A new magazine for a new APRIL
By Brent Rodríguez-Plate
When I was a child, my parents subscribed to various magazines. Among those I recall were Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and Family Circle, reflecting our mainstream, white, middle-class values. Yet, as conventional as those titles were, their weekly and monthly appearance in our mailbox opened up new worlds to me.
The great thing about a magazine is that, even if it has a distinct focus like sports or news or food, they always contain stories about people, places, and things that one would not have known about otherwise. I loved Newsweek not simply for what I learned about the “news,” but for the sidebars, the graphs, the pictures, the funny essays, the movie reviews. I learned about people I didn’t know existed. I read stories of new organizations committed to changing the world. I looked at images from far off lands I hadn’t heard of.
A magazine, the Oxford English Dictionary suggests, comes from the Middle French magasin, the Italian magazzino, and the Arabic makhazin, all connoting a “warehouse” or “repository.” Unlike a library or biblios, which typically refers to a collection of books, a magazine is more generically a warehouse or collection.
There are shoe magazines to keep Jimmy Choos, a rifle magazine to hold bullets, while a magazine in a camera carries film. Magazines hold things: shoes, spices, boxes of merchandise, books, unused toys.
A magazine is also a place for browsing. And that’s what we’re hoping The Commons might be, a warehouse of things where the visitor might stumble on some piece of the world they didn’t know existed, learn about the restorative justice work going on today, hear about new artistic ventures, be moved by personal stories, inspired by images.
Our first issue demonstrates the magazine-nature of The Commons. We have critical takes, creative essays, a photo essay, an interview. And every month we’ll be bringing you more of these. We’re hoping you come across some things in our warehouse that lets you think about religion and its publics in new ways.
We at APRIL are excited to be launching The Commons magazine to accompany our new website, and our 70-year old scholarly journal CrossCurrents. Be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter to learn about the latest in The Commons and CrossCurrents, as well as our summer colloquia. If you have questions about The Commons, or interested in publishing with us, please contact me or one of our associate editors.
All work at The Commons is published under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0