books

January 20th, 2016

Religion, Secularism, and Constitutional Democracy

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Secularism has many critics in the academy these days, but not all have given up on it. This is made abundantly clear in the recently published volume, Religion, Secularism, and Constitutional Democracy edited by Jean L. Cohen and Cécile Laborde.

April 29th, 2014

How (Not) to Be Secular

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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.”

March 26th, 2014

Varieties of Religious Establishment

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In a recently published edited volume, Varieties of Religious Establishment, editors Winnifred Fallers Sullivan and Lori G. Beaman asks contributors to think about religion in public life by considering varieties of religious establishment, rather than of religious freedom.

March 17th, 2014

Securing the Sacred: Religion, National Security, and the Western State

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In his new book, Securing the Sacred, Robert M. Bosco examines how secular states attempt to understand and engage religious ideas and actors in the name of national security.

February 24th, 2014

Boundaries of Toleration

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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?”

December 2nd, 2013

Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law: Dhimmis and Others in the Empire of Law

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In his new book, Religious Pluralism and Islamic LawAnver Emon discusses Islamic legal doctrines and their implications for religious diversity and tolerance in Islamic lands.

September 30th, 2013

Law’s fragile state

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Mark Fathi Massoud, Assistant Professor of Politics and Legal Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, examines the trials and tribulations of law in Sudan in his new book, Law’s Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan. In an interview with Jadaliyya, Massoud speaks about his motivation to uncover the essence of how law—and lawlessness—operate in the context of fragile states. Massoud also elaborates on his topic in a blog post at the Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa Blog.

September 23rd, 2013

The Invention of Religion in Japan

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In the book The Invention of Religion in Japan, Jason Ananda Josephson traces the roots and history of religion in Japan.

September 10th, 2013

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

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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.

August 6th, 2013

Why the West Fears Islam

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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.

July 22nd, 2013

Contesting Secularism: Comparative Perspectives

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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.

July 15th, 2013

The God Problem: Expressing Faith and Being Reasonable

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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.

July 1st, 2013

No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education

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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.

March 21st, 2013

The Future of Religious Freedom

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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.

December 13th, 2012

Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs

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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.” […]

December 11th, 2012

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

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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.

December 4th, 2012

When God Talks Back named a Notable Book of 2012

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New Directions in the Study of Prayer Grantee Tanya Luhrmann’s book, When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God, was named one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2012. As Molly Worthen wrote in an early 2012 review of the book: After more than four years of observing and interviewing […]

October 16th, 2012

Religion and the Political Imagination

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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.

August 6th, 2012

Contextualising Jihadi Thought

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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.

July 17th, 2012

Wild Religion: Tracking the Sacred in South Africa

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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.

June 20th, 2012

The Psychology of Prayer

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The Psychology of Prayer: A Scientific Approach, co-authored by Bernard Spilka and Kevin Ladd, a member of the SSRC’s New Directions in the Study of Prayer advisory committee, will be released in September.

June 18th, 2012

New review of Bellah’s Religion in Human Evolution

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For Tricycle, an independent Buddhist publication, Linda Heuman reviews Robert Bellah’s Religion in Human Evolution, highlighting the place Bellah gives to reason in the book.

June 13th, 2012

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

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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.

May 23rd, 2012

The end of postcolonialism

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The London-based publisher Zed Books recently released Hamid Dabashi’s The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism (distributed in the U.S. by Macmillan).

May 2nd, 2012

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

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

April 3rd, 2012

Experiences with evangelical congregations

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In The New Yorker, Joan Acocella gives a favorable review of Tanya M. Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God.

March 20th, 2012

Ghosts in Antebellum America

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At Religion in American History, John Turner, Professor of History at the University of Southern Alabama, reviews two books that evoke the ghosts of Antebellum America.

February 14th, 2012

Love, InshAllah

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Over at the New York Times, Neil MacFarquhar writes about the recently published Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, by Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi.

February 8th, 2012

After the secular age

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Just out from Verso Press, Simon Critchley’s The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology investigates the role of religion in the postsecular twenty-first century.

January 31st, 2012

Religious roots of the secular

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At the Harvard University Press Blog, historian Brad S. Gregory discusses his latest book, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society: Brad S. Gregory’s new book, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society, is very much in the tradition of and in conversation with Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age. Both are […]

January 24th, 2012

Modern enchantment

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Recently released by Oxford University Press, Michael Saler’s latest volume explores the imaginary realms of the modern world.

September 29th, 2011

The big bang

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Peter Manseau reviews Robert Bellah’s Religion in Human Evolution.

September 27th, 2011

Philosophy of religion in the public sphere

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Ars Disputandi has recently published a collection of essays from the 2010 Conference of the European Society for Philosophy of Religion titled Religion in the Public Sphere. Edited by Niek Brunsveld and Roger Trigg, the volume—available online and in print—includes contributions from Nicholas Wolterstorff (“Does Forgiveness Violate Justice?“) and Richard Amesbury (“Secular State, Religious Nation?“). In the introduction, Trigg writes.

September 26th, 2011

Secularism in Antebellum America

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Forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, a “pioneering account of religion and society in nineteenth-century America” by John Lardas Modern, contributing editor at The Immanent Frame and co-curator (with Kathryn Lofton) of the recently launched Frequencies.

September 23rd, 2011

The impossibility of (international) religious freedom

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Religion blogger Doughlas Remy presents his reading of Winnifred Sullivan’s The Impossibility of Religious Freedom in relation to the politics surrounding international religious freedom.

September 23rd, 2011

America plus nothing

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But Sweet Heaven When I Die is, first and foremost, a book about loss, about death, transience, neglect, and quitting. These are the recurring themes in almost every one of the book’s thirteen chapters. The loss of the American west to real estate developers, the loss of a beloved uncle to a meaningless war, the killing of veteran activist Brad Will in Oaxaca in 2006, the neglect of the Yiddish language and its masterful authors, or the devastation of a writer failing to find an audience. In one chapter, Sharlet notes that all things we become invested in and pin our identities on have a half-life. With his consciousness of the inevitable decay befalling all things, Sharlet proves he has taken Cornel West’s lesson of the “death shudder” to heart. “To learn how to die in this way,” Sharlet quotes West in a chapter on the philosopher, “is to learn how to live.” And although the final chapter of When I Die is called “Born, Again,” Sharlet resists the temptation to end on an upbeat note, leaving us instead with a blues note.

August 22nd, 2011

Milton and the postsecular

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In The Huffington Post, Feisal Mohammed offers an excerpt from his new bookMilton and the Post-Secular Present: Ethics, Politics, Terrorism, published in Stanford University Press’s beautiful “Cultural Memory in the Present” series.

August 18th, 2011

Robert Bellah on religion’s place in evolution

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The Atlantic interviews Robert Bellah about his new tome Religion in Human Evolution. In the interview, he explains the impetus behind writing the book.

August 15th, 2011

An interdisciplinary exploration of death

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This September 24th, historian, writer, and artist Dr. Paul Koudounaris will open the doors to his first exhibit and book signing of The Empire of Death.

August 3rd, 2011

Forthcoming SSRC book: What Matters?

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Edited by Courtney Bender and Ann Taves, and forthcoming from Columbia University Press, What Matters? Ethnographies of Value in a (not so) Secular Age is the product of a collaboration between the SSRC and the School for Advanced Research.

June 16th, 2011

Book review: Bridging the maximalist-minimalist divide

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Must human rights be grounded in a religious or metaphysical worldview in order for them to be understood and implemented globally? Or should they be developed based on broad consensus, divorced from religious grounds?  These are the questions that open Grace Kao’s new book Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World. Kao situates herself between these two positions, developing a rationale for human rights that is based on her retrieval of particular elements of the most prominent methods for justifying human rights approaches.

June 16th, 2011

Religion und Öffentlichkeit

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The German translation, by Michael Adrian, of The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere will be published by Suhrkamp Verlag in October.

May 25th, 2011

Matters of Ultimate Concern

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As the 2012 election season draws ever closer, Scott McLemee considers the essays collected in The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere (ed. Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen).

May 11th, 2011

Rethinking Secularism

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Rethinking Secularism helps to reframe discussions of religion in the social sciences by drawing attention to the central issue of how ”the secular” is constituted and understood. It provides valuable insight into how new understandings of secularism and religion shape analytic perspectives in the social sciences, politics, and international affairs.

April 19th, 2011

Book Launch: Religion and International Relations Theory

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There will be a book launch and panel discussion at Columbia University tomorrow, April 20th,  for a new volume entitled Religion and International Relation Theory.

March 2nd, 2011

El poder de la religión

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El poder de la religión en la esfera pública, the Spanish language edition of The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere, will be released late this month by Trotta Editorial.

January 23rd, 2011

All Things Shining

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Susan Neiman reviews All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age, by philosophers Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly.

December 25th, 2010

The parting of religion and culture

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The New York Times reviews Olivier Roy’s Holy Ignorance, now out in English translation.

December 22nd, 2010

The Soul Hypothesis

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At The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Stark reviews The Soul Hypothesis, a collection of essays edited by Mark Baker and Stewart Goetz.

November 3rd, 2010

Habermas and Religion

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Edited by Craig Calhoun, Eduardo Mendieta, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, Habermas and Religion presents a series of original and sustained engagements with Habermas’s writing on religion in the public sphere, featuring new work and critical reflections from leading philosophers, social and political theorists, and anthropologists. Contributors to the volume respond both to Habermas’s ambitious and well-developed philosophical project and to his most recent work on religion. The book closes with an extended response from Habermas—itself a major statement from one of today’s most important thinkers.