Around the Web This Week

Here are some news stories involving law and religion from this past week:

Malik, “Foundations of Islamic Governance”

In December, Routledge Publishing will release Foundations of Islamic Governance: A Southeast Asian Perspective by Maszlee Malik (International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur). The publisher’s description follows:

foundations-of-islamic-governanceThe aim of this book is to explore and analyze the Islamic axioms, foundation principles and values underpinning the field of governance in an attempt to construct the architectonics of a new systemic and dynamic theory and formulate the articulation of ‘Islamic governance’. This discursive and abstract, rather than being an empirical exercise, assumes to produce a ‘good governance’ framework within its own formulation through a value-shaped dynamic model according to maqasid al-Shari’ah (higher objective of Shari’ah) by going beyond the narrow remit of classical and contemporary discussions produced on the topic, which propose a certain institutional model of governance based on the classical juristic (fiqh) method. Through an exclusive analytical discursive approach in this book, readers will find that Islam as one of the major religions in the contemporary world with the claim of promising the underpinning principles and philosophical foundations of worldly affairs and institutions through a micro method of producing homo Islamicus could contribute towards development of societies by establishing a unique model of governance from its explicit ontological worldview through a directed descriptive epistemology.

Lewis, “City of Refuge”

In December, Princeton University Press will release City of Refuge: Separatists and Utopian Town Planning by Michael J. Lewis (Williams College). The publisher’s description follows:

city-of-refugeThe vision of Utopia obsessed the nineteenth-century mind, shaping art, literature, and especially town planning. In City of Refuge, Michael Lewis takes readers across centuries and continents to show how Utopian town planning produced a distinctive type of settlement characterized by its square plan, collective ownership of properties, and communal dormitories. Some of these settlements were sanctuaries from religious persecution, like those of the German Rappites, French Huguenots, and American Shakers, while others were sanctuaries from the Industrial Revolution, like those imagined by Charles Fourier, Robert Owen, and other Utopian visionaries.

Because of their differences in ideology and theology, these settlements have traditionally been viewed separately, but Lewis shows how they are part of a continuous intellectual tradition that stretches from the early Protestant Reformation into modern times. Through close readings of architectural plans and archival documents, many previously unpublished, he shows the network of connections between these seemingly disparate Utopian settlements—including even such well-known town plans as those of New Haven and Philadelphia.

The most remarkable aspect of the city of refuge is the inventive way it fused its eclectic sources, ranging from the encampments of the ancient Israelites as described in the Bible to the detailed social program of Thomas More’s Utopia to modern thought about education, science, and technology. Delving into the historical evolution and antecedents of Utopian towns and cities, City of Refuge alters notions of what a Utopian community can and should be.