A new web-based student literary journal, "e.merging: Voices on the New Diasporas," launched this week at http://web.mit.edu/emerging.
Undergraduate students and faculty advisors with a mutual interest in exploring transcultural identity collaborated on "e.merging" beginning in the spring of 2004. The online journal will be published once each semester.
Isabelle de Courtivron, professor of foreign languages and literatures and director of the Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies, described the faculty experience that set the literary project in motion.
"In our writing and literature classes, we noticed that students were increasingly producing memorable short texts on issues related to their plural identities. We wanted to create a journal that would capture the wealth and diversity of these students' voices," de Courtivron said.
The first issue of "e.merging" includes short stories, poetry and creative non-fiction; artwork will appear in future editions. For students and faculty members on the "e.merging" staff, the launch date of the new journal represents hard work and hope for community recognition.
Sam Hwang, a senior in management and an "e.merging" student editor, said, "I think it's equally important for people with diasporic experiences to share their stories as well as people without these experiences to learn by listening to, and reading, these stories."
Faculty advisors shared the students' enthusiasm for "e.merging." Rebecca Faery, director of First Year Writing, said, "A lot of really excellent writing is done by students at MIT, and it is always a pleasure to find ways to let people know about and enjoy that writing. 'e.merging' fills a particularly important niche."
Another "e.merging" faculty advisor, Emma Teng Chung, who holds the Class of '56 Career Development chair and is associate professor in foreign languages and literatures, said, "I am delighted by the creation of a student journal giving voice to the varied perspectives of a new generation on issues of bilingual, bicultural and transnational identities."
Kaya Shah, a junior in earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences and an "e.merging" editor, described the early stages and subsequent pride she felt in the student literary project. "We initially had some trouble organizing the group and putting the entire website together," said Shah. "Now that we are about to launch, I am very proud of the group and I am amazed at all we have accomplished. Now that we have our framework together, it will be much easier to publish in the future," Shah said.
The advisors and editors of "e.merging" invite current students and recent graduates to contribute. Contributions to the next issue are welcome through Feb. 1, 2005.
"Many of our students define themselves as transnational, translingual and transcultural. The question of where home is remains an active and dynamic catalyst for reflection and creativity," de Courtivron said.
Ellen Liang, a junior in mathematics and a member of the "e.merging" editorial board, echoed de Courtivron's invitation. "This MIT student writing will show that there are writers among us, and I believe it can really inspire the words out of any techie," Liang said.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 10, 2004 (download PDF).