Thoreau’s aphorism– “Things do not change, we change”–certainly applies to the third edition of Emerson College’s online Dial. It’s been four years since a hardy band of Emerson MFA and MA students joined in creating this publication, and we have a whole new crew piloting the ship in 2016. “Let them be sea captains, if you will,” Margaret Fuller famously exhorted the readers of Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and indeed we have three capable women at our helm as managing editors–Elizabeth Canon, Erin Jones, and Candace Oman. Twelve more students have contributed stories, poems, essays, book reviews, and “republications” this year.
Have “things” stayed the same? Once again we are in a presidential election cycle, and the campaign has been much on our minds. We’ve read Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” and passages from Garrison’s The Liberator, asking ourselves what it means to vote, as well as how else we might effect change in our nation which (on this at least we all agree) has not changed enough in certain key respects since the 1840s. We’ve wondered whether a woman will be elected to the nation’s top job, and imagined Margaret Fuller reappearing on Boston Common to applaud the presence of women on this most prominent of political stages. Our writings this year nearly all suggest that for “things” to change, we must change–and we hope our 2016 entries will, as the Dial’s first editor Margaret Fuller hoped back in 1840, induce readers to “think more deeply and nobly by letting them see how some minds are kept alive by a wise self-trust.”
Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor
The New Dial
(Not Pictured: Allegra Colandro Aquino and Zyanya Dickey)