In February, Routledge released Identity Crises and Indigenous Religious Traditions: Exploring Nigerian-African Christian Societies by Elijah Obinna (Corsock and Kirkpatrick-Durham Church). The publisher’s description follows:
This book highlights the complex identity crises among many Christians as they negotiate their new identities, religious ideas and convictions as both Christians and members of Nigerian-African societies of indigenous religious traditions and identities. Through an interdisciplinary interpretation of religious practices and educational issues in teaching and ritual training, the author provides tools to help analyse empirical cases. These include the negotiation processes among Christians, with focus on the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN) and members of the Ogo society within the Amasiri, Afikpo North Local Government Area, Ebonyi state, in South-eastern Nigeria.
Identifying the power dynamic, identity, role and influence of indigenous religions on Christians and the Ogo society, this book reveals the limited interactions between many Christians and members of the Ogo society. Questions explored include: what makes the Ogo society an integral part of the socio-religious life of Amasiri and what powers and identity does it confer on the initiates; how is the PCN within Amasiri responding to the Ogo society through its religious practices such as baptism, confirmation, local auxiliary ministries and organisational structure; and how does the understanding and application of conversion within the PCN impact on its members’ response to the Ogo society? Demonstrating how complex religious identities and practices of Nigerian-African Christians can balance mission-influenced Christianity with indigenous religious traditions and identities, this book recognises the importance of appropriating the powers of indigenous cultures, ingenuity and creativity in the construction and preservation of community identities. As such, it will be of keen interest to scholars of Christian theology, indigenous religious practice and African lived religion.
This month, the Cambridge University Press releases “Religion and Nationalism in Southeast Asia,” by Joseph Liow (Nanyang Technological University). The publisher’s description follows:
Religion and nationalism are two of the most potent and enduring forces that have shaped the modern world. Yet, there has been little systematic study of how these two forces have interacted to provide powerful impetus for mobilization in Southeast Asia, a region where religious identities are as strong as nationalist impulses. At the heart of many religious conflicts in Southeast Asia lies competing conceptions of nation and nationhood, identity and belonging, and loyalty and legitimacy. In this accessible and timely study, Joseph Liow examines the ways in which religious identity nourishes collective consciousness of a people who see themselves as a nation, perhaps even as a constituent part of a nation, but anchored in shared faith. Drawing on case studies from across the region, Liow argues that this serves both as a vital element of identity and a means through which issues of rights and legitimacy are understood.
In August, Routledge will release “Islam, Sufism and Everyday Politics of Belonging in South Asia,” edited by Deepra Dandekar (Heidelberg University) and Torsten Tschacher (Freie Universität Berlin). The publisher’s description follows:
This book looks at the study of ideas, practices and institutions in South Asian Islam, commonly identified as ‘Sufism’, and how they relate to politics in South Asia. While the importance of Sufism for the lives of South Asian Muslims has been repeatedly asserted, the specific role played by Sufism in contestations over social and political belonging in South Asia has not yet been fully analysed.
Looking at examples from five countries in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan), the book begins with a detailed introduction to political concerns over ‘belonging’ in relation to questions concerning Sufism and Islam in South Asia. This is followed with sections on Producing and Identifying Sufism; Everyday and Public Forms of Belonging; Sufi Belonging, Local and National; and Intellectual History and Narratives of Belonging. Bringing together scholars from diverse disciplines, the book explores the connection of Islam, Sufism and the Politics of Belonging in South Asia. It is an important contribution to South Asian Studies, Islamic Studies and South Asian Religion.
In September, Brill Publishers will release “Religion, Migration and Identity: Methodological and Theological Explorations,” edited by Martha Frederiks (University of Utrecht) and Dorottya Nagy (Protestant Theological University in Amsterdam). The publisher’s description follows:
Migration has become a major concern. The increase in migration in the 20th and 21st centuries has social, political and economic implications, but also effectuates change in the religious landscape, in religious beliefs and practices and in the way people understand themselves, each other and the world around them. In Religion, Migration and Identity scholars from various disciplines explore issues related to identity and religion, that people – individually and communally -, encounter when affected by migration dynamics. The volume foregrounds methodology in its exploration of the juxtaposition of religion, migration and identity and addresses questions which originate in various geographical locations, demonstrates new modes of interconnectedness, and thus aims to contribute to the ongoing academic discussions on mission, theology and the Christian tradition in general, in a worldwide perspective.
Next month, the Oxford University Press will release “The New Russian Nationalism: Imperialism, Ethnicity and Authoritarianism 2000-2015,” edited by Pål Kolstø (University of Oslo) and Helge Blakkisrud (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs). The publisher’s description follows:
Russian nationalism, previously dominated by ‘imperial’ tendencies – pride in a large, strong and multi-ethnic state able to project its influence abroad – is increasingly focused on ethnic issues. This new ethno-nationalism has come in various guises, like racism and xenophobia, but also in a new intellectual movement of ‘national democracy’ deliberately seeking to emulate conservative West European nationalism.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent violent conflict in Eastern Ukraine utterly transformed the nationalist discourse in Russia. This book provides an up-to-date survey of Russian nationalism as a political, social and intellectual phenomenon by leading Western and Russian experts in the field of nationalism studies. It includes case studies on migrantophobia; the relationship between nationalism and religion; nationalism in the media; nationalism and national identity in economic policy; nationalism in the strategy of the Putin regime as well as a survey-based study of nationalism in public opinion.
In February, Praeger released “Hamas: Terrorism, Governance, and Its Future in Middle East Politics,” by Jennifer Jefferis (National Defense University). The publisher’s description follows:
Structured around key elements at the regional, political, institutional, and personal levels of analysis, this is a complete and forward-leaning view of Hamas that provides a deep and detailed examination of the history, ideology, political prospects, and regional opportunities of an often poorly understood organization that is redefining 21st-century terrorism.
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has long been an influential player in the tumultuous Middle East, but as the region’s instability grows, so does the importance and potential influence of this organization. The fact that the Hamas of today defies most of the traditional categorizations of both terrorist organizations and political parties makes the group an ideal study on how states in the Middle East are likely to continue to change. This book offers a clear picture of how Hamas fits into a dramatically evolving region, enabling readers to see how Hamas itself has evolved ideologically, militarily, and politically as well as how it will continue to shape and be shaped by the broader Middle East region.
Author Jennifer Jefferis, PhD, provides the first comprehensive consideration of Hamas in the context of the post-Arab Spring climate, the rise of ISIS, and the consequential emerging politics of the region, presenting information that is highly detailed yet written to be accessible to all audiences whether or not they have previous knowledge of the organization. The book provides coverage of Hamas’s current relationship with Israel and its impact on the Palestinian territories while focusing on the significance of the organization’s role in the broader region—particularly critical in light of the recent political uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria.
In February, Routledge released “Governing Post-Imperial Siberia and Mongolia, 1911–1924: Buddhism, Socialism and Nationalism in State and Autonomy Building,” by Ivan Sablin (National Research University Higher School of Economics). The publisher’s description follows:
The governance arrangements put in place for Siberia and Mongolia after the collapse of the Qing and Russian Empires were highly unusual, experimental and extremely interesting. The Buryat-Mongol Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic established within the Soviet Union in 1923 and the independent Mongolian People’s Republic established a year later were supposed to represent a new model of transnational, post-national governance, incorporating religious and ethno-national independence, under the leadership of the coming global political party, the Communist International. The model, designed to be suitable for a socialist, decolonised Asia, and for a highly diverse population in a strategic border region, was intended to be globally applicable. This book, based on extensive original research, charts the development of these unusual governance arrangements, discusses how the ideologies of nationalism, socialism and Buddhism were borrowed from, and highlights the relevance of the subject for the present day world, where multiculturality, interconnectedness and interdependency become ever more complicated.
In December, I.B. Tauris published “Imagined Communities in Greece and Turkey: Trauma and the Population Exchanges under Ataturk,” edited by Emine Yesim Bedlek (Bingol University). The publisher’s description follows:
In 1923 the Turkish government, under its new leader Kemal Ataturk, signed a renegotiated Balkan Wars treaty with the major powers of the day and Greece. This treaty provided for the forced exchange of 1.3 million Christians from Anatolia to Greece, in return for 30,000 Greek Muslims. The mass migration that ensued was a humanitarian catastrophe – of the 1.3 million Christians relocated it is estimated only 150,000 were successfully integrated into the Greek state. Furthermore, because the treaty was ethnicity-blind, tens of thousands of Muslim Greeks (ethnically and linguistically) were forced into Turkey against their will. Both the Greek and Turkish leadership saw this exchange as crucial to the state-strengthening projects both powers were engaged in after the First World War. Here, Emine Bedlek approaches this enormous shift in national thinking through literary texts – addressing the themes of loss, identity, memory and trauma which both populations experienced. The result is a new understanding of the tensions between religious and ethnic identity in modern Turkey.
This month, Oxford published Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era, by Julia Phillips Cohen (Vanderbilt University). The publisher’s description follows.
The Ottoman-Jewish story has long been told as a romance between Jews and the empire. The prevailing view is that Ottoman Jews were protected and privileged by imperial policies and in return offered their unflagging devotion to the imperial government over many centuries. In this book, Julia Phillips Cohen offers a corrective, arguing that Jewish leaders who promoted this vision were doing so in response to a series of reforms enacted by the nineteenth-century Ottoman state: the new equality they gained came with a new set of expectations. Ottoman subjects were suddenly to become imperial citizens, to consider their neighbors as brothers and their empire as a homeland.
Becoming Ottomans is the first book to tell the story of Jewish political integration into a modern Islamic empire. It begins with the process set in motion by the imperial state reforms known as the Tanzimat, which spanned the years 1839-1876 and legally emancipated the non-Muslims of the empire. Four decades later the situation was difficult to recognize. By the close of the nineteenth century, Ottoman Muslims and Jews alike regularly referred to Jews as a model community, or millet-as a group whose leaders and members knew how to serve their state and were deeply engaged in Ottoman politics. The struggles of different Jewish individuals and groups to define the public face of their communities is underscored in their responses to a series of important historical events.
Charting the dramatic reversal of Jews in the empire over a half-century, Becoming Ottomans offers new perspectives for understanding Jewish encounters with modernity and citizenship in a centralizing, modernizing Islamic state in an imperial, multi-faith landscape.
This month, Cambridge will publish Churchmen and Urban Government in Late Medieval Italy, c.1200-c. 1450: Cases and Contexts, edited by Frances Andrews (University of St. Andrew’s) with contributions from Agata Pincelli (University of St. Andrew’s) and others. The publisher’s description follows.
Why, when so driven by the impetus for autonomy, did the city elites of thirteenth-century Italy turn to men bound to religious orders whose purpose and reach stretched far beyond the boundaries of their often disputed territories? Churchmen and Urban Government in Late Medieval Italy, c.1200–c.1450 brings together a team of international contributors to provide the first comparative response to this pivotal question. Presenting a series of urban cases and contexts, the book explores the secular-religious boundaries of the period and evaluates the role of the clergy in the administration and government of Italy’s city-states. With an extensive introduction and epilogue, it exposes for consideration the beginnings of the phenomenon, the varying responses of churchmen, the reasons why practices changed and how politics and religious identity relate to each other. This important new study has significant implications for our understanding of power, negotiation, bureaucracy and religious identity.
- The first comprehensive study of the employment of men of religion, including penitents, monks, and other viri religiosi in late medieval Italy
- A broad-ranging comparative history including case studies across thirteen different Italian city-states and regions
- Includes studies of the phenomenon of employment beyond the cloister from the perspective of individual religious orders