Letter from the Faculty Director, Fall 2016

Welcome back to Apollon for Volume 6! We are delighted to bring you the final issue from our stalwart editor for the past two years, Abby Palmer, whom we will dearly miss. This issue is dedicated to you, Abby: it represents the best of her very hard work. Our updated website platform continues to evolve -- keep an eye out for the launch of our podcast series, and with any luck, we hope 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. 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.

As you will recall, Plutarch made famous Cato the Elder's obsession with destroying Carthage to protect Rome during the era of the Punic Wars. Cato was so convinced of the threat that, Plutarch suggests, he turned to propaganda by ending all of his speeches with the same exhortation to war: "Carthago delenda est," or "I am also of the opinion that Carthage should be destroyed." As we watch the humanities become defensive, I think our call to arms should be as convincing as Cato's. Our students do amazing work -- at every possible occasion let's remind those who overlook us that we inhabit dear territory, and it should be defended: following Cato, I am also of the opinion that the humanities should rise up.

Our review process for submissions for Volume 7 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 7 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 2016 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!

One final note -- I will be on sabbatical during the 2016-17 academic year (small cheers still bubble up from within me when I think about that), so our editorial crew will be slightly more independent next year. Ethan, David, Jess, Miranda, Ozvaldo, and perhaps some other ne'er-do-anything-but-wells will take the reins. If you want to support them by contributing to our mission, now would be a great time to let us know about that.

With All My Best,

Jason E. Cohen
Faculty Director of Apollon
Soon-to-be-Associate Professor of English | Berea College