Dehanas, “London Youth, Religion, and Politics”

In August, Oxford University Press will release “London Youth, Religion, and Politics: Engagement and Activism from Brixton to Brick Lane,” by Daniel Nilsson DeHanas (King’s College London). The publisher’s description follows:

For more than a decade the “Muslim question” on integration and alleged extremism has vexed Europe, revealing cracks in long-held certainties about the role of religion 9780198743675in public life. Secular assumptions are being tested not only by the growing presence of Muslims but also by other fervent new arrivals such as Pentecostal Christians. London Youth, Religion, and Politics focuses on young adults of immigrant parents in two inner-city London areas: the East End and Brixton. It paints vivid portraits of dozens of young men and women met at local cafes, on park benches, and in council estate stairwells, and provides reason for a measured hope.

In East End streets like Brick Lane, revivalist Islam has been generating more civic integration although this comes at a price that includes generational conflict and cultural amnesia. In Brixton, while the influence of Pentecostal and traditional churches can be limited to family and individual renewal, there are signs that this may be changing. This groundbreaking work offers insight into the lives of urban Muslim, Christian, and non-religious youth. In times when the politics of immigration and diversity are in flux, it offers a candid appraisal of multiculturalism in practice.

Barrett-Fox, “God Hates”

In June, the University Press of Kansas will release “God Hates: Westboro Baptist Church, American Nationalism, and the Religious Right,” by Rebecca Barrett-Fox (Arkansas State University). The publisher’s description follows:

The congregants thanked God that they weren’t like all those hopeless people outside the church, bound for hell. So the Westboro Baptist Church’s Sunday service began, 9780700622658and Rebecca Barrett-Fox, a curious observer, wondered why anyone would seek spiritual sustenance through other people’s damnation. It is a question that piques many a witness to Westboro’s more visible activity—the “GOD HATES FAGS” picketing of funerals. In God Hates, sociologist Barrett-Fox takes us behind the scenes of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church. The first full ethnography of this infamous presence on America’s Religious Right, her book situates the church’s story in the context of American religious history—and reveals as much about the uneasy state of Christian practice in our day as it does about the workings of the Westboro Church and Fred Phelps, its founder.

God Hates traces WBC’s theological beliefs to a brand of hyper-Calvinist thought reaching back to the Puritans—an extreme Calvinism, emphasizing predestination, that has proven as off-putting as Westboro’s actions, even for other Baptists. And yet, in examining Westboro’s role in conservative politics and its contentious relationship with other fundamentalist activist groups, Barrett-Fox reveals how the church’s message of national doom in fact reflects beliefs at the core of much of the Religious Right’s rhetoric. Westboro’s aggressively offensive public activities actually serve to soften the anti-gay theology of more mainstream conservative religious activism. With an eye to the church’s protest at military funerals, she also considers why the public has responded so differently to these than to Westboro’s anti-LGBT picketing.

With its history of Westboro Baptist Church and its founder, and its profiles of defectors, this book offers a complex, close-up view of a phenomenon on the fringes of American Christianity—and a broader, disturbing view of the mainstream theology it at once masks and reflects.

Lichtenstein, “Zionists in Interwar Czechoslovakia”

In March, the Indiana University Press will release “Zionists in Interwar Czechoslovakia: Minority Nationalism and the Politics of Belonging,” by Tatjana Lichtenstein (University of Texas at Austin).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book presents an unconventional history of minority nationalism in interwar Eastern Europe. Focusing on an influential group of 9780253018670_medgrassroots activists, Tatjana Lichtenstein uncovers Zionist projects intended to sustain the flourishing Jewish national life in Czechoslovakia. The book shows that Zionism was not an exit strategy for Jews, but as a ticket of admission to the societies they already called home. It explores how and why Zionists envisioned minority nationalism as a way to construct Jews’ belonging and civic equality in Czechoslovakia. By giving voice to the diversity of aspirations within interwar Zionism, the book offers a fresh view of minority nationalism and state building in Eastern Europe.

Williams, “Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade”

In December, Oxford University Press will release “Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade” by Daniel K. Williams (University of West Georgia). The publisher’s description follows:

On April 16, 1972, ten thousand people gathered in Central Park to protest New York’s liberal abortion law. Emotions ran high, reflecting the nation’s extreme polarization over abortion. Yet the divisions did not fall neatly along partisan or religious lines-the assembled protesters were far from a bunch of fire-breathing culture warriors. In Defenders of the Unborn, Daniel K. Williams reveals the hidden history of the pro-life movement in America, showing that a cause that many see as reactionary and anti-feminist began as a liberal crusade for human rights.

For decades, the media portrayed the pro-life movement as a Catholic cause, but by the time of the Central Park rally, that stereotype was already hopelessly outdated. The kinds of people in attendance at pro-life rallies ranged from white Protestant physicians, to young mothers, to African American Democratic legislators-even the occasional member of Planned Parenthood. One of New York City’s most vocal pro-life advocates was a liberal Lutheran minister who was best known for his civil rights activism and his protests against the Vietnam War. The language with which pro-lifers championed their cause was not that of conservative Catholic theology, infused with attacks on contraception and women’s sexual freedom. Rather, they saw themselves as civil rights crusaders, defending the inalienable right to life of a defenseless minority: the unborn fetus. It was because of this grounding in human rights, Williams argues, that the right-to-life movement gained such momentum in the early 1960s. Indeed, pro-lifers were winning the battle before Roe v. Wade changed the course of history.

Through a deep investigation of previously untapped archives, Williams presents the untold story of New Deal-era liberals who forged alliances with a diverse array of activists, Republican and Democrat alike, to fight for what they saw as a human rights cause. Provocative and insightful, Defenders of the Unborn is a must-read for anyone who craves a deeper understanding of a highly-charged issue.

Worrall et. al.,”Hezbollah: From Islamic Resistance to Government”

In November, Praeger will release “Hezbollah: From Islamic Resistance to Government” by James Worrall, Simon Mabon, and Gordon Clubb. The publisher’s description follows:

This is the first book of its kind to offer a comprehensive study of Hezbollah, providing an overview of the organization’s key personalities, events, and structures over the past three decades. Inspired by the latest terrorism research and contemporary developments in the Middle East, the book reflects upon Hezbollah’s religious foundations and its present role as a player in Middle East relations.

Chapters place Hezbollah within the Middle East security environment, analyzing the rise of the Party of God within the context of Iranian-inspired Shi’a activism, examining the ideological underpinnings of the movement, and addressing its dominant political position post Arab Spring. This authoritative volume introduces the party’s full range of activities, including resistance, propaganda, organized crime, and educational facilities. The content highlights Hezbollah’s role as a social welfare provider—specifically, the types of aid given, the source of financing for the endeavor, and the challenge this role presents to the Lebanese state.

 

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.


“The Politics and Anti-Politics of Social Movements: Religion and AIDS in Africa” (Patterson et al., eds.)

In September, Routledge will release “The Politics and Anti-Politics of Social Movements: Religion and AIDS in Africa” edited by Amy Patterson (University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee), Marian Burchardt (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany), and Louise Mubanda Rasmussen (Roskilde University, Denmark). The publisher’s description follows:

This book explores the nature, significance and consequences of the religious activism surrounding AIDS in Africa. While African religion was relatively marginal in inspiring or contributing to AIDS activism during the early days of the epidemic, this situation has changed dramatically. In order to account for these changes, contributors provide answers to pressing questions. How does the entrance of religion into public debates about AIDS affect policymaking and implementation, church-state relations, and religion itself? How do religious actors draw on and reconfigure forms of transnational connectivity? How do resource flows from development and humanitarian aid that religious actors may access then affect relationships of power and authority in African societies? How does religious mobilization on AIDS reflect contestation over identity, cultural membership, theology, political participation, and citizenship?

Addressing these questions, the authors draw on social movement theories to explore the role of religious identities, action frames, political opportunity structures, and resource mobilization in African religions’ reaction to the AIDS epidemic. The book’s findings are rooted in fieldwork conducted in Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, and Mozambique, among a variety of religious organizations.

Juergensmeyer et al., “God in the Tumult of the Global Square: Religion in Global Civil Society”

In September, the University of California press will release, “God in the Tumult of the Global Square: Religion in Global Civil Society,” by Mark Juergensmeyer (University of California, Santa Barbara), Dinah Griego (University of California, Santa Barbara), and John Soboslai (University of California, Santa Barbara). The publisher’s description follows:

How is religion changing in the twenty-first century? In the global era, religion has leapt onto the world stage, though often in contradictory ways. Some religious activists are antagonistic and engage in protests, violent acts, and political challenges. Others are positive and help to shape an emerging transnational civil society. A new global religion may be in the making, providing a moral and spiritual basis for a worldwide community of concern about environmental issues, human rights, and international peace. God in the Tumult of the Global Square explores all of these directions, based on a five-year Luce Foundation project that involved religious leaders, scholars, and public figures in workshops held in Cairo, Moscow, Delhi, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, and Santa Barbara. In this book, the voices of these religious observers around the world express both the hopes and fears about new forms of religion in the global age.

Hanna, “Naked Truth”

From the University of Texas Press, a new book arguing that legal restrictions on strip clubs are part of a theocratic plot to supplant constitutional government in America: Judith Lynne Hanna, Naked Truth: Strip Clubs, Democracy, and a Christian Right (2012). Who knew? The publisher’s description follows.

Across America, strip clubs have come under attack by a politically aggressive segment of the Christian Right. Using plausible-sounding but factually untrue arguments about the harmful effects of strip clubs on their communities, the Christian Right has stoked public outrage and incited local and state governments to impose onerous restrictions on the clubs with the intent of dismantling the exotic dance industry. But an even larger agenda is at work, according to Judith Lynne Hanna. InNaked Truth, she builds a convincing case that the attack on exotic dance is part of the activist Christian Right’s “grand design” to supplant constitutional democracy in America with a Bible-based theocracy.

Hanna takes readers onstage, backstage, and into the community and courts to reveal the conflicts, charges, and realities that are playing out at the intersection of erotic fantasy, religion, politics, and law. She explains why exotic dance is a legitimate form of artistic communication and debunks the many myths and untruths that the Christian Right uses to fight strip clubs. Hanna also demonstrates that while the fight happens at the local level, it is part of a national campaign to regulate sexuality and punish those who do not adhere to Scripture-based moral values. Ultimately, she argues, the naked truth is that the separation of church and state is under siege and our civil liberties—free speech, women’s rights, and free enterprise—are at stake.

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