The General history journal celebrates undergraduate excellence

With articles ranging from Cadbury’s chocolate, table manners, the Great Fire of London and the War of 1812, the fifth annual edition of Brock University’s journal The General highlights some of the best work by this year’s undergraduate students from the Department of History.

“Being published in The General always means a lot to young academics,” says fourth-year history student Kaitlyn Carter, who co-edited the journal with fellow student Malcolm Cavanagh. “I think this year the journal means just a little bit more, especially to graduating students.”

While the launch party had to be cancelled and printing of physical copies had to be delayed due to pandemic restrictions, the journal is now available online through the Brock Library.

“This year’s edition allowed us to still recognize the hard work of talented students in the History department, even with the unfortunate end to the school year,” says Carter. “For myself, as a graduating student, it also felt a little bit like a last hurrah at Brock, a place I have called home for four years.”

The General: The Brock University Undergraduate Journal of History is the result of an experiential history course HIST 4P70 Seminar in Academic Editing, which has just finished its fifth year. The project is also supported by the students of the Brock University Historical Society, who often become reviewers or editors.

Each year, two fourth-year honours undergraduate history students are chosen from applicants to assume the roles of editors-in-chief. The students are responsible for all aspects of producing the journal, from soliciting undergraduate papers, selecting papers for inclusion through blind peer-review process, completing all proofreading and submitting the master copy for publication by the University’s Digital and Printing Services. The journal’s cover art is chosen through a competitive process in February.

“The entire process is really one that brings together the faculty of the Department of History and undergraduate students in history and the humanities more broadly,” says Associate Professor Gregor Kranjc, who oversaw this year’s iteration. “Not only does it showcase top-notch student scholarship as well as the practical efficiency of our editors-in-chief, but it also puts the spotlight on an artist from Brock University, and hones valuable editing skills of the students who assist in reviewing the chosen articles.”

The students also work with Tim Ribaric of the University’s Digital Scholarship Lab to navigate the online journal system for soliciting and uploading submissions and communicating with authors.

“It was an honour to compile the work of my talented peers into one collection,” says Carter, “and acting as co-editor-in-chief taught me a lot about the publishing process.”

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