When the founding editors (all Hamilton students) of The Haley Classical Journal put out their first call for submissions, they weren’t sure what to expect, but clearly they were onto something. More than 35 undergraduates from four countries responded.
The query elicited work from students at state schools, private schools, small schools, big schools, and big-name schools, Harvard included. “That’s something that I’m really proud of,” says editor-in-chief Tina Naston ’20. “I think it represents the up-and-coming-field of classics really well, which is important if we want it to survive.”
She, for one, does. The classical studies major has been accepted into master’s programs at several grad schools,with the ultimate goal of a doctorate. Based on her own experience getting published, Naston knew how few options existed for undergraduate classics scholars. She launched the peer-reviewed Haley to provide a platform for undergrads who had never been published and who are underrepresented in the field.
Clearly, the journal was onto something. And the healthy influx of papers meant Haley editors ended up with 11 excellent articles for the first edition, Naston says. The goal is to publish the journal twice an academic year, a formidable undertaking for Hamilton classics students who serve as volunteer editors. The work means going back and forth with authors to ready the articles for publication, which is time-consuming, sometimes delicate, work.
Only one of the papers in the first edition was written by a Hamilton student, classical languages major Jacob Hane ’22, who is also a journal editor. Hane, a past editor for the National Senior Classical League, played no part in the decision to publish his paper; Haley editors are serious about maintaining best scholarly practices. As they see it, they have much to live up to. They named the digital journal in honor of Shelley Haley, Hamilton’s Edward North Chair of Classics and Professor of Africana Studies.
Haley, the 2021 president elect of the Society for Classical Studies and the first African American woman to attain that role, is the top black feminist scholar in the field, Naston points out. “We're all really inspired by her. And this project was inspired by her, too. A lot of it is about accessibility and giving a voice to scholars who are underrepresented,” she says.
Hane, too, considers the journal a way to honor Haley’s achievements. “It does put some pressure on us — we really have to do this right and make this something that lives up to her incredible legacy as a classicist,” he says.
When the founding editors asked Haley for permission to name the journal after her, she concurred, touched by the request. But she had a caveat. “I remember saying to either [Tina] or Jacob, if my name is on this, it better be good,” Haley says. “And it has been. It’s fantastic.”