Should I put part of my dissertation in an edited volume?

I’m working on two edited volumes related to my upcoming conference.  I have a number of potential contributors who are more junior than myself.  Hence the question about the relationship of their conference presentation to their dissertation to the edited volume to other publications such as a future monograph and journal articles comes up quite often.

So, here are my general thoughts on the subject at this moment.  Feedback and different perspectives welcome in the comments!

Prioritize peer-reviewed journal publication.  These are always better than a contribution to an edited volume: don’t get over-committed to the latter at the expense of the former.  I learned this lesson the hard way.

Time is of the essence, especially if you are on the job market or will be on the job market or have a ticking tenure clock.  How long will it REALLY take for the book to appear?  Check the CV of the individuals involved, if they have edited volumes before.  How long between conference and final publication?  1-2 years is super awesome; 3-4 year decent; 5-7 sucky but all too common.

You can cite yourself.  Are you a voluminous writer?  Can you give the conference volume a case study or digression or potential appendix or fuller treatment of minor point of the dissertation?  This may actually stream line your future monograph!

Where is conference volume likely to appear?  Is that press reputable in your field? Will it be viewed as peer-reviewed and scholarly by hiring committees and referees?  Will it be read and seen by those you want to see it?

If you’ve not defended the dissertation, does your discipline consider it a pro or con to have portions already accepted for publication? What do your mentors say?

Something is better than nothing.   Don’t clutch your work forever hoping for a perfect moment to share it with the world.  This is how dissertations languish unread, uncited, unloved.

Is the conference volume a networking opportunity?  Does participation build your circle of advocates and allies in academia?  Think about the editors and other contributors, but also the relationship with a university press commissioning editor.  Too often the world works on familiarity and favors, thus a wide circle of can give you a leg up.

So a definite maybe.  No more. No less.

“As the Mistress, so the Dog”

So I got stuck on a proverb, or rather 1/2 a proverb in Cicero (Att. 5.11.5).

As yet our journey through Greece has roused great admiration, nor, by heaven, have I as yet a fault to find with any of my people (meorum). They appear to me to understand my point of view and the conditions on which they accompany me. They entirely devote themselves to my reputation. For the future, if the proverb “like mistress…” (οἵαπερ ἣ δέσποινα) holds…

The saying is so famous he doesn’t finish it. It is catalogued among the fragments of Epicharmus of Kos (fr.168) and is known to the scholiasts and grammarians of late antiquity.   But other than Cicero the only literary usage is in Clement of Alexandria (in rather infuriating section on appearances, esp. of women):

I deem it wrong that servant girls, who follow women of high rank, should either speak or act unbecomingly to them. But I think it right that they should be corrected by their mistresses. With very sharp censure, accordingly, the comic poet Philemon says: You may follow at the back of a pretty servant girl, seen behind a gentlewoman; and any one from the Platæicum may follow close, and ogle her. For the wantonness of the servant recoils on the mistress; allowing those who attempt to take lesser liberties not to be afraid to advance to greater; since the mistress, by allowing improprieties, shows that she does not disapprove of them. And not to be angry at those who act wantonly, is a clear proof of a disposition inclining to the like. For like mistress like dog, as they say in the proverb.


What I find telling in both of these passages is to compare human-human relationship in hierarchies to human-animal relationships.  I doubt most of Cicero’s companions would have loved being compared to a dog…

It is remarkably different in fact to the potential positive connotations of like father, like son and related sayings.