In June, the Cornell University Press will release “Religion on the Battlefield,” by Ron E. Hassner (University of California, Berkeley). The publisher’s description follows:
How does religion shape the modern battlefield? Ron E. Hassner proposes that religion acts as a force multiplier, both enabling and constraining military operations. This is true not only for religiously radicalized fighters but also for professional soldiers. In the last century, religion has influenced modern militaries in the timing of attacks, the selection of targets for assault, the zeal with which units execute their mission, and the ability of individual soldiers to face the challenge of war. Religious ideas have not provided the reasons why conventional militaries fight, but religious practices have influenced their ability to do so effectively.
In Religion on the Battlefield, Hassner focuses on the everyday practice of religion in a military context: the prayers, rituals, fasts, and feasts of the religious practitioners who make up the bulk of the adversaries in, bystanders to, and observers of armed conflicts. To show that religious practices have influenced battlefield decision making, Hassner draws most of his examples from major wars involving Western militaries. They include British soldiers in the trenches of World War I, U.S. pilots in World War II, and U.S. Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hassner shows that even modern, rational, and bureaucratized military organizations have taken—and must take—religious practice into account in the conduct of war.
In May, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Violence, Religion, Peacemaking,” edited by Douglas Irvin-Erickson (George Mason University) and Peter C. Phan (Georgetown University). The publisher’s description follows:
This volume explores how religious leaders can contribute to cultures of peace around the world. The essays are written by leading and emerging scholars and practitioners who have lived, taught, or worked in the areas of conflict about which they write. Connecting the theory and practice of religious peacebuilding to illuminate key challenges facing interreligious dialogue and interreligious peace work, the volume is explicitly interreligious, intercultural, and global in perspective. The chapters approach religion and peace from the vantage point of security studies, sociology, ethics, ecology, theology, and philosophy. A foreword by David Smock, the Vice President of Governance, Law and Society and Director of the Religion and Peacebuilding Center at the United States Institute of Peace, outlines the current state of the field.
In April, Routledge will release “Antagonistic Tolerance: Competitive Sharing of Religious Sites and Spaces,” edited by Robert M. Hayden (University of Pittsburgh), Aykan Erdemir (Bilkent University), Tugba Tanyeri-Erdemir (Middle East Technical University), Timothy D. Walker (University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth), Devika Rangachari (University of Delhi), Manuel Aguilar Moreno (California State University – Los Angeles), Enrique López-Hurtado (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú), and Milica Bakic-Hayden (University of Pittsburgh). The publisher’s description follows:
Antagonistic Tolerance examines patterns of coexistence and conflict amongst members of different religious communities, using multidisciplinary research to analyze groups who have peacefully intermingled for generations, and who may have developed aspects of syncretism in their religious practices, and yet have turned violently on each other. Such communities define themselves as separate peoples, with different and often competing interests, yet their interaction is usually peaceable provided the dominance of one group is clear. The key indicator of dominance is control over central religious sites, which may be tacitly shared for long periods, but later contested and even converted as dominance changes. By focusing on these shared and contested sites, this volume allows for a wider understanding of relations between these communities.
Using a range of ethnographic, historical and archaeological data from the Balkans, India, Mexico, Peru, Portugal and Turkey, Antagonistic Tolerance develops a comparative model of the competitive sharing and transformation of religious sites. These studies are not considered as isolated cases, but are instead woven into a unified analytical framework which explains how long-term peaceful interactions between religious communities can turn conflictual and even result in ethnic cleansing.
In March, Routledge will release “Religious Violence and Conciliation in Indonesia: Christians and Muslims in the Moluccas” by Sumanto Al Qurtuby (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia). The publisher’s description follows:
Maluku in eastern Indonesia is the home to Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics who had for the most part been living peaceably since the sixteenth century. In 1999, brutal conflicts broke out between local Christians and Muslims, and escalated into large-scale communal violence once the Laskar Jihad, a Java-based armed jihadist Islamic paramilitary group, sent several thousand fighters to Maluku. As a result of this escalated violence, the previously stable Maluku became the site of devastating interreligious wars.
This book focuses on the interreligious violence and conciliation in this region. It examines factors underlying the interreligious violence as well as those shaping post-conflict peace and citizenship in Maluku. The author shows that religion—both Islam and Christianity—was indeed central and played an ambiguous role in the conflict settings of Maluku, whether in preserving and aggravating the Christian-Muslim conflict or supporting or improving peace and reconciliation.
Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork and interviews as well as historical and comparative research on religious identities, this book is of interest to Indonesia specialists, as well as academics with an interest in anthropology, religious conflict, peace and conflict studies.