Who We Are
Our Mission Statement
Mount Holyoke Radix (MHRadix) is a student-run, student-organized radical web-publication created by members of the Mount Holyoke community. We are dedicated to fostering thoughtful and nuanced engagement with issues both on and off the Mount Holyoke campus, providing a forum to start and continue dialogues vital to our college and global community. In keeping with the goals of Mount Holyoke College, we view the project of critical discourse as imperative to enable “lives of thoughtful, effective, and purposeful engagement in the world.”
Over the course of the past several years, much of our community's intellectual and political engagement has been relegated to the realms of social media and anonymous internet forums. Championing a belief in accountable discourse, our work aims to bring together manifold opinions and perspectives as diverse as this student body in a space conducive to dialogue. The voice of MHRadix is far from unified; rather, it is a locale for the productively divergent ideas of our writers, united under the common goal of caring for thought. These principles of accountability and multiplicity are, we believe, best realizable through opinion-editorial and longform content, which constitute the centerpiece of our project.
Letter from the Founders
Dear members & friends of the Mount Holyoke community,
Let us start off by saying welcome to MHRadix: an independent student-run publication of Mount Holyoke College. What began as a coffee conversation just a few months ago is blossoming into a project of campus discourse, enabled by the close bonds of a write staff united under the common goal of caring for thought. We take immense pride in this project as students of a college where the seeds of critical thinking and radical thought are sewn in the syllabi of our coursework and conversations in our classrooms.
At this liberal arts college, the political bent of our community is certainly “liberal” as defined by contemporary American political discourse, the advocacy of our community at large termed “progressive.” Our vital campus commitment to inclusion and diversity -- built on foundations of the value of equity --- is exemplified in our calls for Open Gates, for MoHonesty. And yet, the forums that enable us to continue critical discourse as a liberal, as a progressive, and even, perhaps, as a radical community are limited in scope, in accessibility, and in presentation of individual narratives.
In conceiving MHRadix, the individuals who became founding friends recognize that the progressive community Mount Holyoke would like to be does, in (lived) reality, contain factions. As it well should. To borrow Jason Frank’s language of constituent moments, we are “a people that are productively never at one with themselves.” In this diverse community, we pride ourselves on promoting intersectional conversation. But, en masse, we lack a space for these ideas to come together. We lack a space for the community to collect and reflect. We lack a space to draw on the radical potentiality of an education that teaches us to interrogate the roots of our society as it exists and as it could be.
As denoted on our home page, the title of this publication is a reference to the Latin root radix, the root of the English radical, and basis for Angela Davis’ claim “Radical simply means ‘grasping things at the root.’” This is the grounds for our self-identification as a radical publication in a hegemonically liberal college community. Our aim is not to simply color our campus with the broad brush of liberal critique. We aim to trouble the unvoiced neo- in the liberal arts we study. We aim to critique the assumptions made by default political viewpoints at Mount Holyoke and in the world beyond it.
Ultimately, the hope of our staff is to build an internal community committed to the project of broader Mount Holyoke community. By creating a digital public sphere designed for voices, opinions, and experiences from within this college, we hope to honor our campus’ productive dissonance. Accordingly, MHRadix draws heavily on long-form and narrative work to best enable members of our community to speak in and on their own terms. Such is the project of friendship.
In a close reading of Levinas, Lois Shepard gives meaning to the understanding of radical friendship. Say someone is calling you on the phone. This phone is ringing in front of you. You know the person on the other end of the line is in pain. You have no idea how you will respond or what you will do, but you must pick up the phone. You must answer this call for friendship. This is what it means to be a friend.
Ongoing debates surrounding the continued relevance of liberal arts and women’s colleges demand that we articulate and defend value of this institution more than ever before. As this community grows in its siblinghood, welcoming future students yet to arrive, so too must we write and act in solidarity with all members of this changing community. This environment is flourishing with potential.
We hope you will join us in the project of writing this chapter of Mount Holyoke history, whether through reading, commenting, or contributing. Let this shine a light on the power of words and their distinct and unique ability to conceive action. We hope this is a doorway to myriad conversations that will transcend the gates of Mount Holyoke.
Keep fighting the good fight, friends.
Olivia Janet Papp ‘15 & Maddie Cook ‘18
The publication structure of MHRadix consists of staff writers and non-staff contributors. All articles are written by original authors as listed when published, but are edited and discussed collaboratively by other members of the MHRadix staff. This collaborative editing process entails face-to-face discussion about content, with the goal of our staff creating a community of collective knowledge, compassion, and progress.
MHRadix publishes on Thursdays (beginning again in September 2017)