We, the Governing Board of the Byzantine Studies Association of America, the leading professional organization for our scholarly discipline in the United States and Canada, are writing, on behalf of our hundreds of members, to convey our deepest concerns and objections regarding the planned closing on November 24th of Ashgate Publishing’s North American office and the firing of its staff members. We also write to express our gravest concerns about the possible closing in December 2015 of Ashgate’s office in the United Kingdom. As an interdisciplinary organization of art historians, historians, archaeologists, theologians, and literary scholars, we rely on Ashgate's high-quality leadership, innovation, and outstanding monographs and reference works. Few academic presses of such high quality have such an interdisciplinary reach.
For over fifty years Ashgate Press has been a leader in publishing the most groundbreaking scholarship in our discipline, with over two hundred English titles to date produced by the leading academics and university faculty in North America and the United Kingdom. Ashgate's mission is consistently aligned with key elements of our society’s own charter: to foster diverse perspectives, to provide a venue for rising scholars to share their most promising work, and to support collaborative projects. In these efforts and many others Ashgate has excelled, making an indelible and world-recognized mark on global publishing.
The worldwide reputation of Ashgate Press contributes enormously to the intellectual profit and cultural capital of its larger publisher Taylor & Francis, and its parent company Informa. To be counted as a global press which dominates all markets and represents the foremost scholars in the most diverse disciplines, ensures that Taylor & Francis has the breadth and reach to capture any new market as it evolves, and to realize the potential of all new opportunities in its field.
To further strengthen the financial status and profitability of Ashgate Press, it is our recommendation that Taylor & Francis canvass the constituency that Ashgate has served so well for so long. These authors and audiences can certainly offer new, creative ideas to strengthen Ashgate’s economic viability so that it may continue the traditions of excellence that it is known for worldwide.
In closing, we urge you to reinstate Ashgate Publishing’s North American offices and strengthen its United Kingdom offices and we stand ready to partner with you to find ways to preserve and strengthen these outstanding gems in the Taylor & Francis crown of world-renowned publishing houses.
Thank you for your kind consideration, and please be in touch if we can be of further support in your efforts.
Signed on behalf of the Governing Board and Members of the Byzantine Studies Association of America/BSANA,
Sarah Brooks, Ph.D. 2015-2016 BSANA President
Associate Professor of Art History James Madison University
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