For many college students, summer is an academic detox period, when the drudgery of schoolwork is temporarily replaced by the drudgery of a part-time, unpaid, data-entry internship. But for some, the specter of the ivory tower cannot be ignored for 16 straight weeks.
Hence the meeting last summer between fourth-years in the College Natalie Brown and Margaret Ryznar to create the Chicago Scholarly Review (CSR), the University's only undergraduate academic journal for the humanities and social sciences.
"I conceived of forming the CSR last year when I went to the English B.A. reading and realized how good the papers were and how nice it would be to share them to the larger undergraduate community," Brown said. She met Ryznar, an English and economics major, over the summer when they were staying in Hyde Park. They began to discuss the lack of opportunities for students in the humanities and social sciences to share their work with each other.
"We were very surprised that our university, so renowned for research, did not provide students the opportunity to pursue their academic work to its logical conclusionsharing critical papers with peers through publishing," Ryznar said.
Added Brown, "Until we founded the CSR, there were many creative journals on campus, but no outlets to publish critical, academic papers except for the Humanities [Colloquium], which only caters to first-years."
Another advantage of the CSR is the independence it gives students from professor-driven topics and formats. "It is purely student-run and created for a student readership, and I think that is what makes it unique," said Rachel Stein, a third-year international studies major and staff member of the CSR.
The website for the CSR, at www.uchicagosr.com, is bordered with photographs of famous University alumni, such as Carol Moseley-Braun, Saul Bellow, and Susan Sontag, and introduced with the journal's stated purpose: "to foster interdisciplinary discussion amongst undergraduates in the humanities and social sciences." To that end, the staff of the CSR is making an effort to select papers that will spark interest among its readers and establish its reputation among the student body.
And according to Ryznar, several papers of reputable quality have already been submitted, "confirming that we are indeed filling an important void on campus," she said. As the February 15 deadline for submissions approaches, Ryznar and Brown hope that more students will submit to the journaleither with, in Brown's words, "well-written, original papers" written for a class or specifically for the journal, or with cover art and photographs.
"We look forward to publishing a journal that appeals in some way to every U of C undergraduate reader," Ryznar said.
The first issue will hit campus in early April. After that, the CSR hopes to begin publishing semi-annually, and will accept submissions "on a rolling basis until the announced deadlines approach."