Nothing like exploiting graduate student labor; an excerpt:
In 2011, Simon Critchley, Chiara Bottici, and Jacob Blumenfeld organized a conference entitled “The Anarchist Turn” at the New School for Social Research. Naturally, the conference was exciting news for anarchist scholars....
I had heard it through the grapevine that the conference organizers were interested in turning the conference papers into some sort of publication. However, I also heard, from some of my contacts, that their proposals were being rejected across the board (Verso, for example, rejected their book proposal, among others). I knew what it took to make this a successful publication but I wanted to help make it successful in such a way as to bring that success back into the anarchist studies milieu. I approached Simon Critchley with a number of ideas. I informed Critchley that I would publish the conference papers in one of two ways: (1) through Pluto Press as an edited volume, with my name on the cover for all of my assistance, and with the Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies [journal] logo somewhere within the publication....
Critchley wanted to go with the first option. He agreed to the stipulations in full and then asked that I continue from that point on to discuss the matter with his colleague and co-conference organizer Chiara Bottici. I spent several weeks working on the proposal for Pluto Press. I knew what Pluto looked for in a contract because I had already published a book with them called Post-Anarchism: A Reader....Chiara was also incredible to work with – we went through the finer points that Critchley and I discussed and she worked with me to re-brand the project and create a new chapter outline, among other things. In other words, she allowed me to adapt the book as it needed to be adapted for it to be approved for publication.
I kept updating and working through the proposal with Chiara, and Simon backed off from communicating with me. I had approached numerous professors and asked them if they would agree to use the book in their courses and had them write this formally so that I could place it into the document with the selected course modules. I did extensive editing of the chapters for the proposal and then spent several weeks in negotiations with the publisher. After handling the peer-reviewers for an additional month, I landed a really sweet contract with Pluto and they mailed it to me immediately....The contract, of course, included all of the stipulations I have listed above (journal special issue affilitation, my name as editor, etc)....
It was a few weeks after the contract was mailed from Pluto’s UK office to my office at Trent University – where, upon receiving I signed my name and sent the contract off to the New School in New York – that Chiara wrote to me to let me know that Critchley now wanted to change the deal. He knew that Pluto was serious and that the deal had been made but he wanted to (1) change the title of the book and (2) remove my name as an editor. The original title of the book paid more debt to the anarchist tradition. It highlighted that anarchism was always a serious line of thinking. The new title, which merely reflects the conference name, assumes that anarchism was now legitimate simply because Judith Butler and Simon Critchley now called themselves anarchists....
It seemed to me that Critchley’s thinking was that editing involves merely soliciting the pieces from authors. In this case, of course, Critchley ought not be listed either since, I have been told, the majority of the heavy lifting was done by Chiara Bottici and Critchley’s graduate student Jacob Blumenfeld. None of my efforts in producing a revised manuscript, table of contents, title for the book, proofing, editing, etc., was anymore considered a form of “editing”. After some debates between Pluto, Chiara, and myself, all of which lasted at least a few days, I gave in and said that it is okay for my name to be removed so long as the rest of the stipulations remained. A new contract was going to be drawn up without my name on it and sent directly to Chiara in New York.
It was at this time that I was removed from all future correspondence. Several months later, David Castle at Pluto Press wrote to me to let me know that the book was going to continue to press without me. He also informed me that Simon had informed him to drop all of the agreed upon stipulations with [the journal] Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies.
I wrote to Simon about this and let him know how much work I put into securing the contract for him. The next day I received a single sentence email from him stating the following: either you accept the new amendments or else I take everything and leave. I wrote back and asked him if he understood how many months of intense work I put into the project and he responded by letting me know that he would, of course, detail my work in the acknowledgements section. While I was still a little bitter, I nonetheless thought that this was better than nothing. At least I would receive a little bit of credit for my work.
I received a copy of the book today and my name is nowhere to be found.
All of this is to say that my creative labor was exploited to help Simon Critchley and his colleagues get a book deal that they couldn’t otherwise get.
The Stone' blog's weekly links are often pilfered from this site; I wonder if they will pick this one up?
If there is a different account of these events out there, please send me the link.
(Thanks to Nathan Jun for the pointer.)