Hello, I’m Robert Gilman, the founder and editor of Context Institute’s award-winning journal, IN CONTEXT, A Quarterly of Humane Sustainable Culture. While In Context is no longer in print, all of its articles are available here in this section of the website. I’d like to introduce In Context to you so that you can better understand this unusual resource.
Between 1983 and 1995 we published over 900 articles by about 600 different authors and interviewees. We have kept them available because many people have told us that most of these articles are still as relevant today as they were when they were first published.
No one feature of In Context made it totally unique, but taken all together they create a whole which is hard to compare to other publications. For example:
- Each issue focused on a theme. Each issue brings you articles, interviews, and resource material all woven around a major broad thread — many voices and many perspectives creating a whole system understanding.
- In Context had no advertising. The whole 64 pages of the printed journal was purely articles, interviews, and other editorial content. That carries forward to this website. No commercialism intrudes, subliminally or otherwise, on the direct communication between authors and the reader.
- The authors were always asked to write as if they were “speaking to an intelligent friend”. The result feels like the kind of peer-to-peer communication you have with seasoned friends.
- We have always been solution-oriented rather than problem focused. You will find good analysis of why change is needed, but this is only the beginning. Mostly you will find real-world examples of people exploring a more sustainable way of living, and sharing their experience with what it takes to get there.
- In the short stretch of overlap between the start of the Utne Reader Alternative Press Awards and the end of In Context’s print phase, we were honored four times: as finalist for “General Excellence” in publications under 10,000 circulation (1989); as finalist for “Best Publication” in publications under 15,000 circulation (1990); as winner for “Coverage of Emerging Issues” (1991); and again as winner for “Coverage of Emerging Issues” (1994). Our reputation among our peers was always very high.
- As these awards for “Coverage of Emerging Issues” suggest, In Context was always ahead of the times. That’s why issues written two decades or more ago are still fresh, relevant, and forward looking today — and probably will be years from now as well.
- Our belief in the possibility of a positive future is clear in every issue. Many people said that reading In Context gave them hope. Quite a few said that it changed their lives. You’ve now been warned — it could happen to you too!
The bookstores and newsstands that used to sell In Context never quite knew where to put us. Our scope was too broad and too whole. Our approach was too unclassifiable. Our fabric included environmental and social concerns, but we weren’t simply activists. There were always spiritual threads, but they were worn lightly and we just didn’t fit in the New Age box. Many of the articles had scholarly sophistication, but we weren’t an intellectual publication. We were whole people engaged with all the dimensions of life — and there just wasn’t a category for that!
So I invite you to explore the over 900 articles from In Context here on this website. You might find it helpful to start with the summary listing of all 43 issues with brief descriptions and cover photos. I hope you will be nourished by what you find.