The current choice of suggested entries has evolved out of a long series of seminar discussions. A number of crucial decisions were made which now form the rules for the future book:
1. Like all histories, the history of cultural relations throughout the Commonwealth is a history of events. We therefore decided that the entry to each article would be a change-inducing cultural event: the creation of an institution, a prize, a new medium of communication, a new form of architecture, and so on. Of course, cultural events involve human agents, but we did not want our choice of entries to follow any preconceived literary hierarchy. To avoid any such suggestion, we decided that the main entries would include no personal names. Writers, musicians and other artists would be present in the history of an event, such as a controversial publication or the awarding of a prize, which suddenly brought their work and ideas into the limelight. In an electronic publication, anyone interested in the cultural impact of, for example, the work of the late Chinua Achebe would be able to gather together the scattered references by entering his name into the search function.
2. Since it was primarily intended as a reference work which would give some idea of the breadth, as well as the depth, of cultural relations in a given place and a given time, the articles constituting the Companion would be presented alphabetically.
3. Not all cultural events are of equal stature, which is why we have conceived of a fixed length for each entry: either 3000, 6000, 9000 signs + bibliography. Most entries concern cultural events or institutions which cannot be ignored. They are representative of their time and are all the more worthy of entry if they have become the subject of controversy since.
4. The coordination of the whole requires that each article be focused on one or more aspects of the problematic of cultural relations (soft power) and on the contribution of the institution/event/word/work in question to the enhancement and/or hindrance of cultural understanding within the Commonwealth. But within that very general thematic constraint, all authors are free to describe, explain and discuss their chosen topics in the critical terms they please.
See also: the General Introduction
Articles should follow the Caliban stylesheet.
They should be sent to the relevant editors:
Proposals involving the UK and Europe only should be sent to Helen Goethals.