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Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Portal: Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, published two to three times a year, is “dedicated to the publishing of scholarly articles from practitioners of—and dissenters from—international, regional, area, migration and ethnic studies.” The aim of the editors of Portal is “to achieve a genuinely multidisciplinary mix of approaches to international studies by scholars working in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Cultural Studies, and by cultural producers working anywhere.” To add verisimilitude to that aim, material here may be published in English, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish, and the 34 member editorial advisory board adds to the journal’s international bona fides: they come from nearly every continent on earth.
The theme of the most recent issue currently available (Volume 11, Number 1, 2014) is Stigma and Exclusion in Cross-Cultural Contexts, with papers from a one-day symposium of the same name held at the University of Queensland in February 2013. These include essays on gender and sexuality (“‘The Ties that Bind Us’: The Hidden Knots of Gay Marriage,” and “Perceived Discrimination in LGBTIQ Discourse: A Typology of Verbal Discrimination”), stigmatization of various groups in a variety of ethnicities (“Self-Stigma, Perceived Stigma, and Help-Seeking Communication in People with Mental Illness,” “Stigmatising Others Through Neighbourhood Talk in Indonesia,” and “An Analysis of Literary Representations of Iranian Men in Diasporic Iranian Literature”), and relationships among exclusionary discourses, stigma and mass atrocities (“Words That Can Kill: The Mugesera Speech and the 1994 Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda,” “Hate Speech or Genocidal Discourse? An Examination of Anti-Roma Sentiment in Contemporary Europe,” “Incitement to Genocide against a Political Group: The Anti-Communist Killings in Indonesia,” and “Stigma, Trauma and the Social Forces Shaping Memory Transmission in Argentina”). There are also two general articles: “The New Real: Iggy Azalea and the Reality Performance” (which discusses the perceived authenticity of a female, white hip-hop artist from Australia) and “A Cultural Reading of a Chinese White-Collar Workplace Bestseller and its Filmic Adaptation: Li Ke’s A Story of Lala’s Promotion and Go Lala Go!”) followed by three creative pieces: “Rock Water Ladder Crónica,” “Teensy Ex-Africa Crónica,” and “Astral Logic Crónica,” which among them intertwine English, Spanish, and Afrikaans in their texts.
Themes of previous, recent issues include: Edible Alterities: Perspectives from La Francophonie, Australians Abroad, Politics and Aesthetics in China, and Imagined Transcultural Histories and Geographies. Some single issues achieve multidisciplinary international coverage; in some cases an issue will offer multidisciplinary materials for a single nation or region. Collectively the journal has focused on Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australia, and individual countries within those regions, along with international themes such as the transnational dimension of memory studies and negotiating differences in language and culture.
You will find scholarship here that might not fit into, or be included in, any other journal, and that fact, combined with the diversity of subjects and approaches, makes this a journal important for anyone working in cultural and related studies.