This May, Palgrave MacMillan will release “Atheist Secularism and its Discontents: A Comparative Study of Religion and Communism in Eurasia” edited by Tam T. T. Ngo (Max Plank Institute) and Justine B. Quijada (Wesleyan University). The publisher’s description follows:
Atheist Secularism and Its Discontents takes a comparative approach to understanding religion under communism, arguing that communism was integral to the global experience of secularism. Bringing together leading researchers whose work spans the Eurasian continent, it shows that defining, co-opting and appropriating religion was central to Communist political practices. Indeed, it is precisely because atheism was so central to the communist project that atheism’s others, superstition and religion, were essential to the communist experience. Although all forms of communism sought to eradicate or limit religion, this book demonstrates that religious life under such regimes was unexpectedly rich, and that throughout the communist and post-communist world religious and political imaginaries are intimately intertwined.
This May, Trentham Books will release “British-Islamic Identity: Third Generation Bangladeshis from East London” by Aminul Hoque (University of London). The publisher’s description follows:
How does it feel to be constructed as the violent, terrorist, un-British “other”? To be a minority in a majority situation, to have no sense of belonging, to be voiceless, marginalized and invisible? British-Islamic Identity examines these issues through an ethnographic account of the lives and multifaceted identities of six British-born third generation Bangladeshis from east London. Do they see themselves as Bangladeshi, British, Muslim, Londoners, none of these or a fusion of them all? Their stories are powerful, clear and unsettling, charting their journeys from invisibility to visibility and from the periphery to the core of social life.
The book shows how young Bangladeshis have constructed a new British Islamic identity for themselves. British Islam is a dynamic and syncretic identity that occupies a social and spiritual space in their lives. It helps young British-born Bangladeshis to manage the complexities of being British, Bangladeshi and Muslim. It gives them a sense of belonging, recognition and acceptance, as they struggle against systemic and institutional racism, isolation and poverty.
The book tackles the layers of sociological postmodern identity – language, race, religion, nation and gender – and frames them within the context of young people’s self-narratives. It offers important new insight and understanding of their own stories of identity and allows us to hear these ignored and alienated voices. This makes the book essential reading for those who work with or are concerned about young people – parents, teachers, youth workers, students, academics, policymakers, politicians, journalists. It will interest young people whose roots, ancestry and heritage lie outside the UK. And with Islam dominating the domestic and international news agenda, it is a timely and positive contribution to the often misunderstood notions of what it means to be a British Muslim.