Editor's Column

Rodger M. Payne / Louisiana State University

     The Journal of Southern Religion has successfully completed its first year of publication. This inaugural year has been a time of learning for all of us involved with the journal, but I can report with confidence that the editors are pleased with what the journal has been able to accomplish. Our sponsor, Mercer University Press, has provided for our advertising expenses, and Louisiana State University and West Virginia University have provided some "in kind" support for the editors, but for the most part JSR continues to be a labor of love. We expect that 1999 will bring additional success, as scholars increasingly turn to the electronic media for research, publication, and pedagogy.

      As our attention turns to 1999 and volume two of JSR, we begin

" JSR is committed to academic excellence, and our peer-review process is rigorous."

the year by welcoming two new members to our editorial board. Sandy Dwayne Martin (Ph.D., Columbia University) is an Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Georgia. His current research is focused on women's ordination in the African American churches, the social and political thought of African American church leaders, and the history of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. His first book, Black Baptists and African Missions: The Origins of A Movement, 1880-1915, was published by Mercer University Press in 1989; and a second book entitled For God and Race: The Religious and Political Leadership of AMEZ Bishop James Walker Hood, 1831-1918 is due out soon from the University of South Carolina Press. Ted M. Ownby (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University) is Associate Professor of History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. His 1990 book Subduing Satan: Religion, Recreation, and Manhood in the Rural South, 1865-1920 was published by the University of North Carolina Press (1990), and he was the editor of Black and White Cultural Interaction in the Antebellum South (University Press of Mississippi, 1993). Dr. Ownby's research interests include nineteenth-century Southern history, particularly the history of religion and gender issues. These fine scholars add further depth to the already excellent quality of our editorial board.

      The quality of our editorial board was further underscored this past year when our Managing Editor, Briane Turley, was named a finalist for the Educom Medal. This award is designed "to recognize and reward outstanding educators, professionals, and other individuals who have made significant contributions to the improvement of undergraduate education through innovative applications of information technology."1 Dr. Turley was recognized for his work not only with JSR but for his other innovative websites designed for scholars and students studying American religion (viz., The American Religious Experience, and American Religion Links). The new look of the JSR homepage that appeared with this current volume was wholly designed and executed by Dr. Turley. We hope that readers will find the journal to be both aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate.


       JSR is committed to academic excellence, and our peer-review process is rigorous. Of the eight submissions JSR received in 1998, one was published, and four were returned to their authors with suggestions for revisions and resubmission. One article received in late 1998 remains in review, as do other articles that have arrived since the first of the year. Unlike some electronic journals, JSR will publish only original research as opposed to recycling articles that have previously appeared in print. While this commitment, coupled with our peer-review process, means that the number of articles we publish will remain small, the editors believe that this is the only way that electronic publication can prove itself equal to the print media for academic research and publication.

      We continue to receive and publish excellent book reviews from scholars who work in a variety of disciplines. In this regard, electronic publication has already proven itself the superior of print journals, since the time between publication of a book and publication of a scholarly review has been reduced from years to months. Academic presses are beginning to recognize this advantage, and some now automatically ship new publications to appropriate electronic journals for review. JSR also offered in volume one a review of Robert Duvall's film The Apostle complete with a video trailer. Since electronic publication offers possibilities for the incorporation of video into published pieces, we have continued to focus our efforts in this direction, and JSR readers should see some further, and better integrated, video experiments appear in volume two.

Association of Peer-Reviewed Electronic Journals in Religion

      In the fall of 1998, JSR became a charter member of the Association of Peer-Reviewed Electronic Journals in Religion (APEJR). Editors Rodger Payne and Briane Turley represent JSR in this consortium which was founded to promote the development and acceptance of electronic journals through the establishment of high standards for academic quality. Member journals presently include Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism, and Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal. Other journals will be added in the near future. An APEJR logo now appears on the JSR home page which provides a link to the APEJR home page at Emory University. APEJR is the brainchild of James Adair, editor of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism, and the editor of the "Offline" column that appears in Religious Studies News (an official organ of the American Academy of Religion). Through both academic and technical support, and through projects such as the indexing, abstracting, and archiving of member journals, APEJR will undoubtedly have significant impact on the world of electronic scholarly publication. JSR is pleased to be an active part of this worthy enterprise.

Association for the Study of Southern Religion

      A non-profit organization by this title will soon be registered in the state of Louisiana as the academic organization for which JSR will serve as the official organ. ASSR will allow us to raise funds (through membership fees, donations, etc.) that can be used to maintain the publication of JSR and also to sponsor conferences for the study of Southern religion. Indeed, our first conference has already been scheduled for October 21-23, 1999 at Emory University (with funding thus far by the American Academy of Religion). Editors Gary Laderman and Beth Barton Schweiger have taken on the primary responsibilities of planning this conference which will address issues of concern to the study of Southern religion and religions, including sessions on pedagogy and the electronic media.

      As I noted in volume one, JSR has many "blank spaces" yet to fill. In these spaces, however, lies all of our potential for the future. APEJR and ASSR will help us to achieve some of our goals, and we look with anticipation to what 1999 will bring.


[1] "The Educom Medals Award Program".


© 1998 by The Journal of Southern Religion. All rights reserved. ISSN 1094-5234

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