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Literary Journal Emerges
Online outlet for multicultural students
By Tracy Staedter

To say that MIT’s student body is diverse is an understatement: this year’s students come from 106 countries. Their personal stories are colorful and varied, and a new online literary journal, E-merging: Voices on the New Diasporas, gives them a forum.

Launched in early November, the student-run website contains a mixture of creative work—including short stories, poetry, and creative nonfiction by “a new generation of global student,” which is what one of the journal’s founding advisors, professor of French studies Isabelle de Courtivron, calls the contributors.

One of these students is Arthur Musah ’04, who is working on his master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science. He was born in his mother’s country, Russia, but at age three, Musah moved with his family to his father’s country, Ghana. While in Ghana, his family spoke English and Russian at home, ate Russian food, and listened to Russian music, while also experiencing West African culture and language. Like other students with multicultural backgrounds, he began writing to get in touch with his heritage. “Being in the U.S. brought Ghana into a sharper focus,” Musah says. Three of his poems and one piece of his fiction were selected for the site. He also served as an editor for the first issue.

Students like Musah are the primary force behind the site. They contribute work but also organize the content. About eight volunteer editors manage the site and, under the auspices of faculty advisors, select its content. “They’re not doing this for credit,” says associate professor of Chinese studies Emma Teng, one of the advisors. “I’m amazed at how much time and energy they put into it.”

The group plans to publish the journal once each semester. Current selections can be read at web.mit.edu/emerging.

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