Founded by Nicholas Posegay (College, CMES ’17), Elysa Bryen (College ’17), and Madeline de Figueiredo (College '19), UChicago Majalla is the University of Chicago’s first-ever fully-Arabic magazine. It serves as a catalyst to unite independent Arabic classes throughout the University. It provides a platform that not only enhances Arabic language learning opportunities on campus, but also provides a space for students to situate their own experiences in a uniquely Arabic context.
Each year, students submit original Arabic works on Arabic culture, current events, travel, history, pop culture, academic writing, creative writing, fiction, poetry, and photography. So far, we have published three issues of UChicago Majalla, debuting in the Fall of 2016 and continuing up to now. In addition to featuring more advanced pieces of Arabic prose, Majalla promotes collaboration on individual pieces, as some students in the early stages of Arabic study do not feel comfortable writing literary pieces entirely on their own. Beginners are encouraged to work with more advanced students to co-author articles, and in many cases receive direct feedback from the magazine editors.
Perhaps the most unique feature of our magazine? It’s entirely student-run. An editorial board and team of undergraduates edit each submission before it goes to print. Here, too, is an opportunity for students to engage with the Arabic language: the feedback students receive on their submissions can inform their future engagements with Arabic writing, and editors can benefit from delving even deeper into the grammatical concepts that dictate good writing. As involvement grows, students have bolstered their reading and writing skills, and forged relationships with like-minded Arabic-speaking students and faculty.
In both cases, this type of cooperation further enhances cross-level linguistic interactions that can strengthen ties within the larger UChicago Arabic speaking community. We have developed a burgeoning student interest group in the campus community, and we have facilitated cultural connections between graduate students, undergraduate students, and Arabic speakers on campus in general.We are thrilled at the direction Majalla has taken on campus, and we can’t wait for the next chapters in our short, ambitious career to unfold.