Junctures: The Journal for Thematic Dialogue is the product of a group of academics who wearied of disciplinary isolation. While speaking within a group of specialised researchers offers a certain comfort and the sense of being understood, it also imposes constraints. For, at the heart of all research is the secret dream of making a difference, and within the confines of highly specialised scholarly organisations, it is often hard to make an impact on the greater academic environment.
Even within our own ivory towers, as academics, we often stumble across the interesting work of colleagues from a department across campus, and wonder if it just might have the potential to influence our own research, our own lives. It is often more by accident than by calculation that we transgress disciplinary boundaries. I recall the rewarding experience of explaining the principle of the Foucauldian panopticon (a theory of social control) to a lecturer in anatomy, a brilliant man whose work revolved predominantly around the exploration of the inert and passive body, as opposed to the socialised living body of the Foucauldian model. But, our subject was the same, our respective curiosity equivalent, and the exchange fruitful for both of our future scholarly endeavours.
Junctures seeks to establish conversations and collaborations between people who do not necessarily already interact through conversations revolving around specific themes, rather than around specific disciplines. By so doing, we hope to make certain that scholarly reflection may diffuse to a wider public of eager, albeit, in some cases, novice, readers in the discipline. Already, in the preparation of the first issue, the collaborative process has been intellectually rewarding, as managing editors from information technology to the fine arts have worked together to produce a cohesive publication.
The first issue of Junctures focuses on the body. However, within this focus, there are two distinct threads which have emerged from the successful submissions. On the one hand, we have the discussion of weight, and on the other, the discussion of otherness.
Peter Stearns opens this issue with a discussion of interdisciplinarity and its important role in the furthering of knowledge, using overweight and obesity as a heuristic for his case. In support of his argument follow two articles on overweight and obesity: the first, by Glen Gaesser, explores how scientific evidence does not support the current obsession with weight loss, while the second, by Annemarie Jutel, seeks a cultural explanation for this misplaced obsession. Ellen Goldstein provides a poetic interpretation of issues surrounding weight loss in a small community preoccupied by this goal.
Brendan Hokowhitu describes how contemporary representations of the Maori sporting body function to perpetuate bio-racist discourses, and Diane Halstead uses Homi K. Bhabha’s articulation of the third space to acknowledge the hybrid body and incorporates this concept to understand the absence of her own Caribbean culture.
Gala Kirke interactively responds to the bodies of nine texts through a deconstruction of notions of corporeality; while Ana Terry writes alongside Don Hunter’s recent exhibition and they jointly contribute to the issue with their visual essay. Three reviews again allude to the body and round out this first issue of Junctures, which the managing editors hope will enlighten readers as it brings together the artistic, the scientific, the cultural and the techological.