Sheldon, “Tragic encounters and ordinary ethics”

In October, the Manchester University Press will release “Tragic encounters and ordinary ethics: Palestine-Israel in British universities,” by Ruth Sheldon (University of London).  The publisher’s description follows:

For over four decades, events in Palestine-Israel have provoked raging conflicts within British universities around issues of free speech, ‘extremism’, antisemitism and 9781784993146Islamophobia. But why is this conflict so significant for student activists living at such a geographical distance from the region itself? And what role do emotive, polarised communications around Palestine-Israel play in the life of British academic institutions committed to the ideal of free expression?

This book draws on original ethnographic research with student activists on different sides of this conflict to initiate a conversation with students, academics and members of the public who are concerned with the transnational politics of Palestine-Israel and with the changing role of the public university. It shows how, in an increasingly globalised world that is shaped by entangled histories of European antisemitism and colonial violence, ethnography can open up ethical responses to questions of justice

McSkimming, “Leaving Christian Fundamentalism and the Reconstruction of Identity”

In September, Routledge will release Leaving Christian Fundamentalism and the Reconstruction of Identity by Josie McSkimming (University of New South Wales). The publisher’s description follows:

Leaving Christian Fundamentalsim

There is an increasing interest in the influence of religious fundamentalism upon people’s motivation, identity and decision-making. Leaving Christian Fundamentalism and the Re-construction of Identity details the stories of those who have left Christian fundamentalist churches and how they change after they have left. It considers how the previous fundamentalist identity is shaped by aspects of church teaching and discipline that are less authoritarian and coercive, and more subtle and widely spread throughout the church body. That is, individuals are understood as not only subject to a form of judgment, but also exercise it, with everyone seemingly complicit in maintaining the stability of the church organization. This book provocatively illustrates that the reasons for leaving an evangelical Christian church may be less about what happens outside the church in terms of the lures and attractions of the secular world, and more about the experience within the community itself.

 

Clarke & Halofoff, “Religion and Development in the Asia-Pacific”

In September, Routledge will release “Religion and Development in the Asia-Pacific: Sacred Places as Development Spaces,” by Matthew Clarke (Deakin University) and Anna Halafoff  (Deakin University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Community development is most effective and efficient when it is situated and led at the local level and considers the social behaviours, needs and worldviews of local 9781138792364communities. With more than eight out of ten people globally self-reporting religious belief, Religion and Development in the Asia-Pacific: Sacred places as development spaces argues that the role and impact of religions on community development needs to be better understood. It also calls for greater attention to be given to the role of sacred places as sites for development activities, and for a deeper appreciation of the way in which sacred stories and teachings inspire people to work for the benefit of others in particular locations.

The book considers theories of ‘place’ as a component of successful development interventions and expands this analysis to consider the specific role that sacred places – buildings and social networks – have in planning, implementing and promoting sustainable development. A series of case studies examine various sacred places as sites for development activities. These case studies include Christian churches and disaster relief in Vanuatu; Muslim shrines and welfare provision in Pakistan; a women’s Buddhist monastery in Thailand advancing gender equity; a Jewish aid organisation providing language training to Muslim Women in Australia; and Hawaiian sacred sites located within a holistic retreat centre committed to ecological sustainability.

Religion and Development in the Asia-Pacific demonstrates the important role that sacred spaces can play in development interventions, covering diverse major world religions, interfaith and spiritual contexts, and as such will be of considerable interest for postgraduate students and researchers in development studies, religious studies, sociology of religion and geography.

Gingrich, “Out of Place”

In July, Toronto University Press released Out of Place: Social Exclusion and Mennonite Migrants in Canada by Luann Good Gingrich (York University). The publisher’s description follows:Out of Place

The flow of migrants from south to north and east to west carries with it growing concerns about the economic integration, political incorporation, and social inclusion of newcomers and their children. But what happens when a group of people deliberately excludes themselves from mainstream society? How can social policies, human services, and communities best understand and respond to them?

In Out of Place, Luann Good Gingrich explores social inclusion and exclusion in relation to the approximately 60,000 Low German-speaking Mennonites who have migrated from traditionally self-sufficient and agrarian colonies in Latin America to rural areas of Canada. By examining the free-market principles that organize the human services industry the author exposes the inherent conflict that arises when this “market logic” is imposed on a group that does not embrace these ideals. The author’s innovative approach to social policy and human services which emphasizes the relationship between dominant and subordinate cultures, encourages us to find new ways to authentically engage with difference and bridge the gaps that divide us.

 

Afaf, “Gendered Politics and Law in Jordan”

In August, Springer will release “Gendered Politics and Law in Jordan: Guardianship over Women,” by Afaf Jabiri (University of London).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book analyzes how the state constructs and reproduces gender identities in the context and geopolitics of Jordan. Guardianship over women is examined as not only 9783319326429the basis of women’s legal and social subordination, but also a key factor in the construction and reproduction of a gender hierarchy system. Afaf Jabiri probes how a masculine state gives power and legitimacy through guardianship to institutions—including family, religion, and tribe—in managing, producing, and constructing gender identity. Does the masculine institution succeed in imposing a dominant form of femininity? Or are there ways by which women escape and resist the social and legal construction of femininity? Based on over 60 case studies of contemporary women in Jordan, the book additionally examines how the resultant strategies and tactics developed by women in Jordan are influenced by and affect their status within the guardianship system.

Ghamari-Tabrizi, “Foucault in Iran”

In August, the University of Minnesota Press will release “Foucault in Iran” by Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). The publisher’s description follows:

Focault in IranWere the thirteen essays Michel Foucault wrote in 1978–1979 endorsing the Iranian Revolution an aberration of his earlier work or an inevitable pitfall of his stance on Enlightenment rationality, as critics have long alleged? Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi argues that the critics are wrong. He declares that Foucault recognized that Iranians were at a threshold and were considering if it were possible to think of dignity, justice, and liberty outside the cognitive maps and principles of the European Enlightenment.

Foucault in Iran centers not only on the significance of the great thinker’s writings on the revolution but also on the profound mark the event left on his later lectures on ethics, spirituality, and fearless speech. Contemporary events since 9/11, the War on Terror, and the Arab Uprisings have made Foucault’s essays on the Iranian Revolution more relevant than ever. Ghamari-Tabrizi illustrates how Foucault saw in the revolution an instance of his antiteleological philosophy: here was an event that did not fit into the normative progressive discourses of history. What attracted him to the Iranian Revolution was precisely its ambiguity.

Theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich, this interdisciplinary work will spark a lively debate in its insistence that what informed Foucault’s writing was not an effort to understand Islamism but, rather, his conviction that Enlightenment rationality has not closed the gate of unknown possibilities for human societies.

Schmidt & Engler, “Handbook of Contemporary Religions in Brazil”

In September, Brill Publishing will release “Handbook of Contemporary Religions in Brazil,” by Bettina E. Schmidt (University of Wales Trinity Saint David), and Steven Engler (Mount Royal University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Sanneh, “Beyond Jihad”

Sanneh, “Beyond Jihad”

In September, Oxford University Press will release Beyond Jihad: The Pacifist Tradition in West African Islam by Lamin Sanneh (Yale University). The publisher’s description follows:Beyond Jihad

Over the course of the last 1400 years, Islam has grown from a small band of followers on the Arabian peninsula into a global religion of over a billion believers. How did this happen? The usual answer is that Islam spread by the sword-believers waged jihad against rival tribes and kingdoms and forced them to convert. Lamin Sanneh argues that this is far from the whole story. Beyond Jihad examines the origin and evolution of the African pacifist tradition in Islam, beginning with an inquiry into the faith’s origins and expansion in North Africa and its transmission across trans-Saharan trade routes to West Africa. The book focuses on the ways in which, without jihad, the religion spread and took hold, and what that tells us about the nature of religious and social change.

At the heart of this process were clerics who used religious and legal scholarship to promote Islam. Once this clerical class emerged, it offered continuity and stability in the midst of political changes and cultural shifts, helping to inhibit the spread of radicalism, and subduing the urge to wage jihad. With its policy of religious and inter-ethnic accommodation, this pacifist tradition took Islam beyond traditional trade routes and kingdoms into remote districts of the Mali Empire, instilling a patient, Sufi-inspired, and jihad-negating impulse into religious life and practice. Islam was successful in Africa, Sanneh argues, not because of military might but because it was made African by Africans who adapted it to a variety of contexts.

Bradford & Horton, “Mixed Blessings”

Bradford & Horton, “Mixed Blessings”

Mixed BlessingsIn May, the University of British Columbia released Mixed Blessings: Indigenous Encounters with Christianity in Canada by Tolly Bradford (Concordia University of Edmonton) and Chelsea Horton. The publisher’s description follows:

Mixed Blessings transforms our understanding of the relationship between Indigenous people and Christianity in what is now Canada.

While acknowledging the harm of colonialism, including the trauma inflicted by church-run residential schools, this book challenges the portrayal of Indigenous people as passive victims of malevolent missionaries who experienced a uniformly dark history. Instead, the authors — scholars in history, Indigenous studies, religious studies, and theology — illuminate the diverse and multifaceted ways that Indigenous communities and individuals across Canada have interacted, and continue to interact, meaningfully with Christianity.

Ranging widely across time and place, these insightful case studies explore why some Indigenous people — including prominent leaders such as Louis Riel and Edward Ahenakew — historically aligned themselves with Christianity while others did not. It also plumbs the processes and politics involved in combining spiritual traditions and reflects on the role of Christianity in Indigenous communities today.

Rebhun, “Jews and the American Religious Landscape”

Rebhun, “Jews and the American Religious Landscape”

In September, Columbia University Press will release Jews and the American Religious Landscape by Uzi Rebhun (Hebrew University of Jerusalem). The publisher’s description follows:Jews and the American Religious Landscape.png

Jews and the American Religious Landscape explores major complementary facets of American Judaism and Jewish life through a comprehensive analysis of contemporary demographic and sociological data. Focusing on the most important aspects of social development—geographic location, socioeconomic stratification, family dynamics, group identification, and political orientation—the volume adds empirical value to questions concerning the strengths of Jews as a religious and cultural group in America and the strategies they have developed to integrate successfully into a Christian society.

With advanced analyses of data gathered by the Pew Research Center, Jews and the American Religious Landscape shows that Jews, like other religious and ethnic minorities, strongly identify with their religion and culture. Yet their particular religiosity, along with such factors as population dispersion, professional networks, and education, have created different outcomes in various contexts. Living under the influence of a Christian majority and a liberal political system has also cultivated a distinct ethos of solidarity and egalitarianism, enabling Judaism to absorb new patterns in ways that mirror its integration into American life. Rich in information thoughtfully construed, this book presents a remarkable portrait of what it means to be an American Jew today.

 

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