Other Collective brings dis-orientalist expression to campus

TALIA BASMA / COURTESY

New student-run cultural magazine Other Collective offers students publication experience

University settings create ample opportunities for students to establish a voice for themselves through clubs and campus publications. Through increased effort, students work to bring these opportunities to fellow classmates who often do not see their own opinions and experiences predominantly on campus.

According to its Facebook page, Other Collective has a goal of creating a platform for “individuals affiliated with the culture and issues surrounding the regions of West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, the Caucasus, and North Africa (countries encompassed by the Middle East and South Asia Studies program at UC Davis).” The publication hopes to spark discussion and story-sharing from students in relation to the previously listed areas. This publication was created in order to challenge “the media’s stereotypical clumping or antagonizing of these cultures as a result of today’s polarized global/political climate.”

Fourth-year English major Talia Basma serves as the arts and culture editor for Other Collective. She was brought into the publication based on her background in creative writing. She and the rest of the editors began collecting pieces for online publication during the summer of 2018 for their eventual launch in Fall Quarter 2018.

“The idea behind Other Collective is to give students at Davis a space to talk about what it means to be ‘other,’” Basma said. “Many of the people on the team are part of that group of people who have to mark ‘other’ on the identification box of so many forms and applications that we come across in our lives.”

Basma noted the importance of the publication considering today’s political climate, which she sees as driven predominantly by stereotypes.

“So much of the news and things we see online are coming from a stereotyped or orientalist viewpoint,” Basma said. “So, we decided to take things into our own hands and become a dis-orientalist magazine.”

The publication is currently up and running through their website, publishing only online for now. Basma stated that their goal is to eventually move into the medium of a physical, in-print publication as well.

“Since we are so new, our focus is to increase awareness, participation and readers for the magazine,” Basma said. “We are hoping to curate a print for next year that will be a periodical collection of the best work we have to offer.”

This sense of community has been one of the most impactful aspects for students involved in Other Collective. Members have found comfort in each other’s shared “otherness,” discovering a newfound ability to share the unique feelings that accompany this.

“All of us have different career paths and hobbies, but we all have the background of ‘other’ that bonds us,” Basma said. “We want this magazine to be an outlet for anyone who has ever felt out of place, [we want it to be] a space to connect with other people so no one ever feels alone.”

Written by: Olivia Luchini — features@theaggie.org