The editorial team would like to announce on the blog that with the release of Volume 17 (2015) the Journal of Southern Religion has moved into a new era. In the beginning JSR blazed a path into digital publication when most Humanities journals believed that electronic publication would not displace traditional paper journals. In the almost two decades since the first publication, digital publication has become important to the communication of new knowledge. While the editors of JSR were defensive at its inception about electronic publication, the field has come to our format. In the meantime, the journal brought a dedicated web editor onboard and updated its look. The journal, however, continued to function like a print journal in one important way: a single release in October or November of every year.
Volume 17 changes that process. We will create rolling releases (think of software updates without the typical computer crashes that follow) that will allow us to push content to the site when it is available. In the initial rollout, there are two articles and eleven book reviews. There will be more articles and book reviews, but the editorial team is not done.
There will also be two forums this year. The first panel, which also served as a session at the Southern Intellectual History Circle this past February, will explore the ways that southerners adapted civil religion into their own images. The essays explore ways that civil religion may help us see a South beyond a narrow understanding of Lost Cause.
The second forum features a broadening of our understanding of southern religion by examining the ways that religious life in the Caribbean and the broader Atlantic world influenced religious experience in the American South. Under an umbrella mentioned in the Podcast 24 the JSR will think about a South Beyond the South in coming issues to expand what we mean by southern religion. The journal is not content with just a new content format. The editors will also add a new feature.
Under the title Critical Conversations, JSR will introduce non-peer reviewed content that engages ideas critical to the field. The idea behind this format is to produce content that moves to publication more quickly in order to address timely issues. We also hope to create space for reflection on how the field moves forward in conscious ways as scholars read JSR and think in new ways about their own projects. The first of these conversations will roll out this year.
There appears to be an area between peer-reviewed journals and blogs that has not been utilized. The Journal of Southern Religion has been positioned to lead the way in this new arena. The editorial team is excited about the possibility to elevate JSR and expand its reach. We will become the multidisciplinary journal the founders envisioned almost twenty years ago.
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