Isaac WeinerJun 8, 2014
Religion Out Loud
Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism
NYU Press 2013
In 2004, the traditionally Polish-Catholic community of Hamtramck Michigan became the site of a debate over the Muslim call to prayer. Members of the Hamtramck community engaged in a contest about the appropriateness of sound and its intrusion into public space. In Religion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism (NYU Press, 2014), this example is one of three cases that Isaac Weiner studies in order to investigate the role of sound in the American religious public sphere. Weiner, Assistant Professor of Religion and Culture in the Department of Comparative Studies at the Ohio State University, offers a rich and eminently readable account of how sound matters to religion in public life. We learn that debates over noise have a long history in the American religious landscape. These debates change as the constitution of American religious life changes, and as jurisprudence opens new questions about the nature of religion and its expressions. In our conversation, Professor Weiner and I discuss this history, how he came upon it, and what it can teach us about the future of American religious pluralism.