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Grad student journal to foster LGBTQ+ community

Undone: A Legacy of Queer (Re)imaginings to explore “Queering Across Borders” in first issue

Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

This September will see the release of the inaugural issue of Undone: A Legacy of Queer (Re)imaginings, a new journal created by graduate students that “encourage(s) community building and community development among queer and trans graduate students” at Brown, said Je-Shawna Wholley, the assistant director of the LGBTQ Center and the managing editor of the journal.    

The journal will be published annually online, said Majida Kargbo GS, one of Undone’s two editors-in-chief. “We’re excited that it’s a digital space because we want to be able to publish innovative work, things that aren’t just academic essays. So, we have visual arts, audio and short stories,” she said.

“The (journal’s) theme this year is ‘Queering Across Borders,’ and it’s a call for us to think about queerness … beyond a Western framework,” Wholley said, and defined queerness as “non-heterosexual and non-heterocentric.”

Undone shares the theme “Queering Across Borders” with the LGBTQ Center’s Legacy Series, she added.

Undone’s editorial staff will accept submissions for the inaugural issue until May 4, said Hilary Rasch GS, an editor-in-chief at Undone. Rasch added that submissions are stripped of names before being reviewed by Kargbo and herself. The approved selections are then distributed among content editors at the journal, she added.

Currently, the editors plan to publish between seven and 10 selections in the inaugural issue, Kargbo said. While Undone prioritizes submissions from grad students at the University, it will also accept selections from grad students at other universities as well as local scholars, activists and community members not tied to academic institutions.

After noticing the absence of a community among graduate students encouraging scholarship that explores self-expression and identity, Kargbo said she was inspired to create a publication to address this problem. The idea to create Undone “came from envisioning what I would have wanted out of a graduate community when I was in my earlier years at Brown, and that was a much stronger community around scholarship and support around thinking about these sorts of ideas,” Kargbo said.

Kargbo added that she hoped the publication could also help remedy a lack of exclusive spaces for grad students at the University. “We don’t have graduate centered spaces at Brown and so one reason for this coming into being was to create one such space.”

To foster a greater sense of community among grad students, Undone invites submissions from individuals across a wide variety of disciplines, Kargbo said. “I’m an interdisciplinary scholar. I really wanted to be able to think with other people in other disciplines and across mediums. I don’t really get to have contact with everyone all the time,” she added.

Undone also works to facilitate professional development among grad students who might not be familiar with the process of submitting work or research to an academic journal, Wholley and Kargbo said. “We thought that this would be a great way to help them, like a low-stakes introduction into what it means to submit to an academic journal. But we also wanted this journal to be a space that’s an intellectual community for people to talk about radical ideas and not be too caught up in the ‘academic standards,’” Wholley said.

Undone’s staff uses the term “journal” to describe the publication “quite loosely” because there are “fine parameters in use in the academic world about what a journal is and can be and we want this to be a hybrid space,” Kargbo said.

“That is partly how we came to call it Undone. We want to sort of undo certain kinds of logics but also how we expect to learn these things. Sometimes you don’t need a 20-page essay to get at the heart of something,” she added.