Academy journal starts new online review site

Public Culture, an interdisciplinary journal of cultural studies that is published several times a year, officially launched its online affiliate earlier this month.

Titled Public Books, the online review “supports an internatinoal community of emerging and established intellectuals and artists committed to vigorous debate about works and ideas that deserve timely, intesive discussion,” according to its mission statement.

Caitlin Zaloom, a professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and co-editor of the nonfiction section of the magazine, said Public Books aim to activate a community of scholars and writers and activists engaging in questions about new, exciting and emerging trends and thoughts.

“This journal is about exploring how we know, what we know and why we see what we see,” Zaloom said.

The site features a schedule of events, including discussions, lectures and web-design
sessions, for people to attend.

It also provides a platform of debates and commentaries on books, as well as discussions about graphic novels and Visual Essays — a series of photographs designed to question the way people view current topics or elements of society.

Public Books is trying to appeal to an Internet audience, primarily young people, who are looking for a little more insight into culturally relevant material, according to its website. It does so through achieving a balance between old-fashioned, print academic journals and Internet forums. In fact, the website updates once a month like a magazine and maintains the occasionally complex language of an in-depth literary review but remains accessible to readers outside the upper echelon of academia.

The site has also received rave reviews from the Toronto Review of Books and author Lauren Elkin.

But students said they do not have the time to hold an in-depth consideration of literature.

“I honestly can’t see myself checking the site everyday because as awful as it sounds, I don’t read books for leisure as often as I should,” CAS freshman Yasmine Panah said.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 18 print edition. Margaret Eby is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]