In 2021, two Mason PhD students—Benjamin Hunt in Linguistics and Jonathan M. Marine in Writing & Rhetoric—relaunched the online journal Working Papers in Language and Linguistics, a reworking and broadening of an earlier Mason journal, Working Papers in Linguistics, which began in 1992 and was published through 2013. This latest iteration of the journal follows much of the approach from earlier years—student-run and featuring work by Mason students—but with key differences, including a new blind review submission process and an expansion of the scope to include work in Composition and Rhetoric, hopefully building, as Marine explained, “some communication, connectivity, and collaboration between programs in the English department.”
The Spring 2022 issue—the first under the new title—features work on rhetoric, writing centers, cultural studies, phonemics, and more by Mason Linguistics students Shadden Ahmad Alfadhil and Arlee Pearlswig and Writing & Rhetoric students Esther R. Namubiru, Nic Nusbaumer, and Kristen K. Tiscione.
“We were prompted to revive the journal because of a couple of different factors, some purposeful, some happenstance,” said Marine (pictured right). “I had been involved in organizing Grad Chats for the students in our program, and a big part of grad chats under my stewardship was about making a space for students to share the research they were working on, which was an idea that I got in part from talking with Ben about what they did in the Linguistics department. In hosting these informal chats, I came to realize that there was a strong need for more support for students in developing their term papers into publishable work.”
The editors provide contributors an experience mimicking traditional scholarly journals: “a peer-review process with feedback and recommendations from at least two blind peer reviewers, a revise and resubmit stage, and the final editing of page proofs.”
“Our hope was that in providing students experience with the process of academic publishing and interfacing with editors and peer reviewers, we could help them to garner much-needed experience in the academic publishing process as well as get their work out into the world for dissemination and discussion,” said Hunt (pictured left). “Of course, it’s also valuable reviewing and editing experience for our peer reviewers as well, who are all students in or recent graduates of our respective programs.”
But the editors also emphasize the word “Working” in the journal’s title, an approach mirrored by two other journals at Mason, in both Economics and Law.
“The point is to provide a platform for students to publish on the way to (hopefully) submitting to a full on scholarly, peer-reviewed journal,” Marine explained. “We ALL have that one paper we worked on in school. The one we were proud of, that we wanted to work more on, but sometimes after class ends and you’re no longer on the hook for deadlines with structured assignment requirements and progressions it can be hard to know what to do or where to go next. Our hope is to be a source of support which students can use as a springboard into the next stage in their academic publishing careers, and one that gives them experience with an actual peer review process.”
Deadlines for the submission to the next issue are in May, allowing time for students to submit work they might have completed in either their fall or spring classes—or completed outside of coursework too.
For full submission guidelines and to read the current issue, visit https://orgs.gmu.edu/wpill/.
February 06, 2023