Around the Web

Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:

Hasson, “Believers, Thinkers and Founders”

In April, Image Books will release “Believers, Thinkers and Founders: How We Came to be One Nation Under God” by Kevin Seamus Hasson (Founder and President Emeritus of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty). The publisher’s description follows:

“Religious Literacy in Policy and Practice” (Dinham & Francis, eds.)

This month, Policy Press at the University of Bristol released “Religious Literacy in Policy and Practice” edited by Adam Dinham (University of London) and Matthew Francis (Lancaster University). The publisher’s description follows:

It has long been assumed that religion is in decline in the West: however it continues to have an important yet contested role in individual lives and in society at large. Furthermore half a century or so in which religion and belief were barely talked about in public has resulted in a pressing lack of religious literacy, leaving many ill-equipped to engage with religion and belief when they encounter them in daily life – in relationships, law, media, the professions, business and politics, among others. This valuable book is the first to bring together theory and policy with analysis and expertise on practices in key areas of the public realm to explore what religious literacy is, why it is needed and what might be done about it. It makes the case for a public realm which is well equipped to engage with the plurality and pervasiveness of religion and belief, whatever the individual’s own stance. It is aimed at academics, policy-makers and practitioners interested in the policy and practice implications of the continuing presence of religion and belief in the public sphere.

Jouili, “Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe”

In May, Stanford University Press will release “Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe” by Jeanette S. Jouili (College of Charleston). The publisher’s description follows:

The visible increase in religious practice among young European-born Muslims has provoked public anxiety. New government regulations seek not only to restrict Islamic practices within the public sphere, but also to shape Muslims’, and especially women’s, personal conduct. Pious Practice and Secular Constraints chronicles the everyday ethical struggles of women active in orthodox and socially conservative Islamic revival circles as they are torn between their quest for a pious lifestyle and their aspirations to counter negative representations of Muslims within the mainstream society.

Jeanette S. Jouili conducted fieldwork in France and Germany to investigate how pious Muslim women grapple with religious expression: for example, when to wear a headscarf, where to pray throughout the day, and how to maintain modest interactions between men and women. Her analysis stresses the various ethical dilemmas the women confronted in negotiating these religious duties within a secular public sphere. In conversation with Islamic and Western thinkers, Jouili teases out the important ethical-political implications of these struggles, ultimately arguing that Muslim moral agency, surprisingly reinvigorated rather than hampered by the increasingly hostile climate in Europe, encourages us to think about the contribution of non-secular civic virtues for shaping a pluralist Europe.

 

“Religion and American Cultures: Tradition, Diversity, and Popular Expression” (Laderman & León eds.)

In December, ABC-CLIO will release the second edition of “Religion and American Cultures: Tradition, Diversity, and Popular Expression,” edited by Gary Laderman (Emory University) and Luis León (University of Denver). The publisher’s description follows:

This four-volume work provides a detailed, multicultural survey of established as well as “new” American religions and investigates the fascinating interactions between religion and ethnicity, gender, politics, regionalism, ethics, and popular culture.

This revised and expanded edition of Religion and American Cultures: Tradition, Diversity, and Popular Expression presents more than 140 essays that address contemporary spiritual practice and culture with a historical perspective. The entries cover virtually every religion in modern-day America as well as the role of religion in various aspects of U.S. culture. Readers will discover that Americans aren’t largely Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish anymore, and that the number of popular religious identities is far greater than many would imagine. And although most Americans believe in a higher power, the fastest growing identity in the United States is the “nones”—those Americans who elect “none” when asked about their religious identity—thereby demonstrating how many individuals see their spirituality as something not easily defined or categorized.

The first volume explores America’s multicultural communities and their religious practices, covering the range of different religions among Anglo-Americans and Euro-Americans as well as spirituality among Latino, African American, Native American, and Asian American communities. The second volume focuses on cultural aspects of religions, addressing topics such as film, Generation X, public sacred spaces, sexuality, and new religious expressions. The new third volume expands the range of topics covered with in-depth essays on additional topics such as interfaith families, religion in prisons, belief in the paranormal, and religion after September 11, 2001. The fourth volume is devoted to complementary primary source documents.

2014 Conference on Christian Legal Thought — Public Engagement With Law and Religion: A Conference in Honor of Jean Bethke Elshtain

I’m very pleased to announce the 2014 Conference on Christian Legal Thought, sponsored by the Lumen Christi Institute at the University of Chicago and the Law Professors Christian Fellowship. The conference occurs in conjunction with the annual AALS meeting, which is being held in Manhattan this year. This year’s conference celebrates the life and thought of Professor Jean Bethke Elshtain and explores the theme of public engagement with law and religion.

The schedule is below, and you can register here. I hope to see many Forum readers there.

Friday, January 3, 2014, 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
The University Club
One West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019

Conference Topic: Public Engagement With Law and Religion: A Conference in Honor of Jean Bethke Elshtain

Noon: Registration, Luncheon, and Opening Remarks

1:15 pm – 2:45 pm: Session One. Public Engagement With Law and Religion: The Thought of Jean Bethke Elshtain

Chair: Zachary R. Calo (Valparaiso University School of Law)

Thomas C. Berg (University of St. Thomas School of Law)

Eric Gregory (Princeton University, Department of Religion)

Charles Mathewes (University of Virginia, Department of Religious Studies)

2:45 pm – 3:00 pm: Coffee Break

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm.  Session Two. Public Engagement With Law and Religion: Journalistic Perspectives 

Chair: Marc O. DeGirolami  (St. John’s University School of Law)

Matthew Boudway (Associate Editor, Commonweal)

Susannah Meadows (Columnist, New York Times)

Rusty R. Reno (Editor, First Things)

4:45 PM – 5:15 pm: Vespers

5:15 pm: Reception

Edelman, et al., eds., “Performing Religion in Public”

This September, Palgrave Macmillan will publish Performing Religion in Public edited by Joshua Edelman (University of London), Claire Chambers (Sogang University), and Simon du Toit (University of Windsor).  The publisher’s description follows.

From a South African Passion Play to Turkish Sufi tourism, from contemporary street preaching in America to public Hindu rites in India, from cloistered prayer in 17th century France to the queer politics of ‘the closet’ today, Performing Religion in Public brings together an international array of voices that grapple with the important role of religious performance in our secular public lives. Because traditional notions of the public sphere have emphasized rational discourse in a secular setting, religion has often been excluded. But religious life is not impersonal argument; rather, it is passionately performed, crossing boundaries between public and private, the personal and the political, and claiming a significant role in modern democracies, from everyday cultural interactions to political advocacy. By focusing on the performative nature of both religion and publics, this timely volume offers a fresh and fruitful re-conception of the relationship between religion and the public sphere.

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