Dr Ingrid A. Medby (Oxford Brookes University) has received this year’s Area prize for her paper, Political geography and language: A reappraisal for a diverse discipline, published in our academic journal Area.
We caught up with her to find out a little more about the paper and her experience publishing in the journal.
Tell us a little about the paper - what prompted you to write it?
The paper actually started as an intervention and grew from there. I wanted to redirect some disciplinary attention back to the role of language in political geography - both in terms of subject matter and methods. Language, as well as discourse, did attract a lot of scholarly interest in the early 1990s, but my point in the paper is that we should not move wholly ‘beyond’ it as we grapple with new issues today. Some of the really important developments and discussions in the field could benefit from a sustained interrogation of the role of language. For example, geographers have recently been thinking about what it means to decolonise the discipline, and I think language-use has to be part of that. I hope the paper generates some further discussion around this, and that we can find exciting ways of bringing language (back) into studies also of the material, more-than-human, affective, and so on.
Why did you choose to submit to Area?
Area seemed like the right home for this particular paper for a number of reasons. It was a fairly short intervention that I hoped would reach a wider readership than only those identifying as political geographers. Area is a broad journal with a focus on developments in the field, not least new directions in early-career research. Looking back, it did turn out to be a good choice, as the paper speaks to issues that are relevant across geography.
How was the paper received? Were there any particularly helpful comments or suggestions made?
The Editors and reviewers were very supportive throughout the process - something I am really grateful for. I learnt a lot from the process, and I think the manuscript benefitted a lot from it too. This is also something that I hope to take with me as a peer-reviewer myself: an encouraging review, with very clear comments for improvement, can make a really important and welcome difference.
What advice would you give to other early career scholars considering writing for Area?
Go for it! My experience of Area is one of a really supportive editorial and review community, all of whom genuinely want early-career scholars' work to make it to publication. The feedback I received was constructively critical and really improved the final manuscript, while also making me feel excited and motivated to continue working on the topic. In addition to feeling grateful for the support Area has given me, it is also a journal that encourages relatively short and succinct pieces, which can be a great way to get into publishing for early-career scholars.
Two other papers were also highly commended by the Editors of Area: Throwing our bodies against the white background of academia by Dr Azeezat Johnson (Queen Mary, University of London), and In the wake: Interpreting care and global health through Black geographies by Dr Lioba Hirsch (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).
The Area Prize is part of Area’s mission to be accessible to postgraduates and early career academics, through encouraging submissions and rewarding excellence in research. The recipient receives £500.