The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion has included discussion among feminists as an important feature since its first volume in 1985. In the very first issue, Carol P. Christ, Ellen M. Umansky, and Anne Carr responded to the question, "What are the sources of my theology?" The second issue introduced the model of the JFSR roundtable with Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza writing the lead-in piece on feminist methodology and Karen McCarthy Brown, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, Mary E. Hunt, and Anne Llewellyn Barstow responding. We have heard from many scholars that these roundtables prove useful in classroom settings—as a way to introduce students into a conversation rather than asking them to assent to or dissent from one particular voice.
Approaching a problem or question collaboratively does not necessarily produce results in the way that some scholarly modes of writing demand. Rather, multiplicity becomes a central epistemological value. Precisely because it demands accountability—whether to a cowriter, to a particular theme, or to various constituencies—feminist collaboration as a scholarly practice also deepens the treatment of a subject and builds in critical reflection. This deepening is on display in all the pieces in this issue. In the special section on illuminating women's religious authority through ethnography, JFSR board member Karen Pechilis draws together methodological insights from the work of two newer scholars in the field. The special section on feminism and secularism, framed by Elizabeth Pritchard, JFSR Religion and Politics editor, and the roundtable on the legacies and resources of the work of Pauli Murray are explored not with one lens or framing question but with three or four. In addition, Pechilis's and Pritchard's introductions to the special sections and Anthony B. Pinn's response to the roundtable draw out ideas across the contributions and pose yet further questions. There are a coherence and open-endedness in collaborative projects that remind us that inquiry itself is and can be a group effort.
Two other types of scholarly collaboration in the issue serve as reminders of additional possibilities for joint feminist scholarship. With their article about South African Muslim women's religious subjectivity, Nina Hoel and Sa'diyya Shaikh practice the invaluable and demanding work of coauthoring. Traditionally, this occurs when feminist scholars are located in the same institution or when special support has been secured. We note that Hoel and Shaikh are at the University of Cape Town and also have support from the South African National Research Foundation. However, as globalized technologies increasingly interconnect scholars and activists, it is more and more possible for coauthoring to happen across great distances. This in turn emphasizes the importance of online collaborative spaces such as the JFSR Facebook page and the Feminism in Religion Forum (http://www.fsrinc.org/blog) where feminists can connect and interact. However, given that almost all of the projects in this volume were generated out of conference discussions and meetings, in-person events to promote feminist studies in religion within and beyond the academy continue to be critical as well. Judith Plaskow's interview with Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza—an example of a collaborative project prepared for an in-face meeting—is placed within the context of the Across Generations project because it offers readers a possible model for what we hope will be future interviews between emerging scholars and those who helped to establish the field of feminist studies in religion.
This sense of diverse conversations continuing and changing across generations is apparent within the history of the journal as well. Several of the roundtables over JFSR's history have been revisited by a new group of scholars with converging and differing sets of questions and perspectives. For example, the roundtable "Christian Ethics and Theology in Womanist Perspective" in the 1989 spring issue was recognized, challenged, expanded, and re-contextualized in "Must I Be Womanist?" in the spring 2006 issue. One notable shift from the first to the second was the multireligious nature of the participants. This both challenged a Christian framing of the term "womanist" and marked its relevance and value across intellectual, religious, and political locations.
It seems fitting, perhaps, that the poems by Sarah N. Cross and Bianca Spriggs are the only pieces in this volume that are not expressly configured as part of a larger conversation. There is a poignancy and clarity in their focus on familiar and painful particularities. And yet the work ofJFSR's new poetry editor, Rebecca Gayle Howard, in bringing these voices to the journal, and the demands on the imagination of readers to unfold the many meanings of poetry as a genre, may point yet again to the importance of relationships in the making of meaning. Tensions and differences are not resolved or erased in cooperative and collaborative feminist projects, rather they are put to work.
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