Southern Religious History After Katrina -- Professional Opportunity

The following comes to us from two editorial board members of the Journal of Southern Religion, and represents a significant professional opportunity on a defining issue of the day. Please forward to anyone you know who would be interested.



Current events often shape the way historians think about the past. The civil rights and women’s rights movements, for example, redirected the historian’s gaze toward previously marginalized groups and the historian’s craft toward social and cultural studies. For historians of the Gulf South, the weight of the present has come ineluctably to bear on our telling of the past as libraries and archives have been damaged, institutions and neighborhoods destroyed, and lives lost or violently uprooted in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

As recovery efforts haltingly enter a third year, the editors of the Journal of Southern Religion invite scholarly reflection on the ways that Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath impinge on the religious history in the U.S. South. We encourage contributions that consider religion in any period or region and from any methodological vantage point, as long as they engage in a rethinking of religious history in the wake of Katrina. What might look different to us now? Which historical trajectories have been illuminated, which rendered less helpful or telling, which thrown into unexpected curves and angles?

We particularly welcome fresh attention to religion and place as these have made themselves felt in Gulf residents’ experiences of loss, exile, and return. How, for example, might the federal response to Katrina shed light on the vexed role of New Orleans and the Gulf South within the national imaginary? How might the very American myth of self-recreation—of packing up and starting over elsewhere, seemingly without loss—impede recovery projects on the scale of those undertaken in Europe (the rebuilding of bombed-out cities after WWII, or the massive construction of the Dutch levee system after the flood of Amsterdam in1953)? How might the American narrative of manifest destiny, and the concomitant policy of Indian removal, give credence to suspicions of a de facto policy of “Negro removal” in New Orleans to clear space for new projects of U.S. expansion? How does a hemispheric narrative of colonialism and slavery, to which the Gulf South more centrally belongs, trouble a national narrative of freedom and progress, to which it has never entirely been assimilated? What can now be said—or no longer be said—about the unifying power of “civil religion” in moments of national crisis? How has religion, however construed, come to aid or to obstruct the rebuilding of the Gulf South? In short, what new questions about religion and the South have come into view since Katrina? What new methods for addressing them need to be devised?

We encourage contributions in a range of formats: original scholarly essays, retrospectives on previously published work (one’s own or others’), review essays, thought pieces, poetry, photography and photo essays, first-person narratives, and reports on research in progress. We especially invite scholars of the Gulf South who confront a damaged or diminished archive to reflect on the ways these material exigencies have reshaped their historical project and the questions that guide it.

Potential contributors may direct inquiries and submissions to Tracy Fessenden (tracyf *at* asu *dot* edu) and Michael Pasquier (mtpo2 *at* fsu *dot* edu). We wish to receive final submissions for peer review no later than December 15, 2007.


Art Remillard said…
I just came accross this article, which may be of interest to those considering contributing to the JSR.

"What we have seen over the course of these past two years is best summed up in the words that a gentle, Southern lady named Frances Baum said to those who rebuilt her home: 'Katrina showed us the power of God. You show us the love of God.'"
Anonymous said…
"Separation of Church and State" was meant to prevent politics from corrupting religion, not to keep religious ideals or morals out of politics. Our Founding Fathers established this great independent nation because they were unable to practice their religious faith in Britain - politics corrupted their ability to practice their faith. Notice how many contemporary American leaders invoke the name of God to push forward their own policies, agendas, and careers. This is reminiscent of Muslim Jihadists and extremists. I believe this can be categorized as "taking the Lord's name in vain".


We, our government, and our faith are in dark times as pride, lust for power, and greed slowly dissolve the moral and ethical fiber the American government.

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