New Books Network

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, “A History of Islam in America: From the New World to the New World Order” (Cambridge UP, 2010)
Despite the fact that many American Muslim families have lived in the United States for generations they are often thought of as foreigners. I have witnessed on several occasions someone asking an African American Muslim when they converted to Islam or what drew them to the religion. Or asking Muslims... Read More
Bryan J. Cuevas, “Travels in the Netherworld: Buddhist Popular Narratives of Death and the Afterlife in Tibet” (Oxford UP, 2008)
Today on “New Books in Buddhist Studies” we’ll be going to hell and back with Bryan Cuevas in a discussion of his new book Travels in the Netherworld: Buddhist Popular Narratives of Death and the Afterlife in Tibet(Oxford University Press, 2008). Common in Tibetan Buddhism is the story of the... Read More
Carool Kersten, “Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam” (Columbia University Press, 2011)
Often when we read about new Muslim intellectuals we are offered a presentation of their politicized Islamic teachings and radical interpretations of theology, or Western readings that nominally reflect the Islamic tradition. We are rarely introduced to critical Muslim thinkers who neither abandon their Islamic civilizational heritage nor adopt, wholesale,... Read More
David McMahan, “The Making of Buddhist Modernism” (Oxford UP, 2008)
For many Asian and Western Buddhists today, Buddhism means meditation and an embrace of the world’s interdependence. But that’s not what it meant to Buddhists in the past; most of them never meditated and often saw interdependence (or dependent origination) as something fearful to be escaped. Many scholars, especially recently,... Read More
Charles King, “Odessa: Genius and Death in the City of Dreams” (W.W. Norton, 2011)
“Look up the street or down the street, this way or that way, we only saw America,” wrote Mark Twain to capture his visit to Odessa in 1867. In a way, it’s not too farfetched that Twain saw his homeland in the Black Sea port city. Odessa was very much... Read More
Nile Green, “Bombay Islam: The Religious Economy of the West Indian Ocean, 1840-1915” (Cambridge UP, 2011)
Bombay (Mumbai), India, is a city that has never lacked chroniclers from Rudyard Kipling to Salman Rushdie to Suketu Mehta, bards of pluralism have written about Bombay’s divers religions and peoples and the interactions between them. Now here comes a fantastic new book on the much touted ‘cosmopolitan culture,’ as... Read More
Lori Meeks, “Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern Japan” (University of Hawaii Press, 2010)
Scholars have long been fascinated by the Kamakura era (1185-1333) of Japanese history, a period that saw the emergence of many distinctively Japanese forms of Buddhism. And while a lot of this attention overshadows other equally important periods of Japanese Buddhist history, there is still much to be learned. Take... Read More
Jason Clower, “The Unlikely Buddhologist: Tiantai Buddhism in Mou Zongsan’s New Confucianism” (Brill, 2010)
The 20th-century Chinese philosopher Mou Zongsan is relatively little known in the West, but has been greatly influential in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China, as well as influencing Confucian studies in North America. His work helped revive Confucianism at a time when many thought it dead. Yet at the... Read More
Daniel Veidlinger, “Spreading the Dhamma: Writing, Orality, and Textual Transmission in Buddhist Northern Thailand” (University of Hawaii Press, 2006)
New media technology changes culture. And when it comes to religion, new technology changes the way people think and practice their traditions. And while we usually think of technology as some new gadget or machine, there was a time when the written word itself was a new technology, and this... Read More