The Collegian
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Students organize academic journal focusing on gender and sexuality studies

A group of University of Richmond students is working to organize the launch of a publication comprising articles, poetry and art work related to women, gender and sexuality studies that are submitted by Richmond students.

The staff of the journal, called "Inquiries," includes a seven-member student editorial board, led by executive editor Jason Tseng, a senior women, gender and sexuality studies major who worked on the staff of McGill University's women's studies journal while studying abroad. "Inquiries" is the first academic journal to be published on campus, and it plans to incorporate articles submitted by students throughout the next two months.

After returning from McGill, Tseng presented his idea to start the journal to Richmond's women, gender and sexuality studies advisory board and has since organized the publication's seven-student publication board.

"I think the most common reaction I got after presenting it to the board was 'Why did it take so long for this to happen?'" Tseng said. "I really hope that something like 'Inquiries' will start a trend, not only for students to get engaged in a scholarly discourse, but also for other publications on campus that are concentrating on their specific disciplines to happen."

Scheduled for release during late March or early April, "Inquiries" will be published both in hard copy and online. The editorial board plans to publish the journal annually, accepting submissions only from Richmond students.

For the first publication, all submissions will have been reviewed before Feb. 22, the date of a women, gender and sexuality studies student conference that will include a number of workshops, providing students with the opportunity to present their work and receive feedback from attendees at the conference, which is open to all Richmond students.

Although Tseng said he recognized the types of audiences journals such as "Inquiries" would typically attract, he said he hoped the journal would be read by all students, faculty and staff.

"I guess there's an assumption that because 'Inquiries' includes gender and sexuality studies, it's going to be exclusively leftist and radical, and those assumptions aren't all together false because those are the types of people we'd probably attract," Tseng said.

"But I do welcome conservative voices or people who are deeply invested in traditional gender roles who would like to submit an opinion article about that. What 'Inquiries' is about is creating discussions for people."

Although a number of departments publish newsletters, if printed, "Inquiries" would be the first academic journal published by Richmond students. In order to be considered an official university publication, the journal must be approved by the publications board and administration. According to Bridget Needham, president of the Westhampton College Government Association and member of the publications board, the journal is not an official university publication, and therefore it cannot use the name of the university in its title unless it receives approval before publication.

"It's been a long, long time - almost 33 years - since we approved a new publication," said Max Vest, director of Student Activities, who noted that the last official publication to be approved by the university was "Juris Publici," the student publication of the T. C. Williams School of Law. Although an exact date of the law school publication's inaugural edition could not be determined, Kristine Henderson, associate dean of student services for the law school estimated that it has been published since 1974.

"The main thing is that we need to be sure that copyright laws are taken care of to protect the people who have written the articles," Vest said.

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And even though Tseng said he "has had to deal with a lot of red tape" since he began organizing "Inquiries," including funding limitations and finding interested students who have had experiences working with publications in the past, he added that he was excited about the opportunity to begin the journal.

"I'm just really honored at the opportunity to head something like this," Tseng said. "I've been involved with a lot of different activism and organizations on campus through various sorts of equality initiatives, and we haven't always seen the kind of fruition or success with all of the organizations we've been looking for. So I'm very cognizant of the fact that "Inquiries" might not be successful in future years, but I just wanted to try"

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