Letter from the Faculty Director, Summer 2017

Welcome back to Apollon for Volume 7! This issue sees the passing of the torch from our senior crew -- Ethan, David, Guin, Dylan, Lydia (soon!) -- whose work has shaped this publication for the past several years. Our updated website platform continues to evolve -- keep an eye out for the launch of our podcast series in the fall, and with any luck, our new music critic, Emily, hopes to launch a limited music stream in the coming year as well. Our appreciation continues to flow for our web guru, Michael Startzman -- www.michaelstartzman.com -- whose design vision and support has continued to assist this site well beyond the moment when he could have walked away from it. Michael has a new bagel-centric focus (see his new gig at Native Bagel), but we think that an infusion of bagels, cream cheese and caffeine can only be positive. Good luck, Michael. 

Our issue this season is optimistic: at the apex of our work with undergraduate research in all of its variety across the Appalachian region and beyond, we find ourselves regularly astonished by the nuanced thinking and articulate voices that shape the contributions we receive. Our journal is rooted in the curiosity our authors bring to us from institutions stretch our reach from Virginia’s mountains to the beaches of California, from small liberal arts colleges to research universities, and across the full range of humanistic inquiry in undergraduate research.

On a personal note, I was recently awarded an NEH Humanities Connections Grant for curriculum development at Berea College, and I look forward to exploring how the new core of courses in the digital and computational humanities that the grant will facilitate can connect with and extend the work we do here. It is imperative that we fight for the continued vitality of the humanities and its funding. I stand for that, and I hope you will stand with me as we see ever more excellent work showcased here, particularly as it runs against the grain of the prevailing narratives about the failures of the humanities to serve the emerging world of information. The humanities, I submit, gives us precisely the tools we need to better understand and more effectively engage in our complex worlds.

Perhaps you will recall the comment in Truth and Method by Hans Georg Gadamer, "For him in motion, the horizon shifts continually." This has been my experience during my current sabbatical as I reflect on the evolutions we have seen in this publication over the past years. May such an evolving perspective continue to be our fortune to generate, despite its occasional moments of vertigo.

Our review process for submissions for Volume 8 will be under way in the fall for release by the end of the semester (fingers crossed), and we hope to have decisions out by the beginning of October for that issue. The call for work for Volume 8 was just announced. You can find details about the journal, including our submission and review processes, by following our Submit and About links, or by checking out the FAQ.

As the Director, my mission remains steady: I aim to gather original and challenging undergraduate research in order to foster cross-disciplinary engagement with texts, images, and events, and consequently, to develop a sustained and intellectually forward conversation at the undergraduate level about the meaning, value, and function of our culture in all of its manifestations. Moreover, I push my undergraduate editorial staff to interview, discover, record, edit, and draw on the best resources available so that we can disseminate undergraduate research projects in the humanities at their best: our series of Audio and Video Matters (AVM) highlights conversations with noted speakers, the Art Matters archive features important art from the collections, InVox Editorials present shorter-form journalism on timely events, and we hope soon to launch two new concepts: (1) Civic Matters, discussions about local and national public policy issues, and (2) Sound Matters, short reports from the sound archives. Let us know if you -- professors and students -- would like to join us in any of those ventures!

We will have even more new and challenging material to show you in the Fall 2017 semester, so come back soon. Keep an eye out for our updates on Facebook, and on Twitter we are @apollonejournal. Our Youtube stream (AVM on our site) is apollonejournal, and we’ve just launched an Apollon eJournal Instagram feed to focus on our visual content as well. We’re looking forward to showing you our theme song on all the new AVM videos...and I think it might be worth watching those just to hear our acoustic version of The Pixies’ classic, “Where is my Mind?”

Please do not hesitate to contact me or our editors with any questions or suggestions for our future editions. We look forward to hearing from you!

With All My Best,

Jason E. Cohen
Faculty Director of Apollon
Associate Professor of English | Berea College