Tag Archives: Religion and Education

Jaffe-Walter, “Coercive Concern”

In March, Stanford University Press released “Coercive Concern: Nationalism, Liberalism, and the Schooling of Muslim Youth,” by Reva Jaffe-Walter (Montclair State University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Many liberal-minded Western democracies pride themselves on their commitments to egalitarianism, the fair treatment of immigrants, and the right to education. These pid_24789environments would seem to provide a best-case scenario for the reception of immigrant youth. But that is not always the case. Coercive Concern explores how stereotypes of Muslim immigrants in Western liberal societies flow through public schools into everyday interactions, informing how Muslim youth are perceived by teachers and peers. Beyond simply identifying the presence of racialized speech in schools, this book uncovers how coercive assimilation is cloaked in benevolent narratives of care and concern.

Coercive Concern provides an ethnographic critique of the “concern” that animates integration policy in Danish schools. Reva Jaffe-Walter focuses on the experiences of Muslim youth at a public school where over 40% of the student body is of immigrant descent, showing how schools operate as sites of governance. These efforts are led by political leaders who promote national fears of immigrant take-over, by teachers in schools, and by everyday citizens who are concerned about “problems” of immigration. Jaffe-Walter exposes the psychic and material costs immigrant youth endure when living in the shadow of social scrutiny, but she also charts a path forward by uncovering the resources these youth need to attain social mobility and success.

Mattei & Aguilar, “Secular Institutions, Islam and Education Policy”

In March, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Secular Institutions, Islam and Education Policy: France and the U.S. in Comparative Perspective” by Paola Mattei (University of Oxford) and Andrew S. Aguilar (France Fulbright Fellow). The publisher’s description follows:

In January 2015, three attackers walked into the office of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris, opened fire and killed twelve people, including a Muslim policeman, in the deadliest terrorist attack on France for 50 years. We live in a time of suspicion and fear, not least because religion has returned to the centre stage of collective memories in Europe and in the United States. Amidst claims of threats to national identities in an era of increasing diversity, should we be worried about the upsurge in religious animosity in the United States, as well as Europe? Paola Mattei and Andrew Aguilar show that French society is divided along conflicts about religious identity, increasingly visible in public schools. Republicanism, based on the solidarity and secularism, is viewed by many as the cause of discrimination and unfairness against minority groups. Policies invoking laïcité are frequently criticised as a disguised form of Islamophobia. Secular Institutions, Islam, and Education Policy suggests, on the contrary, that secularism in France is a flexible concept, translated into contradictory policy programmes, and subject to varying political interpretations. This book presents original data showing how schools have become, once again, a central theatre of political action and public engagement regarding laicité, an ideal grounded in the republican origins of the public education system in France.

Vahed & Waetjen, “Schooling Muslims in Natal”

This June, the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press will release “Schooling Muslims in Natal: Identity, State and the Orient Islamic Educational Institute” by Goolam Vahed (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and Thembisa Waetjen (Durban University of Technology).  The publisher’s description follows:

Schooling Muslims in NatalThe history of Muslim education in the east coast region of South Africa is the story of ongoing struggles by an immigrant religious minority under successive, exclusionary forms of state. Schooling Muslims in Natal traces the labours and fortunes of a set of progressive idealists who, mobilising merchant capital, transoceanic networks and informal political influence, established the Orient Islamic Educational Institute in 1943 to found schools and promote a curriculum inclusive of secular subjects and Islamic teaching. Through the story of their Durban flagship project – the Orient Islamic School – this book recounts the changing politics of religious identity, education and citizenship in South Africa.

From the late nineteenth century, Gujarati Muslim traders settling in the colony of Natal built mosques and madressas; their progeny carried on the strong traditions of community patronage and leadership. Aligned to Gandhi’s Congress initiatives for Indian civic recognition, they worked across differences of political strategy, economic class, ethnicity and religion to champion modern education for a ghettoised Indian diaspora. In common was the threat of a state that, long before the legal formation of apartheid, managed diversity in deference to white racial hysteria over ‘Indian penetration’ and an ‘Asiatic menace’.

This is the story of confrontation, cooperation and compromise by an officially marginalised but still powerful set of ‘founding fathers’ who shaped education and urban space as they integrated this region of Africa into the Indian Ocean world.

Moosa, “What Is a Madrasa?”

In April, the University of North Carolina Press will release “What Is a Madrasa?” by Ebrahim Moosa (University of Notre Dame). The publisher’s description follows:

Taking us inside the world of the madrasa–the most common type of school for religious instruction in the Islamic world–Ebrahim Moosa provides an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to understand orthodox Islam in global affairs. Focusing on postsecondary-level religious institutions in the Indo-Pakistan heartlands, Moosa explains how a madrasa can simultaneously be a place of learning revered by many and an institution feared by many others, especially in a post-9/11 world.

Drawing on his own years as a madrasa student in India, Moosa describes in fascinating detail the daily routine for teachers and students today. He shows how classical theological, legal, and Qur’anic texts are taught, and he illuminates the history of ideas and politics behind the madrasa system. Addressing the contemporary political scene in a clear-eyed manner, Moosa introduces us to madrasa leaders who hold diverse and conflicting perspectives on the place of religion in society. Some admit that they face intractable problems and challenges, including militancy; others, Moosa says, hide their heads in the sand and fail to address the crucial issues of the day. Offering practical suggestions to both madrasa leaders and U.S. policymakers for reform and understanding, Moosa demonstrates how madrasas today still embody the highest aspirations and deeply felt needs of traditional Muslims.

“Issues in Religion and Education” (Beaman & Van Arragon, eds.)

In March, Brill Publishing will release “Issues in Religion and Education: Whose Religion?” edited by Lori G. Beaman and Leo Van Arragon (University of Ottawa).  The publisher’s description follows:

Issues in Religion and EducationIssues in Religion and Education, Whose Religion? is a contribution to the dynamic and evolving global debates about the role of religion in public education. This volume provides a cross-section of the debates over religion, its role in public education and the theoretical and political conundrums associated with resolutions. The chapters reflect the contested nature of the role of religion in public education around the world and explore some of the issues mentioned from perspectives reflecting the diverse contexts in which the authors are situated. The differences among the chapters reflect some of the particular ways in which various jurisdictions have come to see the problem and how they have addressed religious diversity in public education in the context of their own histories and politics.

“The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics” (Brunn, ed.)

In February, Springer Publishing will release “The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics” edited by Stanley D. Brunn (University of Kentucky). The publisher’s description follows:

This extensive work explores the changing world of religions, faiths and practices. It discusses a broad range of issues and phenomena that are related to religion, including nature, ethics, secularization, gender and identity. Broadening the context, it studies the interrelation between religion and other fields, including education, business, economics and law. The book presents a vast array of examples to illustrate the changes that have taken place and have led to a new world map of religions.

Beginning with an introduction of the concept of the “changing world religion map”, the book first focuses on nature, ethics and the environment. It examines humankind’s eternal search for the sacred, and discusses the emergence of “green” religion as a theme that cuts across many faiths. Next, the book turns to the theme of the pilgrimage, illustrated by many examples from all parts of the world. In its discussion of the interrelation between religion and education, it looks at the role of missionary movements. It explains the relationship between religion, business, economics and law by means of a discussion of legal and moral frameworks, and the financial and business issues of religious organizations. The next part of the book explores the many “new faces” that are part of the religious landscape and culture of the Global North (Europe, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, the U.S. and Canada) and the Global South (Latin America, Africa and Asia). It does so by looking at specific population movements, diasporas, and the impact of globalization. The volume next turns to secularization as both a phenomenon occurring in the Global religious North, and as an emerging and distinguishing feature in the metropolitan, cosmopolitan and gateway cities and regions in the Global South. The final part of the book explores the changing world of religion in regards to gender and identity issues, the political/religious nexus, and the new worlds associated with the virtual technologies and visual media.

“Making European Muslims: Religious Socialization Among Young Muslims in Scandinavia and Western Europe” (Sedgwick, ed.)

Next month, Routledge Press will publish “Making European Muslims: Religious Socialization Among Young Muslims in Scandinavia and Western Europe” edited by Mark Sedgwick (Aarhus University, Denmark). The publisher’s description follows:

“Making European Muslims” provides an in-depth examination of what it means to be a young  Muslim in Europe today, where the assumptions, values and behavior of the family and those of the majority society do not always coincide. Focusing on the religious socialization of Muslim children at home, in semi-private Islamic spaces such as mosques and Quran schools, and in public schools, the original contributions to this volume focus largely on countries in northern Europe, with a special emphasis on the Nordic region, primarily Denmark. Case studies demonstrate the ways that family life, public education, and government policy intersect in the lives of young Muslims and inform their developing religious beliefs and practices. Mark Sedgwick’s introduction provides a framework for theorizing Muslimness in the European context, arguing that Muslim children must navigate different and sometimes contradictory expectations and demands on their way to negotiating a European Muslim identity.

Tittensor, “The House of Service: The Gulen Movement and Islam’s Third Way”

Next month, Oxford will publish The House of Service: The Gulen 9780199336418Movement and Islam’s Third Way, by David Tittensor (Deakin University, Australia). The publisher’s description follows.

David Tittensor offers a groundbreaking new perspective on the Gülen movement, a Turkish Muslim educational activist network that emerged in the 1960s and has grown into a global empire with an estimated worth of $25 billion. Named after its leader Fethullah Gülen, the movement has established more than 1,000 secular educational institutions in over 140 countries, aiming to provide holistic education that incorporates both spirituality and the secular sciences.

Despite the movement’s success, little is known about how its schools are run, or how Islam is operationalized. Drawing on thirteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Turkey, Tittensor explores the movement’s ideo-theology and how it is practiced in the schools. His interviews with both teachers and graduates from Africa, Indonesia, Central Asia, and Turkey show that the movement is a missionary organization, but of a singular kind: its goal is not simply widespread religious conversion, but a quest to recoup those Muslims who have apparently lost their way and to show non-Muslims that Muslims can embrace modernity and integrate into the wider community. Tittensor also examines the movement’s operational side and shows how the schools represent an example of Mohammad Yunus’s social business model: a business with a social cause at its heart.

The House of Service is an insightful exploration of one of the world’s largest transnational Muslim associations, and will be invaluable for those seeking to understand how Islam will be perceived and practiced in the future.

Panel on Tax Reform and Education (Feb 25)

On February 25, the CUNY Institute for Education Policy in New York will host what looks to be a fascinating discussion on tax credits for primary and secondary education–including education in religious schools. Past CLR Forum Guest Ashley Berner (left), the Institute’s Deputy Director, will be one of the panelists. Here’s a description:

For most Americans, “public education” has meant the traditional neighborhood school. That once-unassailable image is changing, however, as states and districts have begun to sanction a wider array of schools such as magnets and charters, and new school funding mechanisms such as tax credits and vouchers – stirring up controversy in the process.

There are important arguments on each side. To its defenders, the dominant model reflects democratic governance structures, advances citizenship formation, is ideologically neutral, and should be preserved with minor adjustments. Innovators, for their side, believe that the expansion of educational options yields better academic outcomes and more diverse classrooms, extends choice to more families, advances pluralism, and aligns the United States’ school system with those of other democratic nations.

New York is now considering a bill that creates an Education Investment Tax Credit to stimulate up to $300 million in charitable donations for public classrooms and for K-12 scholarships for students to attend Catholic, Jewish and other private schools. Please join us for a lively discussion of the bill’s benefits and limitations in light of international education systems.

For details, please click here.

Barnes, “Education, Religion and Diversity: Developing a New Model of Religious Education”

This month, Routledge will publish Education, Religion and Diversity: Developing a New Model of Religious Education by L. Philip Barnes (King’s College London, UK). education, religion The publisher’s description follows.

The challenge of diversity is central to education in modern liberal, democratic states, and religious education is often the point where these differences become both most acute and where it is believed, of all curriculum subjects, resolutions are most likely to be found.

Education, Religion and Diversity identifies and explores the commitments and convictions that have guided post-confessional religious education and concludes controversially that the subject as currently theorised and practised is incapable of challenging religious intolerance and of developing respectful relationships between people from different communities and groups within society.

It is argued that despite the rhetoric of success, which religious education is obliged to rehearse in order to perpetuate its status in the curriculum and to ensure political support, a fundamentally new model of religious education is required to meet the challenge of diversity to education and to society.  A new framework for religious education is developed which offers the potential for the subject to make a genuine contribution to the creation of a responsible, respectful society.

Education, Religion and Diversity is a wide-ranging, provocative exploration of religious education in modern liberal democracies. It is essential reading for those concerned with the role of religion in education and for religious and theological educators who want to think critically about the aims and character of religious education.