Lewis, “City of Refuge”

In December, Princeton University Press will release City of Refuge: Separatists and Utopian Town Planning by Michael J. Lewis (Williams College). The publisher’s description follows:

city-of-refugeThe vision of Utopia obsessed the nineteenth-century mind, shaping art, literature, and especially town planning. In City of Refuge, Michael Lewis takes readers across centuries and continents to show how Utopian town planning produced a distinctive type of settlement characterized by its square plan, collective ownership of properties, and communal dormitories. Some of these settlements were sanctuaries from religious persecution, like those of the German Rappites, French Huguenots, and American Shakers, while others were sanctuaries from the Industrial Revolution, like those imagined by Charles Fourier, Robert Owen, and other Utopian visionaries.

Because of their differences in ideology and theology, these settlements have traditionally been viewed separately, but Lewis shows how they are part of a continuous intellectual tradition that stretches from the early Protestant Reformation into modern times. Through close readings of architectural plans and archival documents, many previously unpublished, he shows the network of connections between these seemingly disparate Utopian settlements—including even such well-known town plans as those of New Haven and Philadelphia.

The most remarkable aspect of the city of refuge is the inventive way it fused its eclectic sources, ranging from the encampments of the ancient Israelites as described in the Bible to the detailed social program of Thomas More’s Utopia to modern thought about education, science, and technology. Delving into the historical evolution and antecedents of Utopian towns and cities, City of Refuge alters notions of what a Utopian community can and should be.

Around the Web this Week

Here is a look at some interesting law and religion items from around the web this week:

Rouse, Jackson, and Frederick, “Televised Redemption”

In November, New York University Press will release Televised Redemption: Black Religious Media and Racial Empowerment by Carolyn Moxley Rouse (Princeton), John L. Jackson, Jr. (University of Pennsylvania), and Marla F. Frederick (Harvard). The publisher’s description follows:

Televised Redemption.jpgThe institutional structures of white supremacy—slavery, Jim Crow laws, convict leasing, and mass incarceration—require a commonsense belief that black people lack the moral and intellectual capacities of white people. It is through this lens of belief that racial exclusions have been justified and reproduced in the United States. Televised Redemption argues that African American religious media has long played a key role in humanizing the race by unabashedly claiming that blacks are endowed by God with the same gifts of goodness and reason as whites—if not more, thereby legitimizing black Americans’ rights to citizenship.

If racism is a form of perception, then religious media has not only altered how others perceive blacks, but has also altered how blacks perceive themselves. Televised Redemption argues that black religious media has provided black Americans with new conceptual and practical tools for how to be in the world, and changed how black people are made intelligible and recognizable as moral citizens. In order to make these claims to black racial equality, this media has encouraged dispositional changes in adherents that were at times empowering and at other times repressive. From Christian televangelism to Muslim periodicals to Hebrew Israelite radio, Televised Redemption explores the complicated but critical redemptive history of African American religious media.

“The Atheist Bus Campaign” (Tomlins & Bullivant, eds.)

In October, Brill Publishers will release The Atheist Bus Campaign: Global Manifestations and Responses edited by Steven Tomlins (University of Ottawa) and Spencer Culham Bullivant (University of Ottawa). The publisher’s description follows:

the-atheist-bus-campaignThe international “Atheist Bus Campaign” generated news coverage and controversy, and this volume is the first to systematically and thoroughly explore and analyze each manifestation of that campaign. It includes a chapter for each of the countries which enacted – or attempted to enact – localized versions of the original United Kingdom campaign which ran the slogan, “There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life,” prominently on public buses. Its novel focus, using a singular micro-level event as a prism for analysis, allows for cross-country comparison of legal and social reactions to each campaign, as well as an understanding of issues pertaining to the historical and contemporary status of religion and the regulation of nonreligion in various national settings.

Magocsi & Petrovsky-Shtern, “Jews and Ukrainians”

In November, the University of Toronto Press will release Jews and Ukrainians: A Millennium of Co-Existence by Paul Robert Magocsi (University of Toronto) and Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (Northwestern University). The publisher’s description follows:

jews-and-ukraniansThere is much that ordinary Ukrainians do not know about Jews and that ordinary Jews do not know about Ukrainians. As a result, those Jews and Ukrainians who may care about their respective ancestral heritages usually view each other through distorted stereotypes, misperceptions, and biases. This book sheds new light on highly controversial moments of Ukrainian-Jewish relations and argues that the historical experience in Ukraine not only divided ethnic Ukrainians and Jews but also brought them together.

The story of Jews and Ukrainians is presented in an impartial manner through twelve thematic chapters. Among the themes discussed are geography, history, economic life, traditional culture, religion, language and publications, literature and theater, architecture and art, music, the diaspora, and contemporary Ukraine. The book’s easy-to-read narrative is enhanced by 335 full-color illustrations, 29 maps, and several text inserts that explain specific phenomena or address controversial issues. Jews and Ukrainians provides a wealth of information for anyone interested in learning more about the fascinating land of Ukraine and two of its most historically significant peoples.




“Saving the People” (Marzouki et al, eds.)

In November, Oxford University Press will release “Saving the People: How Populists Hijack Religion,” edited by Nadia Marzouki (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), Duncan McDonnell (Griffith University), and Olivier Roy (European University Institute). The publisher’s description follows:

Western democracies are experiencing a new wave of right-wing populism that seeks to 9780190639020mobilize religion for its own ends. With chapters on the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland and Israel, Saving the People asks how populist movements have used religion for their own ends and how church leaders react to them. The authors contend that religion is more about belonging than belief for populists, with religious identities and traditions being deployed to define who can and cannot be part of ‘the people’. This in turn helps many populists to claim that native Christian communities are being threatened by a creeping and highly aggressive process of Islamization, with Muslims becoming a key ‘enemy of the people’. While Church elites generally condemn this instrumental use of religions, populists take little heed, presenting themselves as the true saviours of the people. The policy implications of this phenomenon are significant, which makes this book all the more timely and relevant to current debate.

Aljunied, “Muslim Cosmopolitanism”

In November, Edinburgh University Press will release Muslim Cosmopolitanism: Southeast Asian Islam in Comparative Perspective by Khairudin Aljunied (National University of Singapore). The publisher’s description follows:

Muslim CosmoCosmopolitan ideals and pluralist tendencies have been employed creatively and adapted carefully by Muslim individuals, societies and institutions in modern Southeast Asia to produce the necessary contexts for mutual tolerance and shared respect between and within different groups in society. Organised around six key themes that interweave the connected histories of three countries in Southeast Asia – Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia – this book shows the ways in which historical actors have promoted better understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in the region. Case studies from across these countries of the Malay world take in the rise of the network society in the region in the 1970s up until the early 21st century, providing a panoramic view of Muslim cosmopolitan practices, outlook and visions in the region.

Fluker, “The Ground Has Shifted”

In November, New York University Press will release The Ground Has Shifted: The Future of the Black Church in Post-Racial America by Walter Earl Fluker (Boston University). The publisher’s description follows:

If we are in a post-racial era, then what is the future of the Black Church?  If the U.S. will at some time in the future be free from discrimination and prejudices that are basedGround has Shifted, The on race how will that affect the church’s very identity?

In The Ground Has Shifted, Walter Earl Fluker passionately and thoroughly discusses the historical and current role of the black church and argues that the older race-based language and metaphors of religious discourse have outlived their utility.  He offers instead a larger, global vision for the black church that focuses on young black men and other disenfranchised groups who have been left behind in a world of globalized capital.

Lyrically written with an emphasis on the dynamic and fluid movement of life itself, Fluker argues that the church must find new ways to use race as an emancipatory instrument if it is to remain central in black life, and he points the way for a new generation of church leaders, scholars and activists to reclaim the black church’s historical identity and to turn to the task of infusing character, civility, and a sense of community among its congregants.

Call for Papers: “Law as Religion, Religion as Law”

The Faculty of Law at Hebrew University seeks papers for an upcoming conference, Law as Religion, Religion as Law. Abstracts are due on October 26. The conference itself will be held on June 5-7, 2017. The University’s description of the event follows:

The conventional approach to the relationship between law and religion operates with the assumption that these are two discrete domains, which often clash with one another. This outlook animates public discourse about such basic topics and tropes as the freedom of religion and freedom from religion; religion and human rights; and the competing jurisdiction of civil and religious courts.

A dichotomous account, however, is not the only way to understand the intersection between law and religion. The “Law as Religion, Religion as Law” project will explore a different perspective that considers religion and law as two kinds of orientations or sensibilities; or two alternate ways of structuring reality. From this vantage point, religion and law share similar properties, and arguably have a more symbiotic relationship. Moreover, many legal systems exhibit religious characteristics, and most religions invoke legal categories or terminology. This suggestive blurring of categories is likewise worthy of further inquiry.

Scholars in multiple disciplines (including law, religious studies, philosophy, history, political science and other relevant fields) are invited to propose articles that explore “Law as Religion, Religion as Law,” from a variety of methods and orientations. All accepted abstracts will be invited to write articles and present their research at an international conference that will be held at Jerusalem, Israel, on June 5-7, 2017. Following the conference, the article drafts will be sent for peer review, and if accepted, will be published in a designated volume (published with a leading academic press). We will also accept submissions of article drafts for consideration for publication in this volume from scholars who cannot attend the international conference in Jerusalem.

Further details are available here.

Corbett, “Making Moderate Islam”

In November, Stanford University Press will release Making Moderate Islam: Sufism, Service, and the “Ground Zero Mosque” Controversy by Rosemary R. Corbett (Bard Prison Initiative). The publisher’s description follows:

Making Moderate IslamDrawing on a decade of research into the community that proposed the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” this book refutes the idea that current demands for Muslim moderation have primarily arisen in response to the events of 9/11, or to the violence often depicted in the media as unique to Muslims. Instead, it looks at a century of pressures on religious minorities to conform to dominant American frameworks for race, gender, and political economy. These include the encouraging of community groups to provide social services to the dispossessed in compensation for the government’s lack of welfare provisions in an aggressively capitalist environment. Calls for Muslim moderation in particular are also colored by racist and orientalist stereotypes about the inherent pacifism of Sufis with respect to other groups. The first investigation of the assumptions behind moderate Islam in our country, Making Moderate Islam is also the first to look closely at the history, lives, and ambitions of the those involved in Manhattan’s contested project for an Islamic community center.

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