Our new sociology editor on writing vividly in academia.
On July 21 I was honored to start as SUP’s new editor for sociology and Asian studies. Even before that day people have been asking me: what will you acquire? In most cases I gave the obvious response about seeking new directions in these fields and at the same time furthering established dialogues scholars are already engaged in. And that answer is true, but it’s not the full story. What I’m actually looking for is clear, vivid thought.
When a scholar’s writing has been refined to transparency her idea shows through in all its glory.
The eminent sociologist Howard Becker says in Writing for Social Scientists (now in its second edition) that clear writing is the product of clear thought—and that revising many drafts of scholarly writing is actually a good way to refine and analyze the ideas behind the writing. Put another way by Norman Maclean (one of my favorite authors) in A River Runs through It: “ . . . all good things—trout as well as eternal salvation—come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”