“Contesting Religious Identities” (Becking et al., eds.)

In February, Brill Publishers will release Contesting Religious Identities: Transformations, Disseminations and Mediations edited by Bob Becking (Utrecht University), Anne-Marie Korte (Utrecht University), and Lucien van Liere (Utrecht University). The publisher’s description follows:

contesting-religious-identitiesReligion is a hot topic on the public stages of ‘secular’ societies, not in its individualized liberal or orthodox form, but rather as a public statement, challenging the divide between the secular neutral space and the religious. In this new challenging modus, religion raises questions about identity, power, rationality, subjectivity, law and safety, but above all: religion questions, contests and even blurs the borders between the public and the private. These phenomena urge to rethink what are often considered to be clear differences between religions, between the public and the private and between the religious and the secular. In this volume scholars from a range of different disciplines map the different aspects of the dynamics of changing, contesting and contested religious identities.

Buckley, “Faithful to Secularism”

In March, the Columbia University Press will release “Faithful to Secularism: The Religious Politics of Democracy in Ireland, Senegal, and the Philippines,” by David Buckley (University of Louisville).  The publisher’s description follows:

Religion and democracy can make tense bedfellows. Secular elites may view 9780231180061religious movements as conflict-prone and incapable of compromise, while religious actors may fear that anticlericalism will drive religion from public life. Yet such tensions are not inevitable: from Asia to Latin America, religious actors coexist with, and even help to preserve, democracy.

In Faithful to Secularism, David T. Buckley argues that political institutions that encourage an active role for public religion are a key part in explaining this variation. He develops the concept of “benevolent secularism” to describe institutions that combine a basic division of religion and state with extensive room for participation of religious actors in public life. He traces the impact of benevolent secularism on religious and secular elites, both at critical junctures in state formation and as politics evolves over time. Buckley shows how religious and secular actors build credibility and shared norms over time, and explains how such coalitions can endure challenges from both religious revivals and periods of anticlericalism. Faithful to Secularism tests this institutional theory in Ireland, Senegal, and the Philippines, using a blend of archival, interview, and public opinion data. These case studies illustrate how even countries with an active religious majority can become and remain faithful to secularism.

Mack, “The Rise and Fall of the Christian Myth”

In February, Yale University Press will release The Rise and Fall of the Christian Myth:
Restoring Our Democratic Ideals by Burton L. Mack (Claremont School of Theology). The publisher’s description follows:

rise-and-fall-of-the-christian-mythA preeminent scholar explores the evolution of the Christian worldview and argues that it no longer offers a satisfactory vision for our democratic, multicultural society

This book is the culmination of a lifelong scholarly inquiry into Christian history, religion as a social institution, and the role of myth in the history of religions. Mack shows that religions are essentially mythological and that Christianity in particular has been an ever-changing mythological engine of social formation, from Roman times to its distinct American expression in our time.

The author traces the cultural influence of the Christian myth that has persisted for sixteen hundred years but now should be much less consequential in our social and cultural life, since it runs counter to our democratic ideals. We stand at a critical impasse: badly splintered by conflicting groups pursuing their own social interests, a binding common myth needs to be established by renewing a truly cohesive national and international story rooted in our democratic and egalitarian origins, committed to freedom, equality, and vital human values.

Parvez, “Politicizing Islam”

In February, Oxford University Press will release Politicizing Islam: The Islamic Revival in France and India by Z. Fareen Parvez (University of Massachusetts). The publisher’s description follows:

politicizing-islamHome to the largest Muslim minorities in Western Europe and Asia, France and India are both grappling with crises of secularism. In Politicizing Islam, Fareen Parvez offers an in-depth look at how Muslims have responded to these crises, focusing on Islamic revival movements in the French city of Lyon and the Indian city of Hyderabad. Presenting a novel comparative view of middle-class and poor Muslims in both cities, Parvez illuminates how Muslims from every social class are denigrated but struggle in different ways to improve their lives and make claims on the state. In Hyderabad’s slums, Muslims have created vibrant political communities, while in Lyon’s banlieues they have retreated into the private sphere. Politicizing Islam elegantly explains how these divergent reactions originated in India’s flexible secularism and France’s militant secularism and in specific patterns of Muslim class relations in both cities. This fine-grained ethnography pushes beyond stereotypes and has consequences for burning public debates over Islam, feminism, and secular democracy.

“The Oxford Handbook of Secularism” (Zuckerman & Shook, eds.)

In January, Oxford University Press will release The Oxford Handbook of Secularism edited by Phil Zuckerman (Pitzer College) and John Shook (University at Buffalo). The publisher’s description follows:

secularismAs recent headlines reveal, conflicts and debates around the world increasingly involve secularism. National borders and traditional religions cannot keep people in tidy boxes as political struggles, doctrinal divergences, and demographic trends are sweeping across regions and entire continents. And secularity is increasing in society, with a growing number of people in many regions having no religious affiliation or lacking interest in religion. Simultaneously, there is a resurgence of religious participation in the politics of many countries. How might these diverse phenomena be better understood? Long-reigning theories about the pace of secularization and ideal church-state relations are under invigorated scrutiny by scholars studying secularism with new questions, better data, and fresh perspectives.

The Oxford Handbook of Secularism offers a wide-ranging and in-depth examination of this global conversation, bringing together the views of an international collection of prominent experts in their respective fields. This is the essential volume for comprehending the core issues and methodological approaches to the demographics and sociology of secularity; the history and variety of political secularisms; the comparison of constitutional secularisms across many countries from America to Asia; the key problems now convulsing church-state relations; the intersections of liberalism, multiculturalism, and religion; the latest psychological research into secular lives and lifestyles; and the naturalistic and humanistic worldviews available to nonreligious people.

“Secularisms in a Postsecular Age?” (Mapril et al., eds.)

In January, Palgrave MacMillan will release Secularisms in a Postsecular Age? Religiosities and Subjectivities in Comparative Perspective edited by Jose Mapril (New University of Lisbon), Ruy Blanes (University of Bergen), Emerson Giumbelli (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul), and Erin K. Wilson (University of Groningen). The publisher’s description follows:

Palgrave MacMillanThis volume ethnographically explores the relation between secularities and religious subjectivities. As a consequence of the demise of secularization theory, we live in an interesting intellectual moment where the so-called ‘post-secular’ coexists with the secular, which in turn has become pluralized and historicized. This cohabitation of the secular and post-secular is revealed mainly through political dialectical processes that overshadow the subjective and inter-subjective dimensions of secularity, making it difficult to pinpoint concrete sites, agents, and objects of expression.

Drawing on cases from South America, Africa, and Europe, contributors apply key insights from religious studies debates on the genealogies and formations of both religion and secularism. They explore the spaces, persons, and places in which these categories emerge and mutually constitute one another.

“Rosa Manus (1884-1942)” (Everard and de Haan, eds.)

In November, Brill Publishers will release Rosa Manus: The International Life and Legacy of a Jewish Dutch Feminist edited by Myriam Everard and Francisca de Haan (Central European University). The publisher’s description follows:

rosa-manusRosa Manus (1881–1942) uncovers the life of Dutch feminist and peace activist Rosa Manus, co-founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, vice-president of the International Alliance of Women, and founding president of the International Archives for the Women’s Movement (IAV) in Amsterdam, revealing its rootedness in Manus’s radical secular Jewishness. Because the Nazis looted the IAV (1940) including Manus’s large personal archive, and subsequently arrested (1941) and murdered her (1942), Rosa Manus has been almost unknown to later generations. This collective biography offers essays based on new and in-depth research on pictures and documents from her archives, returned to Amsterdam in 2003, as well as other primary sources. It thus restores Manus to the history from which the Nazis attempted to erase her.

Contributors include: Margot Badran, Mineke Bosch, Ellen Carol DuBois, Myriam Everard, Karen Garner, Dagmar Wernitznig, and Annika Wilmers.

Mayrl, “Secular Conversions”

In August, Cambridge University Press released “Secular Conversions: Political Institutions and Religious Education in the United States and Australia, 1800–2000,” by Damon Mayrl (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid).  The publisher’s description follows: 

Why does secularization proceed differently in otherwise similar countries? Secular Conversions demonstrates that the institutional structure of the state is a key factor41wktwmgj0l-_sx329_bo1204203200_ shaping the course of secularization. Drawing upon detailed historical analysis of religious education policy in the United States and Australia, Damon Mayrl details how administrative structures, legal procedures, and electoral systems have shaped political opportunities and even helped create constituencies for secular policies. In so doing, he also shows how a decentralized, readily accessible American state acts as an engine for religious conflict, encouraging religious differences to spill into law and politics at every turn. This book provides a vivid picture of how political conflicts interacted with the state over the long span of American and Australian history to shape religion’s role in public life. Ultimately, it reveals that taken-for-granted political structures have powerfully shaped the fate of religion in modern societies.

“Filing Religion” (Berti et al, eds.)

In June, the Oxford University Press released “Filing Religion: State, Hinduism, and Courts of Law,” edited by Daniela Berti (National Centre for Scientific Research), Gilles Tarabout (National Centre for Scientific Research), and Raphaël Voix (National Centre for Scientific Research). The publisher’s description follows:

The Indian Constitution posits a separation between a secular domain that the state can regulate and a religious one in which it should not interfere. However, defining the 9780199463794separation between the two has proved contentious: the state is involved in various ways in the direct administration of many religious institutions; and courts are regularly asked to decide on rights linked to religious functions and bodies. Such decisions contribute to (re)defining religious categories and practices.

This edited volume aims at exploring how apparently technical legalistic action taking place in courts of law significantly shapes the place Hinduism occupies in Indian and Nepalese societies, perhaps even more so than the ideology of any political party. Thus, this volume does not deal so much with politics of secularism in general, but with how courts deal in practice with Hinduism. The approach developed in this volume is resolutely historical and anthropological. It considers law as part of social, religious, and political dynamics while relying on in-depth ethnography and archival research.

“Multireligious Society” (González & D’Amato, eds.)

In October, Routledge will release Multireligious Society: Dealing with Religious Diversity in Theory and Practice edited by Francisco Colom González (Spanish National Research Council) and Gianni D’Amato (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland). The publisher’s description follows: Multireligious Society

With the theory of secularization increasingly contested as a plausible development at a global scale, this book focuses on the changing significance of the religious element within a context of complex diversity. This concept reflects the rationale behind the deep transformations that have taken place in the dynamics of social change, giving way to a recombination of social, political and cultural cleavages that overlap and compete for legitimacy at a national and supranational level. Far from disappearing with modernization, new forms of religious diversity have emerged that continue to demand specific policies from the state, putting pressure on the established practices of religious governance while creating a series of normative dilemmas. European societies have been a testing ground for many of these changes, but for decades Canada has been viewed as a pioneering country in the management of diversity, thus offering some interesting similarities and contrasts with the former. Accordingly, the book deals with the diverging routes that political secularization has followed in Europe and Canada, the patterns of religious governance that can be recognized in each region, and the practices for accommodating the demands of religious minorities concerning their legal regulation, the management of public institutions, and the provision of social services.

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