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.
Madeline de Figueiredo is a third year History major in the College, specializing in American history and minoring in Statistics. She, along with Nicholas Posegay and Elysa Bryen, founded UChicago Majalla in 2016. She continues to work with the publication as Editor-in-Chief and encourages anyone interested to get involved with the magazine!
Gabriel Davis is a third year in the College majoring in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and completing a certificate in Chicago Studies. In addition to serving as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Chicago Majalla, he interns at the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, serves as an Experienced Assistant Chair in ChoMUN, and helps tutor a Syrian refugee through the Hyde Park Refugee Project. He hails from Madison, CT.
Tala Azzam is a first-year student at the college with a potential major in biochemistry. She is the content editor of Majalla. Born and raised in Lebanon, she is a native Arabic speaker and joined Majalla in order to help support the growth of Arabic language on campus. She is also involved in Peer Health Exchange and is on the Crew team.
Gwyneth Hochhausler is a second year from Los Angeles, California majoring in Political Science and minoring in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. She started studying Arabic her Junior year of high school and has loved it ever since. On campus Gwyneth is also on the board of UChicago’s undergraduate ACLU chapter, a docent at the Smart Museum of Art, and president of Dougan-Niklason house.
Caroline Pepin-Woods is a fourth year political science major in the college. She is the managing editor at Majalla and a research assistant at the Chicago Project on Security and Threats. She has taken Arabic for two years and is applying to language acquisition fellowships following graduation.