Lindkvist, “Religious Freedom and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

In June, Cambridge University Press will release “Religious Freedom and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” by Linde Lindkvist (Uppsala Universitet).  The publisher’s description follows:

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) is widely considered to be the most influential statement on religious freedom in human history. Religious 9781107159419Freedom and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides a groundbreaking account of its origins and developments, examining the background, key players, and outcomes of Article 18, and setting it within the broader discourse around international religious freedom in the 1940s. Taking issue with standard accounts that see the text of the Universal Declaration as humanity’s joint response to the atrocities of World War II, it shows instead how central features of Article 18 were intimately connected to the political projects and visions of particular actors involved in the start-up of the UN Human Rights program. This will be essential reading for anyone grappling with the historical and contemporary meaning of human rights and religious freedom.

“Women’s Rights and Religious Law: Domestic and International Perspectives” (Banda & Joffe, eds.)

In January, Routledge will release “Women’s Rights and Religious Law: Domestic and International Perspectives” edited by Fareda Banda (SOAS, UK) and Lisa Fishbayn Joffe (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute of Brandeis University). The publisher’s description follows:

The three Abrahamic faiths have dominated religious conversations for millennia but the relations between state and religion are in a constant state of flux. This relationship may be configured in a number of ways. Religious norms may be enforced by the state as part of a regime of personal law or, conversely, religious norms may be formally relegated to the private sphere but can be brought into the legal realm through the private acts of individuals. Enhanced recognition of religious tribunals or religious doctrines by civil courts may create a hybrid of these two models.

One of the major issues in the reconciliation of changing civic ideals with religious tenets is gender equality, and this is an ongoing challenge in both domestic and international affairs. Examining this conflict within the context of a range of issues including marriage and divorce, violence against women and children, and women’s political participation, this collection brings together a discussion of the Abrahamic religions to examine the role of religion in the struggle for women’s equality around the world. The book encompasses both theory and practical examples of how law can be used to negotiate between claims for gender equality and the right to religion. It engages with international and regional human rights norms and also national considerations within countries.

Holman, “Beholden: Religion, Global Health, and Human Rights”

In February, Oxford University Press released “Beholden: Religion, Global Health, and Human Rights” by Susan R. Holman (Harvard University). The publisher’s description follows:

Global health efforts today are usually shaped by two very different ideological approaches: a human rights-based approach to health and equity-often associated with public health, medicine, or economic development activities; or a religious or humanitarian “aid” approach motivated by personal beliefs about charity, philanthropy, missional dynamics, and humanitarian “mercy.” The underlying differences between these two approaches can create tensions and even outright hostility that undermines the best intentions of those involved.

In Beholden: Religion, Global Health, and Human Rights, Susan R. Holman–a scholar in both religion and the history of medicine–challenges this traditional polarization by telling stories designed to help shape a new perspective on global health, one that involves a multidisciplinary integration of religion and culture with human rights and social justice. The book’s six chapters range broadly, describing pilgrimage texts in the Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic traditions; the effect of ministry and public policy on nineteenth-century health care for the poor; the story of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it shaped economic, social, and cultural rights; a “religious health assets” approach based in Southern Africa; and the complex dynamics of gift exchange in the modern faith-based focus on charity, community, and the common good. Holman’s study serves as an insightful guide for students and practitioners interested in improving and broadening the scope of global health initiatives, with an eye towards having the greatest impact possible.

“Non-State Justice Institutions and the Law: Decision-Making at the Interface of Tradition, Religion and the State” (Kötter et al., eds.)

In February, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Non-State Justice Institutions and the Law: Decision-Making at the Interface of Tradition, Religion and the State”  edited by Matthias Kötter (WZB Berlin Social Science Center), Tilmann Röder (Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law, Heidelberg, Germany), Folke Schuppert (WZB Berlin Social Science Center) and Rüdiger Wolfrum (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea). The publisher’s description follows:

Traditional forms of dispute resolution have become an important aspect in the political and academic debates on law and development and in numerous cases of constitution-making and judicial reform. This book focuses on decision-making by non-state justice institutions at the interface of traditional, religious, and state laws. The authors discuss the implications of non-state justice for the rule of law, presenting case studies on traditional councils and courts in Pakistan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Bolivia and South Africa. Looking at the legitimacy of non-state justice from various angles, this collection explores the ways in which non-state legal systems and governmental structures are embedded in official state justice institutions and how this affects the protection of human rights.

Atiemo, “Religion and the Inculturation of Human Rights in Ghana”

Next Month, Bloomsbury Publishing will publish Religion and the Inculturation of Human Rights in Ghana by Abamfo Ofori Atiemo (University of Ghana, Legon).  The publisher’s description follows.Bloomsbury

It has been maintained that the secular nature of modern human rights makes them incompatible with the religious orientation of African and non-Western societies. However, in view of the resilience of religion in the global and local public sphere, it is important to explore how religion can contribute to the promotion and enjoyment of human rights.

Based on fieldwork conducted in Ghana, Abamfo Ofori Atiemo here establishes a convergence between human rights and local religious and cultural values in African societies. He argues that human rights represent universal ‘dream values’. This allows for a cultural embedding of human rights in Ghana and other non-Western societies. He argues that ‘dream values’ are usually presented in religious language and proclaimed, for example, by prophets and seers or expressed in certain forms of taboo, proverbs or legal norms. He employs the concept of inculturation, adaptation of the way Church teachings are presented to non-Christian cultures, as a hermeneutical tool for developing a model to understand the encounter between universal human rights and local cultures.

Offering a new model for explaining the relation between religion and human rights, Religion and the Inculturation of Human Rights in Ghana offers a novel perspective on the links between global trends and local cultures underpinned by strong currents of religious ideas.

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