As we have been routinely told since the start of COVID-19, this past year has been unprecedented. It is only becoming more strange as we try to incorporate masks and Zoom classes into our new “normal.” However, through it all, Duke students have continued to create, produce and connect. Students’ shared sense of community and regard for the arts remain unchanged by the events of the past year. Through short stories, essays, poetry, photography, visual and digital art, students on and beyond Duke’s campus have found creative outlets to express their thoughts and emotions. This includes the wealth of publications that Duke students have founded. Here are four student-run publications to look out for this semester.
If you found yourself scrolling through The Coop’s Instagram page this past summer, you’re not alone. The Coop, created by sophomores Claire Kraemer and Riley Hicks last year, is an online publication meant to provide female-identifying students with a platform to write about their experiences and interests.
Coop writer and sophomore Kellyn McDonald has enjoyed having a space in which she can connect with other female-identifying students and write about her personal interests.
“The creators… were really trying to create a space for women, by women,” McDonald said in an interview. “At Duke, sometimes we are lacking the really strong network of women that I think we need to thrive. I think that The Coop is a really cool way for us to have an outlet to literally just post anything we want.”
The publication is writer-focused, rather than reader-focused. It gives its writers the reigns and allows them to write and post about topics of their choosing. Kramer and Hicks are also committed to ensuring that the writers have all the support and resources they need to start new posts and projects. McDonald, who is starting her own podcast this year, summed up the Coop’s atmosphere: “It’s just nice to have a place for us.”
The Coop is looking to do more podcasting and host more community building activities for women involved with the publication this spring.
Senior Preethi Kannan and junior Parvathi Kumar decided to start a literary magazine last fall when they realized that there were no campus publications focused on South Asian culture and experiences. Literature, the arts and the humanities are not considered as valuable as STEM fields in many South Asian cultures, and Kannan and Kumar wanted to change that. Thali, a South Asian-centered literary magazine, was born out of this ambition.
“The main objective is about who you are. [South Asian students] share a similar culture, but all have different experiences,” Kumar said in an interview. “Everyone has different experiences with combining their two identities [South Asian and American], so the objective is to be able to express your side of things.”
While Thali primarily includes pieces of literature and art produced by South Asian students, it is open to submissions from students of all backgrounds who have stories to tell about their experiences and struggles with culture and identity. Thali’s main goal this spring is to publish its first edition and to become more interactive.
“We want to make [Thali] a place for literary, analytical and artistic discussions,” Kumar said. “A platform to talk about anything that affects the South Asian community or public issues.”
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The Muse was created by Sabriyya Pate (T ‘19) and senior Abby Kingsley in 2018 in the wake of the #MeToo movement. It promotes an accepting and collaborative environment where students can explore feminism, femininity, social justice and intersectionality.
Junior Samantha Su, the publication’s editor-in-chief, believes that The Muse created a much-needed space for female-identifying students and students interested in learning about feminism at Duke, specifically first-years who may be overwhelmed by application-based student organizations.
“The Muse aims to represent female identifying students and to empower female voices,” Su said in an email. “Our goal is to create a platform in which readers can learn more about the feminism and the female perspective, whether it be specific to Duke or with a more global lens.”
The Muse is looking to expand their horizons this spring by adding writers to their team in the next few weeks.
Juhood Magazine is an online student publication focused on the Middle East and North African (MENA+) community and their experiences at Duke. Juhood also includes an academic journal of Middle Eastern Studies that is published twice a year. Duke undergraduates edit submissions to both the online magazine and academic journal.
Juhood magazine was actually founded on Duke’s campus in 2009 and ran until 2013, after which it was not published again for five years. A group of undergraduates took it upon themselves to restart and revamp the publication in 2018. Today, Juhood Magazine is consistently updated with submissions from members of the Duke community.
According to the publication’s website, its mission is to “build an inclusive community of diverse individuals united by a desire to engage with MENA+ studies, empower students from and/or interested in the MENA+ region with a platform to showcase their work and inspire creativity and curiosity to curate … historically-driven, nuanced perspectives on the region.”