Holt et al., “Women, Islam, and Resistance in the Arab World”

This September, Lynne Rienner Publishers will publish Women, Islam, and Resistance in the Arab World by Maria Holt (U. of Westminster) and Haifaa Jawad (U. of Birmingham). The publisher’s description follows.

How are women in the Arab world negotiating the male-dominated character of Islamist movements? Is their participation in the Islamic political project—including violent resistance against foreign invasion and occupation—the result of coercion, or of choice? Questioning assumptions about female powerlessness in Muslim societies, Maria Holt and Haifaa Jawad explore the resistance struggles taking place in Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, and elsewhere in the Middle East from the perspectives of the women involved.

The authors make extensive use of vivid personal testimonies as they examine the influence of such factors as religion, patriarchy, and traditional practices in determining women’s modes of participation in conflicts. In the process, they add to our knowledge not only of how women are affected by political violence, but also of how their involvement is beginning to change the rules that govern their societies.

The Top Five New Law & Religion Papers on SSRN

From SSRN’s list of most frequently downloaded law and religion papers posted in the last 60 days, here are the current top five.  For the first time, a single author, Thomas Berg (University of St. Thomas) has two pieces on the list. Since last week, Alvare has replaced Balkin at #1, Perry has moved up to #2, Newman has become #3, Berg has replaced Lombardi at #4, and Berg has replaced Lombardi and Brown at #5.

1. No Compelling Interest: The ‘Birth Control’ Mandate and Religious Freedom by Helen M. Alvare (George Mason U., School of Law) [197 downloads]

2. The Morality of Human Rights by Michael J. Perry (Emory U., School of Law) [163 downloads]

3. On the Trinity Western University Controversy: An Argument for a Christian Law School in Canada by Dwight G. Newman (U. of Saskatchewan, College of Law) [123 downloads]

4. Secular Purpose, Accommodations, and Why Religion is Special (Enough) by Thomas C. Berg (U. of St. Thomas, St. Paul, School of Law) [83 downloads]

5. Progressive Arguments for Religious Organizational Freedom: Reflections on the HHS Mandate by Thomas C. Berg (U. of St. Thomas, St. Paul, School of Law) [77 downloads]

Grafton et al., eds., “Christian-Muslim Relations in the Lutheran and Anglican Communions”

UntitledThis August, Palgrave Macmillan will publish Christian-Muslim Relations in the Lutheran and Anglican Communions edited by David D. Grafton (Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia), Joseph Duggan and Jason Craige Harris. The publisher’s description follows.

In a time in which Islamophobia has become common, and many public discussions have focused upon either terrorist activities of Muslims or the implementation of shar’īa in the United States, little attention has been given to actual inter-faith engagement and practice among Christian and Muslim communities. Anglicans and Lutherans have a long history, and a wide variety of experiences from which to draw and reflect in responding to both simplistic interpretations of Islam and vitriolic rhetoric against Muslims. This work seeks to provide vignettes of Muslim-Christian engagement within the Anglican and Lutheran experiences from around the world. This work does not look to reduce Christian-Muslim relationships to a least common denominator of religious pluralism or civic religion. Rather, it provides thoughtful Anglican and Lutheran responses to these relationships from a variety of perspectives and contexts, and lays the groundwork for ongoing thoughtful, faithful, sensitive, and sincere engagement between Christians and Muslims.

Pew’s Contribution to Society Survey

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has released the results of a survey about public appreciation for several occupations. The military tops the chart of perceived contribution to society’s well- being, while clergy is somewhere in the middle and lawyers are dead last:


One curious thing about this chart is that it seems that there has been an almost total absolute drop from 2009 to 2013 in respondents’ appreciation for the contributions of all of the occupations surveyed. The lone exception is business executives, whose esteem has risen since 2009 (I guess it had nowhere to go but up). I wonder where the lost votes are going. Perhaps to celebrities. Or government officials.

And here is a more fine-grained break-down of public perceptions.


An interesting result here is that the appreciation profile of clergy, artists, and journalists is roughly the same (journalists had the worst drop). A small number of respondents believe that these occupations contribute “a lot” to society. But a more substantial number say that all three groups contribute “some” to society.

Have a look at the link above for more detail about perceptions of the clergy’s contribution by religious affiliation and frequency of attendance.

One thing I’m not at all clear about is what standard of “well-being” is being used (in the survey or by the respondents) as the measure of the common good. But I suppose that it is part of the methodology of such surveys to leave issues like that intentionally vague and subjective. No use stirring up trouble among the respondents, after all.