As returning readers may already know, Culture on the Edge’s first chapter started in the Spring of 2012, when seven scholars of religion decided to work together on a common project devoted to studying identities — how they’re made and negotiated. Our blog began a year later, as a public place where we could experiment with the ideas on which we were working, trying to find discrete (and usually overlooked) examples where the work of social formation could be seen, if we just looked at them in a new way. The many posts that resulted (Chapter 1 on the menu bar) were meant to be pithy and written for a wide readership, modeling what a scholar of religion who reads across disciplines might contribute to understanding society at large. And then, about a year ago, we invented our second phase, encouraging other scholars to use the blog as a site to continue to advance the analysis of how social life works; Chapter 2 is therefore a portal for peer review posts, inviting submissions that, in the voices of new authors, press in new directions the insights on identification practices that we’ve been exploring all along.
And now it’s time for the latest development; so, while continuing to solicit and review posts for Chapter 2, we’ve now decided to expand our core group and get back to basics: reading across disciplines to see what we, as scholars of religion, can do with the tools others are developing.
So in the near future we’ll make an announcement about who has joined us here at the Edge and also list the two books that, this Fall, we’ll be tackling, in case you wish to read along with us. We’ll continue to blog, in what we’ll be calling Chapter 3, with this wider group of authors, all working with the ideas or examples that we find in the books that we decide to tackle — applying them and pressing them in some new directions, to see how helpful they are in making sense of things that we do. As already suggested, the books that we select will all be from other fields — some will be brand new while others will be so-called classics that we think it’s worth revisiting.
So we’ve got some reading to do.