What is the origin story of Rhea Classical Reviews?

Just like Rhea herself, Rhea Classical Reviews originated in Greece! The members of the Executive Editorial Board met during the American School of Classical Studies at Athens’ academic year program in 2013–14. They all became great friends based on a shared love of sitting in the back of the bus that drove them to various sites around Greece. They kept in touch afterward and were a constant source of personal and professional support as they moved on to various places and positions both within and outside of academia. Over a series of conversations, they all agreed that there was a need for an alternative review platform and, after months of hard work (and one very well-used Google Drive folder), Rhea Classical Reviews was born.

What makes Rhea Classical Reviews different from other online book review journals? 

Rhea Classical Reviews is focused exclusively on books written by emerging scholars, contingent faculty, or alternative-academic researchers and we seek reviews of books by individuals who belong to those same categories. We believe that creating a space for nontraditional and early career individuals will allow our reviewers to have a venue to voice their thoughts and have their opinions heard by people who are experiencing the academy in a way that is markedly different than that of senior, established scholars. Furthermore, Rhea Classical Reviews goes beyond the traditional book review format by offering an optional dialogue (Q&A format) between reviewer and author, which allows the reviewer to better understand the author’s intentions and arguments, increases transparency in the book review process, and creates a more helpful review for our readership.

Who counts as an emerging or alternative scholar? 

Rhea Classical Reviews is designed to be inclusive! Our authors and reviewers include adjunct instructors and other contingent faculty, postdocs, independent scholars, graduate students, professional staff, museum curators, K-12 teachers, etc. Senior scholars in traditional academic institutions are typically not considered for reviews, particularly if they have tenure and the status of Associate Professor (North America) or the equivalent in European, South Pacific, Asian, South American, and African institutions. However, there are always exceptions. We will accept an author’s first book, even if they have recently been granted tenure and promoted (or the equivalent). If in doubt about whether you or an author you’re interested in qualifies for Rhea Classical Reviews, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Who is Rhea Classical Reviews for? 

Rhea Classical Reviews is for everyone! We hope that no matter what your relationship to the ancient world or academic status, you will benefit from our platform and that you will support RCR’s mission. Even if you are ineligible to write a review or have your book reviewed for Rhea, please consider helping in the following ways: 

  • Share our website with your students and colleagues who fall into our target demographic, and encourage them to write reviews for Rhea
  • Spread the word to your established colleagues so that more people are aware of Rhea’s unique contribution to the field, namely our commitment to offer constructive and transparent reviews as well as insights into the author’s goals and intentions through our Q&A process.
  • Support our goals and mission by providing helpful, constructive suggestions.
  • Share our reviews within your own professional and social networks. By lifting up the voices of junior, alternative, and contingent colleagues, you too can help create a more inclusive and equitable field!

Why don’t you allow junior scholars to review books by more established authors?

At this time, we do not review books by established authors because there are already platforms that review works published by established, senior authors. Rhea Classical Reviews is focused solely on creating space for junior and/or alt-ac scholars and dedicated to raising up the voices of those who are under-represented in traditional venues. We do acknowledge that there is the need for a space where junior scholars have the opportunity to review the works of their more established peers, but at this time we are focusing on fostering our community and growing our readership. 

How does the Q&A aspect of Rhea Classical Reviews work? 

The Rhea team is excited about the optional Question-and-Answer process that we offer our reviewers, authors, and readers. We believe that this initiative really allows us to stand out from other traditional book review platforms. By engaging in a moderated dialogue, we hope that the reviewer will produce as fair, comprehensive, and helpful a review as possible. This process is an opportunity for reviewers to ask questions about the content of the book, the author’s goals and intentions, and any other aspects that require clarification. The Q&A process only takes place if both author and reviewer confirm their interest, and either party can withdraw at any time. If you are interested in the specific details of the Q&A procedure, please see the Review Process section of our website.

How do you ensure transparency and fairness in your Q&A process?

The entire Q&A process is mediated through the editorial board to ensure a respectful and productive exchange; the reviewer and author never communicate directly. If both the author and reviewer have agreed to the Q&A option, the reviewer must submit their questions to the Rhea editorial board along with their finalized review so that they are not able to change their review at a later time, thus ensuring transparency. Once the reviewer’s questions are approved, they are forwarded to the author who then responds and returns their answers to the editorial board. The entire dialogue is then sent to the reviewer, who has the option to write a final, short response based on the author’s answers. The review, questions, answers, and final response are published on our website in its entirety.

Why do you only provide English-language reviews?

We want to ensure that all of our reviews meet high scholarly and editorial standards but, from a practical standpoint, our capacities are still a little limited at this early stage. We do review non-English books, and in the future we hope to publish reviews in other languages as well.

How can I become involved with Rhea Classical Reviews? 

We are always looking for reviewers! Our general review process is outlined here. If you are an emerging or alternative scholar who wishes to write a review for Rhea, please reach out with your qualifications and let us know if there are any books on our book list that interest you. If you have another book in mind that you want to review on our list, please get in touch with us directly. It may have already been selected, but we are always happy to help you find another book. When in doubt, send us an email – we are here to answer your questions!

We also have opportunities for authors and reviewers to join our editorial board. If you would like to serve on our editorial board and help us run Rhea, please let us know, broadly, about your strengths and interests (editing, fundraising, outreach, etc.). We appreciate any help you can offer.

What kind of books do you review?

We review all kinds of books, and just like our policy with reviewers and authors, we strive to be inclusive! We are technically Rhea Classical Reviews, so many of our books focus on the ancient Mediterranean world, broadly construed, but we aim to expand our chronological and geographic boundaries. Books we review can be in any language and within the fields of history, archaeology, religion, philosophy, theatre, pedagogy, reception, literature, art history, digital humanities, archaeometry, paleography, mythology, 0archaeological science, epigraphy, theory, papyrology, etc. Our books are currently divided into three sections on our website for ease of navigation, but these categories are intentionally broad: Art & Archaeology; History & Epigraphy; and Literature & Philosophy. If there is a book you would like to review that is not on our list and you are unsure whether it falls under our areas of interest, please get in touch by email or submit a title through our Book Suggestions form. The more books we have, the better!