By John Grady
Back in the day (fifteen years ago), I was a lonely voice fighting for social scientists to recognize non-fiction film as real scholarship. Finally, in 2012, I was able to convince the International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) to endorse a proposal to create a peer review process for certifying sociological films. Whew! But that was just a start and I still faced the challenge of actually making it happen. Fortunately -- and completely independently -- Greg Scott from DePaul University in Chicago took a different approach to this particular problem of creating a “more visual” sociology. He just went out and did it! And so on September 15th issue of the online Journal of Visual Ethnography (JVE), which he edits, will be launched and available to teachers, students and the general public for free.
In a letter to the JVE’s board of directors, which includes yours truly, Greg brings us up to date about the process:
“Just to let you know: For the first issue we had 21 complete submissions. Each of them underwent rigorous peer review by a panel of 3-4 social scientists (at least two of whom also make films). The reviews were comprised of a traditional narrative critique (of the sort written for print journal articles) as well as in-film frame-specific annotations through our dedicated secure platform on ReviewStudio. Having read all of the reviews for all of the submissions, I feel confident saying that overall these reviews were more carefully done than any I've seen, written, or received for print articles that I've reviewed or submitted myself. I'm very happy with the quality (and timeliness) of the reviewers' work.
“Here's the breakdown of peer review outcomes: Of the 21 submissions, we will be publishing five in this first issue. Twelve of the submissions received the designation of "Revise and Resubmit." The remaining four were rejected.“We're super excited about this first issue in which we'll be publishing five really terrific ethnografilms, including the first film ever to be considered a doctoral work of "filmic sociology" in France. These are exciting times!”
You can subscribe to the Journal at: http://www.videoethno.com/jveSubscription.html
The next Call for Submissions will be opened on September 15 for the second issue of JVE to be published on March 15, 2015. Guidelines for submissions are available at http://www.videoethno.com/authGuidelines.html