Morsink, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Challenge of Religion”

In January, the University of Missouri Press will release “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Challenge of Religion,” by Johannes Morsink (Drew University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Repulsed by evil Nazi practices and desiring to create a better world after the productimagehandlerdevastation of World War II, in 1948 the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Because of the secular imprint of this text, it has faced a series of challenges from the world’s religions, both when it was crafted and in subsequent political and legal struggles.

The book mixes philosophical, legal, and archival arguments to make the point that the language of human rights is a valid one to address the world’s disputes. It updates the rationale used by the early UN visionaries and makes it available to twenty-first-century believers and unbelievers alike. The book shows how the debates that informed the adoption of this pivotal normative international text can be used by scholars to make broad and important policy points.

Ahmad, “Muslim Rule in Medieval India”

In September, I.B. Tauris will release “Muslim Rule in Medieval India: Power and Religion in the Delhi Sultanate,” by Fouzia Farooq Ahmad (Quaid-i-Azam University).  The publisher’s description follows:

The Delhi Sultanate ruled northern India for over three centuries. The era, marked by the desecration of temples and construction of mosques from temple-rubble, is for 41ibbk901ll-_sx302_bo1204203200_many South Asians a lightning rod for debates on communalism, religious identity and inter-faith conflict. Using Persian and Arabic manuscripts, epigraphs and inscriptions, Fouzia Farooq Ahmad demystifies key aspects of governance and religion in this complex and controversial period. Why were small sets of foreign invaders and administrators able to dominate despite the cultural, linguistic and religious divides separating them from the ruled? And to what extent did people comply with the authority of sultans they knew very little about? By focusing for the first time on the relationship between the sultans, the bureaucracy and the ruled Muslim Rule in Medieval India outlines the practical dynamics of medieval Muslim political culture and its reception. This approach shows categorically that sultans did not possess meaningful political authority among the masses, and that their symbols of legitimacy were merely post hoc socio-cultural embellishments.Ahmad’s thoroughly researched revisionist account is essential reading for all students and researchers working on the history of South Asia from the medieval period to the present day.