Call for Papers

Commonplaces is dedicated to publishing writing produced in any courses across the College taken by Davidson students in their first year. We invite writers to submit work produced during the 2016-2017 academic year to be considered for publication in the 2017 issue. We seek academic and intellectual writing of any length that demonstrates a commitment to understanding and its expression, and encourage submissions from the full range of natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Submission Guidelines


Van E. Hillard, College Writing Program


Commonplaces is an annual publication of the Davidson College Writing Program.
©Davidson College, Davidson, NC.

Danny Brown: Representation and Refutation of Camp

Danny Brown exploded onto the rap scene in 2010 with his debut mixtape The Hybrid, featuring his unique style centered around eclectic beats, clever lyrics, and squawked vocals. As music critic Anthony Fantano describes it, Brown takes the typical topics of hip-hop and “[brings] them to such an extreme they… become parody… a kind of […]

A Gradual Epiphany: Individuation in Tracy K. Smith’s Ordinary Light

Tracy K. Smith’s Ordinary Light is a powerful memoir in many aspects. Smith not only touches on the varying topics of religion, race, sex, and parenting, but ties them all together in a recount of her extraordinarily ordinary upbringing. The memoir focuses heavily on Tracy’s relationship with her mother, Kathryn, as well as her search […]

Faulty Memories of the Lisbon Sisters: Growing Sideways in Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides

The male characters of Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides aspire to exhume answers that are seemingly locked within their imprecise memories to explain the tragedy of the Lisbon girls. In her essay, “Growing Sideways,” Kathryn Bond Stockton grapples with many of the ideas surrounding childhood and time that both the boys and Lisbon sisters confront. […]

Buddhist Violence: An Oversimplification of the Conflict in Myanmar

Violence motivated by religion is a thematic element of both historic and modern-day societal living. In many instances, religion has served as a strong motivator for persecution, crusades, and general discrimination emphasized by religious superiority. Moreover, religious violence occurs across all disciplines of religion including Buddhism, which is widely regarded as a pacifist religion. Because […]

The Irreconcilable Differences between Controversial Creators and their Works

While our society grants creatives certain liberties, including freedom to express oneself through the arts, consumers inherently also have the freedom to express themselves through their opinions and perceptions of said art; whether that be to enjoy, reject, or grow offended by it. In her essay, “Confessions of the Human Shield,” Emily Nussbaum wrestled with […]

Uninformed or Prejudiced: Gender Discrimination within the NCAA March Madness Tournaments

At the end of the Division I collegiate basketball season, the NCAA, which is the governing body of college sports, holds the NCAA March Madness championship tournaments. Both men’s and women’s tournaments are single elimination with the 64 best teams playing six rounds of games over three weeks. Each year, March Madness has millions of […]

Following the Path to Positivity

Positive psychology has shown to impact the quality of life of individuals undergoing certain obstacles or hardships in their lives. Psychologists have used various methods to improve the well-being of individuals, including the PERMA model, which includes these five pillars: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement (Park, 2014). Connecting the PERMA model to a […]

Family Over Everything

Mary Karr is a celebrated poet and memoirist, and her debut memoir, The Liars’ Club, is a gripping story of family life in East Texas in the 1960’s. The Karr family, in the memoir, is portrayed as intensely human. While the events that make up Mary Karr’s childhood are horrific, she never demonizes her family […]

Leveling the Playing Field: Fair Voting as Democratic Practice

Thank you to my esteemed colleagues for inviting me here today. Although American democracy is failing, I am proud of our effort to unite in contemplating its restoration to full health. The current political structure, particularly in elections, empowers the wealthy and disproportionately excludes voters of color. Big business and the wealthy dominate political attention; […]

Reconstructed and Repackaged Displays of Antebellum History: The Problematic Structure of Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad

“What do you say, Skipper John. . . Is this the truth of our historic encounter?” Whitehead, The Underground Railroad   Saturday morning trips to the Museum of Natural History, a hot summer week spent exploring Williamsburg, and an eighth-grade trip to the mock Salem Witch Trials–similar to many others, my childhood was filled with outings […]