In An Aesthetic Occupation Daniel Bertrand Monk unearths the history of the unquestioned political immediacy of “sacred” architecture in the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. Monk combines groundbreaking archival research with theoretical insights to examine in particular the Mandate era—the period in the first half of the twentieth century when Britain held sovereignty over Palestine. While examining the relation between monuments and mass violence in this context, he documents Palestinian, Zionist, and British attempts to advance competing arguments concerning architecture’s utility to politics. Succumbing neither to the view that monuments are autonomous figures onto which political meaning has been projected, nor to the obverse claim that in Jerusalem shrines are immediate manifestations of the political, Monk traces the reciprocal history of both these positions as well as describes how opponents in the conflict debated and theorized their own participation in its self-representation. Analyzing controversies over the authenticity of holy sites, the restorations of the Dome of the Rock, and the discourse of accusation following the Buraq, or Wailing Wall, riots of 1929, Monk discloses for the first time that, as combatants looked to architecture and invoked the transparency of their own historical situation, they simultaneously advanced—and normalized—the conflict’s inability to account for itself. This balanced and unique study will appeal to anyone interested in Israel or Zionism, the Palestinians, the Middle East conflict, Jerusalem, or its monuments. Scholars of architecture, political theory, and religion, as well as cultural and critical studies will also be informed by its arguments.
In August 1986, Alice Auma, a young Acholi woman in northern Uganda, proclaiming herself under the orders of a Christian spirit named Lakwena, raised an army called the “Holy Spirit Mobile Forces.” With it she waged a war against perceived evil, not only an external enemy represented by the National Resistance Army of the government, but internal enemies in the form of “impure” soldiers, witches, and sorcerers. She came very close to her goal of overthrowing the government but was defeated and fled to Kenya.
This book provides a unique view of Alice’s movement, based on interviews with its members and including their own writings, examining their perceptions of the threat of external and internal evil. It concludes with an account of the successor movements into which Alice’s forces fragmented and which still are active in the civil wars of the Sudan and Uganda.
The relationship between religious belief and sexuality as personal attributes exhibits some provocative comparisons. Despite the nonestablishment of religion in the United States and the constitutional guarantee of free exercise, Christianity functions as the religious and moral standard in America. Ethical views that do not fit within this consensus often go unrecognized as moral values. Similarly, in the realm of sexual orientation, heterosexuality is seen as the yardstick by which sexual practices are measured. The notion that "alternative" sexual practices like homosexuality could possess ethical significance is often overlooked or ignored.
In her new book, An Argument for Same-Sex Marriage, political scientist Emily Gill draws an extended comparison between religious belief and sexuality, both central components of one’s personal identity. Using the religion clause of the First Amendment as a foundation, Gill contends that, just as US law and policy ensure that citizens may express religious beliefs as they see fit, it should also ensure that citizens may marry as they see fit. Civil marriage, according to Gill, is a public institution, and the exclusion of some couples from a state institution is a public expression of civic inequality.
An Argument for Same-Sex Marriage is a passionate and timely treatment of the various arguments for and against same-sex marriage and how those arguments reflect our collective sense of morality and civic equality. It will appeal to readers who have an interest in gay and lesbian studies, political theory, constitutional law, and the role of religion in the contemporary United States.
Stephane Lacroix Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress DS244.63.L345 2011 | Dewey Decimal 320.55709538
With unprecedented access to a closed culture, Lacroix offers an account of Islamism in Saudi Arabia. Tracing the last half-century of the Sahwa, or “Islamic Awakening,” he explains the brand of Islam that gave birth to Osama bin Laden—one that has been exported, and dangerously misunderstood, around the world.
Civil war and conflict within countries is the most prevalent threat to peace and security in the opening decades of the twenty-first century. A pivotal factor in the escalation of tensions to open conflict is the role of elites in exacerbating tensions along identity lines by giving the ideological justification, moral reasoning, and call to violence. Between Terror and Tolerance examines the varied roles of religious leaders in societies deeply divided by ethnic, racial, or religious conflict. The chapters in this book explore cases when religious leaders have justified or catalyzed violence along identity lines, and other instances when religious elites have played a critical role in easing tensions or even laying the foundation for peace and reconciliation.
This volume features thematic chapters on the linkages between religion, nationalism, and intolerance, transnational intra-faith conflict in the Shi’a-Sunni divide, and country case studies of societal divisions or conflicts in Egypt, Israel and Palestine, Kashmir, Lebanon, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Tajikistan. The concluding chapter explores the findings and their implications for policies and programs of international non-governmental organizations that seek to encourage and enhance the capacity of religious leaders to play a constructive role in conflict resolution.
The Buddhas of Bamiyan
Llewelyn Morgan Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress DS375.B36M67 2012 | Dewey Decimal 958.1
For 1,400 years, two colossal Buddhas overlooked the Bamiyan Valley on the Silk Road in Afghanistan. The Buddhas embodied the intersection of East and West, and their destruction by the Taliban in 2001 provoked international outrage. Morgan excavates the layers of meaning these vanished wonders hold for a fractured Afghanistan.
Neeti Nair Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress DS485.P87N344 2011 | Dewey Decimal 954.042
Neeti Nair’s account of the partition in the Punjab rejects the idea that essential differences between the Hindu and Muslim communities made political settlement impossible. Far from being an inevitable solution, partition—though advocated by some powerful Hindus—was a stunning surprise to the majority of Hindus in the region.
Church and State in the City provides the first comprehensive analysis of the city’s long debate about the public interest. Historian William Issel explores the complex ways that the San Francisco Catholic Church—and its lay men and women—developed relationships with the local businesses, unions, other community groups, and city government to shape debates about how to define and implement the common good. Issel’s deeply researched narrative also sheds new light on the city’s socialists, including Communist Party activists—the most important transnational challengers of both capitalism and Catholicism during the twentieth century.
Moreover, Church and State in the City is revisionist in challenging the notion that the history of urban politics and policy can best be understood as the unfolding of a progressive, secular modernization of urban political culture. Issel shows how tussles over the public interest in San Francisco were both distinctive to the city and shaped by its American character.
In the series Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy, edited by Zane L. Miller, David Stradling, and Larry Bennett
The essays in this volume blend historical and philosophical reflection with concern for contemporary political problems. They show that the causes and motivations of civil religion are a permanent fixture of the human condition, though some of its manifestations and proximate causes have shifted in an age of multiculturalism, religious toleration, and secularization
The Crisis of Secularism in India
Anuradha Dingwaney Needham and Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, eds. Duke University Press, 2007 Library of Congress BL2765.I5C78 2007 | Dewey Decimal 322.10954
While secularism has been integral to India’s democracy for more than fifty years, its uses and limits are now being debated anew. Signs of a crisis in the relations between state, society, and religion include the violence directed against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 and the precarious situation of India’s minority religious groups more generally; the existence of personal laws that vary by religious community; the affiliation of political parties with fundamentalist religious organizations; and the rallying of a significant proportion of the diasporic Hindu community behind a resurgent nationalist Hinduism. There is a broad consensus that a crisis of secularism exists, but whether the state can resolve conflicts and ease tensions or is itself part of the problem is a matter of vigorous political and intellectual debate. In this timely, nuanced collection, twenty leading Indian cultural theorists assess the contradictory ideals, policies, and practices of secularism in India.
Scholars of history, anthropology, religion, politics, law, philosophy, and media studies take on a broad range of concerns. Some consider the history of secularism in India; others explore theoretical issues such as the relationship between secularism and democracy or the shortcomings of the categories “majority” and “minority.” Contributors examine how the debates about secularism play out in schools, the media, and the popular cinema. And they address two of the most politically charged sites of crisis: personal law and the right to practice and encourage religious conversion. Together the essays inject insightful analysis into the fraught controversy about the shortcomings and uncertain future of secularism in the world today.
Contributors. Flavia Agnes, Upendra Baxi, Shyam Benegal, Akeel Bilgrami, Partha Chatterjee, V. Geetha, Sunil Khilnani, Nivedita Menon, Ashis Nandy, Anuradha Dingwaney Needham, Gyanendra Pandey, Gyan Prakash, Arvind Rajagopal, Paula Richman, Sumit Sarkar, Dwaipayan Sen, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Shabnum Tejani, Romila Thapar, Ravi S. Vasudevan, Gauri Viswanathan
Crossing the Gods examines the sometimes antagonistic and sometimes cozy but always difficult and dangerous relationship between religion and politics in countries around the globe.
Eminent sociologist of religion Jay Demerath traveled to Brazil, China, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, and Thailand to explore the history and current relationship of religion, politics, and the state in each country. In the first part of this wide-ranging book, he asks, What are the basic fault lines along which current tensions and conflicts have formed? What are the trajectories of change from past to present, and how do they help predict the future?
In the book’s second part the author returns home to focus on the United States the only nation founded specifically on the principle of a separation between religion and state and examines the extent to which this principle actually holds and the consequences when it does not. Highlighting such issues as culture wars, violence, globalization, and the fluidity of individual religious identity, Demerath exposes the provincialism and fallacies underlying many of our views of religion and politics worldwide.
Finally, Demerath examines America’s status as the world’s most religious nation. He places that claim within a comparative context and argues that our country is not “more religious” but “differently religious.” He argues that it represents a unique combination of congregational religion, religious pluralism, and civil religion. But the United States also illustrates the universal tendency for the sacred to give way to the secular and for the secular to generate new forms of the sacred.
Why have conservatives fared so much better than progressives in recent decades, even though polls show no significant move to the right in public opinion? Cultural Dilemmas of Progressive Politics highlights one reason: that progressives often adopt impoverished modes of discourse, ceding the moral high ground to their conservative rivals. Stephen Hart also shows that some progressive groups are pioneering more robust ways of talking about their issues and values, providing examples other progressives could emulate.
Through case studies of grassroots movements—particularly the economic justice work carried on by congregation-based community organizing and the pursuit of human rights by local members of Amnesty International—Hart shows how these groups develop distinctive ways of talking about politics and create characteristic stories, ceremonies, and practices. According to Hart, the way people engage in politics matters just as much as the content of their ideas: when activists make the moral basis for their activism clear, engage issues with passion, and articulate a unified social vision, they challenge the recent ascendancy of conservative discourse.
On the basis of these case studies, Hart addresses currently debated topics such as individualism in America and whether strains of political thought strongly informed by religion and moral values are compatible with tolerance and liberty.
Having worked for several decades in North Africa, anthropologist Lawrence Rosen is uniquely placed to ask what factors contribute to the continuity and changes characterizing the present-day Muslim world. In The Culture of Islam, he brings his erudition and his experiences to illuminating key aspects of Muslim life and how central tenets of that life are being challenged and culturally refashioned.
Through a series of poignant tales—from the struggle by a group of friends against daily corruption to the contest over a saint's identity, from nostalgia for the departed Jews to Salman Rushdie's vision of doubt in a world of religious certainty—Rosen shows how a dazzling array of potential changes are occurring alongside deeply embedded continuity, a process he compares to a game of chess in which infinite variations of moves can be achieved while fundamental aspects of "the game" have had a remarkably enduring quality. Whether it is the potential fabrication of new forms of Islam by migrants to Europe (creating a new "Euro-Islam," as Rosen calls it), the emphasis put on individuals rather than institutions, or the heartrending problems Muslims may face when their marriages cross national boundaries, each story and each interpretation offers a window into a world of contending concepts and challenged coherence.
The Culture of Islam is both an antidote to simplified versions of Islam circulating today and a consistent story of the continuities that account for much of ordinary Muslim life. It offers, in its human stories and its insights, its own contribution, as the author says, "to the mutual understanding and forgiveness that alone will make true peace possible."
Can Europe survive after abandoning the national loyalties—and religious traditions—that provided meaning? And what will happen to the United States as it goes down a similar path?
The eminent French political philosopher Pierre Manent addresses these questions in his brilliant meditation on Europe’s experiment in maximizing individual and social rights. By seeking to escape from the “national form,” he shows, the European Union has weakened the very institutions that made possible liberty and self-government in the first place. Worse still, the “spiritual vacuity” that characterizes today’s secular Europe—and, increasingly, the United States—is ultimately untenable.
Dissent from the Homeland is a book about patriotism, justice, revenge, American history and symbology, art and terror, and pacifism. In this deliberately and urgently provocative collection, noted writers, philosophers, literary critics, and theologians speak out against the war on terrorism and the government of George W. Bush as a response to the events of September 11, 2001. Critiquing government policy, citizen apathy, and societal justifications following the attacks, these writers present a wide range of opinions on such issues as contemporary American foreign policy and displays of patriotism in the wake of the disaster.
Whether illuminating the narratives that have been used to legitimate the war on terror, reflecting on the power of American consumer culture to transform the attack sites into patriotic tourist attractions, or insisting that to be a Christian is to be a pacifist, these essays refuse easy answers. They consider why the Middle East harbors a deep-seated hatred for the United States. They argue that the U.S. drive to win the cold war made the nation more like its enemies, leading the government to support ruthless anti-Communist tyrants such as Mobutu, Suharto, and Pinochet. They urge Americans away from the pitfall of national self-righteousness toward an active peaceableness—an alert, informed, practiced state of being—deeply contrary to both passivity and war. Above all, the essays assembled in Dissent from the Homeland are a powerful entreaty for thought, analysis, and understanding. Originally published as a special issue of the journal South Atlantic Quarterly, Dissent from the Homeland has been expanded to include new essays as well as a new introduction and postscript.
Contributors. Srinivas Aravamudan, Michael J. Baxter, Jean Baudrillard, Robert N. Bellah, Daniel Berrigan, Wendell Berry, Vincent J. Cornell, David James Duncan, Stanley Hauerwas, Fredric Jameson, Frank Lentricchia, Catherine Lutz, Jody McAuliffe, John Milbank, Peter Ochs, Donald E. Pease, Anne R. Slifkin, Rowan Williams, Susan Willis, Slavoj Zizek
Political philosophers Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin share an abiding interest in the Judeo-Christian tradition. In Disturbing Revelation, the first book to focus on their treatment of the Bible, John Ranieri explores how they draw on its texts in their philosophies and shows what these considerations say about whether the combination of religion and politics leads to violence or can prevent it.
In addressing fundamental questions of reason and revelation, Ranieri focuses not on Strauss’s treatment of Judaism or Voegelin’s of Christianity, but rather on the place of the Bible in their thought. He first examines the differences between their methodological approaches and attitudes toward the Bible and biblical criticism—rather than their attitudes toward religion or questions of faith—and then explores in depth their interpretations of the biblical message and its contribution to the modern world.
Ranieri shows how both men recognized that biblical texts must be seriously engaged in order for us to understand our contemporary situation—but that their appreciation of the Bible is marked by deep ambivalence concerning its vision of life and its influence on the political sphere. He brings their thought into conversation with that of René Girard, whose writings on violence and religion shed light on the problems that arise when biblical insights take root in a culture, and also offers fresh insight into Strauss’s elusive writings, such as his indebtedness to Nietzsche.
Disturbing Revelation reveals how Strauss and Voegelin viewed the applicability of biblical texts to what they considered the crisis of modernity without belaboring questions of their own personal faith. It is a clearly written exposition that reflects a rich understanding of the work of these thinkers and is as provocative as it is informative, not only for students of the two men but also for anyone interested in the relationship between philosophy and religious belief.
Advance your understanding of divination’s role in supporting or undermining imperial aspirations in the ancient Near East
This collection examines the ways that divinatory texts in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East undermined and upheld the empires in which the texts were composed, edited, and read. Nine essays and an introduction engage biblical scholarship on the Prophets, Assyriology, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the critical study of Ancient Empires.
Interdisciplinary approaches include propaganda studies
Essays examine how biblical and other ancient Near Eastern texts were shaped by political and theological empires
In 1552, Muscovite Russia conquered the city of Kazan on the Volga River. It was the first Orthodox Christian victory against Islam since the fall of Constantinople, a turning point that, over the next four years, would complete Moscow’s control over the river. This conquest provided a direct trade route with the Middle East and would transform Muscovy into a global power. As Matthew Romaniello shows, however, learning to manage the conquered lands and peoples would take decades.
Russia did not succeed in empire-building because of its strength, leadership, or even the weakness of its neighbors, Romaniello contends; it succeeded by managing its failures. Faced with the difficulty of assimilating culturally and religiously alien peoples across thousands of miles, the Russian state was forced to compromise in ways that, for a time, permitted local elites of diverse backgrounds to share in governance and to preserve a measure of autonomy. Conscious manipulation of political and religious language proved more vital than sheer military might. For early modern Russia, empire was still elusive—an aspiration to political, economic, and military control challenged by continuing resistance, mismanagement, and tenuous influence over vast expanses of territory.
America is in civic chaos, its politics rife with conspiracy theories and false information. Nationalism and authoritarianism are on the rise, while scientists, universities, and news organizations are viewed with increasing mistrust. Its citizens reject scientific evidence on climate change and vaccinations while embracing myths of impending apocalypse. And then there is Donald Trump, a presidential candidate who won the support of millions of conservative Christians despite having no moral or political convictions. What is going on?
The answer, according to J. Eric Oliver and Thomas J. Wood, can be found in the most important force shaping American politics today: human intuition. Much of what seems to be irrational in American politics arises from the growing divide in how its citizens make sense of the world. On one side are rationalists. They use science and reason to understand reality. On the other side are intuitionists. They rely on gut feelings and instincts as their guide to the world. Intuitionists believe in ghosts and End Times prophecies. They embrace conspiracy theories, disbelieve experts, and distrust the media. They are stridently nationalistic and deeply authoritarian in their outlook. And they are the most enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump. The primary reason why Trump captured the presidency was that he spoke about politics in a way that resonated with how Intuitionists perceive the world. The Intuitionist divide has also become a threat to the American way of life. A generation ago, intuitionists were dispersed across the political spectrum, when most Americans believed in both God and science. Today, intuitionism is ideologically tilted toward the political right. Modern conservatism has become an Intuitionist movement, defined by conspiracy theories, strident nationalism, and hostility to basic civic norms.
Enchanted America is a clarion call to rationalists of all political persuasions to reach beyond the minority and speak to intuitionists in a way they understand. The values and principles that define American democracy are at stake.
Faith and Political Philosophy consists of fifty-three letters between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, two of the most important political theorists of the twentieth century. In this correspondence, Strauss and Voegelin explore the nature of their similarities and differences, offering insightful observations about one another's work, about the state of the discipline, and about the influences working on them. The letters shed light on many assumptions made in their published writings, often with an openness that removes all vestiges of uncertainty.
Collected here for the first time, these writings demonstrate the range and precision of Philip Rieff's sociology of culture. Rieff addresses the rise of psychoanalytic and other spiritual disciplines that have reshaped contemporary culture.
Against a backdrop of war and anti-Catholic sentiment, one man loses his rights because he is falsely accused
In this fascinating, detailed history, William Issel recounts the civil rights abuses suffered by Sylvester Andriano, an Italian American Catholic civil leader whose religious and political activism in San Francisco provoked an Anti-Catholic campaign against him. A leading figure in the Catholic Action movement, Andriano was falsely accused in state and federal Un-American Activities Committee hearings of having Fascist sympathies prior to and during World War II. As his ordeal began, Andriano was subjected to a hostile investigation by the FBI, whose confidential informants were his political rivals. Furthermore, the U.S. Army ordered him to be relocated on the grounds that he was a security risk.
For Both Cross and Flag provides a dramatic illustration of what can happen when parties to urban political rivalries, rooted in religious and ideological differences, seize the opportunity provided by a wartime national security emergency to demonize their enemy as “a potentially dangerous person.”
Issel presents a cast of characters that includes archbishops, radicals, the Kremlin, and J. Edgar Hoover, to examine the significant role faith-based political activism played in the political culture that violated Andriano’s constitutional rights. Exploring the ramifications of this story, For Both Cross and Flag presents interesting implications for contemporary events and issues relating to urban politics, ethnic groups, and religion in a time of war.
Examining the Marcos and Aquino administrations in the Philippines, and a number of cases in Latin Amarica, Casper discusses the legacies of authoritarianism and shows how difficult it is for popularly elected leaders to ensure that democracy will flourish. Authoritarian regimes leave an imprint on society long after their leaders have been overthrown because they transform or destroy the social institutions on which a successful democracy depends. Casper concludes that redemocratization is problematic, even in countries with strong democratic traditions.
Unique among readers in American political and social thought, From Many, One is a broad and balanced anthology that explores the problem of diversity and American political identity throughout American history. From the classic texts of the American political tradition to diverse minority writings, this book offers a wide spectrum of ideas about identity, gender, immigration, race, and religion, and addresses how these issues relate to the concept of national unity.
Covering the gamut of viewpoints from majority to minority, from conservative to radical, from assimilationist to separatist, the authors range from the Founding Fathers to Frederick Jackson Turner, from Abigail Adams to bell hooks and Catharine MacKinnon; from Abraham Lincoln to Malcolm X; from Roger Williams to Ralph E. Reed.
Sinopoli's extensive introductory and concluding essays set the context for and draw out the implications of the fifty readings. The conclusion includes case studies of three minority groups—homosexuals, Mexican-Americans, and Chinese-Americans—to illustrate further the themes of the volume. Brief introductions to each reading and to each of the five sections provide background information.
In examining one of the central questions of American public life—the issue of national diversity—From Many, One will be a useful text for courses in American political thought, sociology, American Studies, and American history.
Does religion promote political mobilization? Are individuals motivated by their faith to focus on issues of social justice, personal morality, or both? What is the relationship between religious conviction and partisanship? Does religious identity reinforce or undermine other political identifications like race, ethnicity, and class?
The answers to these questions are hardly monolithic, varying between and within major American religious groups. With an electoral climate increasingly shaped by issues of faith, values, and competing moral visions, it is both fascinating and essential to examine the religious and political currents within America's major religious traditions.
J. Matthew Wilson and a group of prominent religion and politics scholars examine these topics and assess one question central to these issues: How does faith shape political action in America's diverse religious communities? From Pews to Polling Places seeks to cover a rich mosaic of religious and ethnic perspectives with considerable breadth by examining evangelical Christians, the religious left, Catholics, Mormons, African Americans, Latinos, Jews, and Muslims. Along with these groups, the book takes a unique look at the role of secular and antifundamentalist positions, adding an even wider outlook to these critical concerns.
The contributors demonstrate how different theologies, histories, and social situations drive distinct conceptualizations of the relationship between religious and political life. At the same time, however, the book points to important commonalities across traditions that can inform our discussions on the impact of religion on political life. In emphasizing these similarities, the authors explore the challenges of political mobilization, partisanship, and the intersections of religion and ethnicity.
One of the most substantial divides in American politics is the “God gap.” Religious voters tend to identify with and support the Republican Party, while secular voters generally support the Democratic Party. Conventional wisdom suggests that religious differences between Republicans and Democrats have produced this gap, with voters sorting themselves into the party that best represents their religious views.
Michele F. Margolis offers a bold challenge to the conventional wisdom, arguing that the relationship between religion and politics is far from a one-way street that starts in the church and ends at the ballot box. Margolis contends that political identity has a profound effect on social identity, including religion. Whether a person chooses to identify as religious and the extent of their involvement in a religious community are, in part, a response to political surroundings. In today’s climate of political polarization, partisan actors also help reinforce the relationship between religion and politics, as Democratic and Republican elites stake out divergent positions on moral issues and use religious faith to varying degrees when reaching out to voters.
Once on the wings of the American political stage, conservatism now plays a leading role in public life, thanks largely to the dynamic legacy of Ronald Reagan. But despite conservatism’s emergence as a powerful political force in the last several decades, misunderstandings abound about its meaning and nature—economically, internationally, philosophically, politically, religiously, and socially. In examining these misunderstandings, The Future of American Conservatism: Consensus and Conflict in the Post-Reagan Era reveals the forces that unite, and the tensions that divide, conservatives today.
Edited by noted Reagan scholar Charles W. Dunn, this collection casts conservatism as a collage of complexity that defies easy characterization. Although it is commonly considered an ideology, many of conservatism’s foremost intellectuals dispute this notion. Although it is thought to embody a standard set of principles, its principles frequently conflict. Although many leading intellectuals, liberal and conservative, believe that conservatism lacks a significant tradition in America, it has contributed more to American life than the credit lines indicate. And although it is usually thought to create homogeneity among its adherents, in truth conservatism is marked by a great deal of heterogeneity in both its adherents and its ideas.
In fact, conservatism’s complexity may well be its strength—or so the essays gathered here suggest. In painting a bright picture of the prospects for conservatives, The Future of American Conservatism is a timely and thought-provoking volume.
Religion’s influence on public opinion, politics, and candidates has been widely discussed in political science for a generation. God Talk isthe first volume that uses experimental methodology to establish whether and how that influence works.
Paul Djupe and Brian Calfano provide an unprecedented look at how religious cues, values, and identity-driven appeals impact candidate selection, trust, interest group support, and U.S. public opinion about tolerance, the environment, foreign policy, and related issues.
By situating their disparate, randomly assigned interventions within the broader framework of elite-based influence, the authors apply their new methodology to three questions: How do clergy affect congregation members? How are religious elites and groups and their public arguments evaluated? With what effect do political elites use religion? The results of their research provide a compelling framework for understanding the links between religion and politics.
In the series The Social Logic of Politics, edited by Scott McClurg
Resisting the tendency to separate the study of religion and politics, editor Jacob Neusner pulls together a collection of ten essays in which various authors explain and explore the relationship between the world's major religions and political power. As William Scott Green writes in the introduction, "Because religion is so comprehensive, it is fundamentally about power; it therefore cannot avoid politics."
Beginning with the classical sources and texts of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism and Hinduism, God's Rule begins to explore the complex nature of how each religion shapes political power, and how religion shapes itself in relation to that power. The corresponding attention to differing theories of politics and views towards non-believers are important not only to studies in comparative religion, but to foreign policy, history and governance as well. From early Christianity's relationship to the Roman Empire to Hinduism's relationship to Gandhi and the caste system, God's Rule provides a basis of understanding from which undergraduates, seminarians and others can begin asking questions of relationships "both unavoidable and systematically uneasy."
This collection of essays on the social and political history of the modern South consider the region’s poor, racial mores and race relations, economic opportunity, Protestant activism, political coalitions and interest groups, social justice, and progressive reform.
History and Hope in the Heart of Dixie illuminates the dual role of historian and public advocate in modern America. In a time when the nation’s eyes have been focused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita onto the vulnerability and dire condition of poor people in the South, the applicability of research, teaching, and activism for this voiceless element seems all the more relevant.
Responding to the example of Wayne Flynt, whose fierce devotion to his state of Alabama and its region has not blinded his recognition of the inequities and despair that define southern life for so many, the scholars assembled in this work present contributions to the themes Flynt so passionately explored in his own work. Two seasoned observers of southern history and culture—John Shelton Reed and Dan T. Carter—offer assessments of Flynt’s influence on the history profession as a whole and on the region of the South in particular.
“Judeo-Christian” is a remarkably easy term to look right through. Judaism and Christianity obviously share tenets, texts, and beliefs that have strongly influenced American democracy. In this ambitious book, however, K. Healan Gaston challenges the myth of a monolithic Judeo-Christian America. She demonstrates that the idea is not only a recent and deliberate construct, but also a potentially dangerous one. From the time of its widespread adoption in the 1930s, the ostensible inclusiveness of Judeo-Christian terminology concealed efforts to promote particular conceptions of religion, secularism, and politics. Gaston also shows that this new language, originally rooted in arguments over the nature of democracy that intensified in the early Cold War years, later became a marker in the culture wars that continue today. She argues that the debate on what constituted Judeo-Christian—and American—identity has shaped the country’s religious and political culture much more extensively than previously recognized.
Invisible Agents shows how personal and deeply felt spiritual beliefs can inspire social movements and influence historical change. Conventional historiography concentrates on the secular, materialist, or moral sources of political agency. Instead, David M. Gordon argues, when people perceive spirits as exerting power in the visible world, these beliefs form the basis for individual and collective actions. Focusing on the history of the south-central African country of Zambia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, his analysis invites reflection on political and religious realms of action in other parts of the world, and complicates the post-Enlightenment divide of sacred and profane.
The book combines theoretical insights with attention to local detail and remarkable historical sweep, from oral narratives communicated across slave-trading routes during the nineteenth century, through the violent conflicts inspired by Christian and nationalist prophets during colonial times, and ending with the spirits of Pentecostal rebirth during the neoliberal order of the late twentieth century. To gain access to the details of historical change and personal spiritual beliefs across this long historical period, Gordon employs all the tools of the African historian. His own interviews and extensive fieldwork experience in Zambia provide texture and understanding to the narrative. He also critically interprets a diverse range of other sources, including oral traditions, fieldnotes of anthropologists, missionary writings and correspondence, unpublished state records, vernacular publications, and Zambian newspapers.
Invisible Agents will challenge scholars and students alike to think in new ways about the political imagination and the invisible sources of human action and historical change.
The Irish Enlightenment
Michael Brown Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress B802.B76 2016 | Dewey Decimal 941.507
Scotland and England produced well-known intellectuals during the Enlightenment, but Ireland’s contribution to this revolution in Western thought has received less attention. Michael Brown shows that Ireland also had its Enlightenment, which for a brief time opened up the possibility of a tolerant society, despite a history of sectarian conflict.
The Islamic world has experienced extensive social changes in modern times—the rise of new social classes, the formation of massive bureaucratic and military states, and the incorporation of its economies into the world capitalist structure. Yet despite these changes, a national consensus on even the most important principles of social organization—the form of government, the status of women, national identity, and rule making—has yet to emerge.
An ambitious comparative historical analysis of ideological production in the Islamic world from the mid-1800s to the present, Mansoor Moaddel's Islamic Modernism, Nationalism, and Fundamentalism provides a unique perspective for understanding the social conditions of these discourses. Moaddel characterizes these movements in terms of a sequence of cultural episodes characterized by ideological debates and religious disputations, each ending with a revolution or military coup. Understanding how the leaders of these movements formulated their discourses is, for Moaddel, the key to understanding Middle Eastern history. This premise allows him to unlock for readers the historical process that started with Islamic modernism and ended with fundamentalism.
As scholars continue to explore the political implications of grass roots religions around the world, Kingdoms Come examines the three main popular religions in Brazil—folk Catholicism, Protestant Pentecostalism, and Afro-Brazilian spiritism—to trace the contrasting patterns of acceptance or rejection of political paradigms within these three groups. In spite of these differences, Ireland's close analysis of these movements leads him to the conclusion that all three embrace traditions that foster a deepening of Brazil's nascent democracy.
In the course of exempting religious, educational, and charitable organizations from federal income tax, section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code requires them to refrain from campaign speech and much speech to influence legislation. These speech restrictions have seemed merely technical adjustments, which prevent the political use of a tax subsidy. But the cultural and legal realities are more disturbing.
Tracing the history of American liberalism, including theological liberalism and its expression in nativism, Hamburger shows the centrality of turbulent popular anxieties about the Catholic Church and other potentially orthodox institutions. He argues persuasively that such theopolitical fears about the political speech of churches and related organizations underlay the adoption, in 1934 and 1954, of section 501(c)(3)’s speech limits. He thereby shows that the speech restrictions have been part of a broad majority assault on minority rights and that they are grossly unconstitutional.
Along the way, Hamburger explores the role of the Ku Klux Klan and other nativist organizations, the development of American theology, and the cultural foundations of liberal “democratic” political theory. He also traces important legal developments such as the specialization of speech rights and the use of law to homogenize beliefs. Ultimately, he examines a wide range of contemporary speech restrictions and the growing shallowness of public life in America.
His account is an unflinching look at the complex history of American liberalism and at the implications for speech, the diversity of belief, and the nation’s future.
Scott Sowerby Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress BR757.S65 2013 | Dewey Decimal 274.107
Though James II is often depicted as a Catholic despot who imposed his faith, Scott Sowerby reveals a king ahead of his time who pressed for religious toleration at the expense of his throne. The Glorious Revolution was in fact a conservative counter-revolution against the movement for enlightened reform that James himself encouraged and sustained.
It is a common belief that scripture has no place in modern, secular politics. Graham Hammill challenges this notion in The Mosaic Constitution, arguing that Moses’s constitution of Israel, which created people bound by the rule of law, was central to early modern writings about government and state.
Hammill shows how political writers from Machiavelli to Spinoza drew on Mosaic narrative to imagine constitutional forms of government. At the same time, literary writers like Christopher Marlowe, Michael Drayton, and John Milton turned to Hebrew scripture to probe such fundamental divisions as those between populace and multitude, citizenship and race, and obedience and individual choice. As these writers used biblical narrative to fuse politics with the creative resources of language, Mosaic narrative also gave them a means for exploring divine authority as a product of literary imagination. The first book to place Hebrew scripture at the cutting edge of seventeenth-century literary and political innovation, The Mosaic Constitution offers a fresh perspective on political theology and the relations between literary representation and the founding of political communities.
Nihil Obstat—Latin for "nothing stands in the way"—examines the interplay between religion and politics in East-Central Europe and Russia. While focusing on the postcommunist, late twentieth century, Sabrina P. Ramet discusses developments as far back as the eleventh century to explain the patterns that have developed over time and to show how they still affect contemporary interecclesiastical relations as well as those among Church, state, and society. Based on interview research in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Macedonia, and on materials published in German, Italian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Russian, and English, Ramet paints a clear picture of the political and religious fragility of former communist states, which are experiencing some aspects of freedom and choice for the first time. With its comprehensive discussion of the largest religious institutions in the area, especially the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and its extensive survey of nontraditional religious associations that have become active in the region since 1989, this study makes a distinct contribution to growing discussions about the rise of fundamentalism and the inner dilemmas of modernity. With its depth of information and thoughtful exploration of cultural traditions, Nihil Obstat uniquely presents the ramifications and complexities of European religion in a postcommunist world.
In Obeah and Other Powers, historians and anthropologists consider how marginalized spiritual traditions—such as obeah, Vodou, and Santería—have been understood and represented across the Caribbean since the seventeenth century. In essays focused on Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, and the wider Anglophone Caribbean, the contributors explore the fields of power within which Caribbean religions have been produced, modified, appropriated, and policed. The "other powers" of the book's title have helped to shape, or attempted to curtail, Caribbean religions and healing practices. These powers include those of capital and colonialism; of states that criminalize some practices and legitimize others; of occupying armies that rewrite constitutions and reorient economies; of writers, filmmakers, and scholars who represent Caribbean practices both to those with little knowledge of the region and to those who live there; and, not least, of the millions of people in the Caribbean whose relationships with one another, as well as with capital and the state, have long been mediated and experienced through religious formations and discourses. Contributors. Kenneth Bilby, Erna Brodber, Alejandra Bronfman, Elizabeth Cooper, Maarit Forde, Stephan Palmié, Diana Paton, Alasdair Pettinger, Lara Putnam, Karen Richman, Raquel Romberg, John Savage, Katherine Smith
Heinrich Meier’s guiding insight in Political Philosophy and the Challenge of Revealed Religion is that philosophy must prove its right and its necessity in the face of the claim to truth and demand obedience of its most powerful opponent, revealed religion. Philosophy must rationally justify and politically defend its free and unreserved questioning, and, in doing so, turns decisively to political philosophy.
In the first of three chapters, Meier determines four intertwined moments constituting the concept of political philosophy as an articulated and internally dynamic whole. The following two chapters develop the concept through the interpretation of two masterpieces of political philosophy that have occupied Meier’s attention for more than thirty years: Leo Strauss’s Thoughts on Machiavelli and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract. Meier provides a detailed investigation of Thoughts on Machiavelli, with an appendix containing Strauss’s original manuscript headings for each of his paragraphs. Linking the problem of Socrates (the origin of political philosophy) with the problem of Machiavelli (the beginning of modern political philosophy), while placing between them the political and theological claims opposed to philosophy, Strauss’s most complex and controversial book proves to be, as Meier shows, the most astonishing treatise on the challenge of revealed religion. The final chapter, which offers a new interpretation of the Social Contract, demonstrates that Rousseau’s most famous work can be adequately understood only as a coherent political-philosophic response to theocracy in all its forms.
Politics and Apocalypse
Robert Hamerton-Kelly Michigan State University Press, 2007 Library of Congress BL503.P65 2007 | Dewey Decimal 901
Apocalypse. To most, the word signifies destruction, death, the end of the world, but the literal definition is "revelation" or "unveiling," the basis from which renowned theologian René Girard builds his own view of Biblical apocalypse. Properly understood, Girard explains, Biblical apocalypse has nothing to do with a wrathful or vengeful God punishing his unworthy children, and everything to do with a foretelling of what future humans are making for themselves now that they have devised the instruments of global self-destruction. In this volume, some of the major thinkers about the interpretation of politics and religion— including Eric Voegelin, Leo Strauss, and Carl Schmitt— are scrutinized by some of today's most qualified scholars, all of whom are thoroughly versed in Girard’s groundbreaking work.
Including an important new essay by Girard, this volume enters into a philosophical debate that challenges the bona fides of philosophy itself by examining three supremely important philosopher of the twentieth century. It asks how we might think about politics now that the attacks of 9/11 have shifted our intellectual foundations and what the outbreak of rabid religion might signify for international politics.
The Politics of Gay Rights
Edited by Craig A. Rimmerman, Kenneth D. Wald, and Clyde Wilcox University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress HQ76.8.U5P65 2000 | Dewey Decimal 305.906640973
Few issues in American politics inspire such passion as that of civil rights for gays and lesbians. In this group of original essays, scholars and activists writing from a number of different perspectives provide a comprehensive overview of this heated debate. Contributors thoroughly investigate the politics of the gay and lesbian movement, beginning with its political organizations and tactics. The essays also address the strategies and ideology of conservative opposition groups, such as the Christian Right. They focus on key issues for public policy, including gays and lesbians openly serving in the military, anti-discrimination laws, and the ongoing crisis of AIDS. The book ends with chapters that discuss the ways in which the political struggle for gay rights has played out in various arenas—in Congress, in the courts, in state and local governments, and in electoral politics.
Forcefully argued and accessibly written, this collection is an important contribution to the current discussion about civil rights for gays and lesbians.
Politics of Religious Freedom
Edited by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Saba Mahmood, and Peter G. Danchin University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress BL65.P7P64235 2015 | Dewey Decimal 323.442
In a remarkably short period of time, the realization of religious freedom has achieved broad consensus as an indispensable condition for peace. Faced with widespread reports of religious persecution, public and private actors around the world have responded with laws and policies designed to promote freedom of religion. But what precisely is being promoted? What are the cultural and epistemological assumptions underlying this response, and what forms of politics are enabled in the process?
The fruits of the three-year Politics of Religious Freedom research project, the contributions to this volume unsettle the assumption—ubiquitous in policy circles—that religious freedom is a singular achievement, an easily understood state of affairs, and that the problem lies in its incomplete accomplishment. Taking a global perspective, the more than two dozen contributors delineate the different conceptions of religious freedom predominant in the world today, as well as their histories and social and political contexts. Together, the contributions make clear that the reasons for persecution are more varied and complex than is widely acknowledged, and that the indiscriminate promotion of a single legal and cultural tool meant to address conflict across a wide variety of cultures can have the perverse effect of exacerbating the problems that plague the communities cited as falling short.
As early as the sixteenth century the liberal democratic state has been forced to confront the question of religion in politics. The result has been a tense and uncomfortable balancing act. Today, in the public square of liberal democracy, a number of religious confessions and beliefs compete for attention. In the American experience, some sense of religious pluralism and relative social harmony has been maintained. However, for this relationship to prevail, a tension must continue to exist—one that balances the political and social pursuits of self-interest with meeting the objectives of the common good.
In Reaping the Whirlwind, John R. Pottenger shows how this process began in the modern world, and how societies attempt to manage this ongoing conflict. The first part of the book lays the groundwork of his analysis by using examples from history to demonstrate the genesis of political and religious "whirlwinds." It goes on to explore contemporary case studies, such as conflicts between Mormons and Evangelicals in the United States, liberation theology in Latin America, Islam and the state in Uzbekistan, and radical Christian reconstructionism.
Pottenger believes that the formal institutions of liberal democracy should maintain this turbulence, even as religious activism threatens to upset the balance. He concludes by advocating religious liberty and recognizing the individual and social need for expression. At the same time, he maintains that the survival of liberal democracy requires that these religious traditions not dominate the public sphere.
Refuge in the Lord
Lawrence J. McAndrews Catholic University of America Press, 2015 Library of Congress JV6483.M3345 2015 | Dewey Decimal 325.73
Rather than helping to overcome the growing political divide over immigration in the country and the church, Catholics on the outer edges of the issue contributed to it. By eschewing compromise in favor of confrontation, Catholic legislators from both parties too often helped prevent Congress from giving the presidents, and the public, most of what they wanted on immigration reform. By forsaking political reality in the name of religious purity, Catholic immigration advocates frequently antagonized the presidents whose goals they largely shared, and ultimately disappointed the immigrants they so badly wanted to help.
Religious institutions are often engaged in influencing the beliefs and values that individuals hold. But religious groups can also challenge how people think about democracy, including the extension of equal rights and liberties regardless of viewpoint, or what is commonly called political tolerance.
The essays in Religion and Political Tolerance in America seek to understand how these elements interrelate. The editor and contributors to this important volume present new and innovative research that wrestles with the fundamental question of the place of religion in democratic society. They address topics ranging from religious contributions to social identity to the political tolerance that religious elites (clergy) hold and advocate to others, and how religion shapes responses to intolerance.
The conclusion, by Ted Jelen, emphasizes that religion’s take on political tolerance is nuanced and that they are not incompatible; religion can sometimes enhance the tolerance of ordinary citizens.
Religious activities have been of continuing importance in the rise of protest against postcolonial governments in Eastern Africa. Issues considered include attempts by government to “manage” religious affairs in both Muslim and Christian areas; religious denominations as surrogate oppositions to one-party-state regimes and as advocates of human rights; Islamic fundamentalism before and after the end of the Cold War; and Christian churches as NGOs in the age of structural adjustment.
In Religion and the Struggle for European Union, Brent F. Nelsen and James L. Guth delve into the powerful role of religion in shaping European attitudes on politics, political integration, and the national and continental identities of its leaders and citizens.
Nelsen and Guth contend that for centuries Catholicism promoted the universality of the Church and the essential unity of Christendom. Protestantism, by contrast, esteemed particularity and feared Catholic dominance. These differing visions of Europe have influenced the process of postwar integration in profound ways. Nelsen and Guth compare the Catholic view of Europe as a single cultural entity best governed as a unified polity against traditional Protestant estrangement from continental culture and its preference for pragmatic cooperation over the sacrifice of sovereignty. As the authors show, this deep cultural divide, rooted in the struggles of the Reformation, resists the ongoing secularization of the continent. Unless addressed, it threatens decades of hard-won gains in security and prosperity.
Farsighted and rich with data, Religion and the Struggle for European Union offers a pragmatic way forward in the EU's attempts to solve its social, economic, and political crises.
How does religion stimulate and feed imperial ambitions and violence? Recently this question has acquired new urgency, and in Religion, Empire, and Torture, Bruce Lincoln approaches the problem via a classic but little-studied case: Achaemenian Persia.
Lincoln identifies three core components of an imperial theology that have transhistorical and contemporary relevance: dualistic ethics, a theory of divine election, and a sense of salvific mission. Beyond this, he asks, how did the Achaemenians understand their place in the cosmos and their moral status in relation to others? Why did they feel called to intervene in the struggle between good and evil? What was their sense of historic purpose, especially their desire to restore paradise lost? And how did this lead them to deal with enemies and critics as imperial power ran its course? Lincoln shows how these religious ideas shaped Achaemenian practice and brought the Persians unprecedented wealth, power, and territory, but also produced unmanageable contradictions, as in a gruesome case of torture discussed in the book’s final chapter. Close study of that episode leads Lincoln back to the present with a postscript that provides a searing and utterly novel perspective on the photographs from Abu Ghraib.
Prayer in public schools, abortion, gay and lesbian rights—these bitterly divisive issues dominate American politics today, revealing deep disagreements over basic moral values. In a highly readable account that draws on legal arguments, political theory, and philosophy, Ronald F. Thiemann explores the proper role of religious convictions in American public life. He proposes that religion can and should play an active, positive part in our society even as it maintains a fundamental commitment to pluralist, democratic values.
Arguing that both increased secularism and growing religious diversity since the 1960s have fragmented commonly held values, Thiemann observes that there has been an historical ambivalence in American attitudes towards religion in public life. He proposes abandoning the idea of an absolute wall between church and state and all the conceptual framework built around that concept in interpreting the first amendment. He returns instead to James Madison's views and the Constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and toleration. Refuting both political liberalism (as too secular) and communitarianism (as failing to meet the challenge of pluralism), Thiemann offers a new definition of liberalism that gives religions a voice in the public sphere as long as they heed the Constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and toleration or mutual respect.
The American republic, Thiemann notes, is a constantly evolving experiment in constructing a pluralistic society from its many particular communities. Religion can act as a positive force in its moral renewal, by helping to shape common cultural values.
All those interested in finding solutions to today's divisive political discord, in finding ways to disagree civilly in a democracy, and in exploring the extent to which religious convictions should shape the development of public policies will find that this book offers an important new direction for religion and the nation.
Recent events—from strife in Tibet and the rapid growth of Christianity in China to the spectacular expansion of Chinese Buddhist organizations around the globe—vividly demonstrate that one cannot understand the modern Chinese world without attending closely to the question of religion. The Religious Question in Modern China highlights parallels and contrasts between historical events, political regimes, and cultural movements to explore how religion has challenged and responded to secular Chinese modernity, from 1898 to the present.
Vincent Goossaert and David A. Palmer piece together the puzzle of religion in China not by looking separately at different religions in different contexts, but by writing a unified story of how religion has shaped, and in turn been shaped by, modern Chinese society. From Chinese medicine and the martial arts to communal temple cults and revivalist redemptive societies, the authors demonstrate that from the nineteenth century onward, as the Chinese state shifted, the religious landscape consistently resurfaced in a bewildering variety of old and new forms. The Religious Question in Modern China integrates historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives in a comprehensive overview of China’s religious history that is certain to become an indispensible reference for specialists and students alike.
A comprehensive analysis of the U.S. Central America peace movement, Resisting Reagan explains why more than one hundred thousand U.S. citizens marched in the streets, illegally housed refugees, traveled to Central American war zones, committed civil disobedience, and hounded their political representatives to contest the Reagan administration's policy of sponsoring wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Focusing on the movement's three most important national campaigns—Witness for Peace, Sanctuary, and the Pledge of Resistance—this book demonstrates the centrality of morality as a political motivator, highlights the importance of political opportunities in movement outcomes, and examines the social structuring of insurgent consciousness. Based on extensive surveys, interviews, and research, Resisting Reagan makes significant contributions to our understanding of the formation of individual activist identities, of national movement dynamics, and of religious resources for political activism.
After more than 500 years of marginalization, Latin America’s forty million Indians have recently made major strides in gaining political recognition and civil rights. In this book, social scientists explore the important role of religion in indigenous activism, showing the ways that religion has strengthened indigenous identity and contributed to the struggle for indigenous rights in the region.
Drawing on case studies from Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Mexico, the contributors explore four key questions. How have traditional religions interacted with Christianity to produce new practices and beliefs? What resources, motivations, and ideological legitimacies do religious institutions provide for indigenous social movements? How effective are these movements in achieving their goals? Finally, as new religious groups continue to compete for adherents in the region, how will individuals’ religious choices affect political outcomes?
Resurgent Voices in Latin America offers new insight into the dynamics of indigenous social movements and into the complex and changing world of Latin American religions. The essays show that religious beliefs, practices, and institutions have both affected and been affected by political activism.
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Western nations have increasingly recognized religion as a consideration in domestic and foreign policy. In this empirical comparison of the securitization of Islam in Britain, France, and the United States, Robert M. Bosco argues that religion is a category of phenomena defined by the discourses and politics of both religious and state elites.
Despite significant theoretical distinctions between securitization on the domestic and the international levels, he finds that the outcome of addressing religion within the context of security hinges upon partnerships. Whereas states may harness the power of international allies, they cannot often find analogous domestic allies; therefore, states that attempt to securitize religion at home are more vulnerable to counterattack and more likely to abandon their efforts. Securing the Sacred makes a significant contribution to the fields of political theory, international relations, Islamic studies, and security/military studies.
Sovereignty and the Sacred challenges contemporary models of polity and economy through a two-step engagement with the history of religions. Beginning with the recognition of the convergence in the history of European political theology between the sacred and the sovereign as creating “states of exception”—that is, moments of rupture in the normative order that, by transcending this order, are capable of re-founding or remaking it—Robert A. Yelle identifies our secular, capitalist system as an attempt to exclude such moments by subordinating them to the calculability of laws and markets. The second step marshals evidence from history and anthropology that helps us to recognize the contribution of such states of exception to ethical life, as a means of release from the legal or economic order. Yelle draws on evidence from the Hebrew Bible to English deism, and from the Aztecs to ancient India, to develop a theory of polity that finds a place and a purpose for those aspects of religion that are often marginalized and dismissed as irrational by Enlightenment liberalism and utilitarianism.
Developing this close analogy between two elemental domains of society, Sovereignty and the Sacred offers a new theory of religion while suggesting alternative ways of organizing our political and economic life. By rethinking the transcendent foundations and liberating potential of both religion and politics, Yelle points to more hopeful and ethical modes of collective life based on egalitarianism and popular sovereignty. Deliberately countering the narrowness of currently dominant economic, political, and legal theories, he demonstrates the potential of a revived history of religions to contribute to a rethinking of the foundations of our political and social order.
Tocqueville’s thesis on the relation between religion and liberty could hardly be timelier. From events in the Middle East and the spread of Islamist violence in the name of religion to the mandated coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the interaction between religion and politics has once again become central to political life. Tocqueville, facing the coming of a new social and political order within the traditional society that was France, faced this relation between politics and religion with freshness and relevance. He was particularly interested in reporting to his French compatriots on how the Americans had successfully resolved what, to many Frenchmen, looked to be an insuperable conflict. His surprising thesis was that the right kind of arrangement—a certain kind of separation of church and state that was not also a complete separation of religion and politics—could be seen in nineteenth century America to be beneficial to both liberty and religion. This volume investigates whether Tocqueville’s depiction was valid for the America he investigated in the 1830s and whether it remains valid today.
The field of bioethics was deeply influenced by religious thinkers as it emerged in the 1960s and early 1970s. Since that time, however, a seemingly neutral political liberalism has pervaded the public sphere, resulting in a deep suspicion of those bringing religious values to bear on questions of bioethics and public policy.
As a theological ethicist and progressive Catholic, Lisa Sowle Cahill does not want to cede the "religious perspective" to fundamentalists and the pro-life movement, nor does she want to submit to the gospel of a political liberalism that champions individual autonomy as holy writ. In Theological Bioethics, Cahill calls for progressive religious thinkers and believers to join in the effort to reclaim the best of their traditions through jointly engaging political forces at both community and national levels.
In Cahill's eyes, just access to health care must be the number one priority for this type of "participatory bioethics." She describes a new understanding of theological bioethics that must go beyond decrying injustice, beyond opposing social practices that commercialize human beings, beyond painting a vision of a more egalitarian future. Such a participatory bioethics, she argues, must also take account of and take part in a global social network of mobilization for change; it must seek out those in solidarity, those involved in a common calling to create a more just social, political, and economic system.
During the past two decades Cahill has made profound contributions to theological ethics and bioethics. This is a magisterial and programmatic statement that will alter how the religiously inclined understand their role in the great bioethics debates of today and tomorrow that yearn for clear thinking and prophetic wisdom.
The essays in Theology and the Political—written by some of the world’s foremost theologians, philosophers, and literary critics—analyze the ethics and consequences of human action. They explore the spiritual dimensions of ontology, considering the relationship between ontology and the political in light of the thought of figures ranging from Plato to Marx, Levinas to Derrida, and Augustine to Lacan. Together, the contributors challenge the belief that meaningful action is simply the successful assertion of will, that politics is ultimately reducible to “might makes right.” From a variety of perspectives, they suggest that grounding human action and politics in materialist critique offers revolutionary possibilities that transcend the nihilism inherent in both contemporary liberal democratic theory and neoconservative ideology.
Contributors. Anthony Baker, Daniel M. Bell Jr., Phillip Blond, Simon Critchley, Conor Cunningham, Creston Davis, William Desmond, Hent de Vries, Terry Eagleton, Rocco Gangle, Philip Goodchild, Karl Hefty, Eleanor Kaufman, Tom McCarthy, John Milbank, Antonio Negri, Catherine Pickstock, Patrick Aaron Riches, Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Regina Mara Schwartz, Kenneth Surin, Graham Ward, Rowan Williams, Slavoj Žižek
Modern liberal political philosophy is closely associated with post-1945 secularism. But Eric Nelson contends that the liberal tradition founded by John Rawls is an unwitting outgrowth of ancient theological debates about justice and evil. When we understand this, we can better untangle the knotted strands of liberal political thought.
At the center of pluralistic societies like the United States is the question of how to make broadly consensual social policy in light of the different moral values held by a heterogeneous population varying in ethnicity, sexual identity, religion, and political belief. In Thick Moralities, Thin Politics Benjamin Gregg develops a new approach to dealing with conflicting values in the policymaking process. Arguing that public policy suffers when politics are laden with moral doctrines, Gregg contends that "thickly" moral public philosophies cannot be the basis of a successful political process. He offers a "thin" model of political decision-making which brackets moral questions (within the public sphere), deliberately working around them whenever possible—not toward political consensus, but rather the more realistic goal of mutual accommodation.
Thick Moralities, Thin Politics grapples with the work of theorists from both sides of the Atlantic, including Jürgen Habermas, Anthony Giddens, and Niklas Luhmann, as well as George Herbert Mead, Erving Goffman, and Harold Garfinkel. Gregg develops a model of validity for arguments made in the public sphere, for understanding among competing worldviews, and for adjudicating disputes generated by normative differences. He applies his theory of politics to specific issues of contemporary social life, including those relating to the place of women, minorities, and multiculturalism in American and European society today. He also addresses the scientific study of religion, issues of legal interpretation, and the critique of ideology, in each case illuminating how different epistemic systems, as well as competing value systems, can achieve some understanding of one another. Gregg demonstrates, ultimately, that thin politics actually further, rather than reduce, citizens' engagement in the political process.
Toward a Civil Discourse examines how, in the current political climate, Americans find it difficult to discuss civic issues frankly and openly with one another. Because America is dominated by two powerful discourses--liberalism and Christian fundamentalism, each of which paints a very different picture of America and its citizens' responsibilities toward their country-there is little common ground, and hence Americans avoid disagreement for fear of giving offence.
Sharon Crowley considers the ancient art of rhetoric as a solution to the problems of repetition and condemnation that pervade American public discourse. Crowley recalls the historic rhetorical concept of stasis--where advocates in a debate agree upon the point on which they disagree, thereby recognizing their opponent as a person with a viable position or belief. Most contemporary arguments do not reach stasis, and without it, Crowley states, a nonviolent resolution cannot occur.
Toward a Civil Discourse investigates the cultural factors that lead to the formation of beliefs, and how beliefs can develop into densely articulated systems and political activism. Crowley asserts that rhetorical invention (which includes appeals to values and the passions) is superior in some cases to liberal argument (which often limits its appeals to empirical fact and reasoning) in mediating disagreements where participants are primarily motivated by a moral or passionate commitment to beliefs.
Sharon Crowley examines numerous current issues and opposing views, and discusses the consequences to society when, more often than not, argumentative exchange does not occur. She underscores the urgency of developing a civil discourse, and through a review of historic rhetoric and its modern application, provides a foundation for such a discourse-whose ultimate goal, in the tradition of the ancients, is democratic discussion of civic issues.
The ancient Romans are well known for their love of the pageantry of power. No single ceremony better attests to this characteristic than the triumph, which celebrated the victory of a Roman commander through a grand ceremonial entrance into the city that ended in rites performed to Rome’s chief tutelary deity, Jupiter Optimus Maximus, on the Capitoline hill. The triumph, however, was only one form of ceremonial arrival at the city, and Jupiter was not the only god to whom vows were made and subsequently fulfilled at the end of a successful assignment. Ushering in a New Republic expands our view beyond a narrow focus on the triumph to look at the creative ways in which the great figures of Rome in the first century BCE (men such as Sulla, Caesar, Augustus, and others) crafted theological performances and narratives both in and around their departures from Rome and then returned to cast themselves in the role of divinely supported saviors of a faltering Republic.
Trevor S. Luke tackles some of the major issues of the history of the Late Republic and the transition to the empire in a novel way. Taking the perspective that Roman elites, even at this late date, took their own religion seriously as a way to communicate meaning to their fellow Romans, the volume reinterprets some of the most famous events of that period in order to highlight what Sulla, Caesar, and figures of similar stature did to make a religious argument or defense for their actions. This exploration will be of interest to scholars of religion, political science, sociology, classics, and ancient history and to the general history enthusiast. While many people are aware of the important battles and major thinkers of this period of Roman history, the story of its theological discourse and competition is unfolded here for the first time.
Over the past two decades secular polities across the globe have witnessed an increasing turn to religion-based political movements, such as the rise of political Islam and Hindu nationalism, which have been fueling new and alternative notions of nationhood and national ideologies. The rise of such movements has initiated widespread debates over the meaning, efficacy, and normative worth of secularism. Visualizing Secularism and Religion examines the constitutive role of religion in the formation of secular-national public spheres in the Middle East and South Asia, arguing that in order to establish secularism as the dominant national ideology of countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, and India, the discourses, practices, and institutions of secular nation-building include rather than exclude religion as a presence within the public sphere. The contributors examine three fields---urban space and architecture, media, and public rituals such as parades, processions, and commemorative festivals---with a view to exploring how the relation between secularism, religion, and nationalism is displayed and performed. This approach demands a reconceptualization of secularism as an array of contextually specific practices, ideologies, subjectivities, and "performances" rather than as simply an abstract legal bundle of rights and policies.
Differences among religious communities have motivated—and continue to motivate—many of the deadliest conflicts in human history. But how did political power and organized religion become so thoroughly intertwined? And how have religion and religiously motivated conflicts affected the evolution of societies throughout history, from demographic and sociopolitical change to economic growth?
War, Peace, and Prosperity in the Name of God turns the focus on the “big three monotheisms”—Judaism, Islam, and Christianity—to consider these questions. Chronicling the relatively rapid spread of the Abrahamic religions among the Old World, Murat Iyigun shows that societies that adhered to a monotheistic belief in that era lasted longer, suggesting that monotheism brought some sociopolitical advantages. While the inherent belief in one true god meant that these religious communities had sooner or later to contend with one another, Iyigun shows that differences among them were typically strong enough to trump disagreements within. The book concludes by documenting the long-term repercussions of these dynamics for the organization of societies and their politics in Europe and the Middle East.
Who Shall Enter Paradise? recounts in detail the history of Christian-Muslim engagement in a core area of sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous nation, home to roughly equal numbers of Christians and Muslims. It is a region today beset by religious violence, in the course of which history has often been told in overly simplified or highly partisan terms. This book reexamines conversion and religious identification not as fixed phenomena, but as experiences shaped through cross-cultural encounters, experimentation, collaboration, protest, and sympathy.
Shobana Shankar relates how Christian missions and African converts transformed religious practices and politics in Muslim Northern Nigeria during the colonial and early postcolonial periods. Although the British colonial authorities prohibited Christian evangelism in Muslim areas and circumscribed missionary activities, a combination of factors—including Mahdist insurrection, the abolition of slavery, migrant labor, and women’s evangelism—brought new converts to the faith. By the 1930s, however, this organic growth of Christianity in the north had given way to an institutionalized culture based around medical facilities established in the Hausa emirates. The end of World War II brought an influx of demobilized soldiers, who integrated themselves into the local Christian communities and reinvigorated the practice of lay evangelism.
In the era of independence, Muslim politicians consolidated their power by adopting many of the methods of missionaries and evangelists. In the process, many Christian men and formerly non-Muslim communities converted to Islam. A vital part of Northern Nigerian Christianity all but vanished, becoming a religion of “outsiders.”
Why I Am Not a Secularist
William E. Connolly University of Minnesota Press, 2000 Library of Congress BL65.P7C66 1999 | Dewey Decimal 291.177
Why Niebuhr Now?
John Patrick Diggins University of Chicago Press, 2011 Library of Congress BX4827.N5D54 2011 | Dewey Decimal 230.044092
Barack Obama has called him “one of my favorite philosophers.” John McCain wrote that he is “a paragon of clarity about the costs of a good war.” Andrew Sullivan has said, “We need Niebuhr now more than ever.” For a theologian who died in 1971, Reinhold Niebuhr is maintaining a remarkably high profile in the twenty-first century.
In Why Niebuhr Now? acclaimed historian John Patrick Diggins tackles the complicated question of why, at a time of great uncertainty about America’s proper role in the world, leading politicians and thinkers are turning to Niebuhr for answers. Diggins begins by clearly and carefully working through Niebuhr’s theology, which focuses less on God’s presence than his absence—and the ways that absence abets the all-too-human sin of pride. He then shows how that theology informed Niebuhr’s worldview, leading him to be at the same time a strong opponent of fascism and communism and a leading advocate for humility and caution in foreign policy.
Turning to the present, Diggins highlights what he argues is a misuse of Niebuhr’s legacy on both the right and the left: while neoconservatives distort Niebuhr’s arguments to support their call for an endless war on terror in the name of stopping evil, many liberal interventionists conveniently ignore Niebuhr’s fundamental doubts about power. Ultimately, Niebuhr’s greatest lesson is that, while it is our duty to struggle for good, we must at the same time be wary of hubris, remembering the limits of our understanding.
The final work from a distinguished writer who spent his entire career reflecting on America’s history and promise, Why Niebuhr Now? is a compact and perceptive book that will be the starting point for all future discussions of Niebuhr.