In June, the Oxford University Press will release “Sharia Tribunals, Rabbinical Courts, and Christian Panels: Religious Arbitration in America and the West,” by Michael Broyde (Emory University). The publisher’s description follows:
This book explores the rise of private arbitration in religious and other values-oriented communities, and it argues that secular societies should use secular legal frameworks to facilitate, enforce, and also regulate religious arbitration. It covers the history of religious arbitration; the kinds of faith-based dispute resolution models currently in use; how the law should perceive them; and what the role of religious arbitration in the United States should be. Part One examines why religious individuals and communities are increasingly turning to private faith-based dispute resolution to arbitrate their litigious disputes. It focuses on why religious communities feel disenfranchised from secular law, and particularly secular family law. Part Two looks at why American law is so comfortable with faith-based arbitration, given its penchant for enabling parties to order their relationships and resolve their disputes using norms and values that are often different from and sometimes opposed to secular standards. Part Three weighs the proper procedural, jurisdictional, and contractual limits of arbitration generally, and of religious arbitration particularly. It identifies and explains the reasonable limitations on religious arbitration. Part Four examines whether secular societies should facilitate effective, legally enforceable religious dispute resolution, and it argues that religious arbitration is not only good for the religious community itself, but that having many different avenues for faith-based arbitration which are properly limited is good for any vibrant pluralistic democracy inhabited by diverse faith groups.
This month, Routledge releases “Accommodating Muslims under Common Law: A Comparative Analysis,” by Salim Farrar (University of Sydney) and Ghena Krayem (University of Sydney). The publisher’s description follows:
The book explores the relationship between Muslims, the Common Law and Shari’ah post-9/11. The book looks at the accommodation of Shari’ah Law within Western Common Law legal traditions and the role of the judiciary, in particular, in drawing boundaries for secular democratic states with Muslim populations who want resolutions to conflicts that also comply with the dictates of their faith.
Salim Farrar and Ghena Krayem consider the question of recognition of Shari’ah by looking at how the flexibilities that exists in both the Common Law and Shari’ah provide unexplored avenues for navigation and accommodation. The issue is explored in a comparative context across several jurisdictions and case law is examined in the contexts of family law, business and crime from selected jurisdictions with significant Muslim minority populations including: Australia, Canada, England and Wales, and the United States. The book examines how Muslims and the broader community have framed their claims for recognition against a backdrop of terrorism fears, and how Common Law judiciaries have responded within their constitutional and statutory confines and also within the contemporary contexts of demands for equality, neutrality and universal human rights. Acknowledging the inherent pragmatism, flexibility and values of the Common Law, the authors argue that the controversial issue of accommodation of Shari’ah is not necessarily one that requires the establishment of a separate and parallel legal system.
In June, the University of California Press will release “Becoming Religious in a Secular Age,” by Mark Elmore (University of California, Davis). The publisher’s description follows:
Religion is commonly viewed as a timeless element of the human inheritance, but in the Western Himalayas the community of Himachal Pradesh discovered its religion only after India became an independent secular state. Based on extensive ethnographic and archival work, Becoming Religious in a Secular Age tells the story of this discovery and how it transformed a community’s relations to its past, to its members, and to those outside the community. And, as Mark Elmore demonstrates, Himachali religion offers a unique opportunity to reimagine relations between religion and secularity. Tracing the emergence of religion, Elmore shows that modern secularity is not so much the eradication of religion as the very condition for its development. Showing us that to become a modern, ethical subject is to become religious, this book creatively augments our understanding of both religion and modernity.
In January, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Islam and Secular Citizenship in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and France” by Carolina Ivanescu (independent scholar). The publisher’s description follows:
The past several years have seen many examples of friction between secular
European societies and religious migrant communities within them. This study combines ethnographic work in three countries (the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France) with a new theoretical frame (regimes of secularity). Its mission is to contribute to an understanding of collective minority identity construction in secular societies. In addition to engaging the academic literature and ethnographic research, the book takes a critical look at three cities, three nation-contexts, and three grassroots forms of Muslim religious collective organizations, comparing and contrasting them from a historical perspective.
Carolina Ivanescu offers a thorough theoretical grounding and tests existing theories empirically. Beginning with the principle that religion and citizenship are both crucial aspects of religious migrants’ individual identities, she demonstrates the relevance of collective identity, which is shaped through articulations of belonging to geographical and ideological entities. This form of belonging, Ivanescu asserts, is filtered through the mechanisms of citizenship and religion in the modern social world.
This May, Brill Academic Publishing will release “Religion as a Category of Governance and Sovereignty” edited by Trevor Stack (University of Aberdeen), Naomi Goldenberg (University of Ottawa), and Timothy Fitzgerald (University of Stirling). The publisher’s description follows:
Religious-secular distinctions have been crucial to the way in which modern governments have rationalised their governance and marked out their sovereignty – as crucial as the territorial boundaries that they have drawn around nations. The authors of this volume provide a multi-dimensional picture of how the category of religion has served the ends of modern government. They draw on perspectives from history, anthropology, moral philosophy, theology and religious studies, as well as empirical analysis of India, Japan, Mexico, the United States, Israel-Palestine, France and the United Kingdom.
Last month, Bloomsbury Publishing published Church and State: Religious Nationalism and State Identification in Post-Communist Romania by Cristian Romocea (Evandeoski Teoloski Fakultet Osijek, Croatia). The publisher’s description follows.
Twenty years have passed since the fall of the Iron Curtain, yet emerging democracies continue to struggle with a secular state which does not give preference to churches as major political players. This book explores the nationalist inclinations of an Eastern Orthodox Church as it interacts with a politically immature yet decisively democratic Eastern European state. Discussing the birth pangs of extreme nationalist movements of the twentieth century, it offers a creative retelling of the ideological idiosyncrasies which have characterized Marxist Communism and Nazism. Cristian Romocea provides a constant juxtaposition of the ideological movements as they interacted and affected organized religion, at times seeking to remove it, assimilate it or even imitate it. Of interest to historians, theologians and politicians, this book introduces the reader, through a case study of Romania, to relevant and contemporary challenges churches worldwide are facing in a context characterized by increased secularization of the state and radicalization of religion.