In summer 2015, the European migrant crisis became an item on the news. The people arriving in Europe became the object of frequent reports, comments and interviews. But most of them painted the same image of refugees in different shades of pity or negativity.
To treat them only with compassion, regrettably, often meant leaving their knowledge and expertise untouched and neglecting any intellectual discourse or meaningful exchange.
This showed a widespread disregard for the fact that most refugees brought much more to Europe than a bundle of clothes. Some brought their knowledge: in their native countries, they had been professors, students and researchers.
The journal was thus born of the idea that academia has a part to play in interpreting and responding to the crisis. Academics fleeing their homes and workplaces carry not only a lifetime of research in their discipline; they bear the fragments of their society’s dispersed intellectual and cultural traditions.
Since our launch, we have attempted to document and platform their thoughts, fears and aspirations as they negotiate their situation. Its primary mission: to champion intellectual discourse on an eye-to-eye level.
The first edition featured work from all over the world including Syria, Jordan and Ethiopia and covered diverse topics such as the schooling of children in Syria and linguistic pedagogy. It was self-published in 2016 through the generosity of the Act.Now GmbH who enabled a print run of 1500 hard copies. The Journal was initially distributed around Oxford and its colleges, and then found its way into the common rooms of LSE, UCL and other London universities as well as German institutions. Our readership was later extended with an online release that attracted attention in the US and Europe.
Around the time of the first edition, TJIS caught the attention of some news outlets including the BBC, Der Spiegel and NPR. In 2017, this led to an invitation from Dutch publisher Brill to join their open access collection.
This second edition published by Brill featured an equally diverse selection of academic endeavours and in particular, reflected the volatility in Turkey following the purge against academics. The second edition can be found on Brill’s website here.
The success of the first edition also enabled the launch of our sister publication Interruptions, a less formal blog that brings together the talents of Spanish photographers and Singaporean poets, each offering their reflection on forced migration and its meaning today. Interruptions is always looking for submissions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Journal of Interrupted Studies is published by Brill, Leiden.