Did you know that Texas has the largest Muslim community in the United States? I didn’t. That interesting fact, and many others, are discussed in a new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright, God Save Texas (Penguin Random House). Here’s the publisher’s description:
This month, Routledge releases “Indonesia, Islam, and the International Political Economy: Clash or Cooperation?” by Mark Williams (Vancouver Island University). The publisher’s description follows:
The Republic of Indonesia is a rising great power in the Asia-Pacific, set to become the eighth largest economy in the world in the coming decades. It is the most populous Muslim majority country in the world. The largest Islamic organizations and parties have supported Indonesia’s participation with global markets, but this has not come from an ideological support for capitalism or economic liberalization. Islamic political culture has denounced the injustices caused by global capitalism and its excesses. In fact, support for Indonesia’s engagement with the international political economy is born from political pragmatism, and from Indonesia’s struggles to achieve economic development.
This book examines the role of Islamic identity in Indonesia’s foreign economic relations and in its engagement with the world order. There is no single expression of Islam in Indonesia, the politics espoused by Islamic parties and organizations are far from monolithic. Islamic sentiment has been invoked by the state to justify heinous acts of brutality, as well as by violent, subnational revolutionary groups. However, these expressions of Islam have deviated from the dominant narrative, which is in favour of international cooperation and economic development. Economic exploitation, political alienation, financial volatility, and aggression toward Muslims around the world that has caused some Islamic groups to radicalize. The political culture of Islam in Indonesia is a social force that is helping to foster a peaceful rise for Indonesia. However, a peaceful expression of Islam is not inevitable for the republic, nor can it be assumed that Islamic identity in Indonesia will unwaveringly support the global economic order, regardless of what might occur in global politics.
This month, Palgrave Macmillan releases “Muslim Students, Education and Neoliberalism: Schooling a ‘Suspect Community,'” edited by Máirtín Mac an Ghaill (Newman University) and Chris Haywood (Newcastle University). The publisher’s description follows:
This edited collection brings together international leading scholars to explore why the education of Muslim students is globally associated with radicalisation, extremism and securitisation. The chapters address a wide range of topics, including neoliberal education policy and globalization; faith-based communities and Islamophobia; social mobility and inequality; securitisation and counter terrorism; and shifting youth representations. Educational sectors from a wide range of national settings are discussed, including the US, China, Turkey, Canada, Germany and the UK; this international focus enables comparative insights into emerging identities and subjectivities among young Muslim men and women across different educational institutions, and introduces the reader to the global diversity of a new generation of Muslim students who are creatively engaging with a rapidly changing twenty-first century education system. The book will appeal to those with an interest in race/ethnicity, Islamophobia, faith and multiculturalism, identity, and broader questions of education and social and global change.
In June, Routledge will release “Religious Interactions in Europe and the Mediterranean World: Coexistence and Dialogue from the 12th to the 20th Centuries,” edited by Katsumi Fukasawa (Kyoto-Sangyo University), Benjamin J. Kaplan (University College London), and Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis). The publisher’s description follows:
The religious histories of Christian and Muslim countries in Europe and Western Asia are often treated in isolation from one another. This can lead to a limited and simplistic understanding of the international and interreligious interactions currently taking place. This edited collection brings these national and religious narratives into conversation with each other, helping readers to formulate a more sophisticated comprehension of the social and cultural factors involved in the tolerance and intolerance that has taken place in these areas, and continues today.
Part One of this volume examines the history of relations between people of different Christian confessions in western and central Europe. Part Two then looks at the relations between Western and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Judaism in the vast area that extends around the Mediterranean from the Iberian Peninsula to western Asia. Each Part ends with a Conclusion that considers the wider implications of the preceding essays and points the way toward future research.
Bringing together scholars from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and America this volume embodies an international collaboration of unusual range. Its comparative approach will be of interest to scholars of Religion and History, particularly those with an emphasis on interreligious relations and religious tolerance.
In June, the Cornell University Press will release “Where Three World Met: Sicily in the Early Medieval Mediterranean,” by Sarah Davis-Secord (University of New Mexico). The publisher’s description follows:
Sicily is a lush and culturally rich island at the center of the Mediterranean Sea. Throughout its history, the island has been conquered and colonized by successive waves of peoples from across the Mediterranean region. In the early and central Middle Ages, the island was ruled and occupied in turn by Greek Christians, Muslims, and Latin Christians.
In Where Three Worlds Met, Sarah Davis-Secord investigates Sicily’s place within the religious, diplomatic, military, commercial, and intellectual networks of the Mediterranean by tracing the patterns of travel, trade, and communication among Christians (Latin and Greek), Muslims, and Jews. By looking at the island across this long expanse of time and during the periods of transition from one dominant culture to another, Davis-Secord uncovers the patterns that defined and redefined the broader Muslim-Christian encounter in the Middle Ages.
Sicily was a nexus for cross-cultural communication not because of its geographical placement at the center of the Mediterranean but because of the specific roles the island played in a variety of travel and trade networks in the Mediterranean region. Complex combinations of political, cultural, and economic need transformed Sicily’s patterns of connection to other nearby regions—transformations that were representative of the fundamental shifts that took place in the larger Mediterranean system during the Middle Ages. The meanings and functions of Sicily’s positioning within these larger Mediterranean communications networks depended on the purposes to which the island was being put and how it functioned at the boundaries of the Greek, Latin, and Muslim worlds.