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About the Refract Journal

Mission and Vision

Refract is an online journal founded and operated by graduate students and dedicated to conversations about visual culture, non-canonical methodologies, and divergent histories. We publish early-career and established scholars, students, and artists, in the genres of the academic essay, critical review, creative work, and experimental artist statement/essay. We are interested in work that employs visuality as a lens to engage geographies and histories that diverge from U.S. political and academic empire, and uses the tools and methods of visual studies and artistic practice in pursuit of equity and justice. We encourage submissions from multiple academic fields, expansive considerations of artistic practice/s, and multiple ways of knowing. We seek pieces that theorize, dream, and imagine as intervention, as well as pieces that challenge the author's, artist's, and editorial board’s intellectual commitments as they reflect on the visual as a site of encounter, entanglement, and social change.

As an open access digital journal, we believe that constantly working toward universally designed and accessible spaces disrupts concentrations of power, broadens the range of voices legible to academia, and expands the terrain of visual studies discourse. Our peer review process is characterized by rigor, care, and cultivation of an author’s and artist's strengths and style. We work closely with our contributors to develop pieces that meet the field’s standards of excellence and foreground individual interventions and voices.

Refract is an open access journal that allows readers to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of its articles, and to use them for any other lawful purpose.

Refract is housed in the History of Art and Visual Culture Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz and run by a multidisciplinary group of graduate students. The journal receives funding and resources from the Art Division at UCSC and has an institutional relationship with the University of California’s eScholarship publishing platform.

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