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About the OI

April 9, 2024

WMQ news

After ten years at the helm of the William and Mary Quarterly, Joshua Piker is returning to full-time teaching duties at William & Mary—as well as taking on a new role at the Omohundro Institute (more below). Julia Gaffield will continue a three-year term as WMQ interim editor, serving two more years as head of the field’s flagship journal.

OI Executive Director Catherine E. Kelly says, “It has been an extraordinary privilege to watch the WMQ flourish under Josh Piker’s leadership and I have every confidence it will continue to grow and prosper under Julia Gaffield’s direction.”

Gaffield says, “I am honored to have the opportunity to continue as Interim Editor for the Quarterly and I’m grateful for Josh’s guidance and collaboration. The WMQ is a crucial forum for some of the best and most innovative thinking about Vast Early America; I’m eager to continue this important work.”

In addition to working with authors and reviewers, Gaffield will oversee the WMQ–Early Modern Studies Institute (EMSI) workshops, including the 2024 workshop she developed with convener Jennifer L. Morgan (New York University), “Resisting Enslavement in Vast Early America” (May 31–June 1).

A new role

While no longer leading “Team Quarterly,” Piker will remain on the Team OI roster.

Starting July 1, 2024, Piker will begin a three-year term as the new OI Scholarly Communities Coordinator (OISCC). Kelly confirms the role is designed to “tighten connections between the OI and multiple scholarly communities that give shape to our field.”

As OISCC, Piker will work with the OI’s Council, a group of historians independently elected for three-year terms (nominations open through April 15) which advises the OI on intellectual and scholarly issues. Piker also will serve as academic liaison for OI annual conferences, working with sponsors and program committees to expand program opportunities for underrepresented and emerging scholars. (The OI’s 27th annual conference, “Vast Early America: A Transcontinental Conversation,” takes place June 19-21, 2024, at the University of Poitiers. Registration is now open.)

Piker says, “It has been both an honor and a pleasure to serve as Editor of the WMQ for the last decade. I know that I will miss working with the journal’s authors, talking with its readers, and collaborating with my exceptional colleagues at Team Quarterly, but I also believe that change and evolution are the keys to maintaining a truly excellent academic journal. Being able to hand the WMQ off to a gifted scholar and generous editor like Julia Gaffield convinces me that this is the right time to step away.”

The search for the permanent WMQ Editor is expected to open in spring 2025, with the new Editor’s term beginning July 1, 2026.

OI Books News

The search for the permanent OI Editor of Books will open this spring.

For the first time in the Books program’s history, the editorship will be tied to a senior, tenured faculty line at William & Mary, where the Harrison Ruffin Tyler History Department sponsors the top-ranked early American history program in the country.

Suzanne Raitt, dean of Arts & Sciences at W&M, says “we are very pleased to be able to formalize a tenure line for the OI’s Editor of Books position. This is a win for Arts & Sciences as well as for the Omohundro Institute. We will be delighted to welcome the new editor as part of our A&S community when they come on board, and we look forward very much to working with them.”

Chair of the OI Executive Board Mary Kelley says, “This new position recognizes and formalizes the centrality of scholarly expertise to the OI editorial mission. The OI and the field will benefit in equal measure.”

Presidential Liaison for Strategic Cultural Partnerships Ann Marie Stock says, “The modification of the Editor of Books position to include a tenured appointment in Arts & Sciences is further demonstration of the generative and impactful collaboration W&M and OI have long enjoyed. I look forward to this new chapter in that collaborative relationship as we continue our work to tell expansive and honest histories of Vast Early America and our nation’s founding.”

Nicholas Popper, professor at W&M and former Book Review Editor for the WMQ, has served as OI Interim Editor of Books since Kelly became executive director in July 2022. In addition to collaborating with Kelly on manuscripts in progress, he has expanded the OI’s portfolio of authors. Sara E. Johnson’s Encyclopédie noire: The Making of Moreau de Saint-Méry’s Intellectual World (2023, OI with partner the University of North Carolina Press) is the latest book published in the series. (Join the OI on Saturday, May 4, 2024, when Sara Johnson delivers the 10th annual OI Council Lecture: “Communal Biography: Reflections on Centering Stories of the Enslaved.”)

“I am grateful that we were able to hand the Books program to Nick when I took over as ED,” Kelly says. “Academic publishing is a long—sometimes very long—game and Nick’s foresight and commitment are crucial to our continued success.”

The job ad will be posted later this spring. Check the W&M website and this newsletter for further details.