Editor’s Introduction to The Journal, Issue 30

core-journal-cover-2021The online edition of the thirtieth issue of The Journal of the Core Curriculum has just been published. To help place the issue in a context of editorial goals and of the community involvement that went into its production, we hereby present the Editor’s Note from the front matter, written by the editor-in-chief:

I am alone and they are everyone. In this quotation, Dostoyevsky aptly summarizes the state that the Underground Man finds himself in, a feeling of being intensely alone. It is a state we perhaps each found ourselves in at some point over the course of the past year. Tasked to compile–entirely through screens–an anthology of commentary, criticism, art, and meritorious research, I feared that the alienating effects of remote learning might seep into our editorial work. This concern deepened my sense of responsibility as chief editor to provide encouragement and a semblance of community though we were physically separated. Cultivating a compassionate (virtual) space for cooperative group work and nurturing ties of friendship among the members of the editorial team became as important as the practical matters of proofreading and deadlines. Perhaps this wasnt a change in focus as much as a foregrounding of what should ideally always be a goal of publishing: the responsible use of resources to lift as many people as possible, empowering as many voices as we can.

This issue of The Journal is noteworthy for many reasons; let me share a few:

  • We saw the greatest number of submissions in program history, with nearly triple the submissions count from last year.
  • We expanded our contributor pool to be more inclusive, inviting submissions from the entire CAS community. Our contributors now include departmental majors, cross-registered students, and alumni from any class year.
  • We made a commitment to showcase the prize-winning essays of the Devlin Award competition for first-year writing.
  • We launched a new content category relating to the topics of sustainability and environmental justice.
  • We formalized award categories for sustainability, essay-writing, and creativity.
  • And finally, we went multimodal. Our table of contents will now list exclusive and multimedia pieces selected and developed by the editors. Visit us online to find an original musical, a timely video response addressing anti-Asian hate, and an extended interview with a Core alumnus turned popular YouTube creator.

We’d like to recognize and celebrate the students, alumni, faculty, and staff who collaborated during extraordinary circumstances to bring our print and online issues to fruition. Individuals from numerous disciplines and departments came together to offer suggestions on marketing, editing, and design, and to supply our contributors with careful, constructive feedback.

We wish to express particular thanks to Zachary Bos, for his meticulous mentorship and congeniality through each stage of the production process. To Prof. Hamill and the CAS leadership, we thank you for your guidance and trust. We are especially grateful to David Weinstein and the team at Write the World for providing our staff with immensely helpful editorial training and unprecedented financial support. And thank you to all who supported CAS, Core, and The Journal on Giving Day.

For this 2021 issue, we felt it important to collect and highlight responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and to preserve accounts of how the transition online impacted members of our learning community. In reply to our call for submissions, we received many dozens of essays, photos, and personal accounts. Some responses were academic in nature, offering intelligible answers grounded in perspicuous reasons that unbiased individuals can appreciate and possibly accept; others were more expressive, using artistic methods to transcend limits, which so often bear upon collegiate writing.

When reading these pages, it is our hope that you may be stimulated to ponder and to attempt to answer for yourself some of the great questions of human concern. The work of grappling with such questions, unavoidable and ultimate, is an important part of our profound enterprise of being in the world.

Transmitting peace and love on behalf of the entire editorial team,

Vanessa Hanger

Read and enjoy the issue online here. To request a print copy, please email the editors.

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