By Philip L. Tite
One of the most memorable sayings in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is “so long and thanks for all the fish” – just when the Dolphins leave earth before it is destroyed. While that particular change may have been a negative, pessimistic one, there have been a few significant changes with the Bulletin for the Study of Religion that promise to leave the Bulletin all that much stronger for the future.
Among those changes occurring here at the Bulletin, there is one that we are especially excited about. In Chicago at the annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Religion (NAASR), which was held in conjunction with the AAR/SBL annual meeting, the membership voted to establish a formal affiliation with the Bulletin. This is an exciting new development for both the Bulletin and our publisher Equinox (and we hope for NAASR). NAASR and Equinox have already had a longstanding collaboration, promoting the critical study of religion. Earlier this year, Craig and I spoke about the obvious overlap between NAASR and the Bulletin. We are thrilled that a formal relationship has been established with NAASR. Much of the credit for this new development is owed to Craig.
As several long time readers may recall, the Bulletin for the Study of Religion (then known as the CSSR Bulletin) was once published by the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion on behalf of about seven academic societies that came under the CSSR umbrella. By the time the CSSR disbanded and the Bulletin was picked up by Equinox, much of the work published in the Bulletin was more reflective of NAASR than of any other society. So for me this new affiliation with NAASR is very much a “coming home” for the Bulletin.
Another change, however, has occurred during this transition. My co-editor, Craig Martin, has decided to retire from his duties as editor of the Bulletin. I calculated something like seven years that Craig has served as editor. Although I may be mistaken, I believe this is the longest period than anyone has served as editor in the roughly 40 year history of the Bulletin. During his editorship, he has helped to develop our presence in critical theory in the academic study of religion. And he oversaw the transition from the CSSR to Equinox, offering a stabilizing presence that ensured the continued tone and focus of the Bulletin. Finally, this new affiliation with NAASR is certainly a fitting finale by this indefatigable editor and scholar. Thankfully, Craig will continue to write for our blog and he will be a key contact person for us as executive secretary of NAASR. From a personal perspective, it has been a delight to work with Craig and I will genuinely miss our regular conversations over submissions, thematic issues, and various administrative ideas that we would kick around between jokes. So as the dolphins would say: so long and thanks for all the issues, Craig. You’ve done an amazing job.
Along with the sad news of Craig’s departure is the wonderful news that Kelly Baker has agreed to join our team as co-editor of the Bulletin. When Craig and I first discussed his stepping down, the one name that we both had in mind as a possible replacement was Kelly. Kelly has been active with the Bulletin’s blog and worked with me to bring together an excellent set of papers on “evidence” in American religious history for the November issue (where she is listed as an associate editor). Kelly is currently a lecturer in American Studies and Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee. Her Ph.D (2008) is from Florida State University and her research tends to focus on those areas that many would consider “fringe” (and who may respond, “You study what?”). Her recent book is Gospel According to the Klan: The Ku Klux Klan’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915‐1930 (CultureAmerica series; University Press of Kansas, 2011) and she is now turning her attention to zombies and other monstrosities. I love that she delves into those areas of culture and history that many would overlook with barely a glance. I am thrilled to have her as a new colleague and I know that her energy, intelligence, and wit will have a lasting impact on the continued success of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion. Welcome on board!