“It’s not a graph, it’s a compass!” A typical Gadfly meeting.

Did you read about the gadfly in Plato’s Apology? Do you know the term just because you are hip? Or are you lost af? Whichever defines you, Bwog has a novel answer: become a PART of The Gadfly, a.k.a., Columbia’s undergraduate Philosophy journal, thanks to its recent revamp. Senior staffer (and Gadflyer) Sarah Dahl has the scoop.

The Gadfly is Columbia’s best new club, not only because it offers a welcoming and approachable community of young intellectuals, but also because you can see your work published, online, and soon in print.

Gadfly meetings regularly occur on Sunday nights somewhere in Kent, accompanied by Tostitos lime chips and, occasionally, wine (shhhh). Meetings are a mishmash of philosophical discussion and the nuts-and-bolts of gathering, editing, and publishing articles. Because the club/journal was so recently revived after a lengthy hiatus, current editors had to create an entire new website, as well as business model.

Editor-in-Chief Becky Novik (BC ’19) decided to revamp the journal early this year. “I just got into philosophy as a major and I wanted to see if there was any sort of outlet on campus for philosophy–be it writing or whatever” she said. “I naturally checked for a publication, and found a then-not-so-alive Gadfly magazine, and contacted their editors to ask how to get involved. They told me any which way I liked, since there wasn’t much of a publication at the time. So I made it my focus this year to revive the publication/club, reestablish connection with the philosophy department/school, and gather people who were interested.”

Becky succeeded, with the help of dedicated members, including Managing Editor Rani Rachavelpula (CC ’19) and soon-to-be head editors Nick Andes and Aaron Friedman (CC ’19), who will take over when Becky and Rani study abroad at Oxford and Cambridge, respectively, next year.

The process of reviving Gadfly was “difficult and easy at the same time,” Becky explained. “While I didn’t have to apply for Gadfly’s existence to be recognized, everything else was pretty much open in the air–which is actually really exciting. There was room for a whole new group of people to get involved and start the publication from the ground up, and that kind of freedom and creativity is rare I think. But of course, it’s a lot of work, cooperation, and effort.”

She added that the subject matter for the journal helped. “Philosophy is also so broad, we really weren’t and aren’t constrained to any format or particular type of content.”

This is true–the website has room for formal essays, as well as event reviews, interviews with professors, and humorous writings (tagged under “Hegels and Lockes.” Like bagels and lox.).

Looking to the future, Becky said, “Gadfly really wants to promote the submissions portal, so that  we can draw on a lot of philosophically related ideas that are being discussed on campus but don’t really have a platform to present themselves.”

She continued that the club wants “to show how diverse and pertinent philosophy can be. People think philosophy is just stuffy white men musing (which by the looks of curriculums and classes seems like it is), but it’s such a flexible and broad topic–and everyone has a place to participate in it even when they think they don’t.”

Hope to see you there next time (in the fall)!

Photo courtesy Gadfly twitter