In March, I.B.Tauris will release “The State in Contemporary Islamic Thought: A Historical Survey of the Major Muslim Political Thinkers of the Modern Era” by Abdelillah Belkeziz (Hasan II University, Morocco). The publisher’s description follows:
The debates on ‘Islam and Modernity’ clearly include in their analysis notions of the State. Abdelillah Belkeziz here charts the development of the concept of ‘the state’ (al-dawlah) in Islamic discourse over the last two centuries. The result is a tour de force survey of the most influential Muslim thinkers of the modern era, which encompasses three successive waves: the modernist trends of the early and later reformers like Sayyed Jamal Eddin Al-Afghani; the dogmatism of ideologues like Hasan Al-Bana; and, the rhetoric of revivalists like the Ayatollah Khomeini. Through this analysis, Belkeziz argues that modern Islamic political thought succeeded in producing ideologies, but ultimately failed to produce a unified theory of state. This work is an essential encyclopedic resource for all scholars and researchers of Political Islam and will become a standard work in the field.
In March, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Hierarchy and Pluralism: Living Religious Difference in Catholic Poland” by Agnieszka Pasieka (Polish Academy of Sciences). The publisher’s description follows:
What is the place of pluralism in the context of a dominant religion? How does the perception of religion as “tradition” and “culture” affect pluralism? Why do minorities’ demands for recognition often transform into exclusion? Through her ethnography of a multi-religious community in rural Poland, Agnieszka Pasieka examines how we can better understand the nature of pluralism by examining how it is lived and experienced within a homogenous society. Painting a vivid picture of everyday interreligious sociability, Pasieka reveals the constant balance of rural inhabitants’ between ideas of sameness and difference, and the manifold ways in which religion informs local cooperation, relations among neighbors and friends, and common attempts to “make pluralism”. The book traces these developments through several decades of the community’s history, unveiling and exposing the paradoxes inscribed into the practice and discourse of pluralism and complex processes of negotiation of social identities.
This January, Springer Press will release “Cosmoipolitan Justice: The Axial Age, Multiple Modernities, and the Postsecular Turn” by Jonathan Bowman. The publisher’s description follows:
This book assesses the rapid transformation of the political agency of religious groups within transnational civil society under conditions of globalization weakening sovereign nation-states. It offers a synthesis of the resurgence of Jasper’s axial thesis from distinct lines of research initiated by Eisenstadt, Habermas, Taylor, Bellah, and others. It explores the concept of cosmoipolitanism from the combined perspectives of sociology of religion, critical theory, secularization theory, and evolutionary cultural anthropology. At the theoretical level, cosmoipolitanism prescribes how local, national, transnational, global, and virtual spaces ought publically to engage in transcivilizational discourse without presuming the secular assumptions tied to cosmopolitanism. Employing insights of critical theory, this book offers a micro-level analysis of the pragmatics of discourse of each axial tradition contributing to the role of religion within multiple modernities. While circumscribing the particular historical limits of each tradition, the book extends their internal claims to species universality in light of the potential for boundless communication Jaspers saw initiated with the Axial Age.
This January, Xlibris Publishing released “Jesus Master of Law: A Juridical Science of Christianity and the Law of Equity” by Roderick Ford (The Labor Ministry). The publisher’s description follows:
Here, Jesus of Nazareth is presented as we have never witnessed him before—as a legal advocate, as a jurist, and as an interpreter of the Law of Moses. This bold book is an original and revolutionary conceptualization of Jesus as not only a profound religious thinker but also as a preeminent legal theorist. Here we find in Jesus’s teachings and parables the analytical and moral reasoning, which is the foundation of Anglo-American common law, Western civilization, and modern, worldwide, and secular jurisprudence. Jesus Master of Law reminds us that laws, both secular and sacred, can be applied to achieve justice only when they are interpreted through the proverbial prism of righteous and moral objectives.
In March, I.B.Tauris will release “Moral Lessons of the Twentieth Century: Gorbachev and Ikeda on Buddhism and Communism” by Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Daisaku Ikeda (Soka Gakkai International). The publisher’s description follows:
Mikhail Gorbachev and Daisaku Ikeda are contemporaries raised in different cultures: Gorbachev is a statesman whose origins are the Marx-inspired world of Communism while Ikeda is Buddhist inspired by the thirteenth-century Japanese sage, Nichiren. “Moral Lessons of the Twentieth Century” emerges from a series of conversations between these two men. Together they explore their experiences of life amidst the turmoil of the twentieth century and together they search for a common ethical basis for future development. Their wide-rangeing and often inspiring discussions take place in politics, economics, history, religion and spirituality, and epitomise the value of informed intercultural dialogue and reflection. They conclude that peace, progress and social justice can only be achieved through honest communication and cultural exchange. As the new century begins, they have sought to turn the spotlight on the challenges which face humanity.
In March, Walter De Gruyter Inc. will release “Religion and Human Rights: Global Challenges from Intercultural Perspectives” edited by Wilhelm Gräb (Humboldt University) and Lars Charbonnier (Führungsakademie für Kirche und Diakonie gAG “Leadership Academy for Church and Diakonia”). The publisher’s description follows:
Current processes of globalization are challenging Human Rights and the attempts to institutionalize them in many ways. The question of the connection between religion and human rights is a crucial point here. The genealogy of the Human Rights is still a point of controversies in the academic discussion. Nevertheless, there is consensus that the Christian tradition – especially the doctrine that each human being is an image of God – played an important role within the emergence of the codification of the Human Rights in the period of enlightenment. It is also obvious that the struggle against the politics of apartheid in South Africa was strongly supported by initiatives of churchy and other religious groups referring to the Human Rights. Christian churches and other religious groups do still play an important role in the post-apartheid South Africa. They have a public voice concerning all the challenges with which the multiethnic and economically still deeply divided South African society is faced with. The reflections on these questions in the collected lectures and essays of this volume derive from an academic discourse between German and South African scholars that took place within the German-South African Year of Science 2012/13.
This March, Routledge Press will release “Muslims and Political Participation in Britain” edited by Timothy Peace (University of Stirling, UK). The publisher’s description follows:
This new volume showcases the latest research into Muslim political participation both in terms of electoral politics and civil society initiatives.
Muslims play a prominent role in British political life yet what do we actually know about the involvement of British Muslims beyond the existence of a handful of Muslim MPs? What is unique about political participation in Muslim communities? All the major parties actively seek to court a ‘Muslim electorate’ but does such a phenomenon exist? Despite the impact that Muslims have had on election campaigns and their roles in various political institutions, research on this topic remains scant. Indeed, much of the existing work was couched within the broader areas of the participation of ethnic minorities or the impact of race on electoral politics. The chapters in this volume address this lacuna by highlighting different aspects of Muslim participation in British politics. They investigate voting patterns and election campaigns, civil society and grassroots political movements, the engagement of young people and the participation of Muslims in formal political institutions.
Written in an accessible style, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of political participation and religious studies.
This January, Oxford University Press released “Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam” by Carool Kersten (King’s College, London). The publisher’s description follows:
Dramatic political events involving Muslims across the world have put Islam under increased scrutiny. However, the focus of this attention is generally limited to the political realm and often even further confined by constrictive views of Islamism narrowed down to its most extremist exponents. Much less attention is paid to the parallel development of more liberal alternative Islamic discourses. The final decades of the twentieth-century has also seen the emergence of a Muslim intelligentsia exploring new and creative ways of engaging with the Islamic heritage. Drawing on advances made in the Western human sciences and understanding Islam in comprehensive terms as a civilisation rather than restricting it to religion in a conventional sense their ideas often cause controversy, even inviting accusations of heresy. Cosmopolitans and Heretics examines three of these new Muslim intellectuals who combine a solid grounding in the Islamic tradition with an equally intimate familiarity with the latest achievements of Western scholarship in religion. This cosmopolitan attitude challenges existing stereotypes and makes these thinkers difficult to categorise. Underscoring the global dimensions of new Muslim intellectualism, Kersten analyses contributions to contemporary Islamic thought of the late Nurcholish Madjid, Indonesia’s most prominent public intellectual of recent decades, Hasan Hanafi, one of the leading philosophers in Egypt, and the influential French-Algerian historian of Islam Mohammed Arkoun. Emphasising their importance for the rethinking of the study of Islam as a field of academic inquiry, this is the first book of its kind and a welcome addition to the intellectual history of the modern Muslim world.
In February, I.B.Tauris will release “Islam in Saudi Arabia” by David Dean Commins (Dickinson College). The publisher’s description follows:
In the popular imagination, Saudi Arabia is a monolithic and static relic from an earlier age, wedded to a reactionary interpretation of Islam and led by an authoritarian monarchy whose alliance with a retrograde religious establishment has assured its survival. David Commins challenges this view by tracing the origins and evolution of the Saudi state from its eighteenth century roots through the present day. For Commins, Saudi Arabia’s contemporary social and political order is the product of dynamic historical and ongoing struggles, both internal (pitting dynasts against religious traditionalists, Wahhabi true believers against non-Wahhabis and their more liberal Wahhabi allies, and an old guard against a younger generation habituated to a world of social media, cable television, and consumerism) and external (including threats from imperial powers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Arab nationalists in the 1950s-60s, Saddam’s Iraq in the 1990s, and, currently, Iran and al-Qaeda). Commins tracks the Al Saud’s efforts to balance and overcome these challenges, in the process creating a system whose defining characteristics are contradiction and ambiguity.
Later this month, the University of Tennessee Press will release “Built with Faith: Italian American Imagination and Catholic Material Culture in New York City” by Joseph Sciorra (Queens College). The publisher’s description follows:
Over the course of 130 years, Italian American Catholics in New York City have developed a varied repertoire of devotional art and architecture to create community-based sacred spaces in their homes and neighborhoods. These spaces exist outside of but in relationship to the consecrated halls of local parishes and are sites of worship in conventionally secular locations. Such ethnic building traditions and urban ethnic landscapes have long been neglected by all but a few scholars. Joseph Sciorra’s Built with Faith offers a place-centric, ethnographic study of the religious material culture of New York City’s Italian American Catholics.
Sciorra has spent thirty-five years researching these community art forms and interviewing Italian immigrant and U.S.-born Catholics. By documenting the folklife of this group, Sciorra reveals how Italian Americans in the city use expressive culture and religious practices to trans- form everyday urban space into unique, communal sites of ethnically infused religiosity. The folk aesthetics practiced by individuals within their communities are integral to understanding how art is conceptualized, implemented, and esteemed outside of museum and gallery walls. Yard shrines, sidewalk altars, Nativity presepi, Christmas house displays, a stone-studded grotto, and neighborhood processions—often dismissed as kitsch or prized as folk art—all provide examples of the vibrant and varied ways contemporary Italian Americans use material culture, architecture, and public ceremonial display to shape the city’s religious and cultural landscapes.
Written in an accessible style that will appeal to general readers and scholars alike, Sciorra’s unique study contributes to our understanding of how value and meaning are reproduced at the confluences of everyday life.