History students celebrate launch of The General

After three years with an online-only presence, The General has made its return to print.

The seventh edition of the undergraduate history journal was recently celebrated by Brock History students who came together to mark the occasion at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre.

“It’s all student work — the authors, peer reviewers, cover design artist, editors — we’re all students,” says Miria Pelletier, who co-edited the volume alongside fellow History student Alexandra Lewis. “We have the support of Brock’s librarians, Printing Services and Associate Professor Daniel Samson, but for the most part, this is student work, and students are so excited about it.”

Pelletier became involved with The General through her involvement in the Brock University Historical Society over the past four years.

In addition to learning the steps of journal publishing, from soliciting papers, managing peer review, and publishing print and digital versions, Pelletier and Lewis also had to learn Brock’s Open Journal System and teach it to their peer reviewers.

“As co-editors, we had to interact with so many different students,” Pelletier says. “It was kind of tricky navigating how we were going to fit things together. We stayed as organized as we could and stayed on top of it all semester.”

Supervised by Samson in the Department of History, Pelletier and Lewis also worked with Digital Scholarship Librarian Tim Ribaric to learn the digital journal system and publish the final digital edition. A print copy is also available in Archives and Special Collections within the Brock University Library.

“It was a real highlight to watch the journal progress and see everyone’s hard work pay off in the end,” says Lewis, who describes the process as stressful but fun. “We’re very proud of it.”

Samson says Lewis and Pelletier were a “super team.”

“We worked through a few learning processes together, but for the most part they were keen to figure it out on their own,” he says. “They succeeded beyond my best hopes. Two great editors crafted themselves in three short months.”

Because it had been three years since the journal was published in print, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lewis and Pelletier had to start from scratch to learn the print process and details.

They hope to encourage undergraduate students to get involved with The General  in the future, whether by submitting papers or doing peer review, which requires no previous experience.

“Just take the risk and submit your paper. It’s not as scary an experience as I thought it would be,” says Lewis, who regrets not submitting her own papers in past years. “It’s likely your paper will get chosen if you try hard and do the revisions. It’s worth trying.”

Both students will be returning to Brock next year to work on their education degrees and plan to apply what they have learned through this process, including communication skills and event organizing.

“We both really enjoyed this course and we really enjoyed Associate Professor Samson’s approach,” says Pelletier. “He gave us support but we had to figure things out on our own. It was the perfect amount of support, so we could really take the lead. Those are the skills I’m going to take with me.”

The launch event is available for viewing on the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre YouTube channel.

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