Islam and the Liberal State: National Identity and the Future of Muslim Britain
by Stephen H. Jones
“Stephen Jones has produced the first book of its kind, a work that considers the interaction of political liberalism with actual lived Islam in Britain. Islam and the Liberal State is both an urgent read in these populist times and a far-reaching vision for a better future.”
Daniel Nilsson DeHanas, Senior Lecturer in Political Science and Religion, King’s College London, UK
National identity and liberal democracy are recurrent themes in debates about Muslim minorities in the West. Britain is no exception, with politicians responding to claims about Muslims’ lack of integration by mandating the promotion of ‘fundamental British values’ including ‘democracy’ and ‘individual liberty’.
This book engages with both these themes, addressing the lack of understanding about the character of British Islam and its relationship to the liberal state. It charts a gradual but decisive shift in British institutions concerned with Islamic education, Islamic law and Muslim representation since Muslims settled in the UK in large numbers in the 1950s. Based on empirical research including interviews undertaken over a ten-year period with Muslims, and analysis of public events organized by Islamic institutions, Stephen Jones challenges claims about the isolation of British Islamic organizations and shows that they have decisively shaped themselves around British public and institutional norms. He argues that this amounts to the building of a distinctive ‘British Islam’. Using this narrative, the book makes the case for a variety of liberalism that is open to the expression of religious arguments in public and to associations between religious groups and the state.
It also offers a powerful challenge to claims about the insularity of British Islamic institutions by showing how the national orientation of Islam called for by British policymakers is, in fact, already happening. The book uses this evidence to argue that the incorporation of Muslim minorities enables democratic renewal, with national identification having a positive impact on cultural minorities and political dissent.
Conferences 36th ISSR/SISR ‘Religion in Global/Local Perspectives: Diffusion, Migration, Transformation’ Conference, 12-15 July 2021 (digital only), Taipei, Taiwan. Call for sessions extended till 14 December 2020. Call for papers revised: 8 January to 28 February 2021. More info. Center for Critical Research on Religion and Queens University Belfast, conference on “Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion”, 11-14 June 2021. Proposal deadline 15 January 2021. More info. 3rd ANU Religion Conference – Religion and Migration: Culture and Policy. Canberra, 8-10 December 2021. Proposal deadline 21 May 2021. More info.
Teaching Resources Adeana McNicholl and Ann Gleig are looking for material to include in their co-directed project “Teaching Resources for Buddhism, race and racism,” which is being hosted at teachingbuddhism.net and funded by The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation at the University of Toronto. Our aim is to compile and provide a comprehensive list of primary and secondary material as well as teaching resources, including syllabi, lesson plans, and strategies, when teaching issues of race and racism in Buddhist Studies courses. Topics can include Orientalism, decolonization, race, and ethnicity anywhere in the Buddhist world.
Event: Dr Anna Halafoff will be speaking at an international workshop Religion and Science in Covid Times: Research Perspectives, organised by UAB Barcelona and the International Organization of Scientific Research: November 19th & 20th, 2020 | Central European Time (UTC +1)The Australian Sociology Association (TASA) has a series of presentations on Religion. Registration and details.‘Religion and Public Life in Australia’ on 24 Nov 2020, 1-2.30pm.’Grants Capture in the Australian Research Council’s “Religion and Religious Studies” Field Code’ on 24 November 2020, 3.30-5pmBook Launch – The Sage Encyclopedia of the Sociology of Religion, 25 Nov 2020, 2-2.30pm
The Call for Paper for the 45th Annual Conference of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion (AASR) is now open. Submission for abstracts is open till 31 October 2020. We strongly encourage postgraduate students to participate (free registration). Please check out our website for more information. We look forward to seeing you there.
Call for Papers:
Conferences 36th ISSR/SISR ‘Religion in Global/Local Perspectives: Diffusion, Migration, Transformation’ Conference, 12-15 July 2021, Taipei, Taiwan. Call for sessions: 15 July to 15 September 2020. Call for papers: 1 October to 15 November 2020. More info. Center for Critical Research on Religion and Queens University Belfast, conference on “Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion”, 11-14 June 2021. Proposal deadline 15 January 2021. More info .3rd ANU Religion Conference – Religion and Migration: Culture and Policy. Canberra, 8-10 ecember 2021. Proposal deadline 21 May 2021. More info.
Why are we so concerned with belonging? In what ways does our belonging constitute our identity? Is belonging a universal concept or a culturally dependent value? How does belonging situate and motivate us? Joseph E. David grapples with these questions through a genealogical analysis of ideas and concepts of belonging. His book transports readers to crucial historical moments in which perceptions of belonging have been formed, transformed, or dismantled. The cases presented here focus on the pivotal role played by belonging in kinship, law, and political order, stretching across cultural and religious contexts from eleventh-century Mediterranean religious legal debates to twentieth-century statist liberalism in Western societies. With his thorough inquiry into diverse discourses of belonging, David pushes past the politics of belonging and forces us to acknowledge just how wide-ranging and fluid notions of belonging can be.
‘Not since Charles Taylor have scholars seen such a profound inquiry into the sources of selfhood and the nature of belonging in community. Joseph David draws on a stunning range of ancient and modern, familiar and forgotten figures to probe the depths of human nature and our essential bonds of marriage and family, friendship and faith, property and state. This is interdisciplinary and interreligious scholarship of the highest caliber.’ —– John Witte, Jr. – Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University
‘Joseph David’s book is an immensely erudite and deep exploration of the meaning of belonging and identity. David’s brilliant examination of the belonging and identity in their different layers and in diverse historical settings, is of fundamental importance to the understanding of the complexity of the concept and the vital role it plays in contemporary political and cultural life.’ —- Moshe Halbertal – New York University
Regulating Difference: Religious Diversity and Nationhood in the Secular West, by Marian Burchardt (Rutgers University Press, 2020)
About This Book
Transnational migration has contributed to the rise of religious diversity and has led to profound changes in the religious make-up of society across the Western world. As a result, societies and nation-states have faced the challenge of crafting ways to bring new religious communities into existing institutions and the legal frameworks. Regulating Difference explores how the state regulates religious diversity and examines the processes whereby religious diversity and expression becomes part of administrative landscapes of nation-states and people’s everyday lives. Arguing that concepts of nationhood are key to understanding the governance of religious diversity, Regulating Difference employs a transatlantic comparison of the Spanish region of Catalonia and the Canadian province of Quebec to show how processes of nation-building, religious heritage-making and the mobilization of divergent interpretations of secularism are co-implicated in shaping religious diversity. It argues that religious diversity has become central for governing national and urban spaces.
About the Author
Marian Burchardt is a professor of sociology at the University of Leipzig. Author of Faith in the Time of AIDS: Religion, Biopolitics and Modernity in South Africa, he is a senior research partner of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and associate member of the Humanities Center of Advanced Studies “Multiple Secularities”.
Sudha Sitharaman is Professor, Department of Sociology, Pondicherry University, Puducherry.
Anindita Chakrabarti is Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
The resurgence of religion and its militant mixing with politics is now a ubiquitous feature of our times. Since 9/11, discussions on religion, particularly Islam, have been characterised by debates surrounding the rise of political Islam, war on terror and the ascent of religious politics globally. Islam, particularly, appears as the bearer of a frightening tradition, and stereotypes render it an anathema in the modern world. The notion of a unitary, timeless and unchanging religion has been reinforced not only by sections of academia and the media, but also through the Muslim communities’ interpretations and representations of their own religion.
Religion and Secularities challenges these quotidian ‘facts’ about Islam. It brings together a collection of essays focusing on the reconfiguration of Islam in the world’s largest democracy, India. Investigating the relationship between religion, civil society and the state, this volume explores the nation’s long history with Islam as well as the categorisation of Muslims as a minority community.
Based on ethnographic studies conducted in different regions of the country—from Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to Karnataka and Kerala—this volume addresses the diverse issues of religious piety that include community activism and civic participation; disputes and debates around visitation to historic-religious sites; the changing contours of matrilineal practices in a Muslim community; and how Muslim women negotiate personal/Islamic law in a plural judicial landscape. The essays highlight the impossibility of understanding contemporary Islam outside the logic of modern, secular-liberal governance—a standpoint that helps take the secularism debate forward.
This volume will be valuable for students and scholars of sociology, social anthropology and religious studies.
Virtual book launch next week. The book is Civil Religion and the Enlightenment in England: 1707-1800 . This is by a colleague of mine here at Cardiff University, Ashley Walsh. He’s an historian and treats the subject historically, but with interest in the question of civil religion among sociologists of religion.
Dr Rachael Shillitoe is putting out a call for papers for a book on the lived religious lives of women in 21st century Britain. The term lived religion is being described as the ways in which religion is practiced and applied in everyday lives. This may or may not include worship in a religious setting and can be formal or informal.
This topic will be examined across religions and religious denominations. This can include atheism, spirituality, humanism etc. This may include topics such as:
Navigating the patriarchy in conservative religious denominations
Women only religious spaces
Solidarity and support through religion
Family worship and religious observation
Chapter lengths should be around 6000 – 8000 words.
Please submit an abstract no longer than 500 words by September 30th 2020 to:
Yvonne Bennett email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Canterbury Christ Church University