- Report of the President:The Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study
Salt Lake City, Utah was the venue for the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, which was held from May 3-5, 2012. Our colleagues at Brigham Young University, Christopher Oscarson, Nate Kramer, and Steven Sondrup, did a marvelous job organizing an unusually pleasant and rewarding conference in excellent facilities. Although attendance was lower overall than at our 2011 centennial conference in Chicago, many people mentioned how much they enjoyed the smaller scale and the greater opportunities to connect and discuss with those who were present. In honor of the Strindberg Year, the organizers invited Magnus Florin of the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm to give the opening plenary speech on current stagings of Strindberg's dramas; at the conclusion of the conference, we followed up on that theme by unofficially dubbing this the "Intimate Conference," since, like Strindberg's Intima Teater, the size and scale allowed for more nuance and subtlety than the usual bustle makes possible.
The SASS Executive Council met on Thursday, May 3, and the General Business Meeting was held late on Friday afternoon. Front and center in discussions at both meetings was a proposal that SASS had received from the University of Illinois Press in which it offered to assume management and publication of Scandinavian Studies. A comparative cost analysis was presented at the Council meeting that indicated that the proposed arrangement could be financially viable and even cost-efficient in the long run, especially taking into consideration prospects of augmented income from online distributors like JSTOR and Project MUSE and the ability of UIP to promote and advertise the journal. The Council postponed a final vote, directing the SASS President and Vice President to travel to the UIP editorial offices after the SASS conference [End Page 537] for a closer consultation with them about the services offered. There was a similar discussion in the General Business Meeting on Friday, where those attending were informed of the tentative plans. Vice President Tom DuBois and I subsequently made a trip to Champaign-Urbana in late May to meet with the proposed editorial staff. We were impressed with their very professional operation and workflow procedures and came away convinced that the journal would be in very good hands at the University of Illinois Press. An email vote among the members of the SASS Executive Council followed, resulting in the approval of the initial proposal and the subsequent contract details later in the summer.
I should add that at the time of the annual meeting in May, we still did not have a new Editor appointed to replace Steven Sondrup, who had agreed to oversee publication of Scandinavian Studies through issue 85.2 in 2013. Negotiations soon thereafter produced an excellent candidate, Susan Brantly from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (which institution has kindly provided staff support for the operation going forward). Susan brings a wealth of editorial experience and good sense to the operation, and as a former President of SASS has the long-term interests of the society clearly in mind. We are extremely pleased to confirm her acceptance of the position for a five-year term. Assisting her as Book Review Editor for the same period will be Andrew Nestingen from the University of Washington. This new division of labor, which conforms more closely with the SASS constitution, will create an efficient division of labor and make each editorial assignment more manageable. These new editors and the University of Illinois Press production team all began their terms on January 1, 2013 and are already at work preparing journal issue 85.3, which will be their debut. Given this new arrangement, I am confident that the journal has a bright future and will be especially well equipped to meet new challenges in a time of big transitions overall in academic publishing. Steven Sondrup's consistent efforts to raise the academic standing of Scandinavian Studies over the course of the twenty-three years in which he has served ably and devotedly as Editor will surely continue on with this excellent new editorial staff.