The Editors

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Posts by The Editors:

Friday, August 21st, 2015

The religious roots of ISIS

At Arc of the Universe, Daniel Philpott draws from the recent New York Times article, “ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape” and the earlier Atlantic article, “What ISIS Really Wants,” to add to the long-running debate on the universality of religious freedom, and emphasizes the importance of political theology.

Read the rest of The religious roots of ISIS.
Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Coalitions and slippery slopes: The same-sex marriage debate continues

Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court of the United States confirmed the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry. Unsurprisingly, debates on the meaning and future of marriage have not subsided, but have taken on new directions. Among the hottest topics of debate are how American Muslims should respond to the ruling and whether polygamy will be the next battleground.

 

Read the rest of Coalitions and slippery slopes: The same-sex marriage debate continues.
Monday, August 10th, 2015

Politics of Religious Freedom

In a just-published edited volume, Politics of Religious Freedom, editors Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Saba Mahmood, and Peter Danchin ask contributors: what is religious freedom, why is it being promoted, and how are we talking about it?

Read the rest of Politics of Religious Freedom.
Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Religious freedom at Religion Dispatches

As part of a joint project between The Immanent Frame and Religion Dispatches, RD contributing editor Austin Dacey has written a series of posts on religious freedom in the United States. His latest piece tackles Winnifred Fallers Sullivan’s “The impossibility of religious freedom” and potential alternate regimes for legislating religious freedom in the United States.

Read the rest of Religious freedom at Religion Dispatches.
Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Values and violence: Thoughts on Charlie Hebdo

Until last month’s attack, Charlie Hebdo was little known beyond France. In the wake of the massacre, however, it was quickly valorized as a symbol of freedom of expression and French secularism, and the hashtag #JesuisCharlie (“I am Charlie”) spread rapidly across social media. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared a “war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity.” On January 11, 2015, more than a million people, including 40 of the world’s political leaders—not all of whom are otherwise known for their support of free speech—marched together in Paris.

The week after the massacre, Charlie Hebdo’s “All is forgiven” issue featured a cover depicting the prophet Muhammad in tears, holding a sign that read “Je suis Charlie.”

The violence, and responses to it, have raised a slew of questions. Is it helpful, or even accurate, to characterize these killings as religiously motivated? How have the attack and responses to it helped to construct or entrench the identities said to be in conflict? Should the events be understood in the context of France’s history of satire or its history of colonialism? Can the two be separated in this case? What is the significance of the willingness of many not only to affirm free expression, but also to identify themselves with the magazine? Are there limits to the freedom of expression?

Read the rest of Values and violence: Thoughts on Charlie Hebdo.
Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Conference: Why Prayer? A Conference on New Directions in the Study of Prayer

What can the study of prayer tell us about social life, religious institutions and practices, ethical self-formation, and our concepts of communication, both shared and unique? The Social Science Research Council’s Program on Religion and the Public Sphere announces Why Prayer? A Conference on New Directions in the Study of Prayer, a two-day gathering that will showcase the work of over 30 scholars and journalists who have explored these questions and more.

Read the rest of Conference: Why Prayer? A Conference on New Directions in the Study of Prayer.
Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Opportunity at Connecticut College

The Department of Religious Studies at Connecticut College has an opening for a visiting assistant professor.

Read the rest of Opportunity at Connecticut College.
Friday, January 16th, 2015

A new year at The Immanent Frame

Happy New Year from The Immanent Frame!

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Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

The Charlie Hebdo shootings

On Wednesday, January 7th, two masked assailants stormed the Paris headquarters of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, killed 12 people, and wounded 11 others. Police quickly identified 3 suspects—the shooters and a suspected getaway driver. The following day, in a suburb of Paris, a masked gunman (later linked to the brothers suspected of carrying out the magazine massacre) fatally shot a policewoman. By Friday, all three gunmen had been killed in separate hostage situations, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying that they were intended to teach the French “that the freedom of expression has limits and boundaries.”

Read the rest of The Charlie Hebdo shootings.
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Why Prayer? A Conference on New Directions in the Study of Prayer

The Social Science Research Council’s program on Religion and the Public Sphere announces Why Prayer? A Conference on New Directions in the Study of Prayer (February 6-7, 2015).

Read the rest of Why Prayer? A Conference on New Directions in the Study of Prayer.
Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

How (Not) to Be Secular

In a book out next month, James K. A. Smith offering readers in a world of secularity what the author calls a “hitchhiker’s guide to the present.”

Read the rest of How (Not) to Be Secular.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Reverberations is nominated for a Webby!

We are proud to announce that Reverberations, the site on prayer produced in conjunction with the SSRC’s New Directions in the Study of Prayer (NDSP) initiative, has been selected as one of five nominees for a Webby Award in the Religion and Spirituality Category.

Read the rest of Reverberations is nominated for a Webby!.
Friday, March 21st, 2014

The Muslim Marvel

At Religion Dispatches, TIF editorial associate Wei Zhu reviews the landmark first issue of Ms. Marvel, which features a teenaged Muslim girl from Jersey City.

Read the rest of The Muslim Marvel.
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Theorizing religion in modern Europe

On March 7-8, 2014, Harvard University will be hosting an international conference entitled “Theorizing Religion in Modern Europe.”

Read the rest of Theorizing religion in modern Europe.
Monday, February 24th, 2014

Boundaries of Toleration

In Boundaries of Toleration, editors Alfred Stepan and Charles Taylor ask: “How can people of diverse religious, ethnic, and linguistic allegiances and identities live together without committing violence, inflicting suffering, or oppressing each other?”

Read the rest of Boundaries of Toleration.
Thursday, February 20th, 2014

The Charter of Quebec Values

On November 7th, 2013, on the heels of a heated public debate about the role of religion in public life, the government of Quebec tabled its controversial Bill 60, “Charte affirmant les valeurs de laïcité et de neutralité religieuse de l’État ainsi que d’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes et encadrant les demandes d’accommodement” (Charter affirming the values of state secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests). The legislation, introduced by Bernard Drainville, the minister for Democratic institutions and active citizenship, seeks to affirm the religious neutrality of the state, specifically by prohibiting public sector employees—including those working in hospitals, schools, daycare centers, and universities—from wearing “signes ostentatoires” [conspicuous religious symbols], examples of which include hijabs, kippas, Sikh turbans, and “large” crucifixes. The legislation also proposes to amend Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, in order to enshrine the equality of men and women as the highest human right, to which other rights (e.g. freedom of religious expression) would be subordinated.

Read the rest of The Charter of Quebec Values.
Monday, February 10th, 2014

SSRC job opening: Anxieties of democracy

The Social Science Research Council seeks a Program Officer/Director for its Anxieties of Democracy program.

Read the rest of SSRC job opening: Anxieties of democracy.
Friday, February 7th, 2014

Reverberations in the new year

A new year means new and interesting content for Reverberations, the digital forum on prayer produced in conjunction with the SSRC’s New Directions in the Study of Prayer (NDSP) initiative.

Read the rest of Reverberations in the new year.
Friday, January 24th, 2014

Engaging the “spiritual but not religious” vote

In an essay published at the Atlantic online, TIF editor-at-large Steven Barrie-Anthony urges politicians and pundits to pay closer attention to “spiritual but not religious” voters as a potentially influential bloc.

Read the rest of Engaging the “spiritual but not religious” vote.
Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Creative Commons and The Immanent Frame

In conjunction with the launch of its new Digital Culture Initiative, the Social Science Research Council has adopted a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License for all content published on or after January 1, 2014, on the SSRC’s public website and related SSRC sites, including The Immanent Frame and other SSRC digital forums.

Read the rest of Creative Commons and The Immanent Frame.
Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Reverberations of cognition and culture

A lively interdisciplinary discussion about cognition and culture has emerged from Reverberations, the new digital forum on prayer produced in conjunction with the SSRC’s New Directions in the Study of Prayer (NDSP) initiative. The NDSP grantees share their thoughts about the study of prayer, interdisciplinary methodologies, and the nature and complexities of their research.

Read the rest of Reverberations of cognition and culture.
Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Light without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College

Scott Korb, who teaches at the New School and New York University, recently published a book, Light without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College, that describes the founding of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California.

Read the rest of Light without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College.
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Reflections on summer reading

As the fall semester gets underway, we have again invited a number of contributors to The Immanent Frame to reflect on what they’ve read these past few months on the broad topic of secularism, religion, and public life. We asked: What are the best books and essays you’ve come across this summer? What are you most looking forward to reading in the near future?

Read responses by Courtney Bender, James S. Bielo, Anderson Blanton, John D. Boy, Wendy Cadge, Simon During, Omri Elisha, M. Christian Green, Martin Kavka, Tanya Luhrmann, John Schmalzbauer, and Jeff Sharlet.

Read the rest of Reflections on summer reading.
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Why the West Fears Islam

Political scientist Jocelyne Cesari‘s recent book, Why the West Fears Islam: An Exploration of Muslims in Liberal Democracies, analyzes the Muslim experience in the context of international politics.

Read the rest of Why the West Fears Islam.
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Engaging religion at the Department of State

This past week, the US Department of State announced the creation of a new office that “will focus on engagement with faith-based organizations and religious institutions around the world to strengthen US development and diplomacy and advance America’s interests and values.” Citing widespread religious persecution and violence overseas, proponents of the new office of “religious engagement” hope to further institutionalize an official US commitment to globalize religious freedom, marginalize extremism, and promote interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance. Yet this initiative also raises concerns regarding the intersection of religious freedom, religious establishment, and foreign policy.

What are the prospects for the new office, and what are the potential implications of its efforts for the politics of religious diversity, both locally and transnationally? What assumptions about “religion” underlie these efforts, and what are the implications for civil society, including organizations and associations that do not self-identify as religious?

Read the rest of Engaging religion at the Department of State.
Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Contesting Secularism: Comparative Perspectives

In Contesting Secularism: Comparative Perspectives, editor Anders Berg-Sørensen compiles works from leading scholars to provide an interdisciplinary, comparative approach to the debate of religion and secularism in the public sphere.

Read the rest of Contesting Secularism: Comparative Perspectives.
Thursday, July 18th, 2013

The State Department and “religious engagement”

Three recent articles have drawn attention to plans at the U.S. Department of State to create a new “office of religious engagement.”

Read the rest of The State Department and “religious engagement”.
Monday, July 15th, 2013

The God Problem: Expressing Faith and Being Reasonable

In his new publication, The God Problem: Expressing Faith and Being Reasonable, Robert Wuthnow conducted more than two hundred interviews with people of various faiths in order to analyze how middle class Americans juggle the relationship between faith and reason.

Read the rest of The God Problem: Expressing Faith and Being Reasonable.
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Latest Reverberations

Reverberations, the new digital forum on prayer produced in conjunction with the SSRC’s New Directions in the Study of Prayer (NDSP) initiative, has expanded its content as it explores prayer.

Read the rest of Latest Reverberations.
Monday, July 1st, 2013

No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education

In their recent publication, No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education, Douglas Jacobsen and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen discuss how religion has increasingly become more intertwined with the work higher education as well as how the “religious” and “secular” are blending together.

Read the rest of No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education.
Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Ongoing Reverberations

Reverberations, the new digital forum on prayer produced in conjunction with the SSRC’s New Directions in the Study of Prayer (NDSP) initiative, continues to thrive two months since its launch.

Read the rest of Ongoing Reverberations.
Friday, May 10th, 2013

The Vatican Spring?

Does the election of Francis I signal a major shift in Vatican policy, structure, or doctrine? How significant is Francis’ status as an “outsider” to the Roman Curia, especially his background as a Latin American and a Jesuit? Is this status likely to position him as an agent of change within the Church, or do his theological continuities with his predecessors and the entrenched Vatican bureaucracy guarantee that any reform he initiates will be largely cosmetic?

Read responses by Michele Dillon, John L. Esposito, Jeffrey Guhin, Cecelia Lynch, James Martin, S.J., J. Michelle Molina, and Sarah Shortall.

Read the rest of The Vatican Spring?.
Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Opportunity at the SSRC

The Social Science Research Council seeks a Program Officer/Coordinator for its work on religion and the public sphere.

Read the rest of Opportunity at the SSRC.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Religion and the Public Sphere internship at the Social Science Research Council

The SSRC’s Religion and the Public Sphere program is currently accepting applications for a summer semester internship which would focus on its ongoing projects and digital forums.

Read the rest of Religion and the Public Sphere internship at the Social Science Research Council.
Friday, April 12th, 2013

CFP: Religious Studies 50 years after Schempp

On September 27-29, 2013, the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington will host a conference entitled “Religious Studies 50 Years after Schempp: History, Institutions, Theory.” Conference organizers have issued a call for papers.

Read the rest of CFP: Religious Studies 50 years after Schempp.
Thursday, March 21st, 2013

The Future of Religious Freedom

In The Future of Religious Freedom, editor Allen D. Hertzke assembles a diverse team of international scholars to not only determine the current status of religious freedom in the world but also understand the prospects for improvement.

Read the rest of The Future of Religious Freedom.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Introducing Reverberations

We are pleased to announce the launch of Reverberations, a new digital forum on prayer produced in conjunction with the SSRC’s New Directions in the Study of Prayer initiative. Reverberations will serve as a hub for communication among participants in the New Directions in the Study of Prayer project, a platform for a broader set of academic and public engagements, and a space within which a wide range of resources and materials related to the practice of prayer will be compiled, curated, studied, and explored.

Read the rest of Introducing Reverberations.
Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs

A central source of support for the Social Science Research Council’s program on religion and the public sphere (including ongoing support for the efforts of The Immanent Frame), the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs “seeks to deepen understanding of religion as a critical but often neglected dimension of national and international policies and politics.” […]

Read the rest of Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Debating Sharia: Islam, Gender Politics, and Family Law Arbitration

In Debating Sharia: Islam, Gender Politics, and Family Law Arbitration, editors Anna C. Korteweg and Jennifer A. Selby gather a multidisciplinary group of academics to tackle the challenge of promoting diversity while protecting religious freedom and women’s equality.

Read the rest of Debating Sharia: Islam, Gender Politics, and Family Law Arbitration.
Monday, November 5th, 2012

After Sandy: Presidential rhetoric and visions of solidarity

On Monday afternoon as Hurricane Sandy threatened landfall, President Obama warned reporters gathered at the White House that the storm would be a difficult one, and urged a collective, unifying response. In the wake of the storm, Obama has often shifted away from the polarized rhetoric of the campaign trail to a message reminiscent of the candidate circa 2008, employing hopeful metaphors of American unity and healed fracture.

Many scholars who initially saw in Obama the possibility of a reinvigorated prophetic civil religion have since been disappointed. Now, on the eve of the election and as the waters recede across New Jersey and New York City, we have a moment to reflect on the rhetoric and symbolism that Obama has employed during this disaster.

What, if anything, is new about the rhetoric and symbolism he is employing, and how should we understand the relationship between this rhetoric and his governing style? What does it suggest about the arc of American civil religion, about shifting and multiple visions of national solidarity, and about the election and the political climate to follow?

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Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Five years

Five years ago this past Friday The Immanent Frame published its first essay, a short reflection on Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, written by the sociologist Robert N. Bellah.

Read the rest of Five years.
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Religion and the Political Imagination

Religion and the Political Imagination is a volume, edited by Ira Katznelson and Gareth Stedman Jones, that brings together a group of historians and political scientists to take a new look at the theoretical and constitutional aspects of relations between religion and political institutions since the Enlightenment, in particular the theory of secularization that arose during this period.

Read the rest of Religion and the Political Imagination.
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Race and secularism in America

On October 26 and 27, 2012, Vincent Lloyd and Jonathon Kahn will convene a workshop at Syracuse University on “Race and Secularism in America.” From the conference website …

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Monday, August 6th, 2012

Contextualising Jihadi Thought

In the recent publication, Contextualising Jihadi Thought, editors Jeevan Deol and Zaheer Kazmi compile cross-disciplinary analysis on the concept of jihadism and its impact on Middle Eastern, South Asian, and European countries.

Read the rest of Contextualising Jihadi Thought.
Monday, August 6th, 2012

Survey for The Immanent Frame

As The Immanent Frame’s five year anniversary is soon approaching, it is important to take time for reflection, and consider what we has been doing well, what needs improvement, and how we can better engage our audience.

Read the rest of Survey for The Immanent Frame.
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Wild Religion: Tracking the Sacred in South Africa

In his new publication, Wild Religion: Tracking the Sacred in South Africa, David Chidester explores South African indigenous religious heritage and the meaning and power of this religion in a changing South African society.

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Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Egyptian elections

The protests in the Middle East and North Africa, and the ensuing political changes, were intended to transcend the old military-Islamist dichotomy, which in Egypt was a legacy of the army-led Egyptian Revolution almost exactly 60 years ago. Yet following a long and contentious electoral season, Egyptians were again left with a choice between Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, and Ahmed Shafik, a military man and the last Prime Minister under Hosni Mubarak. Nevertheless, despite the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ heavy-handed actions and subsequent protests by Brotherhood supporters and other advocates for a civil and democratic state, Egypt has, for the first time, a democratically elected president.

To what extent do current depictions of the Egyptian situation reproduce the simplistic narrative of the “Brotherhood” versus the “Army” as the only options worth discussing? How does this binary either illuminate Egypt’s cultural, political, and religious dynamics or obscure its more complex realities?

Read the rest of Egyptian elections.
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age

In her new publication, The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age, Martha C. Nussbaum discusses the growing issue of intolerance and analyzes the fear that fuels this problem.

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Friday, June 1st, 2012

Multiculturalism in Europe

After the rise of multicultural policies in the 1980s and 1990s, the winds have shifted in Europe. Terrorist attacks in Madrid, London, Norway, and, most recently, in Toulouse, have furthered the securitization of Islam across Europe, while increasing immigration (predominantly from Muslim countries) has caused societal tensions. As a result, existing ideas concerning multiculturalism, religious pluralism, and national authenticity are being challenged. Past policies of cordon sanitaire are no longer in full effect, as mainstream political parties have come to adopt some of the ideas of their populist and right-wing peers; witness outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign rhetoric against immigration and Muslims following the strong showing by right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen.

We’ve invited a small handful of scholars to comment on the increasing influence of anti-immigration and anti-Islam ideas and parties across Europe and to offer their thoughts on how best to accommodate minority claims (especially those involving Islam) in a democratic and liberal Europe.

Read the rest of Multiculturalism in Europe.
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

What Matters? Ethnographies of Value in a Not So Secular Age

Columbia University Press has just released What Matters?: Ethnographies of Value in a Not So Secular Age, edited by Courtney Bender and Ann Taves.

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