Publications List

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Sponsored by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, in partnership with Columbia University Press, the publication series Religion, Culture, and Public Life is devoted to the investigation of the role of religion in society and culture today.

Edited by Karen Barkey from 2011-2016, the series is dedicated to exploring the ways in which religion intersects with public life in practice and theory, and examines connections between religion and art, literature, science, politics, and history. Publications focus on issues related to questions of difference, identity, and practice within local, national, and international contexts.  Special attention is paid to religious traditions in relation to conflict, violence, and intolerance, as well as to human rights, ecumenical values, and practices of mutual understanding.  Drawing on diverse methodologies and different religious, social and cultural traditions, works published in the series open channels of communication that facilitate critical analysis. The series includes both single author texts and edited collections of multi-author essays.

Pakistan at the Crossroads: Domestic Dynamics and External Pressures

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Edited by Christophe Jaffrelot
Published April 2016

In Pakistan at the Crossroads, top international scholars assess Pakistan’s politics and economics and the challenges faced by its civil and military leaders domestically and diplomatically. Contributors examine the state’s handling of internal threats, tensions between civilians and the military, strategies of political parties, police and law enforcement reform, trends in judicial activism, the rise of border conflicts, economic challenges, financial entanglements with foreign powers, and diplomatic relations with India, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and the United States.

In addition to ethnic strife in Baluchistan and Karachi, terrorist violence in Pakistan in response to the American-led military intervention in Afghanistan and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas by means of drones, as well as to Pakistani army operations in the Pashtun area, has reached an unprecedented level. There is a growing consensus among state leaders that the nation’s main security threats may come not from India but from its spiraling internal conflicts, though this realization may not sufficiently dissuade the Pakistani army from targeting the country’s largest neighbor. This volume is therefore critical to grasping the sophisticated interplay of internal and external forces complicating the country’s recent trajectory.

Christophe Jaffrelot is research director at the Centre de recherches internationales (CERI) and Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS). He teaches South Asian politics at Sciences Po (Paris) and King’s College (London). His books on Pakistan include Pakistan: Nationalism Without a Nation? (2002), A History of Pakistan and Its Origins (2004), and The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience (2015).

More information is available at cup.columbia.edu.

Beyond the Secular West

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Edited by Akeel Bilgrami
Published March 2016

What is the character of secularism in countries that were not pervaded by Christianity, such as China, India, and the nations of the Middle East? To what extent is the secular an imposition of colonial rule? How does secularism comport with local religious cultures in Africa, and how does it work with local forms of power and governance in Latin America? Has modern secularism evolved organically, or is it even necessary, and has it always meant progress?

A vital extension of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, in which he exhaustively chronicled the emergence of secularism in Latin Christendom, this anthology applies Taylor’s findings to secularism’s global migration. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Rajeev Bhargava, Akeel Bilgrami, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Sudipta Kaviraj, Claudio Lomnitz, Alfred Stepan, Charles Taylor, and Peter van der Veer each explore the transformation of Western secularism beyond Europe, and the collection closes with Taylor’s response to each essay. What began as a modern reaction to—as well as a stubborn extension of—Latin Christendom has become a complex export shaped by the world’s religious and political systems. Brilliantly alternating between intellectual and methodological approaches, this volume fosters a greater engagement with the phenomenon across disciplines.

Akeel Bilgrami is the Sidney Morgenbesser Chair of Philosophy and the Director of the South Asian Institute at Columbia University. The contributors to the volume include Irfan Habib, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Utsa Patnaik, Charles Taylor, Prabhat Patnaik, Aijaz Ahmad, and Partha Chatterjee, among others.

More information is available at cup.columbia.edu.

Race and Secularism in America

race and secularism in america

Edited by Jonathon S. Kahn and Vincent W. Lloyd
Published March 2016

This anthology draws bold comparisons between secularist strategies to contain, privatize, and discipline religion and the treatment of racialized subjects by the American state. Specializing in history, literature, anthropology, theology, religious studies, and political theory, contributors expose secularism’s prohibitive practices in all facets of American society and suggest opportunities for change.

“A tremendous volume. Its originality and interdisciplinary breadth will attract a range of scholars in the humanities and social sciences. It will shift conversations within and facilitate new discussions across the fields of race, religion, literature, and theology.”

– James Manigault-Bryant, Williams College

“Jonathon S. Kahn and Vincent W. Lloyd have pulled together a deeply original set of essays on race and secularism in the United States that effectively challenges intellectualist, European-derived accounts of secularist discourse. Focusing on the fundamental whiteness of American secularism, the collection highlights the ways in which the specificities of both race and religion have been managed―and obscured―through the ideals and practices of secular statecraft. It is an impressive and necessary critique of the widespread neglect of race and racialization in contemporary secular studies.”

– Leigh Eric Schmidt, Washington University in St. Louis

“This well-conceived and well-crafted collection provides another account of secularism by interrogating those processes by which not only are religion and religious discourse regulated or excluded but also race and religion are entwined, managed, or resisted. Methodologically and theoretically, these essays substantially deepen and complicate our understanding of secularism, religion, and race.”

– M. Shawn Copeland, Boston College

Jonathon S. Kahn is associate professor of religion at Vassar College. He is the author of Divine Discontent: The Religious Imagination of W. E. B. Du Bois.

Vincent W. Lloyd is assistant professor of religion at Syracuse University. His books include The Problem with Grace: Reconfiguring Political Theology and the edited volume Race and Political Theology.

More information is available at cup.columbia.edu.

Religion, Secularism, and Constitutional Democracy

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Edited by Jean L. Cohen and Cécile Laborde
Published December 2015

Polarization between political religionists and militant secularists on both sides of the Atlantic is on the rise. Critically engaging with traditional secularism and religious accommodationism, this collection introduces a constitutional secularism that robustly meets contemporary challenges. It identifies which connections between religion and the state are compatible with the liberal, republican, and democratic principles of constitutional democracy and assesses the success of their implementation in the birthplace of political secularism: the United States and Western Europe.

Approaching this issue from philosophical, legal, historical, political, and sociological perspectives, the contributors wage a thorough defense of their project’s theoretical and institutional legitimacy. Their work brings fresh insight to debates over the balance of human rights and religious freedom, the proper definition of a nonestablishment norm, and the relationship between sovereignty and legal pluralism. They discuss the genealogy of and tensions involving international legal rights to religious freedom, religious symbols in public spaces, religious arguments in public debates, the jurisdiction of religious authorities in personal law, and the dilemmas of religious accommodation in national constitutions and public policy when it violates international human rights agreements or liberal-democratic principles. If we profoundly rethink the concepts of religion and secularism, these thinkers argue, a principled adjudication of competing claims becomes possible.

Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert Singer Professor of Political Theory at Columbia University. She is the coauthor of Civil Society and Political Theory and the author of Class and Civil Society: The Limits of Marxian Critical Theory; Regulating Intimacy: A New Legal Paradigm; and Globalization and Sovereignty: Rethinking Legitimacy and Legality.

Cécile Laborde is a professor of political theory at University College London and a fellow of the British Academy. She is the author of Pluralist Thought and the State in Britain and France and Critical Republicanism: The Hijab Controversy and Political Philosophy.

More information is available at cup.columbia.edu.

Mormonism and American Politics

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Edited by Randall Balmer and Jana Riess
Published December 2015

When Joseph Smith ran for president as a radical protest candidate in 1844, Mormons were a deeply distrusted group in American society, and their efforts to enter public life were met with derision. When Mitt Romney ran for president as a Republican in 2008 and 2012, the public had come to regard Mormons as consummate Americans: patriotic, family-oriented, and conservative. How did this shift occur?

In this collection, prominent scholars of Mormonism, including Claudia L. Bushman, Richard Lyman Bushman, Jan Shipps, and Philip L. Barlow, follow the religion’s quest for legitimacy in the United States and its intersection with American politics. From Brigham Young’s skirmishes with the federal government over polygamy to the Mormon involvement in California’s Proposition 8, contributors combine sociology, political science, race and gender studies, and popular culture to track Mormonism’s rapid integration into American life. The book takes a broad view of the religion’s history, considering its treatment of women and African Americans and its portrayal in popular culture and the media. With essays from both Mormon and non-Mormon scholars, this anthology tells a big-picture story of a small sect that became a major player in American politics.

Randall Balmer is chair of the religion department and John Phillips Professor in Religion at Dartmouth College. An award-winning historian, his books include God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, which was made into an award-winning documentary for PBS.

Jana Riess is the author or coauthor of many books, including Flunking Sainthood, American Pilgrimage, andMormonism for Dummies. She has taught at Barnard College and Miami University in Ohio and is a senior columnist for Religion News Service.

The Making of Salafism Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century

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By Henri Lauzière
Published: November 2015

Some Islamic scholars hold that Salafism is an innovative and rationalist effort at Islamic reform that emerged in the late nineteenth century but disappeared in the mid twentieth. Others argue Salafism is an anti-innovative and antirationalist movement of Islamic purism that dates back to the medieval period yet persists today. Though they contradict each other, both narratives are considered authoritative, making it hard for outsiders to grasp the history of the ideology and its core beliefs.

Introducing a third, empirically based genealogy, The Making of Salafism understands the movement as a recent conception of Islam projected back onto the past, and it sees its purist evolution as a direct result of decolonization. Henri Lauzière builds his history on the transnational networks of Taqi al-Din al-Hilali (1894-1987), a Moroccan Salafi who, with his associates, oversaw Salafism’s modern development. Traveling from Rabat to Mecca, from Calcutta to Berlin, al-Hilali interacted with high-profile Salafi scholars and activists who eventually abandoned Islamic modernism in favor of a more purist approach to Islam. Today, Salafis claim a monopoly on religious truth and freely confront other Muslims on theological and legal issues. Lauzière’s pathbreaking history recognizes the social forces behind this purist turn, uncovering the popular origins of what has become a global phenomenon.

Henri Lauzière is assistant professor of history at Northwestern University. His research focuses on modern Islamic intellectual history in the Middle East and North Africa, with a particular interest in the ways in which historians process and produce knowledge about ideas.

More information is available at Columbia University Press.

Love and Forgiveness for a More Just World

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Edited by Hent de Vries and Nils F. Schott
Published: November 2015

One can love and not forgive or out of love decide not to forgive. Or one can forgive but not love, or choose to forgive but not love the ones forgiven. Love and forgiveness follow parallel and largely independent paths, a truth we fail to acknowledge when we pressure others to both love and forgive. Individuals in conflict, sparring social and ethnic groups, warring religious communities, and insecure nations often do not need to pursue love and forgiveness to achieve peace of mind and heart. They need to remain attentive to the needs of others, an alertness that prompts either love or forgiveness to respond.

By reorienting our perception of these enduring phenomena, the contributors to this volume inspire new applications for love and forgiveness in an increasingly globalized and no longer quite secular world. With contributions by the renowned French philosophers Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion, the poet Haleh Liza Gafori, and scholars of religion (Leora Batnitzky, Nils F. Schott, Hent de Vries), psychoanalysis (Albert Mason, Orna Ophir), Islamic and political philosophy (Sari Nusseibeh), and the Bible and literature (Regina Schwartz), this anthology reconstructs the historical and conceptual lineage of love and forgiveness and their fraught relationship over time. By examining how we have used–and misused–these concepts, the authors advance a better understanding of their ability to unite different individuals and emerging groups around a shared engagement for freedom and equality, peace and solidarity.

Hent de Vries is director of the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University, where he holds the Russ Family Chair in the Humanities and Philosophy. He is also director of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. He is the author of Minimal Theologies: Critiques of Secular Reason in Theodor W. Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas; Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida; and Philosophy and the Turn to Religion and the editor of Religion Beyond a Concept.

Nils F. Schott is James M. Motley Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. The author of The Conversion of Knowledge: Enlightenment and Religion in Eighteenth-Century Catechisms, he has also translated several works, most recently Vladimir Jankélévitch’s Henri Bergson, which he coedited with Alexandre Lefebvre.