Students Launch Academic Journal for History Research

A group of eight students will launch Georgetown’s first academic journal dedicated to history articles written by undergraduate and graduate students in early 2016.

The Georgetown Journal of History, which will release its first online issue in the spring, will consist of research articles on history from students at Georgetown and universities across the country. The journal will be published online once a year.

Cole Horton (SFS ’18) founded the journal this year and serves as its editor-in-chief. Horton leads an editorial board of six other undergraduate students and one graduate student to produce the journal. The undergraduate students consist of a mix of history majors and members of Georgetown’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, a national honor society for students and professors of history.

The editorial board received support from the history department, which gave Horton approval to start the journal and provided funding and help with soliciting submissions. Director of Undergraduate Studies in the History Department Tommaso Astarita will also help with editing articles.

The journal is seeking work from around 30 undergraduate institutions across the country, with preference given to submissions from Georgetown students. The journal will only accept graduate submissions from Georgetown graduate students. Submissions are open until Jan. 1, 2016.

Horton said he initially conceived the idea when he tried to publish his own history articles.

“After speaking with [my professor], I realized that Georgetown did not have an academic journal of history, which I was surprised about, because you would think that a university in D.C. would be in one of the strongest positions to solicit history [articles], just because of the city and Georgetown’s history itself,” Horton said.

Horton said undergraduate students are often at a disadvantage when trying to publish their work, as they are often competing against submissions from graduate students and scholars.

“One of the benefits of having an undergraduate journal is that you’re opening it up to students who have really great work, and just because of the nature of publishing in academic journals across the country, are often not prioritized in the publication process,” Horton said.

Justin Abello (COL ’17), a member of the editorial board, said the online nature of the journal and its focus on undergraduate articles will make the publication more accessible to undergraduate readers.

“We’re not just focusing on extensive research papers from graduate students or seniors. We’re also looking at those seven- to 10-page essays that someone might have written for a history course during their sophomore year,” Abello wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We think both types of pieces are able to make great contributions to the publication.”

Horton said that the journal will accept articles from history students from a range of backgrounds, including those in introductory courses.

“We think that that’s going to be a neat opportunity to involve an audience, a younger group of students that are not involved in any other journal that I know of,” Horton said.

Astarita praised the journal for providing students with the opportunity to become further involved in the academic community.

“I think it’s an interesting way to motivate students to sort of take some initiative in both their own learning but also kind of a community building of knowing what other history students are doing both here and elsewhere,” Astarita said.

Astarita also said that the journal’s editorial staff will benefit from the experience.

“For those who will be involved either as writers or as editors, it’s a kind of a professional experience of research and academic work that may not be directly related to all of their careers but will be a useful added skill that they will get to practice,” Astarita said.

Natalie Smith (GRD ’16), a student on the editorial board who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in global, international and comparative history, said the journal will connect history students in Georgetown with those in other universities.

“It will also be a venue where students from other schools can have their work published so it will create a great network of budding historians between Georgetown and other universities,” Smith wrote in an email to The Hoya.

Smith said the journal offers students an opportunity to develop skills that historians use.

“I think the journal will be a great opportunity for Georgetown students to showcase some of their work, get experience writing for [a] publication, working with editors … which is what a lot of being a historian is about so it’s great practice,” Smith wrote.

Leyla Izquierdo (COL ’18), who is currently enrolled in a history course, said the journal would complement existing history education by allowing students to learn about a variety of topics.

“I think it’s a great way to get other students informed on important events that happened in history without having to take the actual course,” Izquierdo said. “Exemplar papers would provide accurate information to students and thus enhance a student’s learning experience.”


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