Who We Are

Symposeum is a magazine by and for rational optimists. A quarterly publication of The Dial community, Symposeum concentrates convictions that human goodness and ingenuity are most keen where they are most threatened.

Raison D’Être

We are living in disorienting times. The world is torn, our social fabric threadbare. Our civilization—certainly our nation—stands on the cusp of unprecedented change. The coronavirus pandemic has worsened old problems while creating a host of new ones. At Symposeum, our chief concern among these is public discourse. The media landscape is increasingly out of touch, noisy, and dominated by dour voices drowning out ideas that might call forth the best of our future. Yet we believe that dynamism exists in this moment. We aim to tap into it, and to elevate optimism as an outlook of choice. We intend to register the currents of our time by gathering diverse insights into conversation, emphasizing novel and original voices more than the pens of practiced writers. In every issue, we will act like an authentic symposium, upholding a disposition of hope as we explore a unique theme through various perspectives. Following in the spirit of our predecessors responsible for the first iteration of The Dial, we dedicate ourselves to “the Necessary, the Plain, the True, and the Human.”

By Necessary, we mean works of critical inquiry.
By Plain, we mean works of novel insight into ordinary occurrences.
By True, we mean works of empirical investigation.
By Human, we mean works of intimate experience.

Our Roots

The Dial was a journal first published and edited by the leaders of the American Transcendentalist movement: Margaret Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. The Transcendental Club, known as the “Symposeum” by Emerson in his journals, was a clearinghouse for ideas that attracted New England’s brightest thinkers. From this group, a “Journal in new spirit” called The Dial was born. Dealing with “literature, philosophy, and religion,” The Dial was printed in its original form from 1840 to 1844 and in various iterations spanning the years between 1860 and 1929. It sought to be a contemporary publication, focusing on the “arrived and arriving,” and a forum for clear-eyed optimism: “one cheerful rational voice amidst the din of mourners and polemics.”


Editor | Ali Kominsky

Founder and Publisher | Rachel Hone

Senior Editors | Andrew Najberg, Meghan K. McGinley

Poetry Editor | Emily Meffert

Style & Standards | Matthew Everett Miller

Assistant Editor | Kathleen Furin

Art Director | Julian Tennyson

Web Developer | Hayden Betts

Acknowledgements | Nina Murray