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Editor's Introduction Among the alarming butpromising changes taking place in academia today is the move toward interdisciplinary and interinstitutional collaboration in the pursuit ofknowledgefor the betterment oflife, ofthe environment, and ofsocialforms of organization in the global marketplace. A keen sense ofsocial consciousness on the part ofacademicians andpublic servants seems, in the best ofcases, to inform this move which is increasingly evident in published monographs, regional and international conferences, university job searches, and undergraduate and graduate curricula. The recent surge of scholasticjournals dedicated to interdisciplinary concerns is a small but significant manifestation ofthis trend. Suchjournals generally strive to have an impact on intellectual life by bringing together traditionally independent areas ofstudy such as religion and literature, philosophy and language, critical theory and politics, art and history, and diverse areas of 'cultural studies' . More often than not, however, the professed goal ofcollaboration among scholars, disciplines, and institutions is painfully elusive. Indeed, traditional boundaries that separate, 'protect', isolated domains ofknowledge and institutions are being redefined in the midst ofsubtle and not so subtle class, racial, sexual, and gender disputes, PCfights, and intellectual and anti-intellectual wars. The scene is different in substance but notfar removed in spiritfrom the cultural, economic, gender, sexual, racial, ethnic, and religious battles ofa global community in which civic restlessness and violence have become epidemic. Contagion is unique in its manner ofaddressing both these concerns: the purposeful cooperation between isolate disciplines and institutions, and the growing human violence which has become an imminent threat to the continuance oflife on our planet. As an interdisciplinary journal, Contagion seeks to promote a dialogue not between two or three distinct areas ofscholarship in the humanities, as is customary in interdisciplinary studies today, but between areas ofdiscourse extendingfrom the human Vl_______________________________________________________________________________ and social sciences to the service oriented work ofnonacademic professionals. The mediatingfactorfor this endeavor is Guardian theory, a theory ofviolence which projects the ultimacy of nonviolence. Our interest centers on the work ofscholars and practitioners who are discovering at the heart oftheir object of study the logic ofsacrificial and antisacrificial thinking and the negative andpositive mimesis whichfuels that logic, are questioning its implications, and are exploring explanations and solutions which may impact, ultimately, on intellectual life and the direction ofhuman affairs. The vast scope ofthe subject is evident in the spectrum ofviewpoints expressed in the previous and current issues ofContagion—ethics, mythology, politics, religion, economics, ritual, feminism, biblical studies, literature—as well as in theforthcoming studies on anorexia, psychotherapy, feminist constructions ofselfhood, violence reduction workshops, Buddhism, ethnic violence, cinema, the criminaljustice system, a Jewish-Christian dialogue. The editors wish to express sincere thanks to those who have solicited library subscriptions to this non-profitjournal and who are supporting the continued existence ofContagion through individual subscriptions, donations, and annual dues to the sponsoring organization, the Colloquium on Violence and Religion at Stanford. / wish also to express our deep appreciation to Tinsley Yarbrough, Interim Vice Chancellorfor Academic Affairs, and Keats Sparrow, Dean ofthe College ofArts and Science ofEast Carolina Universityfor their continuedfinancial support ofthis endeavor; to Joan Mansfield ofthe School ofArtfor her generosity in taking timefrom a demanding schedule to create, once again, an exceptional cover illustration ofGirardian theory; and to John Griffin ofWalker-Ross Printing Co. for his careful and cheerful guidance through thefinal stages ofthe journal's production. Finally, important thanks are acknowledged to the contributors ofthefirst and second issues ofContagionfor their provocative studies and generous cooperation throughout the editorial process. Judith H. Arias ...


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