Explorations in Creativity & Spirituality
Novel Adventures is an innovative single and multi-author book series focused on exploring questions of spirituality (broadly-defined) and its connection to the global common good. This is not a series about “The Theology of X” where authors write about religious and/or spiritual interpretations of various social movements toward progressive justice such as a theological reading of contemporary aesthetic works or struggles for human rights. Rather, this project affirms the importance of creativity and dialogue, providing an opportunity for mutual exploration and learning between diverse disciplines and thinkers.
With this book series we are especially interested in providing an outlet and an archive for documenting some of the incredible work coming from folks who are not formally part of the theological academy and/or may not have completed doctoral, master’s, or bachelor’s studies. In many instances, such works can provide invaluable insight into understudied or burgeoning areas ripe for exploration in theology or religious studies. The series aims to be intellectually rigorous while attracting wider audiences that many instances of "scholarly" writing miss. The series is particularly interested in releasing texts that have a practical edge that stimulates genuine action in the world toward the actualization of the ideas discussed.
This series is written to be accessible to non-specialist audiences. These books will be able to be used in faith communities, in undergraduate classrooms, and in graduate programs as case-studies of theopoetics-in-action. Broadly speaking, the way that the project is envisioned is that books in the series will feature significant contributions from folks who primarily identify themselves as practitioners of the common good (sculptors, musicians, social workers, clergy people, electricians, etc.) and folks who identify themselves as academics. We recognize that some practitioners are also powerful scholars and some academics have devoted practices that guide them. Don’t let this categorization be an obstacle to reaching out. The thing to emphasize is that we want each of these books to capture true dialogue and mutual learning. When we have authors who are writing as a group, we are very open to creative proposals as long as the writing team shows cross-disciplinary focus and is exploring a question in a collaborative way. Essentially, we hope that each volume will reflect an embodied inquiry, with the author or authors of a given book exploring a common question from a “novel” perspective unique to them and the expertise they bring to the table.
There are multiple ways in which a proposal might be designed and we encourage creative interpretations of the call. We have also included some sketches of imagined proposals below for inspiration. Pieces of any of these sketches could be removed and combined with other ideas, or added to things that are not on the list at all. They are not to be taken as the only possible models, merely as possible examples of the kind of work we hope might be possible.
- A community leader who is a spoken word artist collaborates with a theologian who specializes in trauma and spirituality. They explore a specific project that the artist is developing where community members are coached and eventually perform narratives of change after trauma. The first chapter is written by the community leader broadly describing their work and their community context. The second is from the theologian describing their area of expertise and how they see its relevance to the work of the leader. The third is an edited transcription of an actual dialogue that took place between the two, with each trying to hear and learn from the other’s wisdom. The fourth is a description of the community member performance including some of the written pieces that people have allowed to be included in the book. The final chapter is co-written and points to areas where future collaboration might be possible.
- A process philosopher of religion collaborates with a filmmaker to create and write and create a film short in the genre of Afrofuturism. A link to the film is included in the text and readers are encouraged to watch it first. An interview with the filmmaker about their work is developed into a chapter about their inspirations and what making the piece meant to them and was intended to accomplish. Another chapter is written by the philosopher about themes in the work that relate to Black liberation and technological freedom. They each read each other’s work and write a series of short essays in responsive dialogue form, with one writing an essay and sending it to the other and the other writing a similarly short essay in response. These essays are edited and included as a chapter.
- A key player in a social justice efforts around LGBTQIA issues reflects on their experiences writes about how the struggle is not religious because it embodies many of the values articulated in confessional religions, but is religious because distinct values are developed in the work of making a more just and equitable world for those who do not identity as heterosexual. The book is a mix of poetry, storytelling, and short essays with a 6-song musical EP from a progressive rock band.
Who Should Consider Submitting a Proposal?
Manuscript proposals and completed manuscripts will come from single authors or a pair of authors. We are looking for people that want to work individually or collaboratively and innovatively explore the intersection of the common good and religious reflection. We are especially interested in projects that engage in some aspect of community-building and/or work for justice. As noted above, the project is envisioned so that each book in the series will feature significant contributions from folks who primarily identify themselves as practitioners of the common good and folks who identify themselves as academics. We hope that we will hear from groups composed of activists, academics, and artists. Religious leaders. Process thinkers. Philosophers. Poets. Theologians. Novelists. Dancers and painters who have never written, but have something to say. We want to hear from people disgruntled with the world as it is, want to help it change and think there is something about how the quest for a new and better world and religion interact that might be part of helping that change to happen. Contributions from social groups that have been historically marginalized in the academy and/or faith communities are particularly welcome.
How to Submit Your Proposal
We’re hoping that this process can be one that is both transparent and creative. The basic gist is that all those who send in a proposal will get to collectively contribute to the selection process. Those who write proposals will themselves be the jury of peers by which proposals will be evaluated. Each group of authors contributing a proposal will agree to review two other proposals from other groups. The proposals generating the most interest and excitement among the group as a whole will be selected for the series. The intent here is to allow for a more equitable and egalitarian selection process: while there is some significant investment required on your part to read through other proposals, it is our hope that this process will be compelling and contribute to a quality of equity and egalitarianism.
Submissions should include:
- a tentative title for the book
- biographies of all contributors (200 words maximum per person)
- a CV, resume, or portfolio link, for all contributors
- a short abstract of the project (150 words maximum)
- a longer description, outlining the project chapter by chapter (1200 words maximum)
- expected date of completion and description for initial plans for collaboration (200 words maximum)
- suggestions of ideas and networks for promotion (social media. book reviewers. podcasts. email lists. organizations. etc).
Send completed proposals as attached PDF files to email@example.com