Words in space and time, opening the future

Kyle Brady
Thursday 9 December 2021

Today we’re highlighting a recently published open access book, by Tomasz Kamusella of the School of History – ‘Words in Space and Time: A Historical Atlas of Language Politics in Modern Central Europe’.

Words in Space and Time cover
Copyright Tomasz Kamusella 2021. https://muse.jhu.edu/book/97875/

Words in Space and Time contains over 40 detailed annotated maps charting: “the history and mechanics of how Central Europe’s languages have been made, unmade, and deployed for political action” (https://muse.jhu.edu/book/97875/). It represents the culmination of decades of research and countless hours of work, as Tomasz puts it: “I began researching the book in 1998 before the internet and email became ubiquitous. It was still the time of paper libraries and archives.” https://ceup.openingthefuture.net/news/7/)

“Words in Space and Time examines the Western European concept of “a nation” and the Central European notion that a “proper” nation is simply the speech community of a single language. The Atlas challenges the reader to consider that languages are products of human history. Languages, just like nations themselves, alongside states, towns, institutions, art, religions or (in)justice, are artefacts invented and shaped by individuals and their groups.” (https://ceup.openingthefuture.net/news/26/)

We are especially delighted that the book is the inaugural monograph for a new OA book program by Central European University Press: Opening the Future. This is a form of collective action funding model, that seeks institutional pledges to fund future open access titles as well as providing access to existing back files. Furthermore as more members join the individual costs of membership falls and amount of OA content increases.

“The aim of this approach is to continue to yield a sustainable source of revenue for a press while achieving the desired commitment to making more titles OA. Given the current global library environment and existing budget pressures that have now been exacerbated by Covid-19, a consortial model of funding promises a cost-effective solution for OA that means no single institution bears a disproportionate burden.” (https://ceup.openingthefuture.net/about/)

Tomasz Kamusella was interviewed by Emily Poznanski Director CEU Press in June 2021 to discuss his new book. In response to a question concerning the selection of the book for the Opening the Future program Tomasz had this to say:

“It is an honor and a dream fulfilled that Words in Space and Time: A Historical Atlas of Language Politics in Modern Central Europe was selected to inaugurate CEU Press’s innovative Open Access publishing project Opening the Future. My personal conviction as a researcher and intellectual is that the overall aspiration should be to guarantee for everyone equal access to all Humankind’s knowledge. This belief is underpinned by my experience of education in communist Poland, where access to publications was severely restricted and meticulously censored by the totalitarian regime.” (https://ceup.openingthefuture.net/news/7/)

On the topic of the future of open access, Tomasz explains the enduring importance of print in the electronic age, and his perspective on the function of open access not necessarily as an archival project, but as a means to democratise access to knowledge by removing financial barriers:

“A book of this kind published on good quality non-acidic paper and stored under stable conditions has a chance to survive easily for half a millennium. On the other hand, hard drives and other electronic means and devices of storing information have much shorter durability, ranging from a couple of years to a decade or two.[…] CEU Press is perfectly placed to address this dilemma by publishing exquisitely manufactured non-acidic paper books, while at the same time democratizing access to Humankind’s knowledge through the Opening the Future scheme.”

Tomasz Kamusella’s book is available open access via the Project Muse platform, assess directly or via the Library search.

The book can also be accessed via the University’s Research Repository where the complete book PDF can be downloaded.

And as if that wasn’t enough the Research Data for this book (which includes the raw map files as well as preparatory materials) is available via the University’s Pure Research Portal: 10.17630/6a7fbd6e-39b7-4256-aabf-264324424939 and 10.17630/57df75dc-2316-44e4-b3cf-505565e20925

Congratulations Tomek!

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