The newest issue of the JMH is here. Since I don’t have a lot of time, I’ll give a taste right now of what’s in here by posting the table of contents. Forgive the watermark. I’ll have more on the content later.
Mauss’ letter says he was catching up on some back issues and there were a few articles here and there that “made me wonder about the thoroughness of the Journal’s review process.” He says that the example that stood out to him most was Brandon Morgan’s article on “Educating the Lamanites: A Brief History of the LDS Indian Student Placement Program” in the Fall 2009 issue. He says that the article “inadequately reviewed the extant scholarly literature, and the author was ill served by reviewers who did not notice that inadequacy.” He goes on to say that he didn’t see any contribution in the article and takes BM to task for a general statement that only one scholarly work on the subject since the late 70s. He names a few articles that he says should have been consulted including his own All Abraham’s Children. He says that he imagines that the article was processed “during the previous editorial regime, but perhaps at least I can use this occasion to express a hope and a recommendation that the Journal will, as a matter of explicit policy, require every published manuscript to have been reviewed by two or more external reviewers or referees. The rapidly accumulating research in Mormon history has become far too complex and detailed to expect any internal editorial board to have the specialized knowledge needed for a thorough vetting of all the manuscripts submitted.”
Brandon responds by talking about how helpful the review process had been in refining his paper from when it was submitted in 2006 to when it was accepted in 2008 (wow, does it really take that long??) and that any omissions or errors are his responsibility. “Placing any study of the program within a larger historical context is crucial. my work acknowledges the framework of the various programs of the Lamanite Committee but then continues in another, equally important direction by situating the program within the context of Indian education programs carried out by other faiths and the federal government. Such perspective provides insight on the efficacy of the program by evaluating it within a nation-wide structure of education programs for Native American children during the twentieth century…”
An editor’s note indicates that “We are currently sending all articles out to external reviewers.”