Editorial: New Challenges, New Directions
It was almost a year ago that Craig invited me to join the Bulletin’s editorial team as his co-editor. I first became aware of the Bulletin back in the 1990s when Russ McCutcheon was the editor of the then CSSR Bulletin (perhaps the most momentous period in the Bulletin’s long history). I have always admired the engaging and critical dialogue that the Bulletin has facilitated between various scholarly voices. Issue after issue offered a glimpse into the life and pulse of the discipline while simultaneously challenging us to reassess our biases and presuppositions. I have long said to colleagues that the Bulletin is undoubtedly the premier non-refereed journal in the field of religious studies. As such, it is a pleasure to join the editorial staff of the Bulletin. And I can’t think of a more dynamic group to work with. Over the past year, there has been an outpouring of creative energy and excitement as we have worked with Equinox to build the Bulletin into an even more vital venue for shaping the discipline.
The Bulletin’s blog (http://www.equinoxjournals.com/blog/) has flourished since last summer, under the very able leadership of our associate editor, Kenny Paul Smith, who has been overseeing the timely, challenging, and sometimes humorous postings that regularly appear online (with Nathan Rein serving as webmaster). Most of these postings have come from our editorial staff, but increasingly a series of guest writers have been contributing to this new component of the Bulletin’s work. Be sure to check out the blog as well as our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/religionbulletin) (both of which offer readers an opportunity to respond to articles or postings. The Bulletin can also be followed via Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/religionbullet).
In conjunction with the blog, we’ve recently started publishing a series of online BookNotes in cooperation with the Study of Religion as an Analytical Discipline workshop (SORAAAD). In this issue of the Bulletin we are publishing the first four of these BookNotes in order to draw attention to this new collaborative project. We also want to extend an invitation to potential contributors for writing such BookNotes. Do let us know if you are interested in writing for the blog, either to review books or to write a short reflection or essay.
This issue of the Bulletin also highlights the work of one of our other associate editors. Kirstine Munk has organized a set of papers on the theme “Gender and Religion” for this issue. Over the past few decades, we have learned that gender and sexuality cannot be ignored within a study of cultural processes that we may include under the now ubiquitous label “religion.” Whether we are dealing with the construction of the male, female, or some third or “other” gender, or are focused on astrological, biblical, medieval, or Islamic traditions, one must contend with the social relevance of gender as an ideological category. The articles that Kirstine has brought together do not exhaust the range of gender studies and religion, either theoretically or in the social and historical data presented, but they do offer helpful points of departure for further work in theorizing the intersection of religion and gender.
Finally, this issue includes an important announcement with regard to our long-standing column by “Reed M. N. Weep.” As always, we welcome responses to articles appearing in the Bulletin, either as articles submitted for possible publication or as comments on the blog or on our Facebook page. Facilitating debate, reflections, research, and critical theorizing of religious phenomena continues to be at the heart of the Bulletin’s mission and certainly is exemplified in the articles included in this issue.
Philip L. Tite