Fordham’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center will host a conference, “Christianity, Democracy, and the Shadow of Constantine,” on June 11-13:
Perhaps the two most enduring legacies of Hellenism are Platonic philosophy and democracy. Yet the two are seemingly antithetical–Plato denied that democracy could lead a population to truth and, consequently, rejected the notion that democracy was good for the state. This conference explores the modern relationship between Christianity–with its Platonic roots–and democracy, and the extent to which it was shaped by the Constantinian revolution.
Details are here.
The International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) will host its third annual conference, “Religion, Democracy, and Equality,” in Richmond this coming August and has issued a call for papers on the following themes:
- Religious pluralism and treatment of religious minorities
- Religion and anti-discrimination norms
- Hate speech, hate crimes, and religious minorities
- Religion and gender issues.
Details are here.
This month, Ashgate Publishing will publish Religion, Education and Governance in the Middle East: Between Tradition and Modernity edited by Sai Felicia Krishna-Hensel (Auburn University at Montgomery). The publisher’s description follows.
The Middle East is a key geopolitical strategic region in the international system but its distinctive cultural and political divisions present a mosaic of states that do not lend themselves to simplistic interpretations. A thoughtful analysis of the Middle East requires an understanding of the synergism between tradition and modernity in the region as it adapts to a globalizing world. Religious education and activism continue to remain a significant factor in the modernization process and the development of modern governance in the states of the Middle East.
This interdisciplinary book explores the historical and contemporary role of religious tradition and education on political elites and governing agencies in several major states as well as generally in the region. The relationship between democracy and authority is examined to provide a better understanding of the complexity underlying the emergence of new power configurations. As the region continues to respond to the forces of change in the international system it remains an important and intriguing area for analysts.
In January, Columbia University Press will publish Tolerance, Democracy, and Sufis in Senegal edited by Mamadou Diouf (Columbia University). The publisher’s description follows.
This collection critically examines “tolerance,” “secularism,” and respect for religious “diversity” within a social and political system dominated by Sufi brotherhoods. Through a detailed analysis of Senegal’s political economy, essays trace the genealogy and dynamic exchange among these concepts while investigating public spaces and political processes and their reciprocal engagement with the state, Sunni reformist and radical groups, and non-religious organizations.
Through a rich and nuanced historical ethnography of the formation of Senegalese democracy, this anthology illuminates the complex trajectory of the Senegalese state and its reflection of similar postcolonial societies. Offering rare perspectives on the country’s “successes” since liberation, this collection identifies the role of religion, gender, culture, ethnicity, globalization, politics, and migration in the reconfiguration of the state and society, and it makes an important contribution to democratization theory, Islamic studies, and African studies. Scholars of comparative politics and religious studies will also appreciate the volume’s treatment of Senegal as both an exceptional and universal example of postcolonial development.
Last month, Cambridge University Press published Biblical Blaspheming: Trials of the Sacred for the Secular Age by Yvonne Sherwood (University of Glasgow). The publisher’s description follows.
This book explores the strange persistence of ‘blasphemy’ in modern secular democracies by examining how accepted and prohibited ways of talking and thinking about the Bible and religion have changed over time. In a series of wide-ranging studies engaging disciplines such as politics, literature and visual theory, Yvonne Sherwood brings the Bible into dialogue with a host of interlocutors including John Locke, John Donne and the 9/11 hijackers, as well as artists such as Sarah Lucas and René Magritte. Questions addressed include: What is the origin of the common belief that the Bible, as opposed to the Qur’an, underpins liberal democratic values? What kind of artworks does the biblical God specialise in? If pre-modern Jewish, Christian and Islamic responses to scripture can be more ‘critical’ than contemporary speech about religion, how does this affect our understanding of secularity, modernity and critique?
Posted in Scholarship Roundup, Yosefa A. Heber
Tagged belief, Bible, Blasphemy, Books, Christianity, Democracy, Islam, John Donne, John Locke, Judaism, Rene Magritte, Sarah Lucas, Secular Age
This month, Lynne Rienner Publishers will publish Politics, Religion, and Society in Latin America by Daniel H. Levine (University of Michigan). The publisher’s description follows.
Long assumed to be an unchanging and unquestioned bulwark of established power and privilege, religion in Latin America has diversified and flourished, while taking on new social and political roles in more open societies. How did this change occur? Why did churches in the region embrace new ideas about rights, sponsor social movements, and become advocates for democracy? Are further changes on the horizon? Daniel Levine explores these issues, uniquely situating the Latin American experience in a rich theoretical and comparative context.
Next month, Oxford University Press will publish Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies by Nader
Hashemi (University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies). The publisher’s description follows.
Islam’s relationship to liberal-democratic politics has emerged as one of the most pressing and contentious issues in international affairs. In Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy, Nader Hashemi challenges the widely held belief among social scientists that religious politics and liberal-democratic development are structurally incompatible. This book argues for a rethinking of democratic theory so that it incorporates the variable of religion in the development of liberal democracy. In the process, it proves that an indigenous theory of Muslim secularism is not only possible, but is a necessary requirement for the advancement of liberal democracy in Muslim societies.
Next month, Oxford University Press will publish Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation (OUP May 2012) by Daniel Philpott (Notre Dame). The publisher’s description follows.
In the wake of massive injustice, how can justice be achieved and peace restored? Is it possible to find a universal standard that will work for people of diverse and often conflicting religious, cultural, and philosophical backgrounds?
In Just and Unjust Peace, Daniel Philpott offers an innovative and hopeful response to these questions. He challenges the approach to peace-building that dominates the United Nations, western governments, and the human rights community. While he shares their commitments to human rights and democracy, Philpott argues that these values alone cannot redress the wounds caused by war, genocide, and dictatorship. Both justice and the effective restoration of political order call for a more holistic, restorative approach. Philpott answers that call by proposing a form of political reconciliation that is deeply rooted in three religious traditions–Christianity, Islam, and Judaism–as well as the restorative justice movement. These traditions offer the fullest expressions of the core concepts of justice, mercy, and peace. By adapting these ancient concepts to modern constitutional democracy and international norms, Philpott crafts an ethic that has widespread appeal and offers real hope for the restoration of justice in fractured communities. From the roots of these traditions, Philpott develops six practices–building just institutions and relations between states, acknowledgment, reparations, restorative punishment, apology and, most important, forgiveness–which he then applies to real cases, identifying how each practice redresses a unique set of wounds. Continue reading