Celebrating multidisciplinarity is one of the main goals of Estro : the challenge is to ensure that each issue is diverse but coherent, stimulating yet accessible to a wide readership. This issue features articles that represent three of the four faculties at the University of Essex, authored by students writing at all levels – undergraduate, postgraduate taught, and postgraduate research. Volume 2 Number 2 also retains a distinctly Essex flavour: among other things there is an interview with and review of a former artist in residence in the University Gallery, and examples of recent work from the Centre for Creative Writing.
With the twin spirits of multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity in mind, the issue’s opening paper grapples with a subject that cannot be understood within a single field. In his article ‘Global Constellations of Crime’, Christian Kemp states that “[the] study of globalisation is deeply cross-disciplinary, but it has only recently begun to pervade into criminological discourse”. His piece goes some way toward plugging the gap in the field. Crime is something that affects everyone, and we feel that this exploration of the global implications of crime will be particularly interesting to readers of Estro .
From the study of crime, we move to the study of a lawyer’s work, albeit work outside of legal discourse. Hamada Kassam’s article ‘Order versus Nihilism’ looks at the work of Joseph Glover Baldwin, specifically The Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi . Hamada is well known in his area: in endorsing his work, Professor Richard Gray stated that the author “has already established himself as one of the half a dozen leading experts in this particular field of specialisation. He knows more about it than anyone else in the UK.” Emerging from the University’s specialist expertise on the subject of US Literature, this is a shining example of leading research being undertaken by early career academics.
Grounded in the same US tradition is Matilda Marro’s ‘The White Square of Paper’. This piece of creative writing draws heavily on Moby-Dick , not only in terms of the influence the work has upon the main character but also in the influence of Herman Melville in the narrative style.
While ‘The White Square of Paper’ explores the self-destructiveness of a fictional character, ‘Cruel Intentions’ by Tom Minor explores philosophical and psychological perspectives on why we harm ourselves and each other, and why it can be pleasurable. Analysing Nietzschean and Freudian approaches, his paper tackles this difficult issue while at the same time showing how Nietzsche discredited other theories surrounding this particular phenomenon of human existence. Estro is eager to represent all written forms of academic discourse. Part review and part interview, ‘The Eclectic World of Felipe Ehrenberg’ introduces the work of the artist and presents the transcript of an interview with him, focusing on his recent performance of Xocoyotzin, The Penultimate which was part of his residency at the University.
Continuing a different trend, for the second issue in a row we feature an article on topical issues in healthcare. ‘Caring for the Terminally Ill: Nursing a Patient with Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy’ is a reflective examination of the practices surrounding a particular kind of care. The inclusion of work from the School of Health and Human Sciences reflects the expansion of the department.
Moving from the extremes of real experience to fiction once again, we present a second piece of creative writing. Joshua Grocott’s ‘Another Day’ is an example of work from this academic discipline, so for the first time in Estro we present a piece of creative writing with a commentary, showing the theoretical considerations that fed into the formulation of the piece, as well as the author’s thoughts on the successes and failures of the writing process.
While ‘Another Day’ concentrates on writing processes, the next article explores thought processes. Serving as an introduction to what many consider to be a very difficult subject, ‘The Letter to the Letter’ attempts to explain the fundamental principles behind the Lacanian version of psychoanalysis. Lacan is a useful figure across many disciplines; while connections to psychology are obvious, many Lacanian theories, particularly mirror theory, are used in literary analysis for example.
Closing the issue and moving from a psychological and linguistic divide to a social one, we present the article ‘The Social and Economic Impact of the Emancipation of the Serfs in Russia’ by Louis Hobart. In the wake of the global economic crisis, it seems appropriate to look back at other economical shifts in history, with the events presented here certainly fitting the bill.
A year on from our first issue, Estro continues to grow and develop. Since our last publication the University’s new visual identity policy has prompted a re-vamp of our logo and website, resulting in a slicker and more modern online presence for the journal, whilst our profile within the University continues to increase. Much of the credit for Estro’s initial and continuing success must go to you, the staff and students of the University of Essex, who make the journal what it is by reading, contributing and reviewing.
The next few months will be a time of new beginnings for Estro , as the current editorial team move on to pastures new. We wish the journal’s subsequent editors every success in taking Estro to volume three and beyond, and will watch the journal’s development with interest.
© Pete Fitzgerald, Katy Dillon, Kimberley Marwood. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY).