New Books Network

William Elison, “The Neighborhood of Gods: The Sacred and the Visible at the Margins of Mumbai” (U Chicago Press, 2018)
William Elison‘s The Neighborhood of Gods: The Sacred and the Visible at the Margins of Mumbai (University of Chicago Press, 2018) explores how slum residents, tribal people, and members of other marginalized groups use religious icons to mark urban spaces in Mumbai. Interestingly, not all of Elison’s interview subjects identify... Read More
Howard Philips Smith, “Unveiling the Muse: The Lost History of Gay Carnival in New Orleans” (UP of Mississippi, 2017)
Howard Philips Smith has been investigating and writing about the gay history of New Orleans for over two decades. Raised on a small farm in rural Southern Mississippi, he studied French literature and taught English in a French lycée in Bordeaux thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship before moving to New... Read More
Fernando Orejuela and Stephanie Shonekan, “Black Lives Matter and Music: Protest, Intervention, Reflection” (Indiana UP, 2018)
Music has always been integral to the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, with songs such as Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” J. Cole’s “Be Free,” D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s “The Charade,” The Game’s “Don’t Shoot,” Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout,” Usher’s “Chains,” and many others serving as unofficial anthems... Read More
Jack Wertheimer, “The New American Judaism: How Jews Practice Their Religion Today” (Princeton UP, 2018)
Countless sociological studies and surveys present a rather bleak picture of religion and religious engagement in the United States. Attendance at worship services remains very low and approximately one quarter of Americans indicate that they are not affiliated with any religion. This trend extends to the Jewish community, and American... Read More
Laurence Cox, “Why Social Movements Matter: An Introduction” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018)
In his book Why Social Movements Matter: An Introduction (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018), Senior Lecturer Laurence Cox, from Maynooth University, highlights how social movements have shaped the world we live in and their importance for today’s social struggles. He also explores the complex relationship between progressive social movements and political... Read More
Caleb Simmons, “Nine Nights of the Goddess: The Navaratri Festival in South Asia” (SUNY Press, 2018)
Nine Nights of the Goddess: The Navaratri Festival in South Asia (SUNY Press, 2018), edited by Caleb Simmons, Moumita Sen, and Hillary Peter Rodrigues, is a diverse collection of cutting-edge interdisciplinary essays looking at the most ubiquitous festival across the Hindu world: the nine-night autumnal celebration of the Great Goddess,... Read More
Jonathan Smyth, “Robespierre and the Festival of the Supreme Being: The Search for a Republican Morality” (Manchester UP, 2016)
In his speech delivered to the National Convention on 18 Floréal (May 7, 1794), Maximilien Robespierre shocked his listeners as he attacked the proponents of atheism and dechristianization in the government: “Who nominated you to tell the people that God does not exist anymore?  What do you hope to gain by persuading... Read More
James M. Jasper, “The Emotions of Protests” (U Chicago Press, 2018)
How do emotions affect participation in protests, and in politics more generally? In The Emotions of Protests (University of Chicago Press, 2018), James M. Jasper develops a solid critique to approaches that present political action as strictly rational and emotions as something outside the realm of strategy. Instead, Jasper speaks... Read More
Paula Serafini, “Performance Action: The Politics of Art Activism” (Routledge, 2018)
How can art change the world? In Performance Action: The Politics of Art Activism (Routledge, 2018), Paula Serafini, a Research Associate at the University of Leicester’s CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies, explores art activism, looking at the power, potential, and problematics of art for political and social change.... Read More
Hongwei Bao, “Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China” (NIAS Press, 2018)
Hongwei Bao’s book is a thoughtful exploration of gay identity and queer activism in China. This work stems from the term and identity tongzhi, which means “comrade” and in more recent decades has been a popular term to refer to gay people and sexual minorities more broadly. Based on ethnographic... Read More