The Witherspoon Institute is pleased to announce that as of February 1, 2021, R. J. Snell, Director of Academic Programs, will become Editor-in-Chief of Public Discourse. Prior to joining Witherspoon in 2016, Snell was Professor of Philosophy at Eastern University and the Templeton Honors College and a Fellow of the James Madison Program. He is the author, co-author, or editor of seven books and the author of many essays and articles in a variety of scholarly and popular venues.
The Founder and current Editor-in-Chief of Public Discourse, Ryan T. Anderson, will become the new president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
Ryan launched Public Discourse on October 13th, 2008, articulating that “careful reasoning” had something to offer “the challenges before us.” In the twelve years since, under Ryan’s leadership and vision, Public Discourse has soberly addressed, in the words of that first essay, the most “contested question(s) of our public life today,” convinced that “the central question of political life is how we ought to order our lives together.”
In December of 2019, celebrating a “Decade of Debates,” Ryan reiterated that, while our age is “emotive” and hasty, Public Discourse “takes a longer, slower approach, where reason is the coin of the realm,” helping readers “take the time to carefully think through difficult issues.” Public Discourse has hosted thoughtful reflection and debate on the central political and ethical issues of our day, from a wide variety of perspectives and authors. Those debates, however rigorous, aimed to draw upon the knowledge of academics, researchers, and experts in a manner that would be accessible to any thoughtful person. In the twelve years since its founding, Public Discourse has received well over 25 million pageviews and has become a noted and respected source.
During this time, Ryan received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and authored When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment and Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom and co-authored What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense and Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination.
“I am tremendously grateful,” Ryan said, “to Luis Tellez and the Witherspoon Institute for giving me such a great opportunity twelve years ago to create Public Discourse, and for their constant support ever since. Public Discourse has always been a group project and I thank our previous managing editors–Matthew Schmitz, Lauren Geist, Octavia Ratiu, and Gabby Girgis–along with all our current editorial team for the great work they did in making Public Discourse into what it is today. The opportunity to lead EPPC is tremendous, and while it is bittersweet to have to reduce my role at Public Discourse, I am fully confident that Serena and R. J. will lead PD into a bright future.”
“I am grateful to Ryan for his years of work for Public Discourse,” said Luis Tellez, President of the Witherspoon Institute, “and congratulate him on his new position with EPPC. The spirit of reason and engagement which Ryan brought to Public Discourse is needed in the policy debates of Washington. Congratulations to EPPC as well on their choice.”
We are pleased that Ryan will continue to work with Public Discourse as Founding Editor, assisting the journal through his own writing and serving as an active member of the editorial team, along with Editor-in-Chief R. J. Snell, Editor Serena Sigillito and Contributing Editors Daniel E. Burns, Matthew J. Franck, Kelly Hanlon, Nathaniel Peters, Mark Regnerus, and Andrew T. Walker.