This April, De Gruyter Press will release “Crossings and Crosses: Borders, Educations and Religions in Northern Europe” edited by Peter Strandbrink, Jenny Berglund, and Thomas Lundén, (Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden). The publisher’s description follows:
Dealing with different regions and cases, the contributions in this volume address and critically explore the theme of borders, educations, and religions in northern Europe. As shown in different ways, and contrary to popular ideas, there seems to be little reason to believe that religious and civic identity formation through public education is becoming less parochial and more culturally open. Even where state borders are porous, where commerce, culture, and trade as well as associative, personal, and social life display stronger liminal traits, normative education remains surprisingly national. This situation is remarkable and goes against the grain of current notions of both accelerating globalisation and a European regional renaissance. The book also takes issue with the foundational tenet that liberal democracies are by definition uninvolved in matters concerning faith and belief. Instead, an implied conclusion is that secular liberal democracy is less than secular and liberal – at least in education, which is a major arena for political-cultural-ethical socialisation, as it aims to confer worldviews and frameworks of identity on young people who will eventually become full citizens and bearers/sharers of prevailing normative communities.
Next month, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Muslims, Schooling and the Question of Self-Segregation” by Shamim Miah (University of Huddersfield, UK). The publisher’s description follows:
‘Integration’ or the supposed lack of it by British Muslims has been a ubiquitous feature in political, media and policy discourses over the past decades, often with little or no evidence base. This book is particularly timely as it draws on empirical research amongst both Muslim school students and parents to examine the question of ‘self-segregation’ in the light of key policy developments around ‘race’, faith and citizenship. It aims to contribute towards a national debate on segregation, schooling and Muslims in Britain through deconstructing the received wisdom of ‘Muslim separateness’.
This May, Ashgate Publishing will release “Funding Religious Heritage” edited by Anne Fornerod (University of Strasbourg). The publisher’s description follows:
This collection brings together a group of highly respected law and religion scholars to explore the funding of religious heritage in the context of state support for religions. The importance of this state support is that on the one hand it illustrates the potential tensions between secular and religious values, whilst on the other it constitutes a relevant tool for investigating the question of the legitimacy of such financial support. The funding logically varies according to the national system of state-religion relationships and this is reflected in the range of countries studied, including: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
The book provides clarity in the assignment of funds to religious heritage, as well as seeking to define the limit of what relates to the exercise of worship and what belongs to cultural policy. It is clear that the main challenge for the future lies not only in managing the dual purpose of religious monuments, but also in re-using these buildings which have lost their original purpose. This collection will appeal to those interested in cultural heritage management, as well as law and religion scholars.
This May, Brill Publishing will release “The Wahhabis seen through European Eyes (1772-1830): Deists and Puritans of Islam” by Giovanni Bonacina (University of Urbino). The publisher’s description follows:
In The Wahhabis seen through European Eyes (1772-1830) Giovanni Bonacina offers an account of the early reactions in Europe to the rise of the Wahhabi movement in Arabia. Commonly pictured nowadays as a form of Muslim fundamentalism, the Wahhabis appeared to many European witnesses as the creators of a deistic revolution with serious political consequences for the Ottoman ancien regime. They were seen either in the light of contemporary events in France, or as Islamic theological reformers in the mould of Calvin, opposing an established church and devotional traditions. These audacious but fascinating attempts to interpret the unknown by way of the better known are illustrated in Bonacina’s book.
This April, Routledge Press will release “Religion at the European Parliament and in European Multi-level Governance” edited by François Foret (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium). The publisher’s description follows:
This book presents the findings of the first ever survey of the religious preferences of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). An international research team interviewed a large sample of MEPs, with the purpose of investigating their beliefs and how these beliefs have an impact on their role as MEPs.
The findings of this survey are offered in order to discuss, in a non-normative way, some key political and intellectual debates. Is Europe secularized? Is the European Union a Christian club? What is the influence of religious lobbying in Brussels? What are the dynamics of value politics? Contributions also compare MEPs with national MPs and citizens to measure whether the findings are specific to the supranational arena and European multi-level governance. External cases, such as the USA and Israel, are also presented to define whether there is a European exceptionalism regarding the role of religion in the political arena.
In May, I.B.Tauris will release “The Pro-Israel Lobby in Europe: The Politics of Religion and Christian Zionism in the European Union: Volume 22” by Elvira King (The University of Leeds). The publisher’s description follows:
The activities of pro-Israel pressure groups and lobbyists in the US are well-known. But the pro-Israel lobby in Europe is less prominent in both academic and media accounts. In a unique account, Elvira King identifies the pro-Israeli groups which attempt to influence policy-makers and implementers in the EU, specifically examining Christian Zionist groups. Through a detailed study of the European Coalition for Israel (ECI), the only Christian Zionist lobby in Brussels, Elvira King analyses whether and how a religious group can (and can fail to) influence decision-makers in the EU. By exploring the context of European relations with Israel as well as the mechanisms through which pressure groups are able to influence EU-wide policies, King offers an analysis which demonstrates how the EU can be a site where religion and politics meet, rather than just being a secular institution. It therefore contains vital primary research for both those interested in the pro-Israel lobby as well as those examining the role of religion in politics more generally.
In January, Palgrave Macmillan released “Identity and Political Participation Among Young British Muslims: Believing and Belonging” by Asma Mustafa (Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies). The publisher’s description follows:
The integration of British born young Muslims into wider society is one of
the most topical issues challenging policy makers in modern Britain. As citizens with diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds they have aspirations, values and interests which may seem difficult to accommodate within a Western European social and political context.
For an intelligent and well informed analysis of the dynamic nature of social and political integration, we need to listen to the voices of young British Muslims, males and females; and record the diversity of their experiences as citizens. Understanding their motivations and political concerns are key factors in illuminating their identity and predicting their political action. The challenge for informed policy-making is to avoid simple stereotyping of faith communities and examine more deeply the key drivers of identity formation and political engagement of young British Muslims.
This May, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Religion and National Identities in an Enlarged Europe” edited by Willfried Spohn (University of Wroclaw, Poland), Matthias Koenig, and Wolfgang Knöbl (Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany). The publisher’s description follows:
This volume analyzes the changing relationships between religion and national identity in the course of European integration. Presenting results from cross-national comparative research on elite discourse, media debates and public opinions in Germany, Poland, Greece and Turkey from 1990-2010, it examines how accelerated European integration and Eastern enlargement have affected religious markers of collective identity.
Critically engaging with secularist assumptions in the social scientific literatures on nationalism and European integration, the collection demonstrates that the Europeanization of collective identities does not necessarily imply reducing the salience of religion. Rather, the emergence of a European polity can prompt the reactive reaffirmation of religious nationalisms and lead to the re-embedding of religious components of collective identity within broader transnational frameworks. As the contributions in this book show, explaining such changing relationships between religion and national identity requires attention to long-standing civilizational traditions, short-term dynamics of symbolic boundary-making as well as institutional trajectories of state-church-relations.
This May, Palgrave MacMillan will release “Atheist Secularism and its Discontents: A Comparative Study of Religion and Communism in Eurasia” edited by Tam T. T. Ngo (Max Plank Institute) and Justine B. Quijada (Wesleyan University). The publisher’s description follows:
Atheist Secularism and Its Discontents takes a comparative approach to understanding religion under communism, arguing that communism was integral to the global experience of secularism. Bringing together leading researchers whose work spans the Eurasian continent, it shows that defining, co-opting and appropriating religion was central to Communist political practices. Indeed, it is precisely because atheism was so central to the communist project that atheism’s others, superstition and religion, were essential to the communist experience. Although all forms of communism sought to eradicate or limit religion, this book demonstrates that religious life under such regimes was unexpectedly rich, and that throughout the communist and post-communist world religious and political imaginaries are intimately intertwined.
In May, Stanford University Press will release “Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe” by Jeanette S. Jouili (College of Charleston). The publisher’s description follows:
The visible increase in religious practice among young European-born Muslims has provoked public anxiety. New government regulations seek not only to restrict Islamic practices within the public sphere, but also to shape Muslims’, and especially women’s, personal conduct. Pious Practice and Secular Constraints chronicles the everyday ethical struggles of women active in orthodox and socially conservative Islamic revival circles as they are torn between their quest for a pious lifestyle and their aspirations to counter negative representations of Muslims within the mainstream society.
Jeanette S. Jouili conducted fieldwork in France and Germany to investigate how pious Muslim women grapple with religious expression: for example, when to wear a headscarf, where to pray throughout the day, and how to maintain modest interactions between men and women. Her analysis stresses the various ethical dilemmas the women confronted in negotiating these religious duties within a secular public sphere. In conversation with Islamic and Western thinkers, Jouili teases out the important ethical-political implications of these struggles, ultimately arguing that Muslim moral agency, surprisingly reinvigorated rather than hampered by the increasingly hostile climate in Europe, encourages us to think about the contribution of non-secular civic virtues for shaping a pluralist Europe.
Posted in Scholarship Roundup, Stephanie Cipolla
Tagged Books, Islam, Muslim Women in Europe, Public Religion, Religion and Culture, Religion and Society, Religion and the Public Sphere, Religion in Europe, Sociology of Religion, Women and Religion, Women in Islam