Recent Posts

May 23rd, 2017

The Myth of Disenchantment: An Introduction

posted by Jason Ā. Josephson-Storm

Myth of DisenchantmentA great many theorists have argued that precisely what makes the modern world “modern” is that people no longer believe in spirits, myths, or magic. Even theorists who have challenged grand narratives of secularization often assume that modernity produces a disenchanted world. The age of myth is allegedly over, the spirits have vanished, and vibrant nature has been subjugated.

In The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences, I argue that as broad cultural history goes, this narrative is wrong. Our era is far from mythless, belief in spirits continues to be widespread, vitalized nature has been a persistent philosophical counter-current, and even attempts to suppress magic have failed more often than they have succeeded. Hence, I contend that the whole notion of “modernity” as rupture that undergirds a host of disciplines is itself a myth.

Read The Myth of Disenchantment: An Introduction

May 19th, 2017

A State of suspicion: Counter-radicalization in Norway

posted by Sindre Bangstad

May 17th, 2017

From Jefferson to Jeffersonian battles

posted by Nadia Marzouki

May 11th, 2017

From the Founders to Trump: The legalities of “Muslims”

posted by Anver Emon

~ More recent posts ~


Reading Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an in 2017

Guest curated by editorial board member Anver Emon

Thomas Jefferson's Qur'anThis short forum will feature essays from four scholars reflecting on Denise Spellberg’s history of religious pluralism debates among the Founding Fathers. Originally published in 2013 amidst accusations that President Barack Obama was a practicing Muslim and attempts to delegitimize his presidency for such assumed religious beliefs, Spellberg’s book reaffirms the principle of religious pluralism on which the United States was found.

Through her history of these early-American debates, Spellberg contributes to the defense against Islamophobia championed by those such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who in response to questions of Obama’s Muslimness asked, “What if he is? Is there something wrong with being Muslim in this country?” Now, in 2017, Powell’s question back to his interviewers is more potent, as support for Muslim Americans as fully American citizens seems to be up for debate.

Read the first essay in the series here.


A State of suspicion: Counter-radicalization in Norway

by Sindre Bangstad

Norwegian rally against ISIS and the Prophet's Ummah, August 18 2014. Photo: Sindre Bangstad

[The] run-up to the Norwegian parliamentary elections in September 2017, which will make it clear whether the right-wing coalition government of the Conservative Party and the populist right-wing Progress Party will fall or be returned to power, is in full swing. And as it has since the mid-1980s, the FrP will run this parliamentary election campaign on a platform of a politics of fear and division—targeting immigrants, in general, and Muslim minorities, in particular.

It has long been known that Muslims constitute the proverbial public enemy number one for right-wing populists across the Western world. What is new and relatively unprecedented in the Norwegian context, however, is the active embrace and instrumentalization of what Rogers Brubaker has referred to as “Christianist secularism” by Norwegian populist right-wingers in government.

Read the rest of A State of suspicion.”

Featured discussion

For Love of the Prophet

For Love of the Prophet

Six scholars discuss Noah Salomon’s recent ethnography of the Islamic state in Sudan, with an introduction and conclusion by the author.

Featured publication

Salafism in Nigeria

Alex Thurston, a former fellow of the SSRC IDRF program, introduces his new book, which argues that Salafism is animated by a canon of texts using examples of preaching and politics in Nigeria.

Featured essay

Edvard Munch, "The Scream," 1895

Understanding the president’s reality: Parts 1 and 2

In this series of essays, Lacanian scholar Judith Gurewich asks us to critically examine the behaviors of President Trump and the meanings of “truth.”