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Books of Interest: Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka’s Civil War

buddhistSuren 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

afterworldChristopher 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
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/BSOR/article/view/29521

Articles

For the Good or the Guild: An Open Letter to the Academy of Religion
Kate Daley Bailey
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/BSOR/article/view/29036

When Is a Religion Like a Weed?: Some Thoughts on Why and How We Define Things
Nathan Rein
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/BSOR/article/view/27760

A Search for the “Really” Real: Philosophically Approaching the Task of Defining Religion
J. Aaron Simmons
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/BSOR/article/view/27553

Worlds Apart: The Essentials of Critical Thinking
K. Merinda Simmons
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/BSOR/article/view/27562

A deep-seated schism: Fundamental discussions in the study of religions
Caroline Schaffalitzky de Muckadell
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/BSOR/article/view/28973

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
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/BSOR/article/view/28907

“Better get to know Practicum: Critical Theory, Religion, and Pedagogy” an interview with Craig Martin and Brad Stoddard of Practicum blog
Ipsita Chatterjea
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/BSOR/article/view/29035

Editor’s Corner: NAASR Membership and the Bulletin for the Study of Religion: An Important Announcement and a Personal Reflection<
Philip L. Tite
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/BSOR/article/view/29053

Job Opening at Utrecht University

uu-logo_0This 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.

More details available here.

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

logo blSERIES EDITORS

  • Paul-François Tremlett, The Open University, UK paul-francois.tremlett@open.ac.uk
  • John Eade, University of Roehampton, London, UK J.Eade@roehampton.ac.uk
  • Katy Soar, Royal Holloway, UK katy.soar@rhul.ac.uk

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:

Title

Author/Editor

Publication Year

Religion and the Global City

David Garbin & Anna Strhan

2017

Religion, Migration and Globalization

David Garbin

2017

A New Theory of Religion and Social Change

Paul-François Tremlett

2019

To visit the Bloomsbury website, click here.

Books of Interest: Claiming Identity in the Study of Religion

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.