Theological Studies Professor Amir Hussain has been named the next editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, a position he hopes to use to continue the journal’s move toward a broader study of religion beyond Christianity and Judaism.
Hussain, a scholar of contemporary Islam who has been at Loyola Marymount University since 2005, was chosen after a nationwide search process. He will serve as editor for a five-year term beginning in 2011.
Hussain sees the scope of the academy becoming more pluralistic, and hopes to maintain that approach during his tenure as the quarterly journal’s editor.
"Scholars who study Islam or Hinduism, Buddhism or native traditions have become much more involved than they ever were," he said. Issues involving Christianity and Judaism "are still going to be the majority of articles, the majority of scholars," but he intends to "make this journal more fully the journal of record for those of us who do things outside" those traditions.
Hussain also plans to implicitly address the "perennial issue" of the split between scholars of religion and theologians – the question of studying religion from an outsider perspective, or from within a faith tradition. For Hussain, who studies Islam at a Jesuit university, the answer is that both approaches must be seen as valuable.
"One of the things I hope to bring to this journal is being able to reconcile those approaches," he said. "It’s not an either-or situation. It’s a both-and situation. We need study of religion and theological studies voices."
Posted April 12, 2010