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Books

Here you will find an overview of the books published by the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences on "Multiple Secularities - Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities" and its members on various forms of secularity.

The work in the research group is characterised by collaborative formats such as workshops and conferences, the results of which are published in the form of special issues and edited volumes and can also be found here.

Use the search box below to search through all titles and abstracts and find titles that are relevant to you more quickly.

2022

Religion and China's Welfare Regimes

Buddhist Philanthropy and the State

André Laliberté

Religion and China's Welfare Regimes

This book presents the welfare regime of China as a liminal space where religious and state authorities struggle for legitimacy as new social forces emerge. It offers a unique analysis of relations between religion and state in the People’s Republic of China by presenting how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tries to harness Buddhist resources to assist in the delivery of social services and sheds light on the intermingling of Buddhism and the state since 1949. This book will appeal to academics in social sciences and humanities and broader audiences interested in the social role of religions, charity, NGOs, and in social policy implementation. The author explores why the CCP turns to Buddhist followers and their leaders and presents a detailed view of Buddhist philanthropy, contextualized with an historical overview, a regional comparative perspective, and a review of policy debates. This book contributes to our understanding of secularity in a major non-Western society influenced by religions other than Christianity.


Laliberté, André. Religion and China's Welfare Regimes: Buddhist Philanthropy and the State. Religion and Society in Asia Pacific. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022.

2022

Chinese Religions and Welfare Regimes Beyond the PRC

Legacies of Empire and Multiple Secularities

André Laliberté

Chinese Religions and Welfare Regimes Beyond the PRC

This book presents the welfare regime of societies of Chinese heritage as a liminal space where religious and state authorities compete with each other for legitimacy. It offers a path-breaking perspective on relations between religion and state in East Asia, presenting how the governments of industrial societies try to harness the human resources of religious associations to assist in the delivery of social services. The book provides background to the intermingling of Buddhism and the state prior to 1949; and the continuation of that intertwinement in Taiwan and in other societies where live many people of Chinese heritage since then. The main contribution of this work is its detailed account of Buddhist philanthropy as viewed from the perspectives of the state, civil society, and Buddhists. This book will appeal to academics in social sciences and humanities and broader audiences interested by the social role of religions, charity, and NGOs, in social policy implementation. It explores why governments turn to Buddhist followers and their leaders and presents a detailed view of Buddhist philanthropy. This book contributes to our understanding of secularity in non-Western societies, as influenced by religions other than Christianity.

Laliberté, André. Chinese Religions and Welfare Regimes Beyond the PRC: Legacies of Empire and Multiple Secularities. Religion and Society in Asia Pacific. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022.

2022

Knowledge and Ideology

On the Contemporary Syrian Thought

Housamedden Darwish

Knowledge and Ideology

One of the main issues discussed in this book is contemporary Syrian academic and ideological debates regarding the question of secularity/secularism in the post-Arab Spring era.


هذا الكتاب

تسعى نصوص هذا الكتاب إلى مناقشة الجدل، الإيجابي و/ أو السلبي، بين المعرفة والأيديولوجيا، بين الثقافة والسياسة، بين الوصف أو التحليل والتقويم، في الفكر السوري المعاصر. وفي سبيل تحقيق هذا الهدف، تحاول هذه النصوص الكشف عن بعض الأبعاد الأيديولوجية، الظاهرة أو الكامنة، في بعض نصوص الفكر السوري المعاصر، ومناقشتها مناقشةً نقديةً، من جهةٍ، وتقديم تحليلٍ مفاهيميٍّ وتأسيسٍ أو ضبطٍ معرفيٍّ، لتلك الأبعاد الأيديولوجية، من جهةٍ أخرى


Darwish, Housamedden. Knowledge and Ideology: On the Contemporary Syrian Thought [Translated Title, Original in Arabic]. Paris/Istanbul: Maysaloon for Culture, Translation and Publishing, 2022.

2022

Handling Religious Things

The Material and the Social in Museums

Edith Franke and Ramona Jelinek-Menke, eds.

Handling Religious Things

Museums are receiving currently a lot of public attention with regard to the material objects they host, and the historical and contemporary handling of these objects. There are global public debates about the origins, paths, and futures of museum things. Since at least 2018, with the report on the restitution of African cultural heritage, which Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy presented to the French president, the legitimacy of objects from colonial contexts in museums and collections in the global north has been widely debated. Furthermore, disciplines within cultural studies, including the study of religions, have taken a material turn, and now focus on the material, and thus also on museum things. This has brought the material dimension of religion into the focus of research in various disciplines. Studying materiality can thus open a pathway for potential critique of established patterns in research, historiography, and society, widening our perspective. It was against this multifaceted background that the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Religion (ZIR) and the Museum of Religions (Religionskundliche Sammlung) of the Philipps-University Marburg, the Museum of the Frankfurt Cathedral, and the GRASSI Museum of Ethnology in Leipzig formed a research network on the topic of Dynamics of Religious Things in Museums (Dynamiken religiöser Dinge im Museum, REDIM in short). This cooperative alliance, under the leadership of the ZIR, is based on the common interest in the relevance of religious materials in museums for social transformation, and in how social processes are reflected by material things.


Franke, Edith, und Ramona Jelinek-Menke, eds. Handling Religious Things: The Material and the Social in Museums. Hildesheim: Olms, 2022.

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2021

Geographies of Encounter

The Making and Unmaking of Multi-Religious Spaces

Marian Burchardt and Maria Chiara Giorda, eds.

Geographies of Encounter

This edited collection explores forms of multi-religious cohabitation as well as the spatial arrangements that underpin and shape them through sixteen chapters that range across disciplines, historical periods, and global geographies. Focusing on interactions between different religious groups and traditions, the authors conceptualize three types of spatial arrangements and explore how they operate ad geographies of encounter; i.e., multi-religious places, multi-religious cities, and multi-religious landscapes. With perspectives from anthropologists, historians, sociologists, and geographers, the book demonstrates the multiple ways in which geographies of interreligious encounters and forms of multi-religious cohabitation have changed throughout history due to their embeddedness id different frameworks of political organization, shifting religious ideologies, and changing forms of human mobility.


Burchardt, Marian, and Maria C. Giorda, eds. Geographies of Encounter: The Making and Unmaking of Multi-Religious Spaces. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

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2021

China in a Secular Age

Coping with the Legacy of a Religious State

André Laliberté

China in a Secular Age

Is China truly a secular state? André Laliberté puts this widely held perception to the test, arguing that we must first broaden our definitions if we are to comprehend fully the religious nature of the Chinese state. From there, Laliberté presents the long tradition of Chinese statecraft, which has involved different forms of intermingling between religion and state, and describes how the Communist Party perpetuates this institutional intertwinement despite its materialist philosophy. He then explores the variety of forms in which societies with a Chinese heritage outside of the People’s Republic of China are moving beyond this mutual entanglement between religion and state.

Laliberté, André. China in a Secular Age: Coping with the Legacy of a Religious State. Brill Research Perspectives in Humanities and Social Sciences Series. Boston: Brill, 2021.

2021

The Pan-Orthodox Council of 2016

A New Era for the Orthodox Church? Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Sebastian Rimestad, Vasilios N. Makrides

The Pan-Orthodox Council of 2016

In 2016, a meeting of the 14 autocephalous (independent) churches of the Orthodox Church family took place on the island of Crete - the first official meeting of the entire Orthodoxy since the seventh ecumenical council of 787. Unfortunately, four of the churches decided at the last minute not to participate in the so-called Pan-Orthodox Council, including the largest among them, the Russian Orthodox Church. The remaining church representatives met anyway and tried to give the meeting historical significance.  In the volume just published, 14 authors analyse the Pan-Orthodox Council to contextualise its significance for the contemporary Orthodox Church and its relations with the religious and secular environment.

Makrides, Vasilios N., and Sebastian Rimestad, eds. The Pan-Orthodox Council of 2016 - A New Era for the Orthodox Church? Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Erfurter Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte des orthodoxen Christentums 19. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2021.

2021

Entwicklung strafrechtlicher Normen im Sultanat und Königreich Marokko am Beispiel von Sexual- und Sittlichkeitsdelikten

Julia Heilen

Entwicklung strafrechtlicher Normen im Sultanat und Königreich Marokko am Beispiel von Sexual- und Sittlichkeitsdelikten

Julia Heilen examines the development of criminal law norms on sexual and moral offenses in the sultanate or later kingdom of Morocco. Structural as well as terminological continuities and breaks are worked out by the author for the period before 1912, during the dependence on the French protectorate rule (1912-1956) and since independence was regained in 1956 up to the present day. The focus of her Islamic scholarly, legal-historical and legal-dogmatic studies is on norms from the categories az-zinā, attentats aux mœurs and al-ǧināyāt wa-l-ǧunaḥ ḍidda niẓām al-usra wa-l-ah̆lāq al-ʿāmma, which are supplemented by other relevant penological norms.

Heilen, Julia. Entwicklung strafrechtlicher Normen im Sultanat und Königreich Marokko am Beispiel von Sexual- und Sittlichkeitsdelikten. Leipzig Middle East Studies 4. Berlin: Frank & Timme, 2021. 

2021

Women and Religiosity in Orthodox Christianity

Ina Merdjanova, ed.

Women and Religiosity in Orthodox Christianity

Women and Religiosity in Orthodox Christianity fills a significant gap in the sociology of religious practice: Studies focused on women’s religiosity have overlooked Orthodox populations, while studies of Orthodox practice (operating within the dominant theological, historical, and sociological framework) have remained gender-blind. The essays in this collection shed new light on the women who make up a considerable majority of the Orthodox population by engaging women’s lifeworlds, practices, and experiences in relation to their religion in multiple, varied localities, discussing both contemporary and pre-1989 developments. These contributions critically engage the pluralist and changing character of Orthodox institutional and social life by using feminist epistemologies and drawing on original ethnographic research to account for Orthodox women’s previously ignored perspectives, knowledges, and experiences. Combining the depth of ethnographic analysis with geographical breadth and employing a variety of research methodologies, this book expands our understanding of Orthodox Christianity by examining Orthodox women of diverse backgrounds in different settings: parishes, monasteries, and the secular spaces of everyday life, and under shifting historical conditions and political regimes. In defiance of claims that Orthodox Christianity is immutable and fixed in time, these essays argue that continuity and transformation can be found harmoniously in social practices, demographic trends, and larger material contexts at the intersection between gender, Orthodoxy, and locality.


Merdjanova, Ina, ed. Women and Religiosity in Orthodox Christianity. New York: Fordham University Press, 2021.

2021

Fictional Practice

Magic, Narration, and the Power of Imagination

Bernd-Christian Otto, and Dirk Johannsen, eds.

Fictional Practice

To what extent were practitioners of magic inspired by fictional accounts of their art? In how far did the daunting narratives surrounding legendary magicians such as Theophilus of Adana, Cyprianus of Antioch, Johann Georg Faust or Agrippa of Nettesheim rely on real-world events or practices? Fourteen original case studies present material from late antiquity to the twenty-first century and explore these questions in a systematic manner. By coining the notion of ‘fictional practice’, the editors discuss the emergence of novel, imaginative types of magic from the nineteenth century onwards when fiction and practice came to be more and more intertwined or even fully amalgamated. This is the first comparative study that systematically relates fiction and practice in the history of magic.


Otto, Bernd-Christian, and Dirk Johannsen, eds. Fictional Practice: Magic, Narration, and the Power of Imagination. Aries book series 30. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2021.

2021

Metamodernism

Jason Ananda Josephson Storm

Metamodernism

For decades, scholars have been calling into question the universality of disciplinary objects and categories. The coherence of defined autonomous categories—such as religion, science, and art—has collapsed under the weight of postmodern critiques, calling into question the possibility of progress and even the value of knowledge. Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm aims to radicalize and move beyond these deconstructive projects to offer a path forward for the humanities and social sciences using a new model for theory he calls metamodernism.

Metamodernism works through the postmodern critiques and uncovers the mechanisms that produce and maintain concepts and social categories. In so doing, Storm provides a new, radical account of society’s ever-changing nature—what he calls a “Process Social Ontology”—and its materialization in temporary zones of stability or “social kinds.” Storm then formulates a fresh approach to philosophy of language by looking beyond the typical theorizing that focuses solely on human language production, showing us instead how our own sign-making is actually on a continuum with animal and plant communication.

Storm also considers fundamental issues of the relationship between knowledge and value, promoting a turn toward humble, emancipatory knowledge that recognizes the existence of multiple modes of the real. Metamodernism is a revolutionary manifesto for research in the human sciences that offers a new way through postmodern skepticism to envision a more inclusive future of theory in which new forms of both progress and knowledge can be realized.


Storm, Jason Ananda Josephson. Metamodernism, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021.

2021

In the Sultan’s Salon

Learning, Religion, and Rulership at the Mamluk Court of Qāniṣawh al-Ghawrī (r. 1501–1516)

Christian Mauder

In the Sultan’s Salon

Christian Mauder’s In the Sultan’s Salon builds on his award-winning research and constitutes the first detailed study of the Egyptian court culture of the Mamluk Sultanate (1250–1517). Based mainly on understudied Arabic manuscript sources describing the learned salons of the Mamluk Sultan al-Ghawrī, In the Sultan’s Salon presents the first theoretical conceptualization of the term “court” that can be fruitfully applied to premodern Islamic societies. It uses this conceptualization to demonstrate that al-Ghawrī’s court functioned as a transregionally interconnected center of dynamic intellectual exchange, theological debate, and performance of rule that triggered novel developments in Islamic scholarly, religious, and political culture.


Mauder, Christian. In the Sultan’s Salon Learning, Religion, and Rulership at the Mamluk Court of Qāniṣawh al-Ghawrī (r. 1501–1516). Boston: Brill, 2021.

2021

Yasukuni Fundamentalism

Japanese Religions and the Politics of Restoration

Mullins, Mark

Yasukuni Fundamentalism

Although religious fundamentalism is often thought to be confined to monotheistic “religions of the book,” this study examines the emergence of a fundamentalism rooted in the Shinto tradition and considers its role in shaping postwar Japanese nationalism and politics. Over the past half-century, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the National Association of Shrines (NAS) have been engaged in collaborative efforts to “recover” or “restore” what was destroyed by the process of imperialist secularization during the Allied Occupation of Japan.

Since the disaster years of 1995 and 2011, LDP Diet members and prime ministers have increased their support for a political agenda that aims to revive patriotic education, renationalize Yasukuni Shrine, and revise the constitution. The contested nature of this agenda is evident in the critical responses of religious leaders and public intellectuals, and in their efforts to preserve the postwar gains in democratic institutions and prevent the erosion of individual rights. This timely treatment critically engages the contemporary debates surrounding secularization in light of postwar developments in Japanese religions and sheds new light on the role religion continues to play in the public sphere.


Mullins, Mark. Yasukuni Fundamentalism: Japanese Religions and the Politics of Restoration. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2021.

2021

Force of Words

A Cultural History of Christianity and Politics in Medieval Iceland (11th- 13th Centuries)

Haraldur Hreinsson

Force of Words

In this book, Haraldur Hreinsson examines the social and political significance of the Christian religion as the Roman Church was taking hold in medieval Iceland in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. By way of diverse sources, primarily hagiography and sermons but also material sources, the author shows how Christian religious ideas came into play in the often tumultuous political landscape of the time. The study illuminates how the Church, which was gathering strength across entire Europe, established itself through the dissemination of religious vernacular discourse at the northernmost borders of its dominion.


Hreinsson, Haraldur. Force of Words: A Cultural History of Christianity and Politics in Medieval Iceland (11th-13th Centuries). Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2021.

2020

A Timely Message from the Cave

Mahamudra and intellectual agenda of dGe-bshes Brag-phug-pa dGe-'dun-rin-chen (1926-1997), the sixty-ninth rJe-mkhan-po of Bhutan

Dagmar Schwerk

A Timely Message from the Cave

Schwerk, Dagmar. A timely message from the cave: the Mahamudra and intellectual agenda of dGe-bshes Brag-phug-pa dGe-'dun-rin-chen (1926-1997), the sixty-ninth rJe-mkhan-po of Bhutan. Indian and Tibetan Studies 11 (Hamburg: Hamburg University, 2020).

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2020

The M-Plan

Mandela’s Struggle to Reorient the African National Congress

Paul Landau

The M-Plan

This is an account of Mandela’s strategy and actions in 1961 and 1962, organising and reorienting the African National Congress (ANC). Based largely on oral memoirs and interviews, including state witness depositions, the article argues that Mandela's plans were thwarted. After the government declared the ANC illegal, Mandela helped to supervise the programme called the M-Plan, in order to lay the groundwork for mass participation in an anticipated revolutionary transformation, but the effort did not succeed. Members resisted the M-Plan reorganisation on the ground; the state assaulted the ANC and its leaders, and ripped apart communities; and the leadership denied Mandela full access to the ANC in his preparations for the violence he saw ahead of them. He was allowed to form a separate group, relying on the South African Communist Party and port city trade unionists for its organising. That smaller network, Umkhonto, was grafted into the M-Plan hierarchy a year later, problematically and partially, too little, too late.


Landau, Paul S. “The M-Plan: Mandela’s Struggle to Reorient the African National Congress.” In Reassessing Mandela: Southern African Studies. Edited by Colin Bundy and William Beinart, 1073–91. [s.l.]: Routledge, 2020.

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