Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Introducing Second Nature Journal


I'm proud to announce that I'll be moving over to a new site, Second Nature Journal, to focus on creating a place for people to dialogue about technology and media in light of the Christian tradition. The idea is to bring the people thinking and talking about this to one place with the hope of encouraging more discussion. My colleague, Brantly Millegan and I will be hard at work looking for the best content out there, and we will be accepting multi-media material (articles, visual art, poetry, music, videos, etc). 

Feel free to kick around at Resident Alien to get an idea of what I see as the important strains in media ecology and then get over to Second Nature to see the best new material on the subject. 

You can see my first article there, Thinking Trivially About Radical Orthodoxy, which traces the influence of the Church Fathers in McLuhan's thought and those scholars who identify as "radically orthodox."

Our press release:

April 1st, 2013 – The new online journal Second Nature officially launches today and plans to be the definitive place for critical thinking about technology and new media in light of the Christian tradition, with written articles, images, videos, poetry, and links.

The journal’s co-founders are Benjamin Robertson, Brantly Millegan, and Read Mercer Schuchardt. Robertson and Millegan both studied under Schuchardt, Associate Professor of Communication at Wheaton College (IL). Robertson and Millegan serve as the journal’s Editors, and Schuchardt is the Chairman of the Editorial Board. The other members of the Editorial Board are: Juliette Aristides, Eric Brende, Peter K. Fallon, Geraldine Forsberg, T. David Gordon, Shane Hipps, Arthur W. Hunt III, Eric McLuhan, and Brett T. Robinson. The board members represent a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds, denominational affiliations, and interests in the subject. For bios and pictures, see the journal’s About page.

The idea of the journal came about after Millegan wrote the article ‘Of Mics and Men‘, and couldn’t find a proper publication in which to publish it. In talking to Robertson and Schuchardt, they decided to form Second Nature. “Everybody knows new technologies like the Internet and smartphones are radically transforming our world, ” Millegan said. “So what does the Christian tradition have to offer to help us to think critically about these powerful tools, their meaning and their proper use? That’s one of the driving questions of the journal.”

The journal is now accepting submissions, which may come in the form of written pieces, images, or videos. While submissions should adhere to the general boundaries set by the journal’s description, there is no religious affiliation required for those submitting pieces. See the journal’s Contact page for full submission guidelines.

For launch, the journal has six published pieces: one painting and five written articles, on topics ranging from the eight characteristics of mass audiences created by electronic media, to how the Internet is reuniting families previously kept apart as a result of other technological innovations. The journal plans to publish a new piece every few weeks, bridging the publication schedule between a quarterly journal and a weekly website.

The journal also has a blog, which will be updated weekly with relevant news or other items of interest related to the journal’s topic. Examples of recent blog posts include: an article about an Italian priest who recently smashed a TV on the altar of his church during Mass to remind his parishioners to not become enslaved to technology; pictures from a new tumblr that gives life advice from machines; and a set of videos in which a person tests to see why people are comfortable with security cameras recording them but get very nervous when a person holding a camera does the same thing.

The journal hopes to eventually offer an annual print edition, conferences, and seminars.

The journal may be followed on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, by email, or with its RSS feed. The journal’s web address is http://secondnaturejournal.com.

All questions, comments, media inquiries, and submissions should be directed to contact@secondnaturejournal.com.

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