Although the deadline for submissions is still two weeks out, the second annual issue of the Bowdoin Journal of Art has already received more than 100 papers, three times as many as it did last year.
The student-run Bowdoin Journal of Art is currently the only academic journal dedicated to art history essays written by undergraduate students. It is overseen by the Bowdoin Art Society, a student organization founded two years ago.
Tom Rosenblatt ’16, a founder of the Art Society and of its new publication, said he was inspired to launch the Journal to provide a platform for high-quality scholarly papers by students. He said that while the audience for most college essays is just one person — the professor — “students are still producing insightful work that could contribute to the way people are thinking about art.”
To try to amass more submissions for the 2016 issue, Bowdoin Journal of Art editor Arianna Cameron ’16 reached out to art history departments at the top 150 universities and colleges across the United States and in Great Britain. She sent emails introducing the Journal and encouraging students to submit their work.
Cameron, an art history major, said she joined the Journal of Art’s editorial staff because she welcomed the chance to give students who produce thoughtful work more recognition. “Art criticism is such an interesting field,” she said, adding that she believed undergraduates bring unique perspectives to it.
Starting in January, peer reviewers will begin judging the essays. At the moment, the reviewers are mostly Bowdoin students who have volunteered to read papers about art history areas they’re most familiar with, Cameron explained. The Bowdoin Journal of Art accepts pieces about art of any medium and from any era. Besides having to be written in English, there are few other major restrictions.
“Papers should demonstrate intimate knowledge of art history and theory, and present a unique perspective on the subject considered,” Rosenblatt said. There is no cap on the number of papers the Journal of Art will publish, he added, although last year it ran 16, about half of the total submissions.
Two faculty members have served as advisors to the Journal, Professor of Art Pamela Fletcher and Assistant Professor of Art and Asian Studies Peggy Wang. Last year, Fletcher convinced the student editorial team to publish the Journal online rather than in print, so as to reduce costs and increase flexible in terms of paper lengths and illustrations, according to Rosenblatt. Wang counseled the editorial team on the process of peer reviewing.
Cameron said she’s hoping that in time the Bowdoin Journal of Art becomes a helpful resource for students. “I think it will take off in this next edition,” she anticipated. “My hope is that this is just the beginning.”