Call for Journal Submissions: January 4, 2014 - What Can't You Do with an English Major?

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Journal of South Texas English Studies

The Journal of South Texas English Studies is now welcoming submissions for its Winter 2014 issue, themed "What Can't You Do With an English Major?" Submissions deadline: January 4, 2014.

With this issue, we celebrate our five-year anniversary, and we thought it would be relevant to mark this milestone with a look into the current state and future of our discipline.

Almost every college student who considers majoring in English inevitably hears the question: "What in the world are you going to do with that?" Whether the question comes from worried parents, concerned relatives or peers, the implication is that English degrees provide gentile experiences and are ultimately nice ornaments that serve no practical purpose in the real world. While it is true that an English degree won't necessarily prepare you for a specific career, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for the value of the English Degree serving as a broad base for a range of careers, many of them quite lucrative.

Among the more famous contemporary success stories are Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Harold Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute, Nobel laureate and former director of the National Institutes of Health. Each earned a Master's degree in English. Dempsey studied Joseph Conrad and William Butler Yeats; Varmus concentrated on Anglo-Saxon literature. Both, through their studies, immersed themselves in complex material requiring intense concentration, and they honed their intellectual skills in so doing. It seems that those skills are useful - and transferable - anywhere there is thinking to be done. Most professors can point to everyday successes by students with an English Major who have parlayed their academic experiences with literature, language, and communication in many different career fields.

However, despite what we know or believe from inside English Studies, increasingly, there are moves to focus on "21st-Century skills," STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) fields, and increasing moves toward a more efficient "business model" for Academia. In economic hard times such as these, calls are more frequent for 3-year degrees, reductions in core curriculum, and the elimination of "fluff" or "boutique" ( English or liberal arts courses) degrees. It becomes increasingly important for English Studies to justify our work to ourselves and then to the constituents that we serve (students and potential students, other members of the academy in different disciplines, parents, legislatures, and the general public). Where does English Studies go from here?

The JOSTES editors are looking for scholarly articles between 5,000 and 8,000 words which address our theme: "What Can't You do with an English Major?" We encourage contributors to reflect on English Studies (both undergraduate and graduate) and the role and value in both academia and society overall. We encourage submissions from literature (American, British, or other literature written in English), linguistics, rhetoric, composition, literary theory, pedagogy and the English classroom, and academia itself. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to the following:

Is it time to begin to fundamentally rethink the ways in which our discipline operates at every level from undergraduate student to the fullest of professors?

How should we define (or redefine) "our work in English Studies"?

How can a background in English Studies enhance those working in STEM fields more so than those without it?

How do we in English Studies make the case for "the English Major" (and liberal education) through our actions in the classroom?

Is it possible to convince taxpayers that we, the faculty, are doing right by students, that we are upholding our end of a bargain to educate students in habits of mind that seem to be increasingly doomed by public indifference to the ends of a liberal education and the English Major?

Is this something we are willing to fight for, or will English studies soon become a very different enterprise?

How can we do a better job of demonstrating our relevance to the business of academia, which includes interpreting the relationship of the human being with its environment and its technology?

What is the point of literary criticism? How does this question relate to the economic and political condition of an English scholar in the early twenty-first century?

All submissions, including creative writing and book reviews, must be original work and not be under consideration elsewhere.

Please note: all articles must conform to our submission guidelines, which follow MLA 7th edition or APA 6th edition conventions. If notes are needed, they should follow the paper in endnote form. Do not use Microsoft's automatic endnote feature – please see submission guidelines. A Works Cited page should be last. Because the journal employs a blind editorial review process, please include a cover letter with the title of paper and author's name. Do not put author's name on the actual paper; rather, include the title of paper in the header or footer in place of author's last name. Please format paper with 1-inch margins on all sides, double spacing, and 12-point, Times New Roman font. Please attach submissions as a single Microsoft Word or RTF document (no PDF documents) and e-mail it to with the subject line "article."

Articles not following our submission guidelines will be returned unread. Please consult our submission guidelines here:

The journal also accepts poetry and creative prose submissions. Although all creative submissions will be considered, preference will be given to those related to the theme of this issue. Poets can submit more than one poem, but the total length of all poems together cannot exceed 100 lines. Short fiction can be up to 5,000 words, flash fiction up to 1,000, flash-flash fiction up to 600 words, and creative non-fiction up to 3,000 words. We only accept creative work in English; any words in a foreign language must be translated in a note at end of creative work. Please attach submissions as a single Microsoft Word or RTF document (no PDF documents) and e-mail it to with the subject line "creative submission."

We also accept book reviews of scholarly, non-fiction, and fiction up to 500 words. Preference will be given to book reviews of works that are related to the current issue's theme, but we will consider other book reviews as well. Please attach submissions as a single Microsoft Word or RTF document (no PDF documents) and e-mail it to with the subject line "book review."

Deadline for submissions is January 4, 2014. For additional information, including submission guidelines, please visit the journal's website: