The inspiration for today’s blog post comes from the lovely and talented Dr. Anne Dance, historian and Programme Director of the Parliamentary Internship Programme!
Publish or Perish is pretty much academia’s guiding principle. Our careers are, to a large extent, dependent upon our publications (bet you thought it was teaching. Nope!). This is as true for tenure-track professors as it is for sessional instructors. It used to be that graduate students were encouraged to focus on their theses and dissertations rather than on publishing articles. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, and individuals completing their PhD are often advised to have at least one peer-reviewed publication under their belt prior to graduating (though two is better!)
A good starting point is to do book reviews for scholarly journals. However, as is the case for scholarly articles, there are few guides or resources available on how to do this successfully. Most of us end up learning by trial and error, or by following the patterns that can be found in existing book reviews. So to save you the trouble, in this blog post, I am going to walk you through the basics of writing book reviews. While I am approaching this subject as a historian, the basics apply no matter what humanities or social science field you are working in.