“Religion and Equality” (Durham & Thayer, eds.)

In June, Routledge released “Religion and Equality: Law in Conflict,” edited by W. Cole Durham, Jr. (Brigham Young University) and Donlu Thayer (Brigham Young University).  The publisher’s description follows:

This volume presents an analysis of controversial events and issues shaping a rapidly changing international legal, political, and social landscape. Leading scholars and 9781472459152experts in law, religious studies and international relations, thoughtfully consider issues and tensions arising in contemporary debates over religion and equality in many parts of the world. The book is in two parts. The first section focuses on the anti-discrimination dimension of religious freedom norms, examining the developing law on equality and human rights and how it operates at international and national levels. The second section provides a series of case studies exploring the contemporary issue of same-sex marriage and how it affects religious groups and believers. This collection will be of interest to academics and scholars of law, religious studies, political science, and sociology, as well as policymakers and legal practitioners.

“Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority” (Berger & Moon, eds.)

In June, Hart Publishing released “Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority,” edited by Benjamin Berger (York University) and Richard Moon (University of Windsor).  The publisher’s description follows:

In the burgeoning literature on law and religion, scholarly attention has tended to focus on broad questions concerning the scope of religious freedom, the nature of 9781849467155toleration and the meaning of secularism. An under-examined issue is how religion figures in the decisions, actions and experiences of those charged with performing public duties. This point of contact between religion and public authority has generated a range of legal and political controversies around issues such as the wearing of religious symbols by public officials, prayer at municipal government meetings, religious education and conscientious objection by public servants.

Authored by scholars from a variety of disciplines, the chapters in this volume provide insight into these and other issues. Yet the volume also provides an entry point into a deeper examination of the concepts that are often used to organise and manage religious diversity, notably state neutrality. By examining the exercise of public authority by individuals who are religiously committed – or who, in the discharge of their public responsibilities, must account for those who are – this volume exposes the assumptions about legal and political life that underlie the concept of state neutrality and reveals its limits as a governing ideal.

Norton, “The Freedom of Religious Organizations”

In October, Oxford University Press will release The Freedom of Religious Organizations by Jane Calderwood Norton (University of Auckland). The publisher’s description follows:The Freedom of Religious Organizations

Religious freedom is now widely accepted as fundamental to any liberal democracy. It is recognized in domestic, regional, and international human rights instruments and its importance is lauded by philosophers, lawyers, judges, clergy, and even politicians. While it is easy to support religious freedom in the abstract, tensions can arise between the activities of religious organizations and the law that challenge this general commitment to religious freedom. Should religious organizations be permitted to discriminate against women or gay people in their employment practices, when admitting members, or in providing goods and services? Should the courts interfere in these organizations to protect the interests of a disaffected member or to resolve internal property disputes? Should the state allow religious tribunals to determine or advise on family matters?

While much has been written about religious individuals and the law, there has been a discernible lack of literature on organizations and the law. Jane Norton fills this gap with The Freedom of Religious Organizations. By exploring potential conflicts between the law and religious organizations, and examining whether the current British response to such conflicts is justified, this book will consider when English law ought to apply to religious organizations and how these conflicts should be dealt with.

 

Fischer, “Schools and the politics of religion and diversity in the Republic of Ireland”

In September, the Manchester University Press will release “Schools and the Politics of Religion and Diversity in the Republic of Ireland: Separate but Equal?” by Karin Fischer (University of Orléans).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book focuses on the historical and current place of religion in the Irish education system from the perspective of children’s rights and citizenship. It offers a critical 9780719091964analysis of the political, cultural and social forces that have shaped the system, looking at how the denominational model has been adapted to increased religious and cultural diversity in Irish society and showing that recent changes have failed to address persistent discrimination and the absence of respect for freedom of conscience. It relates current debates on the denominational system and the role of the State in education to competing narratives of national identity that reflect nationalist-communitarian or republican political outlooks.

This book will be essential reading for students and researchers in the fields of education policy and Church/State relations in Ireland and will also engage non-academic audiences with an interest or involvement in Irish education.

“Religion, Authority, and the State” (Lefebure, ed.)

Last month, Palgrave Macmillan released “Religion, Authority, and the State: From Constantine to the Contemporary World,” edited by Leo D. Lefebure (Georgetown University).  The publisher’s description follows:

 In commemoration of Constantine’s grant of freedom of religion to Christians, this wide-ranging volume examines the ambiguous legacy of this emperor in relation to 617f9a12bjdl-_sx352_bo1204203200_the present world, discussing the perennial challenges of relations between religions and governments. The authors examine the new global ecumenical movement inspired by Pentecostals, the role of religion in the Irish Easter rebellion against the British, and the relation between religious freedom and government in the United States. Other essays debate the relation of Islam to the violence in Nigeria, the place of the family in church-state relations in the Philippines, the role of confessional identity in the political struggles in the Balkans, and the construction of Slavophile identity in nineteenth-century Russian Orthodox political theology. The volume also investigates the contrast between written constitutions and actual practice in the relations between governments and religions in Australia, Indonesia, and Egypt.  The case studies and surveys illuminate both specific contexts and also widespread currents in religion-state relations across the world.

“Negotiating Religion” (Guesnet, Laborde, & Lee, eds.)

This month, Routledge releases Negotiating Religion: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives edited by François Guesnet (University College London), Cécile Laborde (University College London), and Lois Lee (University College London). The publisher’s description follows:Negotiating Religion

Negotiating religious diversity, as well as negotiating different forms and degrees of commitment to religious belief and identity, constitutes a major challenge for all societies. Recent developments such as the ‘de-secularisation’ of the world, the transformation and globalisation of religion and the attacks of September 11 have made religious claims and religious actors much more visible in the public sphere. This volume provides multiple perspectives on the processes through which religious communities create or defend their place in a given society, both in history and in our world today.

Offering a critical, cross-disciplinary investigation into processes of negotiating religion and religious diversity, the contributors present new insights on the meaning and substance of negotiation itself. This volume draws on diverse historical, sociological, geographic, legal and political theoretical approaches to take a close look at the religious and political agents involved in such processes as well as the political, social and cultural context in which they take place. Its focus on the European experiences that have shaped not only the history of ‘negotiating religion’ in this region but also around the world, provides new perspectives for critical inquiries into the way in which contemporary societies engage with religion.

This study will be of interest to academics, lawyers and scholars in law and religion, sociology, politics and religious history.

“Multireligious Society” (González & D’Amato, eds.)

In October, Routledge will release Multireligious Society: Dealing with Religious Diversity in Theory and Practice edited by Francisco Colom González (Spanish National Research Council) and Gianni D’Amato (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland). The publisher’s description follows: Multireligious Society

With the theory of secularization increasingly contested as a plausible development at a global scale, this book focuses on the changing significance of the religious element within a context of complex diversity. This concept reflects the rationale behind the deep transformations that have taken place in the dynamics of social change, giving way to a recombination of social, political and cultural cleavages that overlap and compete for legitimacy at a national and supranational level. Far from disappearing with modernization, new forms of religious diversity have emerged that continue to demand specific policies from the state, putting pressure on the established practices of religious governance while creating a series of normative dilemmas. European societies have been a testing ground for many of these changes, but for decades Canada has been viewed as a pioneering country in the management of diversity, thus offering some interesting similarities and contrasts with the former. Accordingly, the book deals with the diverging routes that political secularization has followed in Europe and Canada, the patterns of religious governance that can be recognized in each region, and the practices for accommodating the demands of religious minorities concerning their legal regulation, the management of public institutions, and the provision of social services.

Gingrich, “Out of Place”

In July, Toronto University Press released Out of Place: Social Exclusion and Mennonite Migrants in Canada by Luann Good Gingrich (York University). The publisher’s description follows:Out of Place

The flow of migrants from south to north and east to west carries with it growing concerns about the economic integration, political incorporation, and social inclusion of newcomers and their children. But what happens when a group of people deliberately excludes themselves from mainstream society? How can social policies, human services, and communities best understand and respond to them?

In Out of Place, Luann Good Gingrich explores social inclusion and exclusion in relation to the approximately 60,000 Low German-speaking Mennonites who have migrated from traditionally self-sufficient and agrarian colonies in Latin America to rural areas of Canada. By examining the free-market principles that organize the human services industry the author exposes the inherent conflict that arises when this “market logic” is imposed on a group that does not embrace these ideals. The author’s innovative approach to social policy and human services which emphasizes the relationship between dominant and subordinate cultures, encourages us to find new ways to authentically engage with difference and bridge the gaps that divide us.

 

Ghamari-Tabrizi, “Foucault in Iran”

In August, the University of Minnesota Press will release “Foucault in Iran” by Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). The publisher’s description follows:

Focault in IranWere the thirteen essays Michel Foucault wrote in 1978–1979 endorsing the Iranian Revolution an aberration of his earlier work or an inevitable pitfall of his stance on Enlightenment rationality, as critics have long alleged? Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi argues that the critics are wrong. He declares that Foucault recognized that Iranians were at a threshold and were considering if it were possible to think of dignity, justice, and liberty outside the cognitive maps and principles of the European Enlightenment.

Foucault in Iran centers not only on the significance of the great thinker’s writings on the revolution but also on the profound mark the event left on his later lectures on ethics, spirituality, and fearless speech. Contemporary events since 9/11, the War on Terror, and the Arab Uprisings have made Foucault’s essays on the Iranian Revolution more relevant than ever. Ghamari-Tabrizi illustrates how Foucault saw in the revolution an instance of his antiteleological philosophy: here was an event that did not fit into the normative progressive discourses of history. What attracted him to the Iranian Revolution was precisely its ambiguity.

Theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich, this interdisciplinary work will spark a lively debate in its insistence that what informed Foucault’s writing was not an effort to understand Islamism but, rather, his conviction that Enlightenment rationality has not closed the gate of unknown possibilities for human societies.

“Religions and Constitutional Transitions in the Muslim Mediterranean” (Ferrari & Toronto, eds.)

In September, Routledge will release “Religions and Constitutional Transitions in the Muslim Mediterranean: The Pluralistic Moment,” edited by Alessandro Ferrari (University of Insubria) and James Toronto (Brigham Young University).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book investigates the role of Islam and religious freedom in the constitutional transitions of six North African and Middle Eastern countries, namely Morocco, logo-rt-cAlgeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, and Palestine. In particular, the book, with an interdisciplinary approach, investigates the role of Islam as a political, institutional and societal force. Issues covered include: the role played by Islam as a constitutional reference – a “static force” able to strengthen and legitimize the entire constitutional order; Islam as a political reference used by some political parties in their struggle to acquire political power; and Islam as a specific religion that, like other religions in the area, embodies diverse perspectives on the nature and role of religious freedom in society. The volume provides insight about the political dimension of Islam, as used by political forces, as well as the religious dimension of Islam. This provides a new and wider perspective able to take into account the increasing social pluralism of the South-Mediterranean region. By analyzing three different topics – Islam and constitutionalism, religious political parties, and religious freedom – the book offers a dynamic picture of the role played by Islam and religious freedom in the process of state-building in a globalized age in which human rights and pluralism are crucial dimensions.

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