Four Years Later
By Jennifer Jennings '04
in its fourth year of publication, Meridians: feminism, race,
transnationalism is a vibrant, crossdisciplinary journal
that provides a forum for creative and scholarly work by and
about women of color. Since its inception, Meridians has
grown into a diverse,
broad-reaching journal with increasing visibility.
Meridians Senior Editor Myriam J. A. Chancy arrived at Smith
in 2002 with the ambitious goal of opening the journal to
an even broader audience -- one
that is not solely academic. One way she has sought to do this is by using more
artwork. Last spring's issue includes cover art by Gabriela Munoz, and
the upcoming spring issue will feature a photo essay. Cover art is in itself
unusual in an academic journal. "I wanted to make it a more inviting product,
so that when they (the consumers) pick up Meridians they feel good about what
they are picking up," Chancy explains.
Meridians features the work of such
well-established scholars and writers as Angela Davis, Lucille Clifton and
Maryse Condé as well as authors who
are young or relatively unknown or unpublished. The journal publishes essays,
poems, short fiction and interviews; all submissions go through an extensive
peer review process before being accepted for publication. Covering an array
of topics, recent issues included an article by Sonia Alvarez, "Translating
the Global: Effects of Transnational Organizing on Local Feminist Discourses
and Practices in Latin America," as well as a memoir, "Dreaming
in the Delta," by Kristal Brent Zook.
The process of producing a biannual
journal is continuous, Chancy explains, with three issues of Meridians in
different stages of production at all times.
submission is read by two peer reviewers, and if there is a disagreement
between them, an additional reviewer will be added. The entire
review process takes
from three to five months.
Meridians was founded in 1996 as a joint
project of Smith College and Wesleyan University, with the
of former Smith President Ruth
Simmons. The first issue was produced in fall 2000, with a substantial grant
Ford Foundation, by a Smith/Wesleyan editorial collective chaired by Susan
Van Dyne, professor of women's studies at Smith. When Meridians began,
the board decided that initially the journal should be directed by two outside
editors who would each serve two-year terms, to provide expertise and guidance.
Kum-Kum Bhavnani, a sociologist from the University of California at Santa
Barbara, was the first senior editor. Chancy is the second. She will finish
her term in
2004, and editorial duties will be assumed by a member of the Smith faculty.
associate professor of English at Arizona State University, Chancy is also
teaching in the women's studies department at Smith during her stay
as editor. She is not only a writer and scholar but also a photographer.
further promote visibility, Meridians sponsored a reading series by Carribean
women authors in October. "Voices from Hispaniola: Haiti and the
Dominican Republic" featured writers Edwidge Danticat, Loida Maritza
Nelly Rosario and Chancy. The Ford Foundation sponsored the event with
cooperative and International Childcare as informal sponsors. This spring
Meridians will present another event titled "Women of Color, Welfare
and Access to Higher Education."
Meridians is now being published
by Indiana University Press and will be included in its online publication
group "Project Muse," which will further
increase its visibility and opportunities to reach new subscribers.