McCahill, “Reviving the Eternal City: Rome and the Papal Court, 1420-1447”

This October, Harvard University Press will publish Reviving the Eternal Reviving the Eternal CityCity: Rome and the Papal Court, 1420-1447, by Elizabeth McCahill (University of             Massachusetts, Boston).  The publisher’s description follows:

In 1420, after more than one hundred years of the Avignon Exile and the Western Schism, the papal court returned to Rome, which had become depopulated, dangerous, and impoverished in the papacy’s absence.  Reviving the Eternal City examines the culture of Rome and the papal court during the    first half of the fifteenth century, a crucial transitional period before the city’s rebirth. As Elizabeth McCahill explains, during these decades Rome and the Curia were caught between conflicting realities—between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, between conciliarism and papalism, between an image of Rome as a restored republic and a dream of the city as a papal capital.

Through the testimony of humanists’ rhetorical texts and surviving archival materials, McCahill reconstructs the niche that scholars carved for themselves as they penned vivid descriptions of Rome and offered remedies for contemporary social, economic, religious, and political problems. In addition to analyzing the humanists’ intellectual and professional program, McCahill investigates the different agendas that popes Martin V (1417–1431) and Eugenius IV (1431–1447) and their cardinals had for the post-Schism pontificate. Reviving the Eternal City illuminates an urban environment in transition and explores the ways in which curialists collaborated and competed to develop Rome’s ancient legacy into a potent cultural myth.

In December 2013, New York University Press will publish Religion Out Loud:Religion Out Loud Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism, by Isaac Weiner (Georgia State University).  The publisher’s description follows:

For six months in 2004, controversy raged in Hamtramck, Michigan, as residents debated a proposed amendment that would exempt the adhan, or Islamic call to prayer from the city’s anti-noise ordinance.  The call to prayer functioned as a flashpoint in disputes about the integration of Muslims into this historically Polish-Catholic community.  No one openly contested Muslim’s right to worship in their mosques, but many neighbors framed their resistance around what they regarded as the inappropriate public pronouncement of Islamic presence, an announcement that audibly intruded upon their public space.  Throughout U.S. history, complaints about religion as noise have proven useful both for restraining religious dissent and for circumscribing religion’s boundaries more generally.  At the same time, religious individuals and groups rarely have kept quiet.  They have insisted on their right to practice religion out loud, implicitly advancing alternative understandings of religion and its place in the modern world.  In Religion Out Loud, Isaac Weiner takes such sonic dispute seriously.  Weaving the story of religious “noise” though multiple historical eras and diverse religious communities he convincingly demonstrates that religious pluralism has never been solely a matter of competing values, truth claims, or moral doctrines, but of different styles of pubic practice, of fundamentally different ways of using body and space- and that these differences ultimately have expressed very different conceptions of religion itself.

Debating Constantine

At his helpful blog, Eastern Christian Books, Professor Adam DeVille (St. Francis) today profiles two new works on the Emperor Constantine, the man who legalized Christianity in Rome and, depending on your view of things, either promoted the spread of the religion or forever tainted it by associating it with state power. The books are Constantine the Emperor (Oxford 2012) by University of Michigan historian David Potter and  Constantine Revisited: Leithart, Yoder, and the Constantinian Debate (Wipf and Stock 2013), edited by John D. Roth. You can read Professor DeVille’s post here.

“Gender and Violence in Islamic Societies: Patriarchy, Islamism and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa” (Sahli, ed.)

This July, I. B. Tauris will publish Gender and Violence in Islamic Societies: Patriarchy, Islamism and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa, a collection edited by Zahia Smail Sahli (University of Manchester). The publisher’s description follows:

 As a result of the revolutions and movements of resistance that spread across the Middle East and North Africa after 2011, the issue of public violence by the state against both men and women dominated the headlines. But gender-based violence, in both its public and private forms, has for the most part remained unnoticed and is often ignored. The forms that this kind of violence can take are influenced by cultural norms and religious beliefs, as well as economic and political circumstances. Here, Zahia Smail Salhi brings together a wide range of examples of gender-based violence across the Middle East and North Africa, from working environments in Jordan to domestic abuse in Egypt, and from verbal violence against women in Tunisia and Algeria to analysis of violence against underage girl domestic workers in Morocco. The evidence demonstrates that the violence, far from being of universal character across the region, is instead diverse, in both its intensity and in the processes of addressing such violence.

“Current Issues in Law and Religion” (Ferrari & Cristofori, eds.)

This September, Ashgate will publish Current Issues in Law and Religion by Silvio Ferrari (University of Milan) and Rinaldo Christofori (Emory University), a collection of essays that is part of Ashgate’s “Library of Essays on Law and Religion” series. The publisher’s description follows:

This volume focuses on issues that have only recently come to the forefront of the discipline such as freedom from religion, ordination of homosexuals, apostasy, security and fundamentalism, issues that are linked to the common themes of secularism and globalization. Although these subjects are not new to the academic debate, they have become prominent in law and religion circles as a result of recent and rapid changes in society. The essays in this volume present multiple points of view, facilitate scholars in understanding this evolving discipline and act as a stimulus for further research.This collection gives the reader a sense of the key topics and current debates in law and religion and is of interest to law, politics, human rights, and religion scholars.