On April 20, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion will hold a conference on the Syriac Christian Churches. The conference will be held at the Armstrong Browning Library in Waco, TX and there is no cost for attendance. The event’s description follows:
For over a thousand years, the churches of the Middle East and Asia were central to the story of Christianity. Many of the greatest Christian saints and scholars thought and wrote in the ancient language of Syriac, which historically was a critical vehicle of Christian literature. Those Syriac Christian believers were authentic heirs of the earliest apostolic church. When we tell the story of Christianity only through a Western and European lens, we are missing vital parts of the picture. At a time when Middle Eastern churches face such dreadful suffering and persecution, it is all the more necessary for Western Christians to know and understand this often-forgotten part of their common heritage. This one-day seminar on “The Syriac Christian Churches” brings together leading scholars on Syriac history, literature, theology and culture.
Register and find more details here.
In March, Stanford University Press released “Coercive Concern: Nationalism, Liberalism, and the Schooling of Muslim Youth,” by Reva Jaffe-Walter (Montclair State University). The publisher’s description follows:
Many liberal-minded Western democracies pride themselves on their commitments to egalitarianism, the fair treatment of immigrants, and the right to education. These environments would seem to provide a best-case scenario for the reception of immigrant youth. But that is not always the case. Coercive Concern explores how stereotypes of Muslim immigrants in Western liberal societies flow through public schools into everyday interactions, informing how Muslim youth are perceived by teachers and peers. Beyond simply identifying the presence of racialized speech in schools, this book uncovers how coercive assimilation is cloaked in benevolent narratives of care and concern.
Coercive Concern provides an ethnographic critique of the “concern” that animates integration policy in Danish schools. Reva Jaffe-Walter focuses on the experiences of Muslim youth at a public school where over 40% of the student body is of immigrant descent, showing how schools operate as sites of governance. These efforts are led by political leaders who promote national fears of immigrant take-over, by teachers in schools, and by everyday citizens who are concerned about “problems” of immigration. Jaffe-Walter exposes the psychic and material costs immigrant youth endure when living in the shadow of social scrutiny, but she also charts a path forward by uncovering the resources these youth need to attain social mobility and success.
In June, the University of California Press will release “Becoming Religious in a Secular Age,” by Mark Elmore (University of California, Davis). The publisher’s description follows:
Religion is commonly viewed as a timeless element of the human inheritance, but in the Western Himalayas the community of Himachal Pradesh discovered its religion only after India became an independent secular state. Based on extensive ethnographic and archival work, Becoming Religious in a Secular Age tells the story of this discovery and how it transformed a community’s relations to its past, to its members, and to those outside the community. And, as Mark Elmore demonstrates, Himachali religion offers a unique opportunity to reimagine relations between religion and secularity. Tracing the emergence of religion, Elmore shows that modern secularity is not so much the eradication of religion as the very condition for its development. Showing us that to become a modern, ethical subject is to become religious, this book creatively augments our understanding of both religion and modernity.