Marzouki, “Islam: An American Religion”

In April, Columbia University Press will release “Islam: An American Religion,” by Nadia Marzouki (Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)). The publisher’s description follows:

Islam: An American Religion demonstrates how Islam as formed in the United States has become an American religion in a double sense—first through the strategies of 9780231176804recognition adopted by Muslims and second through the performance of Islam as a faith.

Nadia Marzouki investigates how Islam has become so contentious in American politics. Focusing on the period from 2008 to 2013, she revisits the uproar over the construction of mosques, legal disputes around the prohibition of Islamic law, and the overseas promotion of religious freedom. She argues that public controversies over Islam in the United States primarily reflect the American public’s profound divisions and ambivalence toward freedom of speech and the legitimacy of liberal secular democracy.

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.

Panel Discussion: “Muslims and the Making of America” (March 14)

On March 14, the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, in conjunction with Baylor University Press, is co-sponsoring a panel discussion of Amir Hussain’s new book Muslims and the Making of America at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. A description of the event follows:

muslims-and-the-making-of-americaAmerican Muslim identity presently hangs under a dark cloud of suspicion. Ironically, as Amir Hussain demonstrates, there has never been an America without Muslims. The American tapestry is woven, in part, with Muslim threads.
Amir Hussain, professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University, will appear on a panel to discuss his recent book, Muslims and the Making of America (2016). He will be joined by Melissa Rogers, most recently known for her work as special assistant to the president and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships during the Obama administration, and Rebecca Samuel Shah, research professor at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University and associate director of the Religious Freedom Institute’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team. The panelists will discuss Muslim American identity, Muslim contributions to America, religious freedom and other First Amendment issues, and the social and political impact of cultural stereotypes of Muslim identity. The forum will be open to questions from the audience.
Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6:00 p.m. in the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge before the panel commences at 6:45 p.m. Immediately following the panel, Hussain will host a book signing where copies of his book will be available.
The panel is co-sponsored by Baylor University Press and the Religious Freedom Research Project of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.
More information on the event can be found here.

Warren, “God’s Red Son

In April, Hachette Book Group will release God’s Red Son: The Ghost Dance Religion and the Making of Modern America by Louis S. Warren (University of California, Davis). The publisher’s description follows:

 gods-red-son-pnIn 1890, on Indian reservations across the West, followers of a new religion danced in circles until they collapsed into trances. In an attempt to suppress this new faith, the US Army killed over two hundred Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek. Louis Warren’s God’s Red Son offers a startling new view of the religion known as the Ghost Dance, from its origins in the visions of a Northern Paiute named Wovoka to the tragedy in South Dakota. To this day, the Ghost Dance remains widely mischaracterized as a primitive and failed effort by Indian militants to resist American conquest and return to traditional ways. In fact, followers of the Ghost Dance sought to thrive in modern America by working for wages, farming the land, and educating their children, tenets that helped the religion endure for decades after Wounded Knee. God’s Red Son powerfully reveals how Ghost Dance teachings helped Indians retain their identity and reshape the modern world.

Gorski, “American Covenant”

This month, Princeton University Press releases “American Covenant: A History of Civil Religion from the Puritans to the Present,” by Philip Gorski (Yale University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Was the United States founded as a Christian nation or a secular democracy? Neither, argues Philip Gorski in American Covenant. What the founders actually envisioned was k10976a prophetic republic that would weave together the ethical vision of the Hebrew prophets and the Western political heritage of civic republicanism. In this ambitious book, Gorski shows why this civil religious tradition is now in peril—and with it the American experiment.

Gorski traces the historical development of prophetic republicanism from the Puritan era to the present day. He provides close readings of thinkers such as John Winthrop, Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Hannah Arendt, along with insightful portraits of recent and contemporary religious and political leaders such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Gorski shows how the founders’ original vision for America is threatened by an internecine struggle between two rival traditions, religious nationalism and radical secularism. Religious nationalism is a form of militaristic hyperpatriotism that imagines the United States as a divine instrument in the final showdown between good and evil. Radical secularists fervently deny the positive contributions of the Judeo-Christian tradition to the American project and seek to remove all traces of religious expression from the public square. Gorski offers an unsparing critique of both, demonstrating how half a century of culture war has drowned out the quieter voices of the vital center.

American Covenant makes the compelling case that if we are to rebuild that vital center, we must recover the civil religious tradition on which the republic was founded.

Around the Web this Week

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

Lombardo, “Founding Father”

In March, Brill Publishers will release Founding Father: John J. Wynne, S.J. and the Inculturation of American Catholicism in the Progressive Era by Michael F. Lombardo (University of Mary’s, Rome). The publisher’s description follows:

founding-fatherIn Founding Father, Michael F. Lombardo provides the first critical biography of John J. Wynne, S.J. (1859-1948). One of the most prominent American Catholic intellectuals of the early twentieth century, Wynne was founding editor of the Catholic Encyclopedia (1907) and the Jesuit periodical America (1909), and served as vice-postulator for the canonization causes of the first American saints (the Jesuit Martyrs of North America) and Kateri Tekakwitha. Lombardo uses theological inculturation to explore the ways in which Wynne used his publications to negotiate American Catholic citizenship during the Progressive Era. He concludes that Wynne’s legacy was part of a flowering of early-twentieth century American Catholic intellectual thought that made him a key forerunner to the mid-century Catholic Revival.

“New Perspectives on the Nation of Islam” (Gibson & Berg, eds.)

In March, Routledge will release New Perspectives on the Nation of Islam edited by Dawn-Marie Gibson (University of London), and Herbert Berg (University of North Carolina Wilmington). The publisher’s description follows:

nation-of-islamNew Perspectives on the Nation of Islam contributes to the ongoing dialogue about the nature and influence of the Nation of Islam (NOI), bringing fresh insights to areas that have previously been overlooked in the scholarship of Elijah Muhammad’s NOI, the Imam W.D. Mohammed community and Louis Farrakhan’s Resurrected NOI. Bringing together contributions that explore the formation, practices, and influence of the NOI, this volume problematizes the history of the movement, its theology, and relationships with other religious movements. Contributors offer a range of diverse perspectives, making connections between the ideology of the NOI and gender, dietary restrictions and foodways, the internationalization of the movement, and the civil rights movement. This book provides a state-of-the-art overview of current scholarship on the Nation of Islam, and will be relevant to scholars of American religion and history, Islamic studies, and African American Studies.

 

Moses, “An Unlikely Union”

In March, New York University Press will release An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians by Paul Moses (Brooklyn College). The publisher’s description follows:

unlikely-unionThey came from the poorest parts of Ireland and Italy and met as rivals on the sidewalks of New York. Beginning in the nineteenth century, the Irish and Italians clashed in the Catholic Church, on the waterfront, at construction sites, and in the streets. Then they made peace through romance, marrying each other on a large scale in the years after World War II. An Unlikely Union tells the dramatic story of how two of America’s largest ethnic groups learned to love and laugh with each other after decades of animosity.

The vibrant cast of characters features saints such as Mother Frances X. Cabrini, who stood up to the Irish American archbishop of New York when he tried to send her back to Italy, and sinners like Al Capone, who left his Irish wife home the night he shot it out with Brooklyn’s Irish mob. The book also highlights the torrid love affair between radical labor organizers Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Carlo Tresca; the alliance between Italian American gangster Paul Kelly and Tammany’s “Big Tim” Sullivan; heroic detective Joseph Petrosino’s struggle to be accepted in the Irish-run NYPD; and the competition between Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby to become the country’s top male vocalist.

In this engaging history of the Irish and Italians, veteran New York City journalist and professor Paul Moses offers a classic American story of competition, cooperation, and resilience. At a time of renewed fear of immigrants, An Unlikely Union reminds us that Americans are able to absorb tremendous social change and conflict—and come out the better for it.

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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