Books of Interest: Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka’s Civil War
Suren Raghavan, Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka’s Civil War: Ethnoreligious Nationalism of the Sinhala Saṅgha and Peacemaking in Sri Lanka, 1995-2010 (Equinox, 2016).
The war in Sri Lanka was violent and costly in human and material terms. This was one of the longest wars in modern South Asia. Often referred to as an ‘ethnic’ conflict between the majority Sinhalas and the minority Tamils, the war had a profound religious dimension. The majority of Sinhala Buddhist monks (the Saṅgha) not only opposed any meaningful powersharing but latterly advocated an all-out military solution. Such a nexus between Buddhism and violence is paradoxical; nevertheless it has a historical continuity. In 2009 when the war ended amid serious questions of war crimes and crimes against humanity, monks defended the military and its Buddhist leadership.
Taking the lives of three key Saṅgha activists as the modern framework of a Sinhala Buddhist worldview, this book examines the limitations of Western theories of peacebuilding and such solutions as federalism and multinationalism. It analyzes Sinhala Buddhist ethnoreligious nationalism and argues for the urgent need to engage Buddhist politics – in Lanka and elsewhere – with approaches and mechanisms that accommodate the Saṅgha as key actors in political reform.
Sinhala Buddhism is often studied from a sociological or anthropological standpoint. This book fills a gap by examining the faith and practice of the Sinhala Saṅgha and their followers from a political science perspective
Books of Interest: After World Religions
Christopher R. Cotter and David G. Robertson (eds.), After World Religions: Reconstructing Religious Studies (Routledge, 2016).
The World Religions Paradigm has been the subject of critique and controversy in Religious Studies for many years. After World Religions provides a rationale for overhauling the World Religions curriculum, as well as a roadmap for doing so. The volume offers concise and practical introductions to cutting-edge Religious Studies method and theory, introducing a wide range of pedagogical situations and innovative solutions. An international team of scholars addresses the challenges presented in their different departmental, institutional, and geographical contexts. Instructors developing syllabi will find supplementary reading lists and specific suggestions to help guide their teaching. Students at all levels will find the book an invaluable entry point into an area of ongoing scholarly debate.
New Issue of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion
Table of contents
Editorial- open access
Who Gets to Play in the Sandbox? Debating Identities, Methodologies, and Theoretical Frameworks
Philip L. Tite
For the Good or the Guild: An Open Letter to the Academy of Religion
Kate Daley Bailey
When Is a Religion Like a Weed?: Some Thoughts on Why and How We Define Things
A Search for the “Really” Real: Philosophically Approaching the Task of Defining Religion
J. Aaron Simmons
Worlds Apart: The Essentials of Critical Thinking
K. Merinda Simmons
A deep-seated schism: Fundamental discussions in the study of religions
Caroline Schaffalitzky de Muckadell
Who Believed There Was A Bomb and When Did They Believe It? What Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock Says About Belief and Moral Panic
Joseph P. Laycock
“Better get to know Practicum: Critical Theory, Religion, and Pedagogy” an interview with Craig Martin and Brad Stoddard of Practicum blog
Editor’s Corner: NAASR Membership and the Bulletin for the Study of Religion: An Important Announcement and a Personal Reflection<
Philip L. Tite
Job Opening at Utrecht University
This opening in religious studies might be of interest to NAASR members:
The position is attached to the subject area Religious Studies within the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University. The subject area Religious Studies offers a dynamic, research-oriented context with a strong commitment to excellence in teaching and curriculum development. Research and teaching in Religious Studies at UU is carried out in collaboration with the subject area Islam and Arabic, as well as with other programs within the Faculty of Humanities and beyond.
Call for Papers: Religious Transformation in Asian History
In April 2016, the Australian National University is holding a conference on “Religious Transformation in Asian History”:
Asian history and culture have been profoundly influenced by a number of religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Islam, Sikhism, Shamanism, and Shintō). These traditions offer spiritual guidelines but also set moral and ethical standards for the daily life of people in Asian countries. The formation of cultures of communities across the region was informed by regional religious traditions. However, their social structures were challenged by the wave of colonialism and imperialism in the modern era. Just as Western modernisation affected society, politics, law, culture, customs, and ways of thinking in Asia, it also influenced the domestic conditions of traditional religions. They became either weak and irrelevant or they transformed in order to survive. Many new religious movements also emerged as alternatives. What were the key issues in the colonial environment of Asia? How did local religious communities react against modernisation? What modes of religious existence prevailed: consistency, transformation, or compromise? The primary aim of the ANU Religion Conference is to explore the various phenomena of socio-religious transitions in Asian history. The religiosity of Asian people is used as a new perspective by which Asian modernisation can be re-interpreted in a fresh way.
For more information see this PDF.
Bloomsbury Studies in Religion, Space, and Place
- Paul-François Tremlett, The Open University, UK email@example.com
- John Eade, University of Roehampton, London, UK J.Eade@roehampton.ac.uk
- Katy Soar, Royal Holloway, UK firstname.lastname@example.org
Religions, spiritualities and mysticisms are deeply implicated in processes of spatial and place-making. These include political and geopolitical spaces, local and national spaces, urban spaces, global and virtual spaces, contested spaces, spaces of performance, spaces of memory and spaces of confinement.
At the leading edge of theoretical, methodological, and interdisciplinary innovation in the study of religion, Bloomsbury Studies in Religion, Space and Place brings together and gives shape to the study of such processes and places. These places are not defined simply by the material or the physical but also by the sensual and the psychological, by the ways in which spaces are gendered, classified, stratified, moved through, seen, touched, heard, interpreted and occupied. Places are constituted through embodied practices that direct critical and analytical attention to the production of insides, outsides, bodies, landscapes, cities, sovereignties, publics and interiorities.
TOPICS OF INTEREST TO THE EDITORS
- Ritual & Place-Making (historical, ancient and/or contemporary religious practices)
- Mobility, Power and Place/Pilgrims, Tourists and the Invention of Sacred Space (religion on the move in historical, ancient and/or contemporary contexts)
- Religion, Space and Disruption (the study of religion at times of rapid socio-spatial and political change)
- The Politics of Religious Space (the study of religion, space and power)
- Religion and the City (religion in urban contexts in historical, ancient or contemporary perspectives
CONFIRMED VOLUMES SO FAR:
Religion and the Global City
David Garbin & Anna Strhan
Religion, Migration and Globalization
A New Theory of Religion and Social Change
To visit the Bloomsbury website, click here.
Books of Interest: Claiming Identity in the Study of Religion
Monica R. Miller (ed.), Claiming Identity in the Study of Religion: Social and Rhetorical Techniques Examined (Equinox, 2015).
Focusing on the academic study of religion, Claiming Identity in the Study of Religion is the first in a series that grapples with the historicity of identity and the social and rhetorical techniques that make claims to identity possible.
In this volume, six previously published essays by scholar of religion Russell T. McCutcheon are each coupled with a new substantive commentary by North American contributors. McCutcheon’s essays highlight different identifying claims within the work of a number of leading scholars of religion. The companion contributions analyze the strategies of identification employed by the scholars whom McCutcheon discusses. Monica R. Miller provides an introduction to the volume and Steven W. Ramey provides a concluding essay. The strategies of identification highlighted and exposed in this text are further explored in the second volume in the series, The Problem of Nostalgia in the Study of Identity through a set of detailed ethnographic and historical studies that press novel ways of studying identity as an always active and ongoing process of signification.
Senior and Junior Postdoctoral Fellowships, University of Erfurt
There is an opening at the Max Weber Kolleg, Erfurt, Germany, for up to 10 research fellowships. This is targeted at experienced scholars, i.e., applicants must be in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience at the call deadline. Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than twelve months in the three years immediately prior to the call deadline.
While inter-disciplinary, the opening is highly relevant for scholars of religion\s; among topics for research projects it lists the following areas:
- Theories of human action in the social science and humanities and their bearing on normative questions and social criticism;
- Interactions between cultures, social orders, structures of temporality and mentalities in the context of change;
- Religion, science and law as sources of social organisation, innovation and meaning.
Please click here to find the current call for applications which invites applications for fellowships for the academic year 2016/17. Deadline for application is October 15th, 2015. Click here for available detailed information about the MWK-FELLOWS fellowship programme as well as the application and selection process.
New Issue of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion (44.3)
Editorial- open access
Texts and their scholars: the co-production of texts, audiences, and communities.
Arlene L. Macdonald
Religion Past and Present — The English Translation of the 4th edition: Introducing an AAR/SBL Review Panel
Review of Articles in the Field of Hebrew Bible in Religion Past and Present
New Testament Studies in Religion Past and Present
Richard E. DeMaris
Canon and Curation: What does the Completion of RPP mean for North American Students of Theology, Church History, and Philosophy?
The Approach to the Social Sciences in Religion Past and Present
Robert Alan Segal
Galen, De indolentia, and Early Christian Literature
Trevor Wade Thompson
Disruptive Narratives of Jesus: Feuerbach and Ricoeur in Dialogue
Editor’s Corner: Critics or Caretakers? It’s All in the Mapping
Philip L. Tite
Signifying on the World Religions Paradigm: My Version of Religion 101
Field Notes: News and Announcements in the Discipline
Announcement: The International Society for Historians of Atheism, Secularism, and Humanism
The newly formed International Society for Historians of Atheism, Secularism, and Humanism aims to provide a forum for academics working on any historical aspect of atheism, secularism, or humanism, broadly defined. This society will provide the growing number of scholars in this area the means to communicate and collaborate with others who share their interests. Previously, only a handful of academics have dealt with the history of unbelief in any sustained way, but in recent years this has begun to change. The society will therefore encourage and facilitate the growth of this vibrant new field.