You are entering Cosmopolitanism, the first online issue of Mandala Journal. A process of strategic re-visioning guided the current incarnation of the journal, and serendipity after serendipity inflected and shaped the result. The collective heart, intellect, and sweat equity of a volunteer crew of predominantly undergraduate students, supported in their mission by the Institute for African American Studies, created a thrilling chemistry, and with much enthusiasm, I welcome you to the 2009-2010 issue of Mandala Journal.
By taking online what was formerly a "100 print-run," locally distributed journal, we are able to offer the journal to anyone and everyone with a computer terminal and a web connection. The user-interface is designed to work well on computers that may or may not be the snazziest machines on the market. By increasing access to the journal and thereby increasing our audience, we are also able to offer you a greater breadth of voices. You will find in the following pages, the work of internationally renowned poets, writers, artists, and thinkers from across North America, the African diaspora, and beyond, in conversation with the work of emerging writers and the work of elementary school students.
Our theme this year — Cosmopolitanism — has both been a fitting frame for this transition in scope and vision, and it has driven the transition. When nonfiction editor and blog team lead, Whitney Johnson, suggested it and mentioned that she'd spent the past summer at Princeton, where she was introduced to Kwame Anthony Appiah and his thinking about cosmopolitanism, we upped the ante of expectations for what we would deliver to you this year. "Cosmopolitanism, 2009-2010" explores questions about what it means to be simultaneously rooted in the various identities that create our individual selves and connected inextricably to the world at-large.
From various angles, the journal examines what it means to be at home in the world. At its core, this perspective is defined by a celebration of diversity, and you will find that we define diversity broadly. We celebrate and include diverse voices, experiences, definitions, histories, levels of engagement, and kinds of aesthetics. Moreover, through the Mandala Journal blog, we invite you to add your own voice to the conversation.
Although the content of the 2009-2010 online issue will remain static for the duration of the theme year, the blog — and your participation in it — will serve to deepen and nuance the discussion. We hope that you will consider "Cosmopolitanism, 2009-2010" the starting point for an adventure that will continue throughout the theme year with dialog, interviews, and new content added regularly to the blog by our staff and by you.
On behalf of the entire Mandala Journal staff and the Institute for African American Studies at The University of Georgia, I invite you to experience the journal from beginning to end, to sample from its pages at random, and to return to the site regularly as both a reader of, and a participant in, the Mandala Journal blog.
Welcome to the conversation and the community!
Ashley David is a doctoral student in English. Her poems and essays have appeared in Alimentum, Center, The Greensboro Review, Hanging Loose, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, The Offending Adam, The Southern Review, Verse, and Women's Studies Quarterly. Op-ed features on education, the environment, and social justice have appeared in The Flagpole, and as the graduate assistant for the Institute for African American Studies at UGA, she founded and directs the Writers in the Schools program for Clarke County school children.