Thomassen, “British Multiculturalism and the Politics of Representation”

In April, Oxford University Press releases “British Multiculturalism and the Politics of Representation,” by Lasse Thomassen (Queen Mary, University of London).  The publisher’s description follows:

Lasse Thomassen argues that the politics of inclusion and identity should be viewed as struggles over how these identities are represented. He centres thislogoargument through careful analysis of cases from the last four decades of British multiculturalism.

Uses a fresh, poststructuralist approach to reconcile the theoretical and practical issues surrounding inclusion and exclusion – a rare example of how poststructuralism can speak to mainstream concerns and theory

Opens up debates and themes including Britishness, race, the ature and role of Islam in British society, homelessness and social justice

Case studies include public debates about the role of religion in British society; Prime MInisters Gordon Brown and David Cameron>’s contrasting versions of Britishness; legal cases about religious symbols and clothing in schools; and the Nick Hornby novel How to Be Good – most of which have never been covered in such detail before

Examines a number of legal cases: ‘The Queen on the application of Sarika Angel Watkins-Singh v. The Governing Body of Aberdare Girls’ High School and Rhondda Cynon Taf Unitary Authority’, High Court, 2008; ‘Playfoot (a minor), R (on the application of) v Millais School’ High Court 2007; ‘X v Y’, High Court, 2007; and ‘Mandla and another v Dowell Lee and another’, House of Lords, 1983

Rasmussen, “Mormonism and the Making of a British Zion”

In May, the University of Utah Press will release “Mormonism and the Making of a British Zion” by Matthew Lyman Rasmussen (University of Lancaster). The publisher’s description follows:

Mormonism in Britain began in the late 1830s with the arrival of American missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not long afterward, thousands of British converts emigrated to Utah and became a kind of lifeblood for the early Mormon Church. England’s North West, where Mormonism had its strongest presence, has become a place of profound significance to the church, yet its early importance to Mormonism has never been fully explored. Matthew Rasmussen’s detailed account examines how Mormonism has changed and endured in Britain.

After many British believers left for America, church membership in England fell so sharply that the movement in Britain seemed to be on the brink of collapse. Yet British Mormonism gradually rebuilt and continues today. How did this religious minority flourish when so many nineteenth-century revivalist movements did not? Rasmussen explains Mormonism’s inception, perpetuation, and maturation in Britain in a compelling case study of a “new religious movement” with staying power.

Hamid, “Sufis, Salafis and Islamists: The Contested Ground of British Islamic Activism”

In December, I.B.Tauris Publishers will release “Sufis, Salafis and Islamists: The Contested Ground of British Islamic Activism” by Sadek Hamid (Liverpool Hope University, U.K.). The publisher’s description follows:

British Muslim activism has evolved constantly in recent decades. What have been its main groups and how do their leaders compete to attract followers? Which social and religious ideas from abroad are most influential? In this groundbreaking study, Sadek Hamid traces the evolution of Sufi, Salafi and Islamist activist groups in Britain, including The Young Muslims UK, Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Salafi JIMAS organisation and Traditional Islam Network. With reference to second-generation British Muslims especially, he explains how these groups gain and lose support, embrace and reject foreign ideologies, and succeed and fail to provide youth with compelling models of British Muslim identity. Analyzing historical and firsthand community research, Hamid gives a compelling account of the complexity that underlies reductionist media narratives of Islamic activism in Britain.


Ventura, “From Your Gods to Our Gods”

I’m slightly late in noting this, but our friend Professor Marco Ventura (Siena; Ventura, FYGTOGKU Leuven) has recently published this very interesting book, From Your Gods to Our Gods: A History of Religion in Indian, South African, and British Courts (Cascade Books 2014). Marco’s work is always penetrating and insightful, and this looks to be no exception. Here is the description:

The global world debates secularism, freedom of belief, faith-based norms, the state’s arbitration of religious conflicts, and the place of the sacred in the public sphere. In facing these issues, Britain, India, and South Africa stand out as unique laboratories. They have greatly influenced the rest of the world. As single countries and together as a whole, the three have moved from the colonial clash of antagonistic religions (of your gods) to an era when it has become impossible to dissociate your god from my god. Today both belong to the same blurred reality of our gods. Through a narrative account of British, South African, and Indian court cases from 1857 to 2009, the author draws an unconventional history of the process leading from the encounter with the gods of the other to the forging of a postmodern, common, and global religion. Across ages, borders, faiths, and laws, the three countries have experienced the ambivalent interaction of society, politics, and beliefs. Hence the lesson the world might learn from them: our gods promise an idealized purity, but they can only become real in the everyday creation of mixed identities, hybrid deities, and shared fears and hopes.

Miah, “Muslims, Schooling and the Question of Self-Segregation”

Next month, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Muslims, Schooling and the Question of Self-Segregation” by Shamim Miah (University of Huddersfield, UK). The publisher’s description follows:

‘Integration’ or the supposed lack of it by British Muslims has been a 9781137347756ubiquitous feature in political, media and policy discourses over the past decades, often with little or no evidence base. This book is particularly timely as it draws on empirical research amongst both Muslim school students and parents to examine the question of ‘self-segregation’ in the light of key policy developments around ‘race’, faith and citizenship. It aims to contribute towards a national debate on segregation, schooling and Muslims in Britain through deconstructing the received wisdom of ‘Muslim separateness’.

Weller et al., “Religion or Belief, Discrimination and Equality”

In May, Bloomsbury Academic Publishing will release “Religion or Belief, Discrimination and Equality: Britain in Global Contexts” by Paul Weller (University of Derby), Kingsley Purdam (University of Manchester), Nazila Ghanea (University of Oxford), Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (University of Derby).  The publisher’s description follows:

Religion Or BeliefIn recent years, controversial issues related to religion or belief, discrimination, equality and human rights have come to the fore, especially in the context of public debates around multiculturalism following the ‘social policy shock’ created by the impact of violent religious extremism. For example should there be restrictions on what people can wear in the work place based on their religious identity? Should religious organizations be exempt from aspects of equalities legislation which are not in line with their beliefs and values? How should non-religious identities be recognized?

In the context of increasing cultural and religion or belief diversity, it is vitally important for the future to understand the nature and extent of discrimination and unfair treatment on the grounds of religion or belief, and to assess the adequacy of policies, practices and laws designed to tackle this. This includes the overlap of religion or belief identities with other aspects of people’s identity including characteristics such as age, disability, race, sex and sexual orientation which can also be legally protected.

This volume is a benchmark publication on religion, discrimination and equality. It includes data and insights derived from the fieldwork, focus groups and questionnaire survey of a recent national research project in Britain. Its analysis presents a unique insight into continuity and change in people’s reported experience over a decade of equalities legislation and political and social change of unfair treatment on the basis of religion or belief. Grounded in empirical and contextualized data, its findings are placed in the context of European and international human rights law.

Its findings will be of special interest to both scholars and practitioners working in the specific fields of education, employment, the media, criminal justice and immigration, housing, health care, social services, and funding, as well as in the broader fields of religion or belief, the law and public policy.

Bulman, “Anglican Enlightenment”

This April, Cambridge University Press will release “Anglican Enlightenment: Orientalism, Religion and Politics in England and its Empire, 1648–1715” by William Bulman (Lehigh University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Anglican EnlightenmentAn original interpretation of the early European Enlightenment and the religious conflicts that rocked England and its empire under the later Stuarts. In a series of vignettes that move between Europe and North Africa, William Bulman shows that this period witnessed not a struggle for and against new ideas and greater freedoms, but a battle between several novel schemes for civil peace. Bulman considers anew the most apparently conservative force in post-Civil War English history: the conformist leadership of the Church of England. He demonstrates that the Church’s historical scholarship, social science, pastoral care, and political practice amounted not to a culturally backward spectacle of intolerance, but to a campaign for stability drawn from the frontiers of erudition and globalisation. In seeking to sever the link between zeal and chaos, the church and its enemies were thus united in an Enlightenment project, but bitterly divided over what it meant in practice.

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