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.

McCallum, “Christian Communities in the Middle East”

In December, Routledge Publishing will release Christian Communities in the Middle East: Faith, Identity, and Integration by Fiona McCallum (University of St. Andrews). The publisher’s description follows:

routledge-logoThe Christian communities in the Middle East exist in an environment where religion has retained strong social significance but society is dominated by a different faith. This work explores the different historical processes of state building to examine regime policies towards the Christian presence in Syria and Jordan, identifying the methods used to accommodate groups with a distinct identity and integrate them into the nation state. This volume aims to give an overview of the under-studied Christian groups in this area, providing much-needed information on these minorities, assessing the implications of these policies on the two countries with reference to the question of regime legitimacy and determining if they can prove insightful for other regional governments in their efforts to integrate Middle Eastern Christian communities.

By examining different approaches such as secular nationalism, cultural pluralism, protected minority (dhimmi) and coercion, it would appear that there is a constant dilemma between attaining regime stability by promoting a national identity and allowing minority groups to retain their own identity. As indigenous communities, the case studies of the Christians of Syria and Jordan demonstrate to what extent the two regimes have successfully addressed this dilemma. The two countries offer interesting comparisons, and McCallum is able to highlight both the contrasting regimes and the similarities in the ongoing crises facing the region – economic problems, cultural change, the growth of political Islam and challenges posed by regional conflict. This new research will demonstrate that their role as interlocutors continues today and that their experience of living in this region has provided them with a rich knowledge and understanding of their coreligionist that is crucial to our understanding of Middle Eastern society.

Tackling issues central to the relationship between religion and politics including secularization, religious revival and the legal status of religions and their adherents, this work will be of great interest to all scholars of Religion, Comparative Politics and the Middle East.

Baldwin, “Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo”

In December, Edinburgh University Press will release Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo by James E. Baldwin (University of London). The publisher’s description follows:

islamic-law-and-empire-in-ottoman-cairoWhat did Islamic law mean in the early modern period, a world of great Muslim empires? Often portrayed as the quintessential jurists’ law, to a large extent it was developed by scholars outside the purview of the state. However, for the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, justice was the ultimate duty of the monarch, and Islamic law was a tool of legitimation and governance. James E. Baldwin examines how the interplay of these two conceptions of Islamic law – religious scholarship and royal justice – undergirded legal practice in Cairo, the largest and richest city in the Ottoman provinces. Through detailed studies of the various formal and informal dispute resolution institutions and practices that formed the fabric of law in Ottoman Cairo, his book contributes to key questions concerning the relationship between the shari‘a and political power, the plurality of Islamic legal practice, and the nature of centre-periphery relations in the Ottoman Empire.

Aasmundsen, “Pentecostals, Politics, and Religious Equality in Argentina”

In November, Brill Publishers will release Pentecostals, Politics, and Religious Equality in Argentina by Hans Geir Aasmundsen (University of Sødertørn). The publisher’s description follows:

pentecostals-politicsIn Argentina, Pentecostalism had a breakthrough in the early 1980s, and today more than 10 per cent of the population are Pentecostals. The revival coincided with a socio-political transformation of Argentinean society. After half a century of dictatorships and Perónism, democracy was restored, and structural changes paved the way for an autonomisation of the political, economic, scientific and religious spheres. The “new” form of society that developed resembles what in this study is called a Western model, which to a large degree has been, and still is, spread on a global scale. In this book, Aasmundsen examines the religious sphere and how Pentecostals relate to society at large, and the political and judicial spheres in particular.

Dodson, “Amarna Sunrise”

In December, Oxford University Press will release Amarna Sunrise: Egypt from Golden Age to Age of Heresy by Aidan Dodson (University of Bristol). The publisher’s description follows:

amarna-sunriseThe latter part of the fifteenth century BC saw Egypt’s political power reach its zenith, with an empire that stretched from beyond the Euphrates in the north to much of what is now Sudan in the south. The wealth that flowed into Egypt allowed its kings to commission some of the most stupendous temples of all time, some of the greatest dedicated to Amun-Re, King of the Gods. Yet a century later these temples lay derelict, the god’s images, names, and titles all erased in an orgy of iconoclasm by Akhenaten, the devotee of a single sun-god. This book traces the history of Egypt from the death of the great warrior-king Thutmose III to the high point of Akhenaten’s reign, when the known world brought gifts to his newly-built capital city of Amarna, in particular looking at the way in which the cult of the sun became increasingly important to even ‘orthodox’ kings, culminating in the transformation of Akhenaten’s father, Amenhotep III, into a solar deity in his own right.

Salaymeh, “The Beginnings of Islamic Law”

In December, Cambridge University Press will release The Beginnings of Islamic Law: Late Antique Islamicate Legal Traditions by Lena Salaymeh (Tel Aviv University). The publisher’s description follows:

beginnings-of-islamic-lawThe Beginnings of Islamic Law is a major and innovative contribution to our understanding of the historical unfolding of Islamic law. Scrutinizing its historical contexts, the book proposes that Islamic law is a continuous intermingling of innovation and tradition. Salaymeh challenges the embedded assumptions in conventional Islamic legal historiography by developing a critical approach to the study of both Islamic and Jewish legal history. Through case studies of the treatment of war prisoners, circumcision, and wife-initiated divorce, she examines how Muslim jurists incorporated and transformed ‘Near Eastern’ legal traditions. She also demonstrates how socio-political and historical situations shaped the everyday practice of law, legal education, and the organization of the legal profession in the late antique and medieval eras. Aimed at scholars and students interested in Islamic history, Islamic law, and the relationship between Jewish and Islamic legal traditions, this book’s interdisciplinary approach provides accessible explanations and translations of complex materials and ideas.

Wu, “Mandarins and Heretics”

In December, Brill Publishers will release Mandarins and Heretics: The Construction of “Heresy” in Chinese State Discourse by Wu Junqing (University of London). The publisher’s description follows:

mandarins-and-hereticsIn Mandarins and Heretics, Wu Junqing explores the denunciation and persecution of lay religious groups in late imperial (14th to 20th century) China. These groups varied greatly in their organisation and teaching, yet in official state records they are routinely portrayed as belonging to the same esoteric tradition, stigmatised under generic labels such as “White Lotus” and “evil teaching”, and accused of black magic, sedition and messianic agitation.

Wu Junqing convincingly demonstrates that this “heresy construct” was not a reflection of historical reality but a product of the Chinese historiographical tradition, with its uncritical reliance on official sources. The imperial heresy construct remains influential in modern China, where it contributes to shaping policy towards unlicensed religious groups.

Louis, “My Soul is in Haiti”

In December, New York University Press will release My Soul is in Haiti: Protestantism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas by Bertin M. Louis, Jr. (University of Tennessee). The publisher’s description follows:

my-soul-is-in-haitiIn the Haitian diaspora, as in Haiti itself, the majority of Haitians have long practiced Catholicism or Vodou. However, Protestant forms of Christianity now flourish both in Haiti and beyond. In the Bahamas, where approximately one in five people are now Haitian-born or Haitian-descended, Protestantism has become the majority religion for immigrant Haitians.
In My Soul Is in Haiti, Bertin M. Louis, Jr. has combined multi-sited ethnographic research in the United States, Haiti, and the Bahamas with a transnational framework to analyze why Protestantism has appealed to the Haitian diaspora community in the Bahamas. The volume illustrates how devout Haitian Protestant migrants use their religious identities to ground themselves in a place that is hostile to them as migrants, and it also uncovers how their religious faith ties in to their belief in the need to “save” their homeland, as they re-imagine Haiti politically and morally as a Protestant Christian nation.
This important look at transnational migration between second and third world countries shows how notions of nationalism among Haitian migrants in the Bahamas are filtered through their religious beliefs. By studying local transformations in the Haitian diaspora of the Bahamas, Louis offers a greater understanding of the spread of Protestant Christianity, both regionally and globally.

“Early Modern English Catholicism” (Kelly & Royal, eds.)

In December, Brill Publishers will release Early Modern English Catholicism: Identity, Memory, and Counter-Reformation edited by James E. Kelly (King’s College) and Susan Royal (Durham University). The publisher’s description follows:

early-modern-english-catholicismEarly Modern English Catholicism: Identity, Memory and Counter-Reformation brings together leading scholars in the field to explore the interlocking relationship between the key themes of identity, memory and Counter-Reformation and to assess the way the three themes shaped English Catholicism in the early modern period. The collection takes a long-term view of the historical development of English Catholicism and encompasses the English Catholic diaspora to demonstrate the important advances that have been made in the study of English Catholicism c.1570–1800.

The interdisciplinary collection brings together scholars from history, literary, and art history backgrounds. Consisting of eleven essays and an afterword by the late John Bossy, the book underlines the significance of early modern English Catholicism as a contributor to national and European Counter-Reformation culture.

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