In August, New York University Press will release Contemporary Israel: New Insights and Scholarship edited by Frederick E. Greenspahn (Florida Atlantic University). The publisher’s description follows:
On September 22, the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Center will host a conference entitled “Islamophobia in Focus: Muslims & the Media.” Panelists at the conference will include Dr. John Esposito (Georgetown University), Ayman Mohyeldin (NBC News), and Dalia Mogahed (Institute for Social Policy and Understanding). The Religious Freedom Center’s description of the event follows:
Research shows that 9 in 10 of all news reports about Muslims, Islam, and Islamic organizations are related to violence – war or terrorism. In fact, most Muslim newsmakers are warlords or terrorists. Alarmingly, media representations of Islam were worse in 2015 than any other time since 9/11. Are such portrayals representative of today’s global realities? Are Muslims simply over-sensitive? Are concerns with media depictions of Muslims and Islam in the West reflective of a liberal culture obsessed with political correctness? If not, are there opportunities for change?
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:
The Brill Handbook of Contemporary Religions in Brazil provides an unprecedented overview of Brazil’s religious landscape. It offers a full, balanced and contextualized portrait of contemporary religions in Brazil, bringing together leading scholars from both Brazil and abroad, drawing on both fieldwork and detailed reviews of the literatures. For the first time a single volume offers overviews by leading scholars of the full range of Brazilian religions, alongside more theoretically oriented discussions of relevant religious and culture themes. This Handbook’s three sections present specific religions and groups of traditions, Brazilian religions in the diaspora, and issues in Brazilian religions (e.g., women, possession, politics, race and material culture).
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:
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.
In August, Routledge will release “Islam, Sufism and Everyday Politics of Belonging in South Asia,” edited by Deepra Dandekar (Heidelberg University) and Torsten Tschacher (Freie Universität Berlin). The publisher’s description follows:
This book looks at the study of ideas, practices and institutions in South Asian Islam, commonly identified as ‘Sufism’, and how they relate to politics in South Asia. While the importance of Sufism for the lives of South Asian Muslims has been repeatedly asserted, the specific role played by Sufism in contestations over social and political belonging in South Asia has not yet been fully analysed.
Looking at examples from five countries in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan), the book begins with a detailed introduction to political concerns over ‘belonging’ in relation to questions concerning Sufism and Islam in South Asia. This is followed with sections on Producing and Identifying Sufism; Everyday and Public Forms of Belonging; Sufi Belonging, Local and National; and Intellectual History and Narratives of Belonging. Bringing together scholars from diverse disciplines, the book explores the connection of Islam, Sufism and the Politics of Belonging in South Asia. It is an important contribution to South Asian Studies, Islamic Studies and South Asian Religion.
In October, the University of California Press will release God and the Green Divide: Religious Environmentalism in Black and White by Amanda J. Baugh (California State University, Northridge). The publisher’s description follows:
American environmentalism historically has been associated with the interests of white elites. Yet religious leaders in the twenty-first century have helped instill concern about the earth among groups diverse in religion, race, ethnicity, and class. How did that happen and what are the implications? Building on scholarship that provides theological and ethical resources to support the “greening” of religion, God and the Green Divide examines religious environmentalism as it actually happens in the daily lives of urban Americans. Baugh demonstrates how complex dynamics related to race, ethnicity, and class factor into decisions to “go green.” By carefully examining negotiations of racial and ethnic identities as central to the history of religious environmentalism, this work complicates assumptions that religious environmentalism is a direct expression of theology, ethics, or religious beliefs.
I’ll be at the Hertog Foundation in Washington, D.C., next weekend, which runs programs of study in political science, political history, international studies, and law. I’ll be discussing religious freedom as part of course run by my friend Adam White on “Landmark Supreme Court Cases.”
Look forward to being there.
Here are some interesting law and religion news stories from around the web this week:
- Some Islamic scholars say prosecutions against liberal Muslim bloggers are un-Islamic
- An Egyptian magazine confronts the stigma on divorced women in Egypt amid an ever-increasing divorce rate
- A worrying trend of persecution of Protestant Christians, Muslims, and Jehovah’s Witnesses in Kazakhstan
- Muslim intellectuals call for Iran to cease persecution of members of the Baha’i faith
- The Canadian Anglican Church faces divisions as wrangling about the issue of same-sex marriage continues
- A look at the legacy of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and its relation to terrorist recruitment there
In September, Yale University Press will release The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright by Ann M. Little (Colorado State University). The publisher’s description follows:
Born and raised in a New England garrison town, Esther Wheelwright (1696–1780) was captured by Wabanaki Indians at age seven. Among them, she became a Catholic and lived like any other young girl in the tribe. At age twelve, she was enrolled at a French-Canadian Ursuline convent, where she would spend the rest of her life, eventually becoming the order’s only foreign-born mother superior. Among these three major cultures of colonial North America, Wheelwright’s life was exceptional: border-crossing, multilingual, and multicultural. This meticulously researched book discovers her life through the communities of girls and women around her: the free and enslaved women who raised her in Wells, Maine; the Wabanaki women who cared for her, catechized her, and taught her to work as an Indian girl; the French-Canadian and Native girls who were her classmates in the Ursuline school; and the Ursuline nuns who led her to a religious life.
In October, Columbia University Press will release A Dharma Reader: Classical Indian Law, translated and edited by Patrick Olivelle (University of Texas at Austin). The publisher’s description follows:
Whether defined by family, lineage, caste, professional or religious association, village, or region, India’s diverse groups did settle on an abstract concept of law in classical times. How did they reach this consensus? Was it based on religious grounds or a transcendent source of knowledge? Did it depend on time and place? And what apparatus did communities develop to ensure justice was done, verdicts were fair, and the guilty were punished?
Addressing these questions and more, A Dharma Reader traces the definition, epistemology, procedure, and process of Indian law from the third century B.C.E. to the middle ages. Its breadth captures the centuries-long struggle by Indian thinkers to theorize law in a multiethnic and pluralist society. The volume includes new and accessible translations of key texts, notes that explain the significance and chronology of selections, and a comprehensive introduction that summarizes the development of various disciplines in intellectual-historical terms. It reconstructs the principal disputes of a given discipline, which not only clarifies the arguments but also relays the dynamism of the fight. For those seeking a richer understanding of the political and intellectual origins of a major twenty-first-century power, along with unique insight into the legal interactions among its many groups, this book offers conceptual detail, historical precision, and expository illumination unlike any other volume.