“Religion, Migration, and Mobility” (de Castro & Dawson, eds.)

In February, Routledge will release Religion, Migration, and Mobility: The Brazilian Experience edited by Cristina Maria de Castro (Federal University of Minas Gerais) and Andrew Dawson (Lancaster University). The publisher’s description follows:

Religion, Migration, and Mobility.jpgFocusing on migration and mobility, this edited collection examines the religious landscape of Brazil as populated and shaped by transnational flows and domestic migratory movements. Bringing together interdisciplinary perspectives on migration and religion, this book argues that Brazil’s diverse religious landscape must be understood within a dynamic global context. From southern to northern Europe, through Africa, Japan and the Middle East, to a host of Latin American countries, Brazilian society has been influenced by immigrant communities accompanied by a range of beliefs and rituals drawn from established ‘world’ religions as well as alternative religio-spiritual movements. Consequently, the formation and profile of ‘homegrown’ religious communities such as Santo Daime, the Dawn Valley and Umbanda can only be fully understood against the broader backdrop of migration.

Contributors draw on the case of Brazil to develop frameworks for understanding the interface of religion and migration, asking questions that include: How do the processes and forces of re-territorialization play out among post-migratory communities? In what ways are the post-transitional dynamics of migration enacted and reframed by different generations of migrants? How are the religious symbols and ritual practices of particular worldviews and traditions appropriated and re-interpreted by migrant communities? What role does religion play in facilitating or impeding post-migratory settlement? Religion, Migration and Mobility engages these questions by drawing on a range of different traditions and research methods. As such, this book will be of keen interest to scholars working across the fields of religious studies, anthropology, cultural studies and sociology.

Christerson & Flory, “The Rise of Network Christianity”

In March, Oxford University Press will release The Rise of Network Christianity: How Independent Leaders Are Changing the Religious Landscape by Brad Christerson (Biola University) and Richard Flory (University of Southern California). The publisher’s description follows:

the-rise-of-network-christianityWhy, when traditionally organized religious groups are seeing declining membership and participation, are networks of independent churches growing so explosively? Drawing on in-depth interviews with leaders and participants, The Rise of Network Christianity explains the social forces behind the fastest-growing form of Christianity in the U.S., which Brad Christerson and Richard Flory have labeled “Independent Network Charismatic.” This form of Christianity emphasizes aggressive engagement with the supernatural-including healing, direct prophecies from God, engaging in “spiritual warfare” against demonic spirits–and social transformation. Christerson and Flory argue that macro-level social changes since the 1970s, including globalization and the digital revolution, have given competitive advantages to religious groups organized as networks rather than traditionally organized congregations and denominations.

Network forms of governance allow for experimentation with controversial supernatural practices, innovative finances and marketing, and a highly participatory, unorthodox, and experiential faith, which is attractive in today’s unstable religious marketplace. Christerson and Flory hypothesize that as more religious groups imitate this type of governance, religious belief and practice will become more experimental, more orientated around practice than theology, more shaped by the individual religious “consumer,” and authority will become more highly concentrated in the hands of individuals rather than institutions. Network Christianity, they argue, is the future of Christianity in America.

Moses, “An Unlikely Union”

In March, New York University Press will release An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians by Paul Moses (Brooklyn College). The publisher’s description follows:

unlikely-unionThey came from the poorest parts of Ireland and Italy and met as rivals on the sidewalks of New York. Beginning in the nineteenth century, the Irish and Italians clashed in the Catholic Church, on the waterfront, at construction sites, and in the streets. Then they made peace through romance, marrying each other on a large scale in the years after World War II. An Unlikely Union tells the dramatic story of how two of America’s largest ethnic groups learned to love and laugh with each other after decades of animosity.

The vibrant cast of characters features saints such as Mother Frances X. Cabrini, who stood up to the Irish American archbishop of New York when he tried to send her back to Italy, and sinners like Al Capone, who left his Irish wife home the night he shot it out with Brooklyn’s Irish mob. The book also highlights the torrid love affair between radical labor organizers Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Carlo Tresca; the alliance between Italian American gangster Paul Kelly and Tammany’s “Big Tim” Sullivan; heroic detective Joseph Petrosino’s struggle to be accepted in the Irish-run NYPD; and the competition between Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby to become the country’s top male vocalist.

In this engaging history of the Irish and Italians, veteran New York City journalist and professor Paul Moses offers a classic American story of competition, cooperation, and resilience. At a time of renewed fear of immigrants, An Unlikely Union reminds us that Americans are able to absorb tremendous social change and conflict—and come out the better for it.

“The Altars Where We Worship” (Floyd-Thomas et al.)

Defining “religion” presents an enduring problem in American law. One doesn’t want to define it so narrowly that it would fail to protect many bona fide believers, nor so broadly that it would become meaningless. At some basic level, the legal definition of religion should track the understanding of religion in the wider culture. But what happens when the culture changes rapidly, and new conceptions of religion appear?

Here is an interesting-looking new book from Westminster John Knox Press, The Altars Where We Worship: The Religious Significance of Popular CultureThe authors, scholars at Vanderbilt and the University of Toronto, argue that Americans now draw religious meaning from a variety of non-traditionally religious sources in contemporary culture. Whether that fact should change the legal definition of religion is a different question, of course. But it’s worth looking at the evidence of cultural change.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

the-altars-where-we-worshipWhile a large percentage of Americans claim religious identity, the number of Americans attending traditional worship services has significantly declined in recent decades. Where, then, are Americans finding meaning in their lives, if not in the context of traditional religion? In this provocative study, the authors argue that the objects of our attention have become our god and fulfilling our desires has become our religion. They examine the religious dimensions of six specific aspects of American culture—body and sex, big business, entertainment, politics, sports, and science and technology—that function as “altars” where Americans gather to worship and produce meaning for their lives. The Altars Where We Worship shows how these secular altars provide resources for understanding the self, others, and the world itself. “For better or worse,” the authors write, “we are faced with the reality that human experiences before these altars contain religious characteristics in common with experiences before more traditional altars.” Readers will come away with a clearer understanding of what religion is after exploring the thoroughly religious aspects of popular culture in the United States.

“Sinicising Christianity” (Zheng, ed.)

In February, Brill Publishers will release Sinicising Christianity edited by Zheng Yangwen (University of Manchester). The publisher’s description follows:

Sinicising Christianity.jpgChinese people have been instrumental in indigenizing Christianity. Sinicising Christianity examines Christianity’s transplantation to and transformation in China by focusing on three key elements: Chinese agents of introduction; Chinese redefinition of Christianity for the local context; and Chinese institutions and practices that emerged and enabled indigenisation. As a matter of fact, Christianity is not an exception, but just one of many foreign ideas and religions, which China has absorbed since the formation of the Middle Kingdom, Buddhism and Islam are great examples. Few scholars of China have analysed and synthesised the process to determine whether there is a pattern to the ways in which Chinese people have redefined foreign imports for local use and what insight Christianity has to offer.

“Young British Muslims” (Hamid, ed.)

Next month, Routledge will release Young British Muslims: Between Rhetoric and Real Lives edited by Sadek Hamid (Liverpool Hope University). The publisher’s description follows:

young-british-muslimsYoung British Muslims continue to generate strong interest in public discourse. However, much of this interest is framed in negative terms that tends to associate them with criminality, religious extremism or terrorism. Focusing instead on other aspects of being young, Muslim and British, this volume takes a multidisciplinary approach that seeks to ‘normalise’ the subjects and focus on their everyday lived realities. Structured into three sections, the collection begins by contextualising the study of young British Muslims, before addressing the sensitive social issues highlighted in the media and finally focusing on a variety of case studies which investigate the previously unexplored lived experiences of these young people. With contributions from scholars of religion, media and criminology, as well as current and former practitioners within youth and social work contexts, Young British Muslims: Between Rhetoric and Realities will appeal to scholars who have an interest in the fastest growing, most profiled minority demographic in the UK.

“Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion” (Goodhew, ed.)

Next month, Routledge will release Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion: 1980 to the Present edited by Revd. Dr. David Goodhew (Durham University). The publisher’s description follows:

growth-and-decline-in-the-anglican-communityThe Anglican Communion is one of the largest Christian denominations in the world. Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion is the first study of its dramatic growth and decline in the years since 1980. An international team of leading researchers based across five continents provides a global overview of Anglicanism alongside twelve detailed case studies. The case studies stretch from Singapore to England, Nigeria to the USA and mostly focus on non-western Anglicanism. This book is a critical resource for students and scholars seeking an understanding of the past, present and future of the Anglican Church. More broadly, the study offers insight into debates surrounding secularisation in the contemporary world.

Lauterbach, “Christianity, Wealth, and Spiritual Power in Ghana”

In January, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Christianity, Wealth, and Spiritual Power in Ghana,” by Karen Lauterbach (University of Copenhagen).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book centers around mid-level charismatic pastors in Ghana. Karen Lauterbach analyzes pastorship as a pathway to becoming small “big men” and achieving status, 9783319334936wealth, and power in the country. The volume investigates both the social processes of becoming a pastor and the spiritual dimensions of how power and wealth are conceptualized, achieved, and legitimized in the particular context of Asante in Ghana. Lauterbach integrates her analysis of charismatic Christianity with a historically informed examination of social mobility—how people in subordinate positions seek to join up with power. She explores how the ideas and experiences surrounding the achievement of wealth and performance of power are shaped and re-shaped. In this way, the book historicizes current expressions of charismatic Christianity in Ghana while also bringing the role of religion and belief to bear on our understanding of wealth and power as they function more broadly in African societies.

“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.

Aasmundsen, “Pentecostals, Politics, and Religious Equality in Argentina”

In November, Brill Publishers will release Pentecostals, Politics, and Religious Equality in Argentina by Hans Geir Aasmundsen (University of Sødertørn). The publisher’s description follows:

pentecostals-politicsIn Argentina, Pentecostalism had a breakthrough in the early 1980s, and today more than 10 per cent of the population are Pentecostals. The revival coincided with a socio-political transformation of Argentinean society. After half a century of dictatorships and Perónism, democracy was restored, and structural changes paved the way for an autonomisation of the political, economic, scientific and religious spheres. The “new” form of society that developed resembles what in this study is called a Western model, which to a large degree has been, and still is, spread on a global scale. In this book, Aasmundsen examines the religious sphere and how Pentecostals relate to society at large, and the political and judicial spheres in particular.

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