New Books Network

Aaron Hughes, “Theorizing Islam: Disciplinary Deconstruction and Reconstruction” (Equinox, 2012)
Many academics, especially in the aftermath of September 11th, have had to become a public authority on Islam. This is largely due to the ongoing negative portrayal of Muslims in the media and the numerous misconceptions individuals derive from these portraits. Others have noted some of the consequences of this... Read More
Juliane Hammer, “American Muslim Women, Religious Authority, and Activism: More Than a Prayer” (University of Texas Press, 2012)
In 2005, Amina Wadud led a mixed-gender congregation of Muslims in prayer. This event became the focal point of substantial media attention and highlighted some of the tensions within the Muslim community. However, this prayer gathering was the culmination of a series of events and embodied several ongoing intra-Muslim debates.... Read More
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, “The Massacre in Jedwabne, July 10, 1941: Before, During, After” (Columbia UP, 2005)
On July 10, 1941, Poles in the town of Jedwabne together with some number of German functionaries herded nearly 500 Jews into a barn and burnt them alive. In 2000, the sociologist Jan Gross published a book about the subject that, very shortly thereafter, started a huge controversy about Polish... Read More
S. Brent Plate, “Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World” (Wallflower Press, 2008)
As each frame of a film goes by we witness a new world that is situated in space and time. This process of worldmaking happens through the cinematic lens but also through the myths and rituals of religious traditions. Or so argues S. Brent Plate, Visiting Associate Professor of Religious... Read More
Mary Johnson, “An Unquenchable Thirst: Following Mother Teresa in Search of Love, Service and an Authentic Life” (Spiegel & Grau, 2011)
In December of 1975, Agnes Bojaxhiu, also known as Mother Teresa, appeared on the cover of TIME magazine with a caption that read: “Living Saints.” Mary Johnson, a teenage girl at the time, saw this cover and was drawn in by what she saw as a wonderful life of meaning,... Read More
Carl S. Yamamoto, “Vision and Violence: Lama Zhang and the Politics of Charisma in Twelfth-Century Tibet” (Brill, 2012)
Lama Zhang, the controversial central figure in Carl S. Yamamoto‘s new book may or may not have participated in animal sacrifice, sneezed out a snake-like creature, and engaged in other acts of putative sorcery early in his life. What we can say about this fascinating character, however, is that he... Read More
Jenny Trinitapoli and Alexander Weinreb, “Religion and AIDS in Africa” (Oxford UP, 2012)
The liberal media in the Western World takes a firm line on how two of the big issues facing Africa intersect – bluntly speaking Africa’s high levels of religiosity have contributed substantially to its high levels of HIV infection. Religion and AIDS in Africa (Oxford UP, 2012), however, tells a... Read More