A look back
When Hermann Simon wished the new online periodical Medaon much success in October 2007, there wasn’t any in view yet. Much was still uncharted territory for those involved in the journal as well as for the audience – the rather unusual format, the voluntary editorial office at a non-academic institution in Saxony, the effort to connect the research landscape with educational providers and the many interested outside academia.
The initiative went back to “the wish of establishing a scientific institution that offers a low-threshold and free-of-charge access for science, but also for the school as well as academic education as well as for interested scientific laypeople.” That is what the editorial of the first issue stated. In the meantime, Medaon has acquired a noticed and respected position in international academia. Just recently, we welcomed our 500th author. Especially the connection of academic and non-academic discussions has become a trademark of the journal. Established research has its proper means of publication. This is, however, not the case for most of the researchers concerned with Jewish history locally, even though the gains of their work are often quite considerable. Without the research in local history science-politically imperative there would be no source basis for large-scale investigations; and without the sometimes still ‘unfinished’, although publication-ready, thoughts of young authors there would be hardly any new and moreover exciting hypotheses. For instance, research reports on Jewish men and women in Saxony received great resonance, which to date serve to develop local research questions and also for comparison with other regions.
The thematic orientation of the journal has changed over time: larger formats are anchored more thoroughly in the scientific community than before and are cared for professionally in a double-blind peer review process. The still voluntary editorial office discusses the results of the texts with the authors and reliable copy editors oversee all the commas and help make the text easily comprehensible.
Generous donations financing the technical infrastructure as well as external support to the volunteers in the editorial office are a condition for publishing our periodical.
A look forward
The publication of the 30th edition is an occasion to bring young researchers and recent research methods to the fore. Many emerging scholars made one of their first contributions to the research landscape with Medaon, whether with an article, as reviewers or as part of the editors. Also, this time we’re happy to have contributions by students.
The current edition has two aims: one the one hand, we want to critically reflect on changes in the field in the past 15 years. This inludes the career possibilities of young scholars, the funding landscape and study possibilities as well as thematic and methodological changes. On the other hand, we want to grant those who regard themselves as ‘emerging’ scholars the possibility to contribute to designing this issue in a special way, be that through a reflection on one’s own situation or by presenting ongoing research projects. What defines ‘emerging scholars’ can also be reflected critically: who counts as one and why?
In an introductory contribution Michael Brenner looks on his own scholarly biography and on the changes in the field in current years. We opened the journal sections to young scholars in this edition, thereby leaving space for different approaches and research questions. Also in the future we want to leave room for contributions with innovative formats and encourage authors to talk their ideas through with the editors. Larissa Bothe and Daniel Ristau give an overview over the current discussions about the representation of Jewishness in the context of debates over a ‘Jewish Museum’ in Saxony.
Next to this spotlight, we are happy to continue the series on biographies of Jewish women with a contribution on Lea Goldberg, with overlays on the topic of tradition. As usual, none of this would have been possible without the help of the reviewers, the copy editors and translators. We cordially thank Steffen Schröter of text plus form, Cathleen Bürgelt, Patricia Casey Sutcliffe, Anastasia Kallish, Margaret-Ann Schellenberg, and Phillip Roth.
The editors of Medaon, May 2022.