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New digital humanities journal started by ASU undergraduates


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March 05, 2021

The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies is hosting an online peer-reviewed journal, known as the SHPRS Digital Humanities Journal, started by undergraduate students. It was developed to serve as an opportunity to showcase undergraduate research from Arizona State University in the fields of history, philosophy and religious studies. 

Anusha Natarajan, an undergraduate student earning her bachelor’s degrees in history from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and sociology from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, was the spark that ignited the journal into reality.

“As someone who wants to be involved in research as a career, I really wanted to see how I could do so at an undergraduate level,” Natarajan said.

She follows the Instagram accounts of many Ivy League schools and noticed a call for undergraduate submissions to a history journal. She asked Associate Professor of history Katherine Osburn, who she was taking a class from at the time, if there was a similar journal available at ASU and Osburn mentioned there used to be one but it had dwindled down. 

“I decided to bring the journal back, in a digital way, and create this opportunity for students to showcase their work,” Natarajan said. 

Natarajan became the editor-in-chief of the journal and began putting out calls for others to join the team. She recruited two executive editors, five other editors and a digital editor. 

Sara Walker, an undergraduate student earning her bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in writing, rhetoric and literacy from the English department, came across the call for editors and reached out for an interview. 

She sat down with O’Donnell and Natarajan and later that week was invited to join the team as an executive editor. 

“It's my hope that this journal helps students find confidence in their work, in their studies and in their pursuit of their degree,” Walker said. “But most of all, I hope it gives them confidence in themselves. They can do this. They are worthy of publication.”

Walker says the team has been nothing but professional and friendly as they have begun working through submissions.

“This is 100% a passion-fueled project,” Walker said. “Our main goal with the journal is to shine light on often ignored and often overlooked fields of study. The work humanities students do is important work and ties into our culture in ways worth examining.”

The other executive editor, Mackenzie King, who is earning her degrees in history and English with a concentration in linguistics, stumbled on an ad in the Barrett Honors Digest to join the team and was thrilled at the opportunity.

“My biggest hope for the journal is to acquaint undergraduate students with the publishing process and help them with the experience of publishing their own original research,” King said. “Hopefully this will help them with graduate admissions, a future career or other opportunities after they graduate.”

The journal is open for submissions through March 14. Students can submit research papers or book reviews through the journal’s website, where they can also view the journal once it is published. 

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