Podcast on the Economics of Religion

The Library of Economics and Liberty has posted an interesting-looking podcast by University of Washington Professor Anthony Gill on the economics of religion:

Anthony Gill of the University of Washington and host of the podcast Research on Religion talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of religion. The conversation focuses on the relationship between religion and the State–how does religion respond to a State-sanctioned monopoly? Why do some governments allow religious liberty while others deny it? The conversation concludes with a discussion of how property rights interact with religious freedom.

You can download the podcast, and see a partial transcript, here.

Around the Web This Week

Some interesting law & religion stories from around the web this week:

Potter (ed.), “Sectarian Politics in the Persian Gulf”

Potter-—-Sectarian-Politics-CMYK-webThis January, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers will publish Sectarian Politics in the Persian Gulf edited by Lawrence G. Potter (Columbia University). The publisher’s description follows.

Long a taboo topic, as well as one that has alarmed outside powers, sectarian conflict in the Middle East is on the rise. The contributors to this book examine sectarian politics in the Persian Gulf, including the GCC states, Yemen, Iran and Iraq, and consider the origins and con- sequences of sectarianism broadly construed, as it affects ethnic, tribal and religious groups. They also present a theoretical and comparative framework for understanding sectarianism, as well as country-specific chapters based on recent research in the area. Key issues that are scrutinised include the nature of sectarianism, how identity moves from a passive to an active state, and the mechanisms that trigger conflict. The strategies of governments such as rentier economies and the ‘invention’ of partisan national histories that encourage or manage sectarian differences are also highlighted, as is the role of outside powers in fostering sectarian strife. The volume also seeks to clarify whether movements such as the Islamic revival or the Arab Spring obscure the continued salience of religious and ethnic cleavages. Published in collaboration with: Georgetown University Center for International and Regional Studies School of Foreign Service in Qatar.

Winroth, “The Conversion of Scandinavia”

9780300205534This January, Yale University Press will publish The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe by Anders Winroth (Yale University). The publisher’s description follows.

In this book a MacArthur Award-winning scholar argues for a radically new interpretation of the conversion of Scandinavia from paganism to Christianity in the early Middle Ages. Overturning the received narrative of Europe’s military and religious conquest and colonization of the region, Anders Winroth contends that rather than acting as passive recipients, Scandinavians converted to Christianity because it was in individual chieftains’ political, economic, and cultural interests to do so.

Through a painstaking analysis and historical reconstruction of both archeological and literary sources, and drawing on scholarly work that has been unavailable in English, Winroth opens up new avenues for studying European ascendency and the expansion of Christianity in the medieval period.