Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Contingent Horizons is a particularly well-produced and likeable open access student journal that comes to us from York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The editorial board / collective of students who founded the journal spent a month together in Athens in 2013, engaging in “intensive learning opportunities” that led to “enjoying a frappé in the much-appreciated shade of a café patio,” from whence came “the idea to provide a publication platform for students beginning their engagement with anthropology.”
So far they’ve produced one volume of work, Volume 1, Issue 1, from 2014. It’s a surprisingly mature first issue, comprised of writings by both undergraduates and graduate students. Subject matter ranges far and wide across a spectrum of places, times, and people, but the quality of the writings, and the fresh treatments of the subject matter, are both appealing and informative. There’s an Editor’s note, written collectively by the three volume editors as a discussion (or, as they characterize it, a digression) about the process through which they journeyed in creating the journal. Then there are a number of articles, some very personal, some quite professional, but all looking at people and places with new and receptive yet assessing eyes.
Articles include: “An Islander’s notes: The man, the lover, the expat musician on the streets of Athens,” “Loves me, loves me not: The Museum of Broken Relationships scene analysis” (it’s hard to imagine anyone not being fascinated by the mere existence of the Museum of Broken Relationships), “Lines that divide: Aboriginality, Canadian applied anthropology, and transgressing the ‘national anthropological tradition,’” Silences on Hindu lesbian subjectivity,” “My Peruvian museum,” Star parties: An ethnographic exploration of amateur and professional astronomers,” “William Curtis Farabee: Ethnographic explorer and museum anthropologist,” “Performing gender: The construction of Black males in the hip-hop industry,” and “Eating politically: Food Not Bombs and growing resistance.” The lengthy book reviews in this volume: of “Travesti: Sex, gender, and culture among Brazilian transgendered prostitutes” by Don Kulick, “Flaming souls: Homosexuality, homophobia, and social change in Barbados,” by David A. B. Murray, and “Abject relations: Everyday worlds of anorexia” by Megan Warin, are thoughtful scholarly considerations of each author’s work.
The editorial collective put out a call for papers for the 2015 volume. If they can achieve as high a standard of quality research and writing in their second volume as they have in the first, these students will have pulled off a real coup: a readable, yet scholarly, professional publication. Worthy of note to anthropological researchers everywhere.