues. For example, what can one do to maintain currency in scholarship? How does one gain access to and conduct research as an independent scholar? And, how can independent scholars work together so that our scholarship and voices are heard?
One way to address these concerns is to read and contribute to The Heroic Age. This journal is one of a growing number of electronic journals geared toward both professionals and amateurs in a particular field. These electronic venues are established because a number of independent scholars who, due to limited publishing venues, must examine the electronic media in order to begin and continue the process of publication. In turn, this process attracts academic professionals who strongly believe in this type of endeavor, and wish to contribute as well. In addition, amateurs feel that they may also contribute their knowledge, expertise, and experience in a way that is impossible in the current print publishing arena. It is an exciting and expanding marketplace allowing a level of interaction and community previously impossible in the academic and university environment.
Bearing these things in mind, this column in the future will focus on issues facing independent scholars in the area of medieval studies. Some topics which will be addressed include the writing of historical fiction, internet resources in medieval studies, a guide to publishing for amateurs and graduate students, and conferences and conventions of interest in medieval studies. I shall be happy to consider any other topics which people feel need to be addressed, simply email me. For now, enjoy reading the current issue of The Heroic Age and think about how you may contribute to this journal and to this field of study, no matter who you are.
Dr. Brad Eden
Head of Cataloging (and medieval musicologist)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas