Accessible Academia: The Kings Review

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The Kings Review was set up at Cambridge as an online endeavour at first. Its aim was to make ideas grounded in rigorous scholarship accessible to a wider public. Our editors are mostly based in the academic environment – we are postgraduate students and young fellows – and often find themselves unhappy in academia as it stands.

As Ryan Rafaty writes in what has almost become our mission statement: After Nick Kristof wrote his February 15 New York Times column lamenting a  scholarly culture “that glorifies arcane unintelligibility while disdaining impact and   audience” and summoning academics that   “cloister [them]selves like medieval  monks” in ivory towers, the floodgates opened to a flurry of backlash and critical commentary.

The Kings Review is partly born out of this feeling of unintelligibility of academic work. Why is it that we have academia? What can academia to for a public? We might still be very young, without a career and too idealist to see the blunt reality before us – but with all honesty, this is part of our driving force: we want to translate what academia produces into accessible but analytical tools.

Our analyses go beyond news-reporting; most of our articles are less acute and timely than a feature in a daily newspaper. We like to take a little bit more time to think about an issue – not quite as much as an academic journal, however. Perhaps it might take us a couple of weeks before we have something to say on the crisis in Ukraine or the war in Palestine – but we make sure that what we publish is of high quality.

Our first focus is the content – not the quantity of our publications. Every piece is peer-reviewed by at least two of our editors and reviewers. Altogether, we are working with roughly 30 people on making every article worth reading.

Our contributors are academics, students and others – some working in Cambridge university, some not. We are interested in text-heavy, longform analyses as well as photography, illustration, poetry and music. Just now we are in the process of putting a little bit more emphasis on the arty side of things and revamp the format of a (shorter but regular) column to make our thoughts little bit more readable for the stressed urbanite.

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Since the Review was founded by graduate students and fellows a year and a half ago, our team of volunteer editors, reviewers and contributors has grown steadily, and the magazine’s readership has expanded rapidly. We have just printed our first saleable print issue and are selling it in 10 shops in London (among others the LRB shop, Foyles, Waterstones UCL and LSE and Housmans).

With the current call for submissions, we want to ignite a discussion which we think is worth furthering scrutinising: what does intimacy mean in today’s world? What forms of intimacy dominate our understanding? Pornography, for instance, is all over the place in both positive (liberating) and negative (e.g. revenge-porn) forms – and so this is a topic we shouldn’t avoid. But does this ‘in-your-face’ form of intimacy make us forget more subtle variants? Don’t people like cuddling anymore?

We are interested in displaying the variety of people’s ideas of intimacy (and potentially the lack of it) and search for contributions that address but don’t have to be limited to bodies, cybersex, rape, kissing or animals. What is your idea of intimacy? What aspect of it is worth further looking into? We are interested in articles (2000-4000 words) as well as photography, illustration, book reviews, poetry, short stories or music.

Articles should ideally be academically influenced without the overburdening sense of academic severity. References are not encouraged while hyperlinks are seen as a sign of engagedness.

We would be happy to receive an abstract / proposal from potential contributors at editors@kingsreview.co.uk.  You can get in touch first to see whether we would be interested in learning more about your topic. The best articles are going to be published in the next print issue due to appear in late September. The deadline for the abstracts is mid-August.

To find out more, click here to visit the website The Kings Review.

 

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