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Academic journals

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    Hi folks – are there any academic journals that currently publish Campbellian work – or at least where a reference to Campbell won’t make the editors recoil in horror? I’m trying to find a home for an academic paper I’ve written, looking at the relationship between the hero’s journey and the structure of academic texts, but so far nobody wants to touch it with a barge pole. Any suggestions or recommendations gratefully received!



    This slipped past me when first posted. I’ve reached out to some friends with Ph.D.s in mythological studies and/or related fields, and haven’t come up with much, apart from the following suggestions (all are Jungian journals):

    Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche

    Psychological Perspectives 

    The Harvest Journal

    A couple of caveats:

    Though there can be some overlap, the “hero’s journey” can mean something different to Jungians than the the story arc Joseph Campbell identifies in myth (Campbell sent Jung a copy of The Hero with a Thousand Faces just a few years before the psychiatrist’s death, so when Jung uses the term throughout his work, he’s not specifically referencing Campbell’s analysis).

    And then one myth scholar pointed out to me that the problem might not be the Campbell connection so much as the content. The “hero’s journey” concept does not play well throughout much of academia. Indeed, just a few years ago I coordinated a grant writing effort to the National Endowment for the Humanities, applying for one of several “literature & tech” grants available; our idea was to design an interactive program that would help teach the hero’s journey to junior high and high school literature students – but comments from several scholars on the NEH grant review panel criticized the application because they did not recognize the HJ as legitimate.

    Indeed, David Miller, Joseph Campbell’s friend, colleague, and a well-respected religious studies scholar, advised us that Campbell’s concept of the hero’s journey “monomyth” has been widely rejected within the field of Humanities scholarship: no matter how strong a case we made, even if one or two evaluators were sympathetic, there would always be a loud voice or two on the panel strenuously objecting.

    The pendulum will likely swing back at some point, but for the moment submitting a paper to an academic journal that analyzes academic texts through the lens of a concept widely rejected within academia could be a dicey proposition. (That’s not to discourage you from daring the adventure, but did want you be be aware of this bias.)

    Curious what prompted your paper? Is this part of your studies for a post-graduate degree, or perhaps related to work in the field of education?

    Whatever the genesis, I wish you the best.


    Many thanks for this Stephen, this is very helpful indeed. I’ll check out the journals you suggest, but if and when I approach them, I’ll do so duly forewarned that the Jungian ‘hero’s journey’ might not exactly correspond to the Campbellian version.

    You asked about the genesis of the paper. I’m a teacher of academic writing in the UK equivalent of a university ‘writing center’, and so spend a lot of my working life analysing the structures of essays and academic texts, and figuring out how to explain them to students. However, years ago I was taught Campbell on a Masters programme by one of the very few UK academics to take him seriously (a Jungian called Leon Schlamm, now sadly passed on to the great seminar room in the sky). So for a long time I’ve had The Hero with a Thousand Faces present in the back of my mind… but then one afternoon last year I had a eureka moment and suddenly noticed how the essay structure I’ve been teaching year-in-year-out maps really quite precisely onto Campbell’s heroic narrative structure (a good essay has the same tripartite structure, it has a call to adventure, it often has mentors, it requires confrontation with the ‘adversary’ in its strongest form, etc etc.).

    I gave a paper on this at a conference for academic writing teachers, and got a relatively positive response (I suspect most of my colleagues aren’t sufficiently aware of Campbell to know that he’s persona non grata in academic circles), but so far none of the learned journals in my area have been willing to publish – hence the thought that maybe journals in other disciplines might be worth a try.

    Anyway, thanks again for making enquiries Stephen, very much appreciated.




      Alex; welcome to the JCF Forums; aka CoaHO, or “Conversations of a Higher Order”. Stephen thoughtfully suggested this upcoming event awhile back; (although I can’t exactly remember where it was posted); and I accidentally stumbled across this listing for it late last night. Lately for me Jung’s theory of “Synchronicity”; or (meaningful chance) if you prefer; has been on my radar a lot as a subject I’ve been exploring within my own personal story. Sometimes our intuition tells us something about what we come across as a hint we need to be paying attention so I dove into the included information and this morning signed up for this “free event” which includes some of the cutting edge folks working in this field.

      After reading your post this event sounds like something you might really like. I’ll let Stephen explain the connection with Dennis Patrick Slaughtery on the Forums MythBlast series; and who some of these other people are. (From what you wrote I think this might be a very cool experience to have while exploring your subject as you go forward.) Namaste


      Glad to hear of the positive response to your paper at the conference (that’s how we start reclaiming Campbell’s academic legacy – one paper and one conference at time, and trust it will eventually snowball).

      The Harvest Journal, linked above, which is in the UK, might be the place to start.


      Happy to say, my paper on the relationship between the structure of academic essays and the Campbellian hero’s journal finally got published, in the Journal of Academic Language and Learning,

      Thanks for the help and advice!



        Alex; congratulations; how exciting; you must be thrilled. It’s a wonderful piece; (thanks for the the link to read it). What a great outcome for all your hard work. Hope this opens the door to more future possibilities.

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