Emily Suzanne Clark
With a lot of excitement, I am happy to announce the release of Volume 17 of the Journal of Southern Religion! Volume 17 contains two new peer-reviewed articles and eleven book reviews. Volume 17 is also the beginning of something new for the JSR: rolling release. With this volume we are going to start taking advantage of our digital format in a new way. Instead of releasing one volume a year, we are going to push content to the JSR site multiple times a year in order to make awesome southern religion content available to readers like you sooner and more frequently. In the pipeline for later this year is some new work on southern religion and the Atlantic world.
Volume 17 of the JSR contains two important new articles. First Stephen Haynes, a professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College, offers a significant corrective to the way we narrate religion and segregation during the mid-twentieth century in "Distinction and Dispersal: Folk Theology and the Maintenance of White Supremacy." The typical narrative is one in which the civil rights movement utilized religion to argue their case for integration, and white pro-segregationists stopped relying on religion as much in their arguments. Using biblical hermeneutics and drawing connections to pro-Christian slavery, Haynes unveils how segregationists used the Bible to create a narrative of "distinction and dispersal." Haynes illuminates how white southern ministers drew upon the Old Testament and the New Testament to describe a God who created various nations (or races) with different fates and purposes. Some of these pro-segregationsts' arguments were similar to pro-slavery Christianity and some were new.
The other important article in Volume 17 of the JSR comes from Scott Stephan, an associate professor of History at Ball State University. In "A Sectarian's Success in the Evangelical South: J.R. Graves and the Tennessee Baptist, 1846-1860," Stephan focuses on the work of J.R. Graves, the antebellum editor of the Tennessee Baptist out of Nashville. Stephan draws our attention to the ways Graves used the newspaper to draw lines of denominational difference and denomination correction, all the while making a case for proper Christian identity. Southern presses of the nineteenth century were at the forefront of carving out the region's ideas and distinctiveness. Graves grew that paper from a small periodical to a major one in the region. With his rich descriptions of Graves's editorials and his theological tussles with others, Stephan unveils the "disruption" that Graves caused in the South.
The book reviews in Volume 17 cover some of last year's best monographs, including Randall Balmer's Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, Molly Worthen's Apostles of Reason, Steven P. Miller's The Age of Evangelicalism, Amy DeRogatis's Saving Sex, Angela Tarango's Choosing the Jesus Way, and more.
There are a lot of people who deserve credit for the release of this new content. Fellow editor Doug Thompson and I owe a lot to Charlie McCrary and Adam Brasich our two careful copyeditors and emerging web editors. Book Review Editor Carolyn Dupont makes a hard job look easy and does it with style. We also owe a lot to the JSR's most recent retiree; Lincoln Mullen acted this year more as an emeritus web editor than a former web editor. We also thank those in the field who review article manuscript submissions for us and those who review books for the journal. Without further ado, go read and enjoy Volume 17 of the Journal of Southern Religion!