About Nomos Journal
To better understand how popular culture meaningfully impacts and structures our lives.
Nomos Journal is an online magazine that explores the ways popular culture meaningfully impacts and structures our lives through its multitude of creative and critical forms. It began as a project Seth M. Walker started near the end of 2011 with Stephen G. Wright. But, what began as a platform for scholars, writers, poets, photographers, and artists alike to simply explore the intersection between religion and popular culture has slowly given way to a space for culture and meaning to be engaged at a broader level – shifting our scope in 2018 from being a space “where religion and pop culture collide,” in particular, to exploring the wider range of production and circulation of meaning in culture at large. The intersection between religion and popular cultural artifacts and processes is still very much at the heart of our scope. So, what this shift highlights is simply an extension of the breadth of our coverage: new media content and forms, philosophical traditions, and the not-so-clearly-defined modes of meaning-making and being in the world – we’re interested in all of it.
We take our name from a term Peter L. Berger used in his The Sacred Canopy – an influential thinker and text in the sociology of religion: socially constructed “meaningful orders” (an extension of nomos as the rule of order and law in society). Berger specifically emphasized the intended “meaningful totality” of these structures: “Every society is engaged in the never completed enterprise of building a humanly meaningful world,” he claimed many years ago. And it’s in this “humanly meaningful world,” and its mediated popular forms, where the focus of Nomos Journal resides. Seth and Stephen expanded on this a bit more in a brief editorial written when the website first went live; it’s still archived here, if you’re interested in checking it out.
We mainly feature posts from regular columnists on staff, but also publish articles, essays, reviews, and interviews highlighting individuals and their work aligning with our scope, along with visual and poetic creations that engage our mission. We find that some of the best cultural examinations and reflections take place outside of a more traditional academic approach. In some cases, the works published here use their respective formats to express their content; in other instances (most likely in poetry, artwork, or photography, though certainly not limited to, or expected of, these categories) the formats themselves might be part of the expression.
Since we self-classify as an online magazine, we are mostly interested in popular audiences, but not at the expense of scholarship or intellectual ability. Those of us involved with Nomos Journal can’t stand unnecessary jargon, overly dense and convoluted writing, or complexity without regard for cogency. In other words, a guiding principle here is that great ideas are meant to be shared, which means they’re also meant to be understood. We realize this might be harder than it sounds for some writers, but we’re here to help. More information can be found in our Submission Guidelines as well.