I'm writing to you to explore and request funding possibilities for The Annual of Urdu Studies. Let me first give you a brief history of this publication.
The journal was started in 1980 by Prof. C.M. Naim of the University of Chicago. Since he couldn't continue beyond 1990, I decided to take it over, realizing its importance to the field of Urdu humanities, but more importantly, because it was the only publication of its kind in a Western language anywhere in the world. The aim of the AUS is to provide scholars working on Urdu humanities in the broadest sense a forum in which to publish scholarly articles, translations, and views. The AUS also publishes reviews of books, an annual inventory of significant Western publications in the field, reports, research-in-progress, notices, and information on forthcoming events of interest to its readers (conferences, workshops, competitions, awards, etc.).
Each issue of the AUS also includes a section in the Urdu script featuring old and new writing.
It has now become a professional journal, frequently quoted in scholarly publications and known to South Asian scholars throughout the world. All major University libraries of Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Asia, and the US subscribe to it and its contributors include well-known Urdu scholars from the Universities of Heidelberg (Germany), Sorbonne (France), Rome (Italy), Macquarie (Australia) Leiden (Holland), SOAS, London (U.K.), McGill (Canada) and, of course, a number from the major universities in the U.S.
and South Asia. It is also indexed by Bibliography of Asian Studies, EBSCO Database Services (Current Abstracts, TOC Premier EBSCO, Humanities International Complete and Humanities International Index), the IBZ (Internationale Bibliographie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Zeitschriftenliteratur), the Internationale Bibliographie der Rezensionen Wissenschaftlicher Literatur, MLA Abstracts of Articles in Scholarly Journals, and the MLA International Bibliography of Books and Articles on the Modern Languages and Literatures. The journal is edited by me with Jane Shum as assistant editor and includes Professors Christina Oesterheld (University of Heidelberg), Aamir Mufti (UCLA), and Elena Bashir (University of Chicago) in its editorial advisory board. I might add here that besides the print edition, the journal also maintains a website (www.urdustudies.com) where the current as well as all the back issues could be accessed in printable pdf version. We have also provided a link for the first 7 issues that originally came out from Chicago.
Some support was provided by our Center for South Asia and a $1,000 subsidy by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS) when I brought the journal to Madison in 1993. Much later, the College of Letters & Science and the Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin also came through jointly with a 33%-time PA to assist me. This assistance was renewed for some 5 years, until the Graduate School decided to withdraw its share of the PA. The remaining percentage was too small to pay for any kind of help; hence I approached the AIPS and three years ago they generously accepted to pay for the salary of a 50%-time Assistant Editor. Unfortnately, a week ago the current president of the AIPS informed me that they would not be able to continue with their assistance beyond 30 June 2010. Apparently, the AIPS is currently facing reduction of its funding. They have, however, offered to provide a sum of 4,000 a year.
The print edition yields revenues which more or less pay for the printing cost. There are other costs (mailing, purchase of books and reference materials, web-hosting and domain registration, supplies, photocopies, fax, computers, software, repairs, etc.) but I'm sure that money could be raised from other sources to pay for these. However, one major expense that we have no ability to pay for is the 50%-time salary of an experienced Assistant Editor. This comes to roughly $15,000 a year plus the sum required for fringe benefits, which according to the rules and regulations of the University of Wisconsin is about 40% over the salary.
Ms. Jane Shum has been working for the journal since 1998. She is an extremely dedicated individual and the journal could not be what it is today without her exemplary devotion.
She also knows Urdu (a must for anybody working for the journal). Her duties include just about everything, from correspondence, maintenance of the website, mailing, to editing, proofreading, etc., etc.
We are faced with two problems.
Since the AIPS grant for the upcoming issue (2010) will terminate on 30 June 2010, and the issue won't be out before September of that year, how to secure funds to pay Ms. Shum's 3-month salary plus benefits. The second is whether to continue or cease publishing the journal beyond 2010. It would be a shame to close down the journal. It has made a place for itself in the scholarly community and is treated as a professional journal in the field of Urdu humanities.
I'm wondering whether you could contribute whatever you can to keep the journal afloat by providing toward Ms. Shum's salary, but more importantly also ask your friends who feel for Urdu and its future to do the same. It is an imperative need to keep this journal alive. There is nothing like it anywhere in the Western world. I'm inclined to think that it is now South Asian community's responsibility to take energetic steps to preserve the vestiges of its culture as reflected in the finer works of Urdu literature.
I'm confident that you and your friends in the scholarly and also in the South Asian community will see the value of this journal and find a way to support it in its current financially strained situation. For our part, we will acknowledge all support prominently in the pages of The Annual of Urdu Studies.
Kindly make your contribution/ donation by check payable to The University of Wisconsin/Board of Regents and mail it to: Muhammad Umar Memon Professor Emeritus Dept. of Languages & Cultures of Asia University of Wisconsin 1220 Linden Drive Madison, Wisconsin 53706 (Please Note: The contribution of US donors will be tax deductible. In December such donors will receive a letter of thanks acknowledging their contribution to file with their income tax papers. The University's Tax ID, in case it is needed, is: EIN 39-1805963.) Hoping for a positive outcome, Sincerely, Muhammad Umar Memon Professor Emeritus of Urdu and Islamic Studies Editor, The Annual of Urdu Studies