After several years’ hiatus, the undergraduate journal for Sexual Diversity Studies–Hardwire–has returned! You can read the most recent issue of Hardwire here, and look forward to a print edition in circulation by the next school year.
Please give us a short introduction of yourselves, and how you got involved with the return of Hardwire after its hiatus.
Elsa: I’m a third year student majoring in Philosophy and Women & Gender studies and minoring in Bioethics. I’m personally very interested in the field of Sexual Diversity Studies and I find that it intersects heavily with all of my programs in different ways, so I was looking for a way to engage with SDS more actively. I also find student publishing really fascinating. When you’re an undergrad, you do so much work to produce so much writing, but it’s only ever read by your TA or professor. I think all the newspapers, journals and anthologies run by students are important in that they are a way to take the writing done by students seriously; they’re a way of saying that this is work well worth reading and engaging with. So, when I heard that SDS was looking for editors to revive their undergraduate journal, it seemed like a perfect confluence of two things I was really interested in – I emailed professor Moreau immediately.
Talia: I’m a second year undergraduate studying Political Science, Sexual Diversity Studies, and Women & Gender Studies. So far in my degree, I have been most engaged in, and interested by, the critical study of sexuality. I’ve also always believed strongly in the necessity of creating critical spaces of anti-oppressive work within academia, as academia is often a hierarchical space that publishes normative work. I am a queer person of colour and was especially interested in creating a space that was majority non-white within academia. The opportunity to both work more closely with pieces which critically analyze sexuality and craft a new space within academia was extremely exciting to me – I went to our first meeting with Professor Moreau and immediately took on a leadership position in the journal, working to schedule our next meetings and recruit a team of dedicated editors to take on the project.
Hogan: I am a third year undergrad studying Sexual Diversity Studies, Political Science, and Equity Studies. I also self-identify as a queer immigrant of colour. I first heard about Hardwire in Professor Julie Moreau’s class in September 2018. I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to engage with the SDS program as well as academia, which rarely has platforms for queer students and queer studies. As an English as Second Language (ESL) person, I was really nervous at first because I doubted my ability to be an editor. However, after a few meetings, we realized that running a journal is not just about editing. Therefore, I took on a social outreach + logistics role in the journal, focusing on marketing the journal and the call for submission.
Looking through the journal, your authors write from many disciplines beyond pieces from SDS classes, like from anthropology, English, political science, indigenous studies, women’s and gender studies, and neuroscience, to name just a few. Was this interdisciplinary approach intended from the beginning, or is this the product of what submissions you received?
Yes, as an editorial board grounded in multiple different disciplines, we saw sexuality as something that can be studied or engaged with from many different angles. We also thought it would be interesting for the journal to be a space where different approaches and different ways of thinking could be brought together, instead of creating an orthodoxy of what SDS is or should be. Everyone has some kind of very personal relationship to sexuality, and thus probably something meaningful to say about it. Finally, as Hardwire is one of the few critical journals on campus, we wanted to open it up to students from all disciplines.
Likewise, the journal has a variety of media, going beyond the typical (and excellent!) academic essays and including comics and poetry. How did you handle editing such different genres across the editorial board?
It was certainly a challenge! We tried to approach each piece individually, assess what the author was trying to do, and then improve them along those lines. We also did our best to make full use of the individual expertise of each of our editors, pairing them with pieces which would enable them to use the specialized knowledge they had from their studies or outside of school.
What did you find difficult about the editorial process? What did you find most rewarding?
The timeline was probably the most difficult thing. We ended up getting so many submissions that it was quite challenging to figure out a timeline while making time to read, select, and edit the pieces in a way that did them justice. But in the same vein, the most rewarding thing was reading all the pieces for the first time. When we started, we had no idea if anyone was even going to submit. Seeing that we had so many different and really good submissions was huge – that was when we knew that it was going to be a good issue.
To my understanding, all three of you will be returning as editors next year. What do you hope to do with Hardwire going forward, having revived its momentum? Are there any lessons learned from this year that you’d like to apply to the next issue?
Elsa: For me, one of the biggest goals is setting the journal up for the future. Judging by the number of submissions we got, there is clearly an interest in publishing this type of work, so it would be really sad if it all petered out again. Now that we know the basics of running a journal, it’s time to make sure that the editorial board has a very clear internal structure and a way of surviving from year to year.
Hogan: Recognition is one of the major goals that Hardwire would love to achieve. I think everyone, including editors and authors, did a wonderful job this year in terms of diversity and quality. Therefore, I hope more people can appreciate our work and enjoy reading the journal. Next year, we will promote the journal by any means – not just in the SDS department, but also around campus, or even outside UofT.
Talia: Judging from this year’s success, I believe wholeheartedly that the journal will continue on for many years to come. I’m now looking forward to finessing its execution and creating something really amazing. We’ve seen that interest in Hardwire is there: I’m now excited to go forward and create a journal that is more interdisciplinary, more radical, and showcases to an even greater degree the amazing work done by students on campus.