In January, Oxford University Press will release The Oxford Handbook of Secularism edited by Phil Zuckerman (Pitzer College) and John Shook (University at Buffalo). The publisher’s description follows:
As recent headlines reveal, conflicts and debates around the world increasingly involve secularism. National borders and traditional religions cannot keep people in tidy boxes as political struggles, doctrinal divergences, and demographic trends are sweeping across regions and entire continents. And secularity is increasing in society, with a growing number of people in many regions having no religious affiliation or lacking interest in religion. Simultaneously, there is a resurgence of religious participation in the politics of many countries. How might these diverse phenomena be better understood? Long-reigning theories about the pace of secularization and ideal church-state relations are under invigorated scrutiny by scholars studying secularism with new questions, better data, and fresh perspectives.
The Oxford Handbook of Secularism offers a wide-ranging and in-depth examination of this global conversation, bringing together the views of an international collection of prominent experts in their respective fields. This is the essential volume for comprehending the core issues and methodological approaches to the demographics and sociology of secularity; the history and variety of political secularisms; the comparison of constitutional secularisms across many countries from America to Asia; the key problems now convulsing church-state relations; the intersections of liberalism, multiculturalism, and religion; the latest psychological research into secular lives and lifestyles; and the naturalistic and humanistic worldviews available to nonreligious people.
Next month, the University of California Press will release Afghanistan’s Islam: From Conversion to the Taliban edited by Nile Green (University of California, Los Angeles). The publisher’s description follows:
This book provides the first overview of the history and development of Islam in Afghanistan. Written by leading international experts, chapters cover every era from the conversion of Afghanistan through the medieval period to the present day. Based on primary sources in Arabic, Persian, Pashto, Uzbek, and Urdu, its depth of coverage is unrivalled in providing a developmental picture of Afghanistan’s Islam, including such issues as the rise of Sufism, women’s religiosity, state religious policies, and transnational Islamism. Looking beyond the unifying rhetoric of theology, the book reveals the disparate and contested forms of Afghanistan’s Islam.
In January, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Christianity, Wealth, and Spiritual Power in Ghana,” by Karen Lauterbach (University of Copenhagen). The publisher’s description follows:
This book centers around mid-level charismatic pastors in Ghana. Karen Lauterbach analyzes pastorship as a pathway to becoming small “big men” and achieving status, wealth, and power in the country. The volume investigates both the social processes of becoming a pastor and the spiritual dimensions of how power and wealth are conceptualized, achieved, and legitimized in the particular context of Asante in Ghana. Lauterbach integrates her analysis of charismatic Christianity with a historically informed examination of social mobility—how people in subordinate positions seek to join up with power. She explores how the ideas and experiences surrounding the achievement of wealth and performance of power are shaped and re-shaped. In this way, the book historicizes current expressions of charismatic Christianity in Ghana while also bringing the role of religion and belief to bear on our understanding of wealth and power as they function more broadly in African societies.