*Editor’s Note: While State of Formation accepts applications for Contributing Scholars on a rolling basis, we also strive to get the word out about State of Formation’s work at the beginning of each academic year. Please share this with your networks and with anyone who you think would make a good addition to the State of Formation community.
State of Formation is pleased to announce it is accepting applications for Contributing Scholars.
State of Formation is supported by CIRCLE, a partnership between Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School.
Over the past five years, State of Formation has welcomed new and emerging religious and ethical leaders to engage in dialogue via an online format. While unorthodox in its approach, the forum has created a place for emerging scholars to articulate their voices in the public sphere.
Jenn Lindsay, a 2010 Contributing Scholar and one of the most prolific writers on the site, says, “Over the last five years I have come to consider State of Formation as one of my primary communities of inspiring, challenging thinkers, and responsive and engaged readers. Crucial for me as a writer and emerging anthropologist of religion, State of Formation is a place where I can try out ideas safely. I’m presently writing my dissertation on themes that I have discussed for years on State of Formation. Without this platform for thinking out loud and gathering the expertise of people on similar scholarly paths–or helpfully divergent ones–I know that my ideas would be far less confident, clear or relevant to the realities of religious difference.”
Over the years, over 300 individuals have applied or applied to write on State of Formation, which currently has just over 200 writers. Lauren Seganos, a 2014 Scholar, reflects that, “As a seminarian studying to be a Christian minister, writing for State of Formation has inspired me to expand my knowledge, hone my writing skills, and help me to better articulate the importance of interfaith cooperation.”
Wendy Webber, a 2013 Scholar, shares how unique a space State of Formation is: “As an atheist and Humanist writer I can find the internet a hostile place, but I have found State of Formation to be the most open, supportive, and, most importantly, genuinely constructive forum to write for and respond to. Rarely do I find writers who do not try to sugarcoat their own traditions, nor try to undermine another’s. It is refreshing to find a community of people working together to find common ground in our traditions and, somewhat unusually, work to bridge the most difficult gaps between them.”
One of the unique aspects of the State of Formation experience is the opportunity given to Contributing Scholars to craft their own personal narrative in their writing about their tradition and belief system. To that end, Terry Shoemaker, a 2014 Scholar, says: “Seeking a community space to discuss interreligious inclusion and dialogue from both practical and academic perspectives, State of Formation supplied a unique opportunity for me to describe on-the-ground interreligious activities, consider the role of religion within the American context, and compare my perspectives with peers from across the globe. Writing for State of Formation provided an opportunity without borders, boundaries, or rigid contours giving my writing and thoughts time to take shape. I would recommend this writing platform to anyone interested in the intersections of religion, no religion, community, and well-being for our societies and world.”
Contributing Scholars to State of Formation will be able to take advantage of the numerous benefits to participating in the State of Formation community. In addition to being recognized as a Contributing Scholar by JIRS, State of Formation’s Contributing Scholars may be eligible for a trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, invited to either present or participate in the annual gathering at the American Academy of Religion, and may have their work featured on additional platforms.
Applicants should be currently enrolled in a seminary, rabbinical school, graduate program, or another institution for theological or philosophical formation — or up to three years out of their graduate program in a professional setting. On rare occasions, exceptions will be made to these guidelines in order to increase the diversity of the writers. Scholars should be able to commit to post monthly on the forum while showing respect for others from different traditions.
Does this describe you or an emerging leader you know? Please take a moment to fill out our brief application form. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please contact Benjamin Barer, Editorial Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Esther Boyd, Communications Director, email@example.com, with any questions or concerns.