In this special issue of Nova Religio four historians of medieval and early modern Christianities offer perspectives on basic conceptual frameworks widely employed in new religions studies, including modernization and secularization, radicalism/violent radicalization, and diversity/diversification. Together with a response essay by J. Gordon Melton, these articles suggest strong possibilities for renewed and ongoing conversation between scholars of "old" and "new" religions. Unlike some early discussions, ours is not aimed simply at questioning the distinction between old and new religions itself. Rather, we think such conversation between scholarly fields holds the prospect of productive scholarly surprise and perspectival shifts, especially via the disciplinary practice of historiographical criticism.
This article interrogates the question of what it means to be a scholar-commentator in the digital age. Deploying an autoethnographic style, the essay asks about the role of power and responsibility in teaching, research, and public commentary, particularly in the context of studying and engaging in Jewish politics. The article addresses questions about the proper role of the scholar in the academy and the role of subjectivity and political commitments in structuring scholarship, pedagogy, and public engagement. It also examines how one’s view of the profession can seem to shift through the emergence of new writing outlets and new forums for public engagement. Finally, the author investigates how a scholar’s own political commitments can shift over time, how one seeks to shore up identification on social media while trying to change hearts and minds through the op-ed pages, and how community identification can serve as a buffer and motivator for particular forms of research and political action.
Buildings play a significant role in climate change mitigation. In North America, energy used to construct and operate buildings accounts for some 40% of total energy use, largely originating from fossil fuels. The strategic reduction of these energy demands requires knowledge of potential upgrades prior to a building's construction. Furthermore, renewable energy generation integrated into buildings façades and district systems can improve the resiliency of community infrastructure. However, loads that are non-coincidental with on-site generation can cause load balancing issues. This imbalance is typically due to solar resources peaking at noon, whereas building loads typically peak in the morning and late afternoon or evenings. Ideally, the combination of on-site generation and localized storage could remedy such load balancing issues while reducing the need for fossil fuels. In response to these issues, this paper contributes a methodology that co-optimizes building designs and district technologies as an integrated community energy system. A distributed evolutionary algorithm is proposed that can navigate over 10154 potential community permutations. This is the first time in literature that a methodology demonstrates the co-optimization of buildings and district energy systems to reduce energy use in buildings and balance loads at this scale. The proposed solution is reproducible and scalable for future community masterplanning studies.