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Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books

Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books
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Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books




Charles B. Jones, "Chinese Pure Land Buddhism: Understanding a Tradition of Practice" (U Hawaii Press, 2019)

Today’s guest is Charles B. Jones, Associate Professor and Director of the Religion and Culture graduate program in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America. He will be speaking with us about his new book Chinese Pure Land Buddhism: Understanding a Tradition of Practice, just published in the Pure Land Buddhist Studies series with University of Hawaiʻi Press. Jones is the author is several articles and books, including Buddhism in Taiwan: Religion...


Daniel Reynolds, "Postcards from Auschwitz: Holocaust Tourism and the Meaning of Remembrance" (NYU Press, 2018)

Millions of tourists visit Holocaust museums and memorials every year. Holocaust tourism is a thriving industry and plays a crucial role in Holocaust memorialization and remembrance. However, Holocaust tourism is not without criticism. Some argue that sightseeing at sites of genocide is cringeworthy, offensive, inappropriate, and superficial. In Postcards from Auschwitz: Holocaust Tourism and the Meaning of Remembrance (NYU Press, 2018), Daniel Reynolds examines the phenomenon of Holocaust...


Michael J. Gorman, "Participating in Christ: Explorations in Paul's Theology and Spirituality" (Baker Academic, 2019)

In his new book, Participating in Christ: Explorations in Paul's Theology and Spirituality (Baker Academic, 2019), renowned scholar Michael Gorman examines the important Pauline theme of participation in Christ, a topic of great interest in New Testament circles and one that is central to Paul's theology and spirituality. Building on his previous work on the topic, Gorman carefully examines participation in Christ in Paul's letters. His book explores this theme across the letters and...


Alicia Izharuddin, “Gender and Islam in Indonesian Cinema” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

Since the fall of the Indonesian New Order regime in 1998 there has been a steady rise of Islamic popular culture in the nation. Muslim consumers and producers have cultivated a mediated domain where they can encounter commercial entertainment though the prism of spiritual reflection and piety. In Gender and Islam in Indonesian Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), Alicia Izharuddin, Women's Studies in Religion Program Research Associate at Harvard Divinity School, explores the development of...


Karine Gagné, "Caring for Glaciers: Land, Animals, and Humanity in the Himalayas" (U Washington Press, 2019)

In her new book, Caring for Glaciers: Land, Animals, and Humanity in the Himalayas (University of Washington Press, 2019), Karine Gagné explores how relations of reciprocity between land, humans, animals, and glaciers foster an ethics of care in the Himalayan communities of Ladakh. She explores the way these relations are changing due to climate change, the growth of the wage economy at the expense of traditional agricultural and pastoral lifestyles, and increased military presence resulting...


Paul Mendes-Flohr, "Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent" (Yale UP, 2019)

In Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent (Yale University Press, 2019), Paul Mendes-Flohr, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, paints a detailed and compelling portrait of one of the twentieth century's most versatile and influential thinkers. Tracing Buber's personal and intellectual biographical arcs, Mendes-Flohr helps us understand Buber as an accomplished scholar, a reverent student of Judaism, and a proponent of...


Jim Clarke, "Science Fiction and Catholicism: The Rise and Fall of the Robot Papacy" (Gylphi, 2019)

Ah, science fiction: Aliens? Absolutely. Robots? Of course. But why are there so many priests in space? As Jim Clarke writes in Science Fiction and Catholicism: The Rise and Fall of the Robot Papacy (Gylphi, 2019), science fiction has had an obsession with Roman Catholicism for over a century. The religion is the genre’s dark twin as well as its dirty secret. In this first ever study of the relationship between Catholicism and science fiction, Jim Clarke explores the genre's co-dependence...


Paula McQuade, "Catechisms and Women’s Writing in Seventeenth-Century England" (Cambridge UP, 2017)

Paula McQuade, professor of English literature at DePaul University, is the author of a brilliant new account of Catechisms and Women’s Writing in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2017). This book opens up an entirely new field for the study of early modern women’s writing, but it also pushes beyond other scholarly conventions to prompt new discussions about the purpose and performance of catechising, the character of household religion and its relationship to...


Eugene Schlesinger, "Sacrificing the Church: Mass, Mission, and Ecumenism" (Fortress, 2019)

Dr. Eugene Schlesinger is the author of Sacrificing the Church: Mass, Mission, and Ecumenism (Fortress Press, 2019). Gene teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University. An Episcopalian systematic theologian, he is primarily engaged in Catholic theology, and specializing in ecclesiology and sacramental theology. Schlesinger, in Sacrificing the Church, writes about the intermingling of three key elements of Christian worshipping communities: the eucharist, mission...


Kathryn Conrad on University Press Publishing

As you may know, university presses publish a lot of good books. In fact, they publish thousands of them every year. They are different from most trade books in that most of them are what you might called "fundamental research." Their authors--dedicated researchers one and all--provide the scholarly stuff upon which many non-fiction trade books are based. So when you are reading, say, a popular history, you are often reading UP books at one remove. Of course, some UP books are also...


Kathleen M. McIntyre, "Protestantism and State Formation in Postrevolutionary Oaxaca" (U New Mexico Press, 2019)

Dr. Kathleen M. McIntyre’s Protestantism and State Formation in Postrevolutionary Oaxaca (University of New Mexico Press, 2019) explores the impact of Protestantism on Catholic indigenous communities in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca in the period directly following the Mexican Revolution 1910-1920. Dr. McIntyre’s work illustrates that conversion to Protestantism, while a very person choice, had real impacts on the social and political life of indigenous communities, whose identities...


Dan Jones, "Crusaders: The Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Lands" (Viking, 2019)

Much has been written about the Crusades, the religiously-inspired wars that pockmarked the later centuries of the Middle Ages. Yet for all of the many books on the subject there has been surprisingly little focus on the men and the women who were entangled in these conflicts. In his book Crusaders: The Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Lands (Viking, 2019), Dan Jones addresses this by detailing the role of key individuals played in these events. By drawing from a variety of...


Samuel Goldman, "God’s Country: Christian Zionism in America" (U Penn Press, 2018)

Samuel Goldman, who teaches political science at George Washington University, Washington DC, has written a powerfully impressive new book on the long history of the political theology that he describes as “Christian Zionism.” God’s Country: Christian Zionism in America takes some very unexpected routes through a subject that, in some respects, is well-known. Beginning his account with English puritans in the early seventeenth century, and tracing the impact of their expectation of the...


Marc Dollinger, "Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s" (Brandeis UP, 2018)

In Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s (Brandeis University Press, 2018), Professor Marc Dollinger who holds the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University, challenges widely held beliefs about the black-Jewish alliance in American politics. Dollinger shows how black nationalists enabled Jewish activists to devise a new Judeo-centered political agenda - including the emancipation of Soviet...


Ira Helderman, "Prescribing the Dharma: Psychotherapists, Buddhist Traditions, and Defining Religion" (UNC Press, 2019)

Buddhism and psychotherapy have been in conversation since the days of Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and Erich Fromm. Today, when practices drawn from Buddhism have entered the mainstream, that conversation continues in multiple dimensions. In Prescribing the Dharma: Psychotherapists, Buddhist Traditions, and Defining Religion (University of North Carolina Press, 2019), Ira Helderman looks at the ways psychotherapists, some of them also active as leaders of Dharma communities, have engaged...


J. Neuhaus, "Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers" (West Virginia UP, 2019)

The things that make people academics -- as deep fascination with some arcane subject, often bordering on obsession, and a comfort with the solitude that developing expertise requires -- do not necessarily make us good teachers. Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers (West Virginia University Press, 2019) helps us to identify and embrace that geekiness in us and then offers practical, step-by-step guidelines for...


Vishwa Adluri and Joydeep Bagchee, "Philology and Criticism: A Guide to Mahābhārata Textual Criticism" (Anthem Press, 2018)

The Hindu great epic, Mahābhārata, exists today in hundreds of variant manuscripts across India. These manuscripts were painstakingly examined, sorted and reconstituted into the official Critical Edition of the Mahābhārata. Is the Critical Edition a viable means of studying India's great epic? While several scholars critique this undertaking project, the authors of Philology and Criticism: A Guide to Mahābhārata Textual Criticism (Anthem Press, 2018), Vishwa Adluri and Joydeep Bagchee,...


Matthew A. Sutton, "Double Crossed: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States During the Second World War" (Basic Books, 2019)

What makes a good missionary makes a good spy. Or so thought "Wild" Bill Donovan when he secretly recruited a team of religious activists for the Office of Strategic Services. They entered into a world of lies, deception, and murder, confident that their nefarious deeds would eventually help them expand the kingdom of God. In Double Crossed: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States During the Second World War (Basic Books, 2019), historian Matthew Avery Sutton tells the extraordinary...


Jolyon Baraka Thomas, "Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan" (U Chicago Press, 2019)

Jolyon Baraka Thomas’s Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan (University of Chicago Press, 2019) challenges the commonsensical notion that the Japanese empire granted its subjects no religious freedom—that, despite the legal provision in the Meiji Constitution of 1890 affirming freedom of worship, “State Shinto” was the law of the land—and that it was the American-led occupation which finally granted freedom of conscience and worship to the benighted Japanese. Thomas...


Yael Almog, "Secularism and Hermeneutics" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2019)

In the late Enlightenment, a new imperative began to inform theories of interpretation: all literary texts should be read in the same way that we read the Bible. However, this assumption concealed a problem—there was no coherent "we" who read the Bible in the same way. In Secularism and Hermeneutics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), Yael Almog shows that several prominent thinkers of the era constituted readers as an imaginary "we" around which they could form their theories and...