As the managing editors of Practical Matters journal, we are thrilled to forge this partnership with State of Formation and its readership.
Practical Matters is a graduate-student run, transdisciplinary, multimedia journal that seeks to ask and provoke new questions about religious practices and practical theology. Founded in 2007, Practical Matters publishes peer-reviewed scholarship in several different media types and genres, reflections and essays by practitioners and teachers, video and audio interviews with scholars, reviews of current work in religious practices and practical theology, musical performances, photographic essays, and more.
Practical Matters has a broad target audience. At the time of our founding, we were unique in our ability to nurture a conversation about religious practices between scholars of religion, practical theologians, religious practitioners on the ground from a variety of religious perspectives, and the like in such an easily accessible forum. Though the number of online, open access journals has proliferated since 2007, we still believe Practical Matters fills a unique niche.
Three articles in our first issue “Imagination,” (Issue 1, Spring 2009), exemplify this point. “Victory of a Dream” is an article about a novel adaptation of the Christmas-time classic, The Nutcracker, that features traditional Indian aesthetics in its dance techniques, musical scores, and sets (an interesting reversal of the Americanization or Christianization of traditionally Eastern practices such as Yoga). “Making a Mandala” is an ethnographic film of monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta, GA making a mandala in the atrium of a building at Emory University. “A Song to Sing, A Life to Live” is a video of an extended conversation between Emily Sailers (one half of the famed folk duo The Indigo Girls) and her father Dr. Don E. Sailers (professor emeritus of theology and worship at Emory University) about musical and liturgical imagination. The diversity of religious traditions, media-type, and intended audience reflected in these three articles from the “Imagination” issue is representative of each issue of Practical Matters.
The staff of Practical Matters is composed of graduate students in religious studies at Emory University. The entire agenda of the journal–issue themes, feature articles, selected book reviews, and the like–are determined by the staff, each of whom are members of the “up-and-coming” class of leaders and scholars for whom State of Formation seeks to provide a forum. This is why we think the partnership between our organizations is so cogent.
We hope to extend conversations about the content of Practical Matters here at State of Formation as well as speak to interesting issues related to religious practices that garner mainstream attention from time to time. Please take a few moments to check us out at www.practicalmattersjournal.org. There are four issues available for viewing, “Imagination,” (Issue 1, Spring 2009), “Youth” (Issue 2 Fall 2009),”Ethnography & Theology,” (Issue 3, Spring 2010), and “Religion, Health & Healing,” (Issue 4, Spring 2011) with a fifth issue, “Violence and Peace,” scheduled for a May 4, 2012 release. You can reach us at comments[at]practicalmattersjournal.org. We look forward to the discussion!
Jermaine M. McDonald and Jessica M. Smith
Managing Editors of Practical Matters