By Neale McDevitt and Pascal Zamprelli
A journal whose time has come: Girlhood Studies is world-first
It is difficult to open a copy of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (GHS) and not get a sense of the enormous tragedy that shrouds the project and, precisely because of that tragedy, the equally enormous import of the undertaking. The brainchild of McGill professors Claudia Mitchell, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh and Jackie Kirk, the peer-reviewed journal was to be the first in the world to cover issues of girlhood and to disseminate research on the subject.
But, literally as the first issue was going to print in August of 2008, Kirk was killed in a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan, along with two other aid workers and their driver while working for the International Rescue Committee. Kirk’s offence? She was trying to establish much-needed schools for girls of the region.
“Without Jackie there would be no journal,” said Mitchell, James McGill Professor at the Faculty of Education. “Now the journal stands as a tribute to her vision and dedication.”
Published twice a year, GHS seeks to explore girls’ lives by bringing together contributions from and initiating dialogue among people with perspectives that range from medical and legal practice, ethnographic inquiry, philosophical reflection, historical investigations, literary, cultural and media research to curriculum design and policy-making. “One of the real keys for us is this cross-disciplinary approach,” said Mitchell. “We want this to be as broad a discussion as possible.”
Although the fledgling journal is the first of its kind, Mitchell stressed that it isn’t because there was a lack of material. “Girlhood studies have been ongoing for years,” she said. “There is a vast body of research out there. So much so, in fact, that we’ve already got themes for issues right through 2010.”
Fittingly, the third issue of GHS will be devoted to current research projects in the field of education in conflict and post-conflict situations – a field Jackie Kirk helped pioneer.
The second issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal will be published later this month. For further information, including subscriptions and submissions, go to journals.berghahnbooks.com/ghs/.
Poli Sci students launch new foreign affairs journal
Those in the McGill community with a passion for international politics will be happy to know they have some new reading material available on campus, courtesy of a group of political science students who have launched the McGill Foreign Affairs Review.
Associated with the Political Science Student Association, the entirely student-run journal’s inaugural issue covers a variety of topics at the forefront of global geopolitical debate, from the Georgia/Russia conflict to George W. Bush’s legacy.
“The focus is on getting McGill students interested, involved and engaged with international politics and international affairs,” said Head Editor Adrienne Klasa, who added, however, that she hopes professors, parents, and other university communities might eventually be interested in taking a look.
Most submissions come from students, but the editors plan to solicit content from professors and professionals as well. Their first such attempt was an impressive success, yielding an exclusive piece on Europe and globalization from Bernard Kouchner, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. “He likes to be able to speak directly to the younger generation,” Klasa said. “It took us a while to get through to him directly, but he was very happy to do something.”
In fact, the journal’s editors see their publication as a place where student-provided content can coexist with articles from the likes of Kouchner; a place where student opinions “can be seen as equally valid as those of professionals and academics because we’re putting them on an even platform with people who have a lot of experience in the field.”
The publication offers students a different way to learn about the subjects they’re interested in as opposed to “being talked at and lectured at,” Klasa said. “This is an opportunity, now that we have some knowledge, to really engage in the issues, to battle it out for ourselves and figure out what we really think.”
The journal’s website will soon be up at www.mcgillfar.com. Until then, copies can be obtained at the Architecture Café, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.