With 2014 now underway, it seems appropriate to begin this post with...
Out with the Old
Along with Mike Pasquier and Luke Harlow, I transitioned out of the Journal of Southern Religion editorial team following the release of our fifteenth volume in November. Before leaving, though, I recorded three final podcasts—two related to the new volume and one to the editorial changes.
First, I caught up with Michael McVicar to talk about his article, "Take Away the Serpents from Us: The Sign of Serpent Handling and the Development of Southern Pentecostalism." Michael begins by explaining why he was drawn to this topic in the first place. He then offers an overview of the discussions and debates about serpent handling practices among early pentecostals, before concluding with a reflection on the ways that his essay sheds light on how we contextualize and interpret marginal religious practices.
Next, Christopher Graham and I discussed his article, "Evangelicals and 'Domestic Felicity' in the Non-Elite South." Christopher starts by telling us how this piece grew out of his broader interest in the lives of "common people" in the Civil War era. He goes on to describe the evangelical print culture of the time and its influence on domestic life in North Carolina. In our concluding exchange, Christopher thinks about how the "evangelical domestic ethos" forged in the 1850s might complicate our understanding of secession and Confederate nationhood.
For my final podcast, I talked with outgoing editor Mike Pasquier and incoming editor Doug Thompson. Mike gave his thoughts on where the journal had come since he and Luke began, while Doug looked ahead to the journal's future. It's safe to say that the JSR is in good hands, and that we can expect to see more great things in the coming months and years.
Carolyn Dupont of Eastern Kentucky University will be taking over as book review editor and podcast director. Meanwhile, I'm starting a new venture as radio director over at the Marginalia Review of Books. As I mentioned previously, I am very impressed with what Timothy Michael Law and his editorial team is doing—except for their most read story for 2013. Bizarre.
Nevertheless, this brings us to...
In with the New
Later this month, I'll be stopping by EKU to give Carolyn a tutorial on podcasting. I'll also be on hand to assist with her first JSR podcast, appropriately enough with Mike Pasquier about his edited volume, Gods of the Mississippi. (If you missed it, be sure to read Emily Clark's RiAH review of the book.)
Prior to that, though, I'll record my own interview with Carolyn about her fine new book, Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975. Paul blogged about this previously, and I can only agree when he says, "This is . . . right at the top of the heap for works dealing with southern white churches and the civil rights movement."
MRB's first show, Stephen Haynes's, The Last Segregated Hour: The Memphis Kneel-Ins and the Campaign for Southern Church Desegregation. I can't say enough good things about this book, which brings readers to Memphis in the mid-1960s to recover the contested history of the kneel-in campaign in that city and throughout the South. Stephen's beautifully composed account makes expert use of the nearly 150 interviews that he collected between 2003 and 2012.
Listen to the interview and read the book.
After that, pick up a copy of Paula Kane's, Sister Thorn and Catholic Mysticism in Modern America. Before Christmas, I traveled to the famed Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh to talk with the author. In the book and our conversation, Paula uses the unique story of an American stigmatic to address the broader story of American Catholicism in the interwar years. To be sure, this is required reading for anyone interested in Catholic studies. But American religious historians of all stripes should read this book, which uses this intensely local topic as a platform for thinking about themes such as modernity, ethnicity, gender, urbanization, assimilation, and globalization.
So stay tuned, because both the JSR and MRB have plenty of momentum heading in to 2014.