Mikulich, Cassidy, and Pfeil, “The Scandal of White Complicity in US Hyper-incarceration: A Nonviolent Spirituality of White Resistance”

This February, Macmillan Publishing will publish The Scandal of White Complicity in US Hyper-incarceration: A Nonviolent Spirituality of White Resistance by Alex Mikulich (Loyola University New Orleans), Laurie Cassidy (Marywood University), and Margaret Pfeil (University of Notre Dame). The publisher’s description follows.

The Scandal of White Complicity and U.S. Hyper-incarceration is a groundbreaking exploration of the moral role of white people in the disproportionate incarceration of African-Americans and Latinos in the United States. Alex Mikulich, Laurie Cassidy, and Margaret Pfeil are white Catholic theologians developing understanding of how whiteness operates in the U.S. system of incarceration and witnessing to a Christian nonviolent way for whites to subvert our oppression of brothers and sisters of color.

Gulalp & Seufert, “Religion, Identity, and Politics: Germany and Turkey in Interaction”

This April, Routledge Publishers will publish Religion, Identity, and Politics: Germany and Turkey in Interaction edited by Haldun Gulalp (Yıldız Technical University) and Günter Seufert (senior researcher, German Institute for International and Security Affairs). The publisher’s description follows.

This book examines the long history and unrecognized depth of German-Turkish relations, particularly with regard to the mutually formative processes of religious identities and institutions. Opposing the commonly held assumption that Europe is the abode of secularism and enlightenment, while the lands of Islam are the realm of backwardness and fundamentalism, the authors observe that, Germany, as the case in point, both historically and contemporarily has treated religion as a core aspect of communal and civilizational identity and framed its institutions accordingly. Further, there has been, and continues to be, a mutual exchange in this regard between Germany and both the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Definition of identity and regulation of communities have been explicitly based on religion until the early and since the late twentieth century. The period in between, often treated as normative for being identified with secular and national communities, now appears as an exception.

Berner on Educational Pluralism

First Things has just posted an important and thoughtful essay by Ashley Berner, “The Case for  Educational Pluralism.” Berner (left), co-director of the Moral Foundations of Education Project at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture — and an occasional guest blogger at CLR Forum — argues that pluralism can offer great benefits and help resolve tensions in public education.

Unlike the American model, which relies on government to deliver education, the pluralist model involves government funding of private schools. These schools may reflect a variety of beliefs and perspectives, both religious and non-religious; public oversight is limited to ensuring that general educational requirements are met. Berner points out that many Western democracies have such systems, which allow greater educational diversity than the American model. Moreover,  pluralism avoids a central problem of American public education: a false neutrality that masks a secularist philosophy many parents reject.

Berner concedes that educational pluralism comes with problems of its own and may face constitutional difficulties under current law. But, she writes, pluralism “offers an honest acknowledgement of the myriad value judgments inherent in any education and generously accommodates a variety of beliefs and opinions in a way more congruous with the United States’ democratic political philosophy than does the current system. While some people fear that such pluralism would produce division and harm the students educationally, evidence suggests that, in fact, pluralism often yields superior civic and academic results.” Read the whole thing.