The Helvidius Group is a student organization at Columbia University, established in 1989 by Peter Tomassi, CC ’91, to provide a forum for undergraduate discourse on issues concerning law and public policy. The Journal of Politics & Society is the realization of that mission. Originally an annual magazine distributed to Ivy League universities and to members of Congress, it has adopted a more scholarly focus and has grown to encompass all of the social sciences. The Journal is not affiliated with or sponsored by any political organization, and it remains staunchly nonpartisan.
Today, the Journal of Politics & Society, with its particular focus on undergraduates and interdisciplinary coverage, is the only scholarly publication of its kind. Now in its twenty-third year, the Journal only considers academic papers submitted by undergraduates. In a process comparable to the peer review and editing procedures of professional academic journals, selected papers are rigorously edited by the Editorial Board, itself composed exclusively of undergraduates. Alone among undergraduate periodicals in the United States, the Journal is commercially distributed nationwide. Traditionally distributed to American universities and research libraries, the Journal was first sold in Barnes & Noble in the spring of 2007. Broader distribution has allowed the Journal to provide academic and lay audiences alike with fruitful commentary on contemporary social and political issues.
In addition to publishing the finest in undergraduate scholarship, the Journal has also featured the works of noted public figures and scholars. The guest essay, the only segment written by non-undergraduates, contextualizes the research in the Journal within the broader sociopolitical dialogue. Past contributors include former President Bill Clinton, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former New Jersey Governor and EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Senator Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, former World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn, Human Rights Watch President Kenneth Roth, Anthony Marx, and Kenneth Waltz.
The Helvidius Group has also provided counsel and guidance to emerging undergraduate and graduate academic journals such as those at the United States Military Academy, Tblisi State University in Georgia, and Columbia University. It welcomes the questions of students looking to establish or develop similar publications at their institutions.