Critical Studies in Television seeks to publish incisive and insightful book reviews which provide information about the book for the reader; offer informed criticism of the book’s content; and convey a balanced assessment of the work’s contribution to its field. Our book reviews are a crucial part of CST’s commitment to engaging with the most recent, ground-breaking research within the field of television studies and we very much appreciate the work our book reviewers do.
The production of the Review section is in the hands of a team: Christine Geraghty (University of Glasgow) edits reviews and oversees the process of getting the reviews into the journal; Richard Hewett (University of Salford) liaises with publishers and commissions reviews; Tamara Courage (Reading University) organises books for review. Publishers wishing to submit a book for review should send it to her at University of Reading, Department of Film, Theatre and Television, Minghella Building, Shinfield Road, Reading, RG6 6BT.
We try to use a wide range of reviewers from different backgrounds and expertise. If you would like to review for CST, do please email the Book Reviews Editor, Professor Christine Geraghty, firstname.lastname@example.org, giving details of your situation and research interests.We publish around 6-7 reviews in an issue and are happy to welcome new reviewers.
Here is some guidance about reviewing for CST which we hope you will give an idea of our approach and be particularly helpful for those commissioned to write a review.
Processes and practicalities
When your review is commissioned, you will be given a definite deadline and a word limit. Please stick to these. We are delighted to receive early copy but if, at any stage, you foresee any problems with hitting a deadline, please contact Richard Hewett. The usual word limit for single-book reviews is 800-1,000 words, and for double reviews is 15-1800 words.
Please head your review with the book’s details which can normally be found on the publisher’s website:
Author, title, publisher: place, date of publication; 000 pp.: ISBN 000, price (hbk), ISBN 000, price (pbk), ebook details if available
Editor(s) (ed[s].), title, publisher: place, date of publication; 000 pp.: ISBN 000, price (hbk), ISBN 000, price (pbk), ebook details if available
This is followed by your details: Reviewed by: Janet McCabe, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
It is important you abide by Sage/CST’s style guidelines – and please pay particular attention to the referencing system. Critical Studies in Television adheres to the SAGE Harvard reference style and advice on referencing can be found at https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/critical-studies-in-television/journal202513#ReferenceStyle
When you submit your review, it will be edited and then returned to you with any suggestions for changes or amendments. When copyediting, we
- a) format the review to our standard format and check basic facts,
- b) read for structure, persuasiveness and objectivity and
- c) undertake the first proofread.
This editing process can take a bit of time but we aim to help you shape your review so that it will speak effectively to our readers. Once this process has been completed you will be sent a final copy. It will then be some months before you receive will be the final proof, copy edited by the publishers, for you to check. This needs to be sent back to us really quickly.
When you are submitting a review, please check that you have done the following
- Provided details of the book following the format outlined above
- Put your own name and institutions (if applicable) under these details
- Indicated how the book fits into current literature on its topic
- Given an indication of the structure and scope of the book
- Outlined the main arguments being made
- Commented on any particular strengths and weaknesses you find in the book
- Given an indication of how the book is written and presented
- Provided a brief biographical statement and your email address for contacts
A bit more detail on some of these points is provided below
Rationale: the key qualities of a great book review
An expert perspective
We try to send books to appropriately qualified, disinterested reviewers who we feel will engage with the work open-mindedly, enthusiastically and critically.
Each review should situate the new publication within its appropriate context, which might be television studies as a whole, or a sub-field, and offer an appreciation of its contribution to that context. Where appropriate, do make references to what has come before since this helps our readers to situate the book in its field; but don’t make too many references since can take up words which might be better used on the book itself. If a book is genuinely innovative or idiosyncratic, do note this.
We aim to publish a range of different voices and approaches, incorporating reviews from long-established experts, early-career researchers, up-and-coming postgraduates and indeed reviewers who have valuable industry experience (depending on the book’s topic). Some writers create witty, engaging reviews that walk the line between scholarly and entertaining; others are more straight-talking and analytical and offer thoughtful and incisive contextualisation. All these kinds of voices are appropriate, provided they are scholarly in tone.
It is crucial, however, that your review is written in clear and direct English, avoiding jargon, eccentric phrasing and unnecessary verbosity. Your aim is to communicate clearly with our readers.
Objectivity and fairness
CST is looking for reviews of books, not opinion pieces. The review is about the book under scrutiny and not the reviewer. If a reader of your review were to end up knowing more about your point of view than the book’s argument, then you should rewrite.
Beware, in particular, of criticism of what the book has ‘left out’. If you find that the book’s own argument is incoherent/weakened because it omits x, clearly that should be mentioned. But criticism along the lines of ‘the book hasn’t undertaken the project I would have done, and/or hasn’t mentioned the theorists I would have preferred’ is illegitimate. Worst of all are reviews which conclude that the book’s focus is not really a legitimate area of study at all. If you are sent a book for review, and you feel this way about it, and you can find nothing constructive to say, please send the book back to us so that it can be sent to someone else.
Of course we are not necessarily expecting overwhelmingly positive reviews, though if that happens it’s fine. Negative comments should be included but they can be couched sensitively and should always be proffered in the context of whether the book has developed its central thesis, used appropriate methods and given evidence for its arguments.