In February, Brill Publishers will release Contesting Religious Identities: Transformations, Disseminations and Mediations edited by Bob Becking (Utrecht University), Anne-Marie Korte (Utrecht University), and Lucien van Liere (Utrecht University). The publisher’s description follows:
Religion is a hot topic on the public stages of ‘secular’ societies, not in its individualized liberal or orthodox form, but rather as a public statement, challenging the divide between the secular neutral space and the religious. In this new challenging modus, religion raises questions about identity, power, rationality, subjectivity, law and safety, but above all: religion questions, contests and even blurs the borders between the public and the private. These phenomena urge to rethink what are often considered to be clear differences between religions, between the public and the private and between the religious and the secular. In this volume scholars from a range of different disciplines map the different aspects of the dynamics of changing, contesting and contested religious identities.
This month, Palgrave Macmillan releases “The Labour Party in Scotland: Religion, the Union, and the Irish Dimension,” by Graham Walker (Queen’s University). The publisher’s description follows:
This book makes a timely contribution to our understanding of the dramatic political changes that have recently affected Scotland and thrown into doubt the country’s future position within the United Kingdom. Its focus is on the Labour Party and the loss of its traditional electoral support base. This theme is related to religion and its relevance to Scotland’s identity politics. The author examines how Labour was able to appeal across the ethno-religious divide in Scotland for many decades, before considering the impact of the new political context of devolution in the 21st century and the greater scrutiny given to the question of sectarianism in Scottish life. Walker demonstrates the role played by the sectarianism controversy in Labour’s loss of political control and its eclipse by the Scottish National Party (SNP). This book is also the first to assess the significance of the Irish dimension in Scotland’s political development, in particular the impact of the conflict in nearby Northern Ireland. It will appeal to students and scholars of Scottish and Irish politics, political science and political/electoral history, as well as the interested wider reader.
In September, Routledge released “State and Nation-Building in Pakistan: Beyond Islam and Security” edited by Roger D. Long (Eastern Michigan University), Gurharpal Singh (University of London), Yunas Samad (University of Bradford, UK), and Ian Talbot (University of Southampton, UK). The publisher’s description follows:
Religion, violence, and ethnicity are all intertwined in the history of Pakistan. The entrenchment of landed interests, operationalized through violence, ethnic identity, and power through successive regimes has created a system of ‘authoritarian clientalism.’ This book offers comparative, historicist, and multidisciplinary views on the role of identity politics in the development of Pakistan.
Bringing together perspectives on the dynamics of state-building, the book provides insights into contemporary processes of national contestation which are crucially affected by their treatment in the world media, and by the reactions they elicit within an increasingly globalised polity. It investigates the resilience of landed elites to political and social change, and, in the years after partition, looks at the impact on land holdings of population transfer. It goes on to discuss religious identities and their role in both the construction of national identity and in the development of sectarianism. The book highlights how ethnicity and identity politics are an enduring marker in Pakistani politics, and why they are increasingly powerful and influential.
An insightful collection on a range of perspectives on the dynamics of identity politics and the nation-state, this book on Pakistan will be a useful contribution to South Asian Politics, South Asian History, and Islamic Studies.
This month, Brill releases “Changes in Ethical Worldviews of Spanish Missionaries in Mexico” by Ran Tene (Hebrew University). The publisher’s description follows:
“Conversion” is a basic religious concept, which has manifold implications for our everyday lives. Ran Tene’s Changes in Ethical Worldviews of Spanish Missionaries in Mexico utilizes a cross-disciplinary methodology in which the fields of Philosophy, History, and Literary Studies are drawn upon to analyze conversion. He focuses on two moments in Spanish writing about Mexican missions, the early to mid-sixteenth century writings of the Spanish missionaries to Mexico and the early seventeenth century manuscripts of the author/copyist Fray Juan de Torquemada. The analysis exposes changes in worldviews – including the concepts of identity, ownership, and cruelty – through missionary eyes. It suggests two theoretical models – the vision model and the model of touch – to describe these changes, which are manifested in the missionary project and in the texts that it (re)produced.
This May, Trentham Books will release “British-Islamic Identity: Third Generation Bangladeshis from East London” by Aminul Hoque (University of London). The publisher’s description follows:
How does it feel to be constructed as the violent, terrorist, un-British “other”? To be a minority in a majority situation, to have no sense of belonging, to be voiceless, marginalized and invisible? British-Islamic Identity examines these issues through an ethnographic account of the lives and multifaceted identities of six British-born third generation Bangladeshis from east London. Do they see themselves as Bangladeshi, British, Muslim, Londoners, none of these or a fusion of them all? Their stories are powerful, clear and unsettling, charting their journeys from invisibility to visibility and from the periphery to the core of social life.
The book shows how young Bangladeshis have constructed a new British Islamic identity for themselves. British Islam is a dynamic and syncretic identity that occupies a social and spiritual space in their lives. It helps young British-born Bangladeshis to manage the complexities of being British, Bangladeshi and Muslim. It gives them a sense of belonging, recognition and acceptance, as they struggle against systemic and institutional racism, isolation and poverty.
The book tackles the layers of sociological postmodern identity – language, race, religion, nation and gender – and frames them within the context of young people’s self-narratives. It offers important new insight and understanding of their own stories of identity and allows us to hear these ignored and alienated voices. This makes the book essential reading for those who work with or are concerned about young people – parents, teachers, youth workers, students, academics, policymakers, politicians, journalists. It will interest young people whose roots, ancestry and heritage lie outside the UK. And with Islam dominating the domestic and international news agenda, it is a timely and positive contribution to the often misunderstood notions of what it means to be a British Muslim.
In March, Lexington Books will release “Identities in Crisis in Iran: Politics, Culture, and Religion” edited by Ronen A. Cohen (Ariel University, Israel). The publisher’s description follows:
Identities in Crisis in Iran aims at finding answers to the questions about the puzzling character of the Iranian identity. The contributors acknowledge that identity, especially when it is faced with fundamental tensions as in the case of Iran, is a phenomenon that is constantly developing via factors involving the private self and common social components. This book addresses the tension many Iranian people face that lie between the Persian culture and the Shi’a religion, women versus men, and culture versus traditions.