“So, Tell Me…”

Picture 13Once upon a time, in a land far away, and while walking around the book display at our field’s main national conference here in North America, I was chit-chatting with the editor of a major press in my field — a place at which I’d not yet published.

A question was posed to me that went something like this:

So, tell me: why do you publish at a place like Equinox?

There was a lot embedded in that question, I think. For, compared to the place where this person worked, Equinox was a much smaller player with far less prestige — why would such a publisher matter to me?

This editor was on the clock, doing fieldwork. It’s a business, after all.

Choosing not to address what I took to be a good dose of condescension not far from the surface of that question, I answered by saying something about how much I appreciated its willingness to take risks and also my sense of loyalty to a publisher who took a risk on me early on in my career — something that my interlocutor appreciated hearing.

After all, what editor doesn’t like loyal authors who return with new projects? Continue reading ““So, Tell Me…””

Forthcoming from the Edge

Picture 6Culture on the Edge was founded in early 2012 as a small research group, comprised of scholars with very different specialties, aiming to produce original research that not only invited readers to rethink how to study identity but also demonstrated how scholars who understand religion to be an ordinary cultural element could also have interesting things to say about other aspects of culture and history. Because books take a little longer to produce than do blog posts, it is worth bearing in mind that this academic blog — begun a year after the group formed — is only one of several venues for publicizing the group’s research.

We’re therefore pleased to announce several volumes that are due out in the coming year, all from Equinox Publishers — an independent UK publisher known for works on theory.

Click the descriptions below to learn more about each volume. Continue reading “Forthcoming from the Edge”

“New Books on the Edge” with Russell T. McCutcheon

9781781790779 (1)Entanglements: Marking Place in the Field of Religion

You’ve contributed much to the discourse on theory and method in the academic study of religion over the years – can you take us behind the scenes with “why” this book now, and to what sorts of questions and/or critiques in the field you’re responding to in your push to show the manner in which the “academic” study of religion rightfully constitutes primary research on “real” religions?

For whatever reason, over the years some of my work has prompted replies from other scholars—sometimes substantive, sometimes dismissive or, on occasion, even angry. So I’ve had the luxury of writing responses or rejoinders on a number of occasions, but I’ve never done anything with these pieces—not that I ought to, but they tend to represent a part of the field that, I think, often goes unnoticed. For a variety of reasons I’ve turned into an essayist and I tend to gather up pieces periodically and then publish them as a collection—a genre I certainly didn’t invent and one that is not so distinct from a monograph as some might wish to think—and so the idea of collecting these responses, and then writing new introductions to each, contextualizing the occasion etc., seeing it all as an example of scholarly discourse at work, rather than a finished product, occurred to me about a year or so ago. Continue reading ““New Books on the Edge” with Russell T. McCutcheon”

Get Poked

equinoxLooking for a Culture on the Edge button while at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature next week? Then consider stopping by the book display and finding the Equinox Publishers booth. There’s bound to be some there.

buttonsfromtheedge2And while you’re there, consider whether your own work fits the larger project that we’re working on, here at the Edge. We have a book series with Equinox (edited by our own Steven Ramey) and we’re eager to consider proposals, for both monographs and essay collections, that explore the ongoing work of identification across a variety of historical and social sites.

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On the Spot with Steven Ramey

“On the Spot” backs members of Culture on the Edge into a corner to talk about their backgrounds, their ongoing work, and what might be gained by an alternative understanding of how identity works.

stevrnQ: Steven, your early work was interested in a specific group that fell between the way we commonly identify some of the world’s religions, so issues of blurred or ambiguous identity have long been a focus for you. How has this interest changed or developed over the past several years?

A: When I began to learn about Sindhi Hindus and their inclusion (typically) of the Guru Granth Sahib within their temples, I assumed that they represented a wonderful example of inter-religious harmony. As I conducted my research, I began to see how my assumptions reflected common definitions that some of them directly rejected, as some Sindhi Hindus specifically argue that the Guru Granth Sahib is a Hindu text. Continue reading “On the Spot with Steven Ramey”

New books on historicity of identity

equinoxlogoWe have contracted the initial two volumes in the Culture on the Edge Book Series with Equinox Publishers, both resulting form the research group’s own work.

Claiming Identity in the Study of Religion (edited by Monica Miller) provides a collection of previously published essays by scholar of religion, Russell T. McCutcheon, that highlights different identifying claims within the work of a number of leading scholars of religion. New, substantive introductions to each essay, authored by other scholars interested in the historicity of identity, highlight the strategies of identification employed by the scholars whom McCutcheon analyzes.

The Problem of Nostalgia in the Study of Identity (edited by Vaia Touna) tackles the problem of how to examine the historicity of identity through four discrete case studies, with an Introduction by Craig Martin.