The Amherst College Press was founded with the objective of supporting the emergence of scholarship in the humanities, with a focus on the needs of liberal arts institutions. We seek to identify, develop, present, and advocate for this scholarship through the development of an alternative model of publishing, in which the expectation of scholarly rigor is aligned with objective of impact. We believe scholars are chiefly motivated by the hope of shaping the conversation in their fields through the broadest possible reach for their work; a system characterized by increasing prices decreasing print runs, and stringent access limitations cannot attain that objective.
We are therefore eagerly interested in works from scholars that fit into one of three broad categories:
- Fields better served by digital platforms than by print for the communication of ideas.
The strong tradition in the humanities is for the communication of ideas in print. Yet recent years have seen the emergence of modes of research and scholarship in the humanities that are multimodal, nonlinear, and dependent on digital tools for weaving together the narrative of scholarly analysis with the compilation and management of data. These projects tend to be collaborative, rather than the univocal work of a single author; they are natively interactive, moving the lines typically separating author and audience; and they point toward new relationships between the fruits of research and the tasks of pedagogy. As a press focused on the creation of digital-first work, we are interested in proposals utilizing digital technologies to convey ideas and modes of inquiry in the humanities implementing technology in new and creative ways.
- Fields with active communities of engaged scholars and evidence of curricula in both undergraduate and graduate settings
Scholarly presses that depend on market sales to cover the costs of production must of necessity consider the size of a potential audience for each next book when determining what work to develop. A consequence of this is that smaller fields—particularly emerging fields—with a relatively small but engaged core group of contributing scholars and the presence of courses in both undergraduate and graduate curricula can yet encounter serious difficulty finding a pathway for the publication of new research. Because we have chosen to operate in a non-market model, we’re especially interested in receiving proposals from scholars in such fields.
- Works with particular relevance or merit for the scholarly needs of undergraduate institutions
There is a general misperception that faculty at liberal arts institutions engage in research activities that are some how distinct from faculty at other, larger institutions. That is certainly not the case—as the large representation of faculty from such institutions in the lists of scholarly presses makes clear. At the same time, however, liberal arts institutions,—focused as they are on engaging undergraduates and training them in basic modes of inquiry—have particular needs that are often poorly met by the output of many scholarly publishers. Often these works function in the role of providing specialists in a field with a means of communicating with other specialists in that field—an important objective, but one that does not readily serve the needs of institutions with an undergraduate focus. Set as we are within one of the nation’s oldest liberal arts colleges, and seeing the needs of teachers, students, and libraries from that perspective, the Amherst College Press is particularly interested the works of scholars in the humanities writing about topics in ways that will engage and stimulate undergraduates coming to a subject for the first time—or a general reader returning to a field of interest for further study.