Braunstein, “Prophets and Patriots”

In April, the University of California Press will release Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide by Ruth Braunstein (University of Connecticut). The publisher’s description follows:

prophets-and-patriotsProphets and Patriots takes readers inside two of the most active populist movements of the Obama era and highlights cultural convergences and contradictions at the heart of American political life. In the wake of the Great Recession and amidst rising discontent with government responsiveness to ordinary citizens, the book follows participants in two very different groups—a progressive faith-based community organization and a conservative Tea Party group—as they set out to become active and informed citizens, put their faith into action, and hold government accountable. They viewed themselves as the latest in a long line of prophetic voices and patriotic heroes who were carrying forward the promise of the American democratic project. Yet the practical ways in which they each pursued this common vision reflected subtly different understandings of American democracy and citizenship.

Jory, “Thailand’s Theory of Monarchy”

Last month, SUNY Press released the paperback edition of Thailand’s Theory of Monarchy: The Vessantara Jataka and the Idea of the Perfect Man by Patrick Jory (University of Queensland). The publisher’s description follows:

thailandSince the 2006 coup d’état, Thailand has been riven by two opposing political visions: one which aspires to a modern democracy and the rule of law, and another which holds to the traditional conception of a kingdom ruled by an exemplary Buddhist monarch. Thailand has one of the world’s largest populations of observant Buddhists and one of its last politically active monarchies. This book examines the Theravada Buddhist foundations of Thailand’s longstanding institution of monarchy. Patrick Jory states that the storehouse of monarchical ideology is to be found in the popular literary genre known as the Jātakas, tales of the Buddha’s past lives. The best-known of these, the Vessantara Jātaka, disseminated an ideal of an infinitely generous prince as a bodhisatta or future Buddha—an ideal which remains influential in Thailand today. Using primary and secondary source materials largely unknown in Western scholarship, Jory traces the history of the Vessantara Jātaka and its political-cultural importance from the ancient to the modern period. Although pressures from European colonial powers and Buddhist reformers led eventually to a revised political conception of the monarchy, the older Buddhist ideal of kingship has yet endured.

Graziano, “Holy Wars and Holy Alliance”

In April, Columbia University Press will release Holy Wars and Holy Alliance: The Return of Religion to the Global Political Stage by Manlio Graziano (Sorbonne University). The publisher’s description follows:

Holy Wars and Holy Alliance.jpgReligions are reemerging in the social, political, and economic spheres previously occupied and dominated by secular institutions and ideologies. In the wake of crises exposing the limits of secular modernity, religions have again become significant players in domestic and international politics. At the same time, the Catholic Church has sought a “holy alliance” among the world’s faiths to recentralize devout influence, an important, albeit little-noticed, evolution in international relations.

Holy Wars and Holy Alliance explores the nation-state’s current crisis in order to better understand the religious resurgence’s implications for geopolitics. Manlio Graziano looks at how the Catholic Church promotes dialogue and action linking world religions, and examines how it has used its material, financial, and institutional strength to gain power and increase its profile in present-day international politics. Challenging the idea that modernity is tied to progress and secularization, Graziano documents the “return” or the “revenge” of God in all facets of life. He shows that tolerance, pluralism, democracy, and science have not triumphed as once predicted. To fully grasp the destabilizing dynamics at work today, he argues, we must appreciate the nature of religious struggles and political holy wars now unfolding across the international stage.

Symposium Papers on Law and Religion in an Increasingly Polarized America

The Lewis and Clark Law Review, with the guidance of Professor Jim Oleske, has put together a very nice symposium on Law and Religion in an Increasingly Polarized America. Very interesting papers by Kathleen Brady, Kent Greenawalt, Jessie Hill, Andy Koppelman, Ron Krotoszynski, Chip Lupu and Bob Tuttle, Jim Oleske, and Robin Wilson.

I’ve got a piece in there too, Religious Accommodation, Religious Tradition, and Political Polarization, which takes a somewhat critical look at the religious accommodation regime from, as it were, the other side.

Rabinovich, “Yitzhak Rabin”

In March, Yale University Press will release Yitzhak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman by Itamar Rabinovich (New York University). The publisher’s description follows:
Yitzhak Rabin.jpgMore than two decades have passed since prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995, yet he remains an unusually intriguing and admired modern leader. A native-born Israeli, Rabin became an inextricable part of his nation’s pre-state history and subsequent evolution. This revealing account of his life, character, and contributions draws not only on original research but also on the author’s recollections as one of Rabin’s closest aides.

An awkward politician who became a statesman, a soldier who became a peacemaker, Rabin is best remembered for his valiant efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for the Oslo Accords. Itamar Rabinovich provides extraordinary new insights into Rabin’s relationships with powerful leaders including Bill Clinton, Jordan’s King Hussein, and Henry Kissinger, his desire for an Israeli-Syrian peace plan, and the political developments that shaped his tenure. The author also assesses the repercussions of Rabin’s murder: Netanyahu’s ensuing election and the rise of Israel’s radical right wing.

“The Crisis of Citizenship in the Arab World” (Meijer & Butenschon, eds.)

In March, Brill Publishers will release The Crisis of Citizenship in the Arab World edited by Roel Meijer (Radboud University) and Nils Butenschon (University of Oslo). The publisher’s description follows:

brill_logoThe Crisis of Citizenship in the Arab World argues that the present crisis of the Arab world has its origins in the historical, legal and political development of state-citizen relations since the beginning of modern history in the Middle East and North Africa. The anthology covers three main topics. Part I focuses on the crisis of the social pact in different Arab countries as it became manifest during the Arab Uprisings. Part II concentrates on concepts of citizenship in Islamic doctrine, Islamic movements (Muslim Brotherhood and Salafism), secular political movements and Arab thinkers. Part III looks into the practices that support the claims to equal rights as well as the factors that have obstructed full citizen rights, such as patronage and clientelism.

Contributors are: Ida Almestad, Claire Beaugrand, Assia Boutaleb, Michaelle Browers, Nils Butenschøn, Anthony Gorman, Raymond Hinnebusch, Engin F. Isin, Rania Maktabi, Roel Meijer, Emin Poljarevic, Ola Rifai, James Sater, Rachel Scott, Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, Robert Springborg, Stig Stenslie, Morten Valbjørn, Knut S. Vikør and Sami Zemni.

Tuininga, “Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church”

In March, Cambridge University Press will release Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church: Christ’s Two Kingdoms by Matthew J. Tuininga (Calvin Theological Seminary). The publisher’s description follows:

Calvin's Political Theology.jpgIn Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church, Matthew J. Tuininga explores a little appreciated dimension of John Calvin’s political thought, his two kingdoms theology, as a model for constructive Christian participation in liberal society. Widely misunderstood as a proto-political culture warrior, due in part to his often misinterpreted role in controversies over predestination and the heretic Servetus, Calvin articulated a thoughtful approach to public life rooted in his understanding of the gospel and its teaching concerning the kingdom of God. He staked his ministry in Geneva on his commitment to keeping the church distinct from the state, abandoning simplistic approaches that placed one above the other, while rejecting the temptations of sectarianism or separatism. This revealing analysis of Calvin’s vision offers timely guidance for Christians seeking a mode of faithful, respectful public engagement in democratic, pluralistic communities today.

Hassan, “Civil Disobedience in Islam”

In February, Palgrave MacMillan will release Civil Disobedience in Islam by Muhammad Haniff Hassan (Nanyang Technological University). The publisher’s description follows:

palgrave-macmillanThis book addresses contemporary debates on civil disobedience in Islam within the rich Sunni tradition, especially during the height of the non‐violent people revolution in various Arab countries, popularly known as the Arab Spring. It illustrates the Islamic theological and jurisprudential arguments presented by those who either permit or prohibit acts of civil disobedience for the purpose of changing government, political systems or policy. The book analyses the nature of the debate and considers how a theological position on civil disobedience should be formulated in contemporary time, and makes the case for alternatives to violent political action such as jihadism, terrorism and armed rebellion.

“Prayer and Politics”(van der Veer, ed.)

In February, Routledge will release Prayer and Politics edited by Peter van der Veer (Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen and Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University). The publisher’s description follows:

prayer-and-politicsPrayer and politics: unlikely, but intimate bedfellows. This publication explores everything from the Pentecostal religious battle – where prayer is both sword and shield against the Satanic Other – to the exchange between Islam and Christianity, demonstrating the relationship between prayer and politics in a wide spectrum of religious traditions, from all across the globe. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Religious and Political Practice.

Graziano, “In Rome We Trust”

In March, Stanford University Press will release In Rome We Trust: The Rise of Catholics in American Political Life by Manlio Graziano (American Graduate School, Paris). The publisher’s description follows:

in-rome-we-trustOn the heels of an extremely lively U.S. presidential election campaign, this book examines the unusually serene relationship between the chief global superpower and the world’s most ancient and renowned institution. The “Catholicization” of the United States is a recent phenomenon: some believe it began during the Reagan administration; others feel it emerged under George W. Bush’s presidency. What is certain is that the Catholic presence in the American political ruling class was particularly prominent in the Obama administration: over one-third of cabinet members, the Vice President, the White House Chief of Staff, the heads of Homeland Security and the CIA, the director and deputy director of the FBI, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top military officers were all Roman Catholic. Challenging received wisdom that the American Catholic Church is in crisis and that the political religion in the United States is Evangelicalism, Manlio Graziano provides an engaging account of the tendency of Catholics to play an increasingly significant role in American politics, as well as the rising role of American prelates in the Roman Catholic Church.

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