In September, Stanford University Press releases Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece by Devin E. Naar. The publisher’s description follows:
Touted as the “Jerusalem of the Balkans,” the Mediterranean port city of Salonica (Thessaloniki) was once home to the largest Sephardic Jewish community in the world. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the city’s incorporation into Greece in 1912 provoked a major upheaval that compelled Salonica’s Jews to reimagine their community and status as citizens of a nation-state. Jewish Salonica is the first book to tell the story of this tumultuous transition through the voices and perspectives of Salonican Jews as they forged a new place for themselves in Greek society.
Devin E. Naar traveled the globe, from New York to Salonica, Jerusalem, and Moscow, to excavate archives once confiscated by the Nazis. Written in Ladino, Greek, French, and Hebrew, these archives, combined with local newspapers, reveal how Salonica’s Jews fashioned a new hybrid identity as Hellenic Jews during a period marked by rising nationalism and economic crisis as well as unprecedented Jewish cultural and political vibrancy. Salonica’s Jews—Zionists, assimilationists, and socialists—reinvigorated their connection to the city and claimed it as their own until the Holocaust. Through the case of Salonica’s Jews, Naar recovers the diverse experiences of a lost religious, linguistic, and national minority at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East.
In July, the Cambridge University Press will release “Encountering Islam on the First Crusade,” by Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent University). The publisher’s description follows:
The First Crusade (1095–9) has often been characterised as a head-to-head confrontation between the forces of Christianity and Islam. For many, it is the campaign that created a lasting rupture between these two faiths. Nevertheless, is such a characterisation borne out by the sources? Engagingly written and supported by a wealth of evidence, Encountering Islam on the First Crusade offers a major reinterpretation of the crusaders’ attitudes towards the Arabic and Turkic peoples they encountered on their journey to Jerusalem. Nicholas Morton considers how they interpreted the new peoples, civilizations and landscapes they encountered; sights for which their former lives in Western Christendom had provided little preparation. Morton offers a varied picture of cross cultural relations, depicting the Near East as an arena in which multiple protagonists were pitted against each other. Some were fighting for supremacy, others for their religion, many simply for survival.
In June, Routledge will release “Christian Churches in European Integration” by Sergei A. Mudrov (Baranovichi State University). The publisher’s description follows:
All too often religion is largely ignored as a driver of identity formation in the European context, whereas in reality Christian Churches are central players in European identity formation at the national and continental level. Christian Churches in European Integration challenges this tendency, highlighting the position of churches as important identity formers and actors in civil society. Analysing the role of Churches in engaging with two specific EU issues—that of EU treaty reform and ongoing debates about immigration and asylum policy—the author argues that Churches are unique participants in European integration. Establishing a comprehensive view of Christian Churches as having a vital role to play in European integration, this book offers a substantial and provocative contribution both to our understanding of the European Union and the broader question of how religious and state institutions interact with each another.
In June, Oxford University Press will release “Religious Freedom and Gay Rights: Emerging Conflicts in North America and Europe” edited by Timothy Shah (Georgetown University), Thomas Farr (Georgetown University), and Jack Friedman (Georgetown University). The publisher’s description follows:
In the United States and Europe, an increasing emphasis on equality has pitted rights claims against each other, raising profound philosophical, moral, legal, and political questions about the meaning and reach of religious liberty. Nowhere has this conflict been more salient than in the debate between claims of religious freedom, on one hand, and equal rights claims made on the behalf of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, on the other. As new rights for LGBT individuals have expanded in liberal democracies across the West, longstanding rights of religious freedom — such as the rights of religious communities to adhere to their fundamental teachings, including protecting the rights of conscience; the rights of parents to impart their religious beliefs to their children; and the liberty to advance religiously-based moral arguments as a rationale for laws — have suffered a corresponding decline. Timothy Samuel Shah, Thomas F. Farr, and Jack Friedman’s volume, Religious Freedom and Gay Rights brings together some of the world’s leading thinkers on religion, morality, politics, and law to analyze the emerging tensions between religious freedom and gay rights in three key geographic regions: the United States, the United Kingdom, and continental Europe. What implications will expanding regimes of equality rights for LGBT individuals have on religious freedom in these regions? What are the legal and moral frameworks that govern tensions between gay rights and religious freedom? How are these tensions illustrated in particular legal, political, and policy controversies? And what is the proper way to balance new claims of equality against existing claims for freedom of religious groups and individuals? Religious Freedom and Gay Rights offers several explorations of these questions.
In May, Routledge will release “Europe and Islam” edited by Erik Jones (Johns Hopkins University) and Saskia van Genugten (UAE-based researcher). The publisher’s description follows:
This book provides an in depth analysis of the challenging relationship between Europe and Islam. The general chapters on secularism, security, identity and solidarity show the challenge of promoting a stable multi-cultural society. In depth analysis of France, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, and Italy reveal the extent to which this challenge of stable multiculturalism differs from one country to the next. The argument that emerges is not that Europe and Islam are incompatible. Rather it is that reconciling the tensions that arise from the mixing of different cultures will require enormous patience, understanding, and investment. The contributors represent some of the leading voices in debates about European politics – and not just those focusing narrowly on the question of Islam. Hence this volume offers both a gateway to understanding the special relationship between Europe and the Muslim world and a means of tying that understanding to the future of European integration. This book was previously published as a special issue of The International Spectator.
Next month, Oxford University Press will release “Europe, India, and the Limits of Secularism,” by Jakob De Roover (Ghent University). The publisher’s description follows:
For several decades now, commentators have sounded the alarm about the crisis of secularism. Saving the secular state from political religion, they suggest, is a question of survival for societies characterized by religious diversity. Yet it remains unclear what the crisis is all about. This book argues that its roots are internal to the liberal model of secularism and toleration. Rather than being neutral or non-religious, this is a secularized theological model with deep religious roots. The limits of liberal secularism go back to its emergence from the dynamics and tensions of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. From the very beginning, it went hand in hand with its own mode of intolerance: an anticlerical theology that rejected Catholicism and Judaism as evil forms of political religion. Later this framework produced the colonial descriptions of Hinduism (and its caste hierarchy) as a false and immoral religion. Thus, secularism was presented as the only route forward for India. Still, the secular state often harms local forms of living together and reinforces conflicts rather than resolving them. Todays advocacy of secularism is not the outcome of reasonable reflection on the problems of Indian society but a manifestation of colonial consciousness.
Last month, Palgrave Macmillan released “New Horizons of Muslim Diaspora in Europe and North America,” edited by Moha Ennaji (University of Fès). The publisher’s description follows:
The authors in this book criticize the essentialist approach to the concept of culture which reduces all diasporic Muslims to one category and ignores other important factors that shape the attitudes and behaviors of Muslims in the West, particularly their socio-economic status, gender, age, education, social class, and attitude toward religion and the Western lifestyle. The majority of Muslims in North America and Europe are reluctant to be reduced to ‘Muslim,’ although some of them feel obliged to accept the label. In this volume, the various chapters reveal that diasporic Muslims are heterogeneous given their diverse cultures and ethnicities; they are actually divided, not united, and have different views and interpretations of Islam and various attitudes and representations of Western realities. Due to their marginalization and often low social status, some Muslims turn to religion and traditional values and practices to overlook for their socio-economic exclusion from the European or American society.
In May, Springer will release “Liberal Neutrality and State Support for Religion” by Leni Franken (University of Antwerp). The publisher’s description follows:
This book focuses on the financing of religions, examining some European church-state models, using a philosophical methodology. The work defends autonomy-based liberalism and elaborates how this liberalism can meet the requirements of liberal neutrality. The chapters also explore religious education and the financing of institutionalized religion. This volume collates the work of top scholars in the field. Starting from the idea that autonomy-based liberalism is an adequate framework for the requirement of liberal neutrality, the author elaborates why a liberal state can support religions and how she should do this, without violating the principle of neutrality. Taking into account the principle of religious freedom and the separation of church and state, this work explores which criteria the state should take into account when she actively supports religions, faith-based schools and religious education. A number of concrete church-state models, including hands-off, religious accommodation and the state church are evaluated, and the book gives some recommendations in order to optimize those church-state models, where needed. Practitioners and scholars of politics, law, philosophy and education, especially religious education, will find this work of particular interest as it has useful guidelines on policies and practices, as well as studies of church-state models.
In April, Oxford University Press will release “Transforming Post-Catholic Ireland: Religious Practice in Late Modernity” by Gladys Ganiel (Queen’s University Belfast). The publisher’s description follows:
Transforming Post-Catholic Ireland is the first major book to explore the dynamic religious landscape of contemporary Ireland, north and south, and to analyze the island’s religious transition. It confirms that the Catholic Church’s long-standing “monopoly” has well and truly disintegrated, replaced by a mixed, post-Catholic religious “market” featuring new and growing expressions of Protestantism, as well as other religions. It describes how people of faith are developing “extra-institutional” expressions of religion, keeping their faith alive outside or in addition to the institutional Catholic Church.
Drawing on island-wide surveys of clergy and laypeople, as well as more than 100 interviews, Gladys Ganiel describes how people of faith are engaging with key issues such as increased diversity, reconciliation to overcome the island’s sectarian past, and ecumenism. Ganiel argues that extra-institutional religion is especially well-suited to address these and other issues due to its freedom and flexibility when compared to traditional religious institutions. She explains how those who practice extra-institutional religion have experienced personal transformation, and analyses the extent that they have contributed to wider religious, social, and political change. On an island where religion has caused much pain, from clerical sexual abuse scandals, to sectarian violence, to a frosty reception for some immigrants, those who practice their faith outside traditional religious institutions may hold the key to transforming post-Catholic Ireland into a more reconciled society.