Advocates' Forum 2018 Letter from the Editors

By Megan Garrad, Emma Heidorn, Elizabeth Weiss

News Type
Advocates' Forum

When the editors of Advocates’ Forum sat down to begin planning for the 2018 journal, we thought about the limitations of publishing strictly “academic” work. We see social work as an increasingly complex and far-reaching profession, and our work certainly does not exist solely within the academic space. As social workers, we not only draw from research to inform our practice, but also from our clients’ unique experiences and our interactions with them. Outside of the walls of the University of Chicago, we become attuned to the oppressions our clients may face on a daily basis. We consume the news to make sense of our threatening sociopolitical climate. We march in the streets to fight injustices. We read fiction and poetry to find comfort and inspiration. We write in order to reflect on the truly unique experience of being a social worker in 2018.

Advocates’ Forum has been a space for student voices for more than 20 years. This year, we hoped to explore the ways we can process our work, understand our world, and advocate for our beliefs and clients through written language. Our call for submissions sought to include creative writing and reflective pieces, in addition to research and theory-based work. Above all, we were committed to using our editorial voice to challenge traditional formats of academic publishing that reify hierarchies of higher education and, instead, include voices that traditionally have been left out.

Early in winter quarter, Advocates’ Forum was honored to facilitate a panel discussion between Postdoctoral Scholar Eve L. Ewing, Lecturer William Borden, and Samuel Deutsch Professor Mark Courtney on the ways in which the social profession and the act of writing are necessarily intertwined. At one moment, Eve L. Ewing pointed to “the radical act of literacy and of writing one’s name for the first time” for groups who have historically been denied a formal education. As editors of the academic journal of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, it is imperative that we acknowledge the immense privilege we hold in being able to write and edit our words with relative freedom and ease.

In selecting pieces for the 2018 publication, the editors sought to both acknowledge the history of social work and reflect the complexities of today’s practice. Jordan Dobrowski’s article describes the history of displacement and land disputes in India and the United States. Eilís Fagan, Ellen Grenen, and Michaela McGlynn’s article calls for social workers to familiarize themselves with social media use and its impact on clients. Danielle Littman’s article explores writing as a reflective practice and bridge from theory to social work practice. Laura Haberer’s article presents the results of a study on menstrual cup use among high school girls in South Africa. MeeSoh Bossard’s article challenges social workers to examine both the singular and collective “self ” in self-reflective social work. It is our pleasure to share these writers’ words in the space of this journal.

We would like to extend our gratitude to everyone who helped make this year’s journal a success. We are grateful to all the authors who submitted their work and for their contributions to current conversations at SSA and beyond. We want to thank Daniel Listoe, PhD, for working with our authors to edit their pieces into beautiful final products. Thank you also to Associate Professor Susan Lambert for her support and wisdom this year as our Faculty Advisor; to the Dean of Students Office for their service to Advocates’ Forum and the students of SSA; to Director of Marketing and Communications, Julie Jung, for her patience and advice; and to the SSA SGA. And, of course, to our dedicated and brilliant Editorial Board and to you all, the students of SSA and our readers.

Megan Garrad
Emma Heidorn
Elizabeth Weiss