Utne Blogs > Media

Award-Winning Cultural Criticism

 by Danielle Maestretti

Tags: Media, Utne Independent Press Awards, Bitch, Brain Child, The Brooklyn Rail, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Hyphen, Intelligence Report, make/shift, Urbanite, Danielle Maestretti,

Utne Independent Press AwardsOur library contains 1,300 publications—a feast of magazines, journals, alt-weeklies, newsletters, and zines—and every year, we honor the stars in our Utne Independent Press Awards. We’ll announce this year’s winners on Sunday, April 25 at the MPA’s Independent Magazine Group conference in Washington, D.C. and post them online the following Monday. We’re crazy about these publications, and we’d love it for all of our readers to get to know them better, too. So, every weekday until the conference, we’ll be posting mini-introductions to our complete list of 2010 nominees.

The following eight magazines are our 2010 nominees in the category of social/cultural coverage.

The only print magazine dedicated to feminist critiques of pop culture, the exuberant Bitch enlists dauntless writers to carry out its mission by combining serious study and a healthy sense of humor. The Portland-based quarterly also showcases indie art, music, film, and literature. www.bitchmagazine.org

Brain, Child invites “thinking mothers” to share everything—the joys of parenting, the sorrows, the hiccups—in each exquisitely written, sharply edited issue. There’s no sugarcoating here, but neither is there complaining: just reflection and wisdom to spare. www.brainchildmag.com

Oversized and stuffed, The Brooklyn Rail opens with an eclectic blend of cultural discourse and political debate, then segues into an engaging array of art reviews and down-to-earth interviews with both up-and-coming and established artists. http://www.brooklynrail.org

In setting out to cover the world’s colleges and universities, The Chronicle of Higher Education has become a must-read source for news and analysis of the “millennial” generation. It also features the volcanic opinions, underreported grievances, and groundbreaking research of those who teach them. www.chronicle.com

The hip, irresistibly designed Hyphen explores Asian American culture with wit and zeal, tapping the seemingly boundless energy of its all-volunteer staff to cover everything from eco-friendly nail shops to America’s obsession with MSG. www.hyphenmagazine.com

The editors and researchers at Intelligence Report are all over this country’s toughest and ugliest news beat. Published quarterly by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the investigative juggernaut tracks hate groups, which have become larger, and racist extremists, who have grown increasingly volatile. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report

Make/shift’s tagline is “feminisms in motion,” and they whip through the pages of this biannual like an intellectual storm. Each issue hosts bold, one-of-a-kind arguments and creates a lively community of writers, artists, and activists who stretch the boundaries of gender politics. www.makeshiftmag.com

Urbanite has all the flavor and color of Baltimore, but its appeal is much broader. Its best stories explore the relationship between cities and their inhabitants, through the lenses of art, education, architecture, and grassroots action. Reading this monthly is the quintessential urban experience. www.urbanitebaltimore.com 

Want more? Meet our political, international, arts, health and wellness, spirituality, and science and technology nominees.