Rock Creek Review tackles "What is Justice?"

The Rock Creek Review is Heidelberg’s undergraduate journal of literary studies and criticism. It accepts the work of undergraduate students across the world – exclusively not from students attending Heidelberg.  This year, The Rock Creek Review team has published the third volume, subtitled “What is Justice?”

The theme was picked by managing editor Kelsey Stanfield. Kelsey is a third-year English and Communication double-major with a minor in Philosophy. The work was completed by Kelsey and The Rock Creek Review editorial team: Makenna Finnegan, a second-year AYA English Education major; Sophia Lee, a third-year English Literature and Music double-major; Kelly Peterson, a second-year Environmental Science and Sustainability major; and Cameron Spraggins, a third-year History major. The editorial team is advised by Editor-in-Chief Dr. Barry Devine, assistant professor of English. 

The Rock Creek Review team works in parts, with two copy editors and two proof editors, making suggestions to the submitted pieces. Then, the managing editor analyzes the edits of the team and makes final suggestions to the original authors for approval. In May, the new managerial editor is selected – who then goes on to invite their peers to be members of the team. Kelsey picked the current team, knowing their quality of work and punctuality – and they have exceeded those expectations by far!

The theme “What is justice” was the pursuit of a personal passion by Kelsey. Inspired by her love of Plato’s Republic, Kelsey felt that the theme was broad and accessible enough to apply to several works. Many authors submitted works readily that obliged the theme, and others made small tweaks to their works to better clarify its adherence. Some authors didn’t believe that their piece applied to the theme at all, but the editorial team still found the strings of justice in many of those pieces.

“From reading these pieces,” Kelsey shared, “I realized how hard it is to define justice, and how circumstantial it can be.” Her personal favorite piece, an analysis of the poetry of Jay Hulme by Maddison Tenney from Brigham Young University, describes justice as the freedom to embrace one’s religion and their true selves. “Tenney described her own lived experiences, and connected them to the written experience of the poetry, and I think there’s justice in that too.”

Because it is an undergraduate literary journal, many of the authors featured in The Rock Creek Review have never been published before. Similarly, it’s the first time many of the editors had real editorial experience. In spite of – and because of – of the novelty of undergraduate work, the pieces considered by The Rock Creek Review editorial team were incredibly strong. “They approached justice with several different ways and points of view – there’s really something in it for everyone,” Kelsey explained. To keep it friendly to an undergraduate reader, as well, the team was sure to include pieces that pulled from an array of sources, with pieces discussing everything from Shakespeare to Habila.

You can find the most current volume of the Rock Creek Review here. For more information about the publication, and other publications from Heidelberg’s department of English, visit their webpage.

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