Dada/Surrealism

No. 19 (2013)

General Editor’s Note

Forty-two years after its  first issue, and after a hiatus of twenty-three years, Dada/Surrealism is today reborn as a free, open access, peer-reviewed  electronic journal. The project of reviving a publication that had produced so much innovative and influential scholarship during its twenty years as a print journal was daunting indeed, especially considering the  high standards set by its previous editors.

First appearing in 1971 under the editorship of Edith Kern of the University of Washington, Dada/Surrealism was initially conceived as an expanded version of the newsletter produced by the Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism. Both the association and the journal sought to position themselves as the North American counterparts to Michel Sanouillet’s Association pour l’Étude de Dada and du Surréalisme and  its publication, Cahiers Dada surréalisme. The latter journal ceased publication in 1970 after four groundbreaking numbers, but its heritage continued on this continent through the  eighteen print  issues of Dada/Surrealism which were published between 1971 and 1990, first under the pioneering editorship of Mary Ann Caws at Queens College (numbers 2 through 9), and then, beginning in 1982, under the leadership of Rudolf E. Kuenzli in association with the International Dada Archive at the University of Iowa. With number 12 (“Visual Poetics”), our journal moved to the highly successful model of single-theme issues, most of which were reissued as monographs by Willis, Locker & Owens or MIT Press. These theme issues exerted considerable influence on the scholarship of Dada and surrealism. Number 15 (“Dada and Surrealist Film”) was adopted as a textbook in cinema studies courses at a number of universities; number 18  (“Surrealism and Women”) was even translated into Chinese.

In the ensuing two and a half decades, as we all know, the very fabric of scholarly communication has undergone a radical transformation. As the print format of journals has steadily given way to electronic publication, countless scholarly societies have yielded to the temptation to sell their journal titles to commercial publishers. The ensuing increase in subscription prices has strained libraries’ acquisitions budgets and threatened the democratic ideals of humanities scholarship. More and more academic journals have become available to fewer and fewer people. Among the strategies that scholars have employed to attempt to counter this trend, one of the most promising has been university support for open access publishing. The Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism has been fortunate to obtain such support from the University of Iowa Libraries, which have provided both the technical infrastructure and the staff expertise to reinvent Dada/Surrealism for the twenty-first century. Thanks to this support, the revived Dada/Surrealism can stay committed to remaining freely available to all readers, without page charges to authors, while adhering to rigorous scholarly standards through “double-blind” peer reviewing.

In reviving Dada/Surrealism, we continue the model of themed issues. Our first issue is devoted to surrealism and Egypt. When the guest editors first proposed the topic, none of us could have predicted how timely it would be by the time of publication; who could have guessed that Egypt would be so prominent in the headlines when our issue appeared? In additional to the announced themes of forthcoming issues, our journal will remain open to submissions unrelated to the main topic—articles, documents, and reviews. Since Dada is under-represented in the present issue, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to publish Kurt Beals' article on George Grosz’s texts in Neue Jugend, which we feel is a significant contribution to the  study of Berlin Dada in relation to new media in early twentieth-century Germany. A new feature of our revived journal is book reviews, of which there are two in this  issue. We hope to expand this feature in future issues. Anyone visiting our website in the past year may have noticed that these reviews have in fact been available for many months. The new electronic format allows us to publish reviews in advance of the rest of an issue, permitting much more timely availability of information on new publications.

To take the reins of an endeavor pioneered by Michel Sanouillet, Mary Ann Caws and Rudolf Kuenzli is an awe-inspiring and somewhat intimidating task. I am fortunate to have the latter two serving on the journal’s editorial board. I am grateful to all of our board  members for their advice during  the arduous process of reviving this journal. To my guest editors, Patricia Allmer and Donna Roberts, thanks are due for proposing the theme of this issue and for gathering and editing the contributions that make up the bulk of Dada/Surrealism number 19. Thanks are due as well to the scholars who provided peer reviewing for this issue.  I thank my  graduate student assistant, Jenna Fischer, who has provided editorial assistance in various forms. And, of course, I owe a major debt of gratitude to the University of Iowa Libraries for their institutional support, as well as to numerous individuals on the staff, and especially to two departments: First, Special Collections, whose head, Greg Prickman, has been highly supportive of the editor in his efforts  to bring this project to fruition. And second, Digital Research and Publishing, under whose auspices the technical infrastructure  for this journal has been provided. Most especially, I must thank Wendy Robertson, our Digital Scholarship Librarian, who  has worked tirelessly to bring Dada/Surrealism into the online world. Without her technical expertise and dedication, this project would not have been possible.

Finally, I must  extend my gratitude to Rudolf Kuenzli, who besides being my predecessor as editor of Dada/Surrealism, was also, more than three decades ago, my dissertation supervisor, and who, as my mentor and as founder of the International Dada Archive, set my career on an unexpected but highly rewarding course. This publication is but one of many of the fruits of this continuing professional relationship.

Timothy Shipe