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JCMS Statement: COVID-19 and Civil Unrest



JCMS, Civil Unrest, and the COVID-19 Crises


JCMS echoes and affirms the statements already released by the SCMS Board of Directors. We write here to articulate the journal’s vision for addressing some of the inequities created by systemic anti-Black racism and the interlocking oppressions that COVID-19 has amplified or created, such as the new demands for domestic and gendered labor that disproportionately impact women, primary caregivers (particularly single parents), people of color, and the contingent labor force.

Below, we elaborate three concrete ways JCMS aims to address these issues: (1) a critical examination of historical inequities in the journal’s publishing record, to be published in the journal itself; (2) conversations between the Co-Editors of Outreach and Equity and the SCMS Caucuses and SIGs to discuss current inequities in academic publishing; and (3) a statement of principles (linked below), which we offer to support advocacy movements on readers’ home campuses.

Identifying Historical Inequities within Cinema Journal and JCMS

Earlier this summer, we initiated a study of historical inequities in the journal’s publication record. With this study we aim to learn more about any evident biases when it comes to the race, gender, or nationality of published authors. While the primary focus of the study is to analyze who has published in the journal over the past twenty years, we are also interested in examining recent submissions so that we can get a better sense of who submits and compare that to who has been accepted. This project will also include a smaller case study that highlights biases within cinema and media studies (e.g., the areas represented by the SCMS Caucuses). The Co-Editors of Outreach and Equity have already selected the three primary authors for this study, two of whom are in adjacent fields to SCMS and are outside the membership and one of whom has been a longtime member of the society. These researchers have backgrounds in Digital Humanities methodologies, with principal interests in African American studies, Afrofuturism, climate justice, film theory, social histories of technology, and women’s labor histories. We imagine this team of researchers might expand as the parameters for the study are further articulated and refined. We do not have a timeline for the completion of this study yet, but the team has begun creating a dataset from the journal’s published articles and the results of the study will be published in JCMS. We will continue to update JCMS readers as we make progress on the study.

This study is not directly related to the production of scholarship during the pandemic, but it will establish a baseline understanding of the journal’s historical complicity in fostering inequality so that we can better understand the impact COVID-19 has on academic publishing for women, primary caregivers, and marginalized communities. We are also looking for additional opportunities for primary caregivers to work with publishing mentors under the new JCMS Publishing Initiative created by the Co-Editors of Outreach and Equity, introduced in a previous email.

Upcoming Zoom Sessions with Caucuses and SIGs on Outreach and Equity

In a forthcoming email, the Co-Editors of Outreach and Equity will schedule Zoom sessions with any SCMS Caucuses and SIGs interested in speaking with them about bias in academic publishing. We invite all Caucus and SIG representatives and members to attend these sessions. During these meetings, the Co-Editors will introduce themselves and explain the mission and mandate of their position, including the new JCMS Publishing Initiative. The Co-Editors will also listen and attend to Caucus and SIG members’ questions and concerns about publishing in JCMS. The dates and times for these meetings are: Tuesday, June 23rd @ 1:30pm EDT; Monday, June 29th @ 6:30pm EDT; Wednesday, July 15 @ 7:00pm EDT; and Thursday, July 23 @ 10:30am EDT. A separate email with links to the meetings and an agenda will follow shortly.

JCMS Position Statement for Colleges and Universities

Please see this document for JCMS’s Position Statement on the COVID-19 Crisis, the Uprisings for Racial Justice, and their Effects on Academic Research.

Take care,

TreaAndrea Russworm, Associate Co-Editor of Outreach and Equity, JCMS
Samantha Sheppard, Associate Co-Editor of Outreach and Equity, JCMS
Caetlin Benson-Allott, Editor, JCMS

Contact Us

Society for Cinema and Media Studies
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Wallace Old Science Hall, Room 300
Norman, OK 73019
(405) 325-8075