SubVersions is the online journal of the School of Media and Cultural Studies (SMCS), Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. The journal focuses on the work of young scholars, We draw on the research and writing done by students towards their M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. dissertations, as well as papers presented at the SMCS annual student seminar, Frames of Reference. As will be evident from the papers we have so far published, our intention is to showcase critical post-graduate student research work from a diversity of institutions, including our own, done in the interdisciplinary realms of Media and Cultural Studies.
We intend to publish two issues every year. While the first issue will be composed of papers written by the SMCS students, the second issue will comprise select papers from the Frames of Reference seminar. With limited avenues, both within the academic and popular fora, available for presenting and discussing student research work, SubVersions aims to be the focal point for emerging scholarship and debates within and across a wide range of disciplines that lend themselves to, or draw from, the vibrant politics, theories and methodologies of understanding, analysing and questioning relations of power and knowledge.
SubVersions, as the name suggests, will strive to make space for ideas and arguments that resist convenient explanations, do not shy away from complexity, assume unpopular modes of thinking and articulation, and mount a challenge to the order of things that normalises injustice. Though we will be particularly interested in works that are self-reflexive, keenly aware of their own place in the world, and rooted in lived experiences, we will equally be open to expressions that dispassionately engage with the larger political-economic questions. This is not to say that the two categories are mutually exclusive. What, in our view, unites them is their concern, their empathy for those who are increasingly getting marginalised, written out of even the academic discourses. We will also welcome works that demonstrate playfulness in employing new and innovative methodological approaches.
Though all the papers will undergo a review process, we do not claim to have a static, standardised notion of the quality of work. Skewed distribution of resources, we believe, make it very difficult, even unjust, to equate works coming out elite institutions based in larger cities with that of their peers’ elsewhere. We will encourage students from all over the country to participate in our seminars, make use of the feedback offered there and improve their work to be able to publish it in SubVersions, or in other journals. To make SubVersions an inclusive platform, we will try to be as accommodating of diversity as possible and actively work with the students to refine their papers.
Our decision to make SubVersions an online publication is both informed by ideological and strategic reasons. We believe that student research is largely supported by public funding in India and it is only right that it should be available freely to those who want to access, utilise, and share it. Knowledge has subversive potential, but it is also important to ensure that the conditions under which it is produced and distributed are equally subversive. SubVersions will remain an Open Access journal and its content will be available for a variety of uses under Creative Commons Attribution – Non-Commercial – ShareAlike license.
Since it is a journal dedicated to student research done broadly across the disciplines of Media and Cultural Studies, it was important for us to choose a medium of publication that can adequately reflect the vibrancy of the materials students usually make use of in the course of their research. With SubVersions being an online journal, we hope to make use of the flexibility it affords in terms of using images, graphics, and audio and video clips.
We hope you will read SubVersions, tell others about it, and share your valuable feedback with us. Only your support and participation will make it an excellent and popular journal that it strives to be.
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