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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.

2023

Islam in Global Modernity

Sociological Theory and the Diversity of Islamic Modernities

Dietrich Jung

Islam in Global Modernity

This book combines sociological theorising with studies on the Middle East and Islam. The diversity of modernities that can be observed in our world is linked to the claim of living in a global modernity, in a world society. The book underpins this claim with numerous excursions into Islamic history. It criticises the view that modernisation can be equated with westernisation and considers different projects of specifically Islamic modernities as integral parts of world society. From this perspective, the study contributes to the "provincialisation" of European history in contemporary social scientific thought. Contrary to the theories of postcolonialism associated with the call for the provincialisation of Europe, however, this book adheres to essential traditions of classical sociology. It thus aims to make a contribution to the social theoretical discussion on modernity, which is empirically underpinned with the help of data from the history of the Middle East and Islam. The translation was done with the help of artificial intelligence. A subsequent human revision was done primarily in terms of content.

Jung, Dietrich. Islam in Global Modernity: Sociological Theory and the Diversity of Islamic Modernities. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien, 2023.

2023

Between Hope and Despair

100 Ethical Reflections on Contemporary India

Rajeev Bhargava

Between Hope and Despair

India's collective ethical identity is under duress. We don't seem to currently agree on what our collective good is. Some groups believe that India is finally rediscovering its Hindu identity and becoming a great nation-state. For others, this change has brought us on the verge of losing our civilisational character of being inclusive but not any less Hindu. Is it possible to bring these groups with divergent views to discuss each other's point of view? And do so reasonably, with an open mind? Rajeev Bhargava thinks it is. He believes that the legitimate concerns of all those disenchanted with the idea of an inclusive, pluralist India can actually be addressed within the basic framework of India's constitutional democracy. Through these short, elegant and lucid reflections on contemporary events, he takes the readers to the founding narrative of the republic and clarifies its ethical ideals. Readers are asked to join the process of reflection, to criticise with empathy, particularly where the moral compass to properly guide individual and collective action is lost and offer positive appraisals where due. If we get the fundamentals of our original ethical vision right, then, Bhargava subtly suggests, we might yet save our country from further polarisation and may even heal some of its divisions.


Bhargava, Rajeev. Between Hope and Despair: 100 Ethical Reflections on Contemporary India. New Delhi: Bloomsbury India, 2022. 

2023

Bridging Two Worlds

Comparing Classical Political Thought and Statecraft in India and China

Amitav Acharya, Daniel A. Bell, Rajeev Bhargava, and Yan Xuetong, eds.

Bridging Two Worlds

The rise of China and India could be the most important political development of the twenty-first century. What will the foreign policies of China and India look like in the future? What should they look like? And what can each country learn from the other? Bridging Two Worlds gathers a coterie of experts in the field, analyzing profound political thinkers from these ancient regions whose theories of interstate relations set the terms for the debates today. This volume is the first work of its kind and is essential reading for anyone interested in the growth of China and India and what it means for the rest of the world.


Acharya, Amitav, Daniel A. Bell, Rajeev Bhargava, and Yan Xuetong, eds. Bridging Two Worlds: Comparing Classical Political Thought and Statecraft in India and China. California: Universtiy of California Press, 2023.



2022

Global Sceptical Publics

From Non-Religious Print Media to ‘Digital Atheism'

Jacob Copeman, and Mascha Schulz, eds.

Global Sceptical Publics

Global Sceptical Publics is the first major study of the significance of different media for the (re)production of non-religious publics and publicity. While much work has documented how religious subjectivities are shaped by media, until now the crucial role of diverse media for producing and participating in religion-sceptical publics and debates has remained under-researched. With some chapters focusing on locations hitherto barely considered by scholarship on non-religion, the book places in comparative perspective how atheists, secularists and humanists engage with media – as means of communication and forming non-religious publics, but also on occasion as something to be resisted. Its conceptually rich interdisciplinary chapters thereby contribute important new insights to the growing field of non-religion studies and to scholarship on media and materiality more generally.


Copeman, Jacob, and Mascha Schulz, eds. Global Sceptical Publics: From Non-Religious Print Media to ‘Digital Atheism'. London: UCL Press, 2022.

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2022

Islam in Europa

Institutionalisierung und Konflikt

Monika Wohlrab-Sahr and Levent Tezcan

Islam in Europa

The presence of Islam in Europe is accompanied by contradictory dynamics. While on the one hand institutions are gradually accommodating Muslim demands and vice versa, on the other hand tendencies of Islamist and anti-Muslim radicalisation are reinforcing each other.
In addition to analyses of institutionalisation processes that entail modes of a new normality, this volume offers contributions on political Islam, anti-Muslim policies as well as on social negotiations on conflict and integration. Finally, scholarly and literary reflections are examined with regard to their normative underpinnings. The volume brings together contributions from sociologists, Islamic scholars and literary scholars.


Wohlrab-Sahr, Monika, and Levent Tezcan, eds. "Islam in Europa: Institutionalisierung und Konflikt." Special issue, Soziale Welt 25 (2022).


2022

Secularities in Japan

Ugo Dessí and Christoph Kleine, eds.

Secularities in Japan

This volume brings together contributions that, from different disciplinary perspectives, highlight certain aspects and problems related to the configuration of the relationship between the religious and the secular in Japan. In the background stands the question of the historical path dependencies that lead to the formation of a specifically Japanese secularity. Based on the assumption that existing epistemic and social structures shape the way in which Western concepts of secularism were appropriated, the individual case studies demonstrate that the culturally specific appropriation of Western regulatory principles such as secularism has created problems that are of political relevance in contemporary Japan.


Dessì, Ugo, and Christoph Kleine, eds. Secularities in Japan. Leiden: Brill, 2022.

2022

Huimin (Muslim Subjects)

Pre-1800 Historical Sources about the Qing Empire and Islam in the Veritable Records of the Qing

Hung Tak Wai, Wong Ting Chueng, and Lee Yee Lak Elliot, eds.

Huimin (Muslim Subjects)

Using digital keyword search method from the perspective of conceptual history, this sourcebook systemically traces the appearance of the 18th-century neologism “Huimin” (roughly translated as “Muslim subjects”) in the Chinese historical imperial court record – the Veritable Records of the Qing 《清實錄》. The appearance of “Huimin” in the official Qing court history testifies to the imperial efforts to legitimize the incorporation of Muslims into the empire while maintaining a distinction of these subjects’ unique communal identity, i.e., them being Muslims. This ambiguous conceptualization of Muslims as “us” in the legal-political sense but “them” in the cultural sense had repercussions on the “ethnicization” of Muslimness in China from the 19th century to these days. While the high Qing emperors, in various instances, issued edicts favoring the treatment of Muslims in the former sense as legitimate subjects of the empire, their Confucian bureaucrats contested and regarded Muslims as constant suspects of heterodoxy – thus, elements of instability. In other instances, the emperors resorted to delimiting Islamic practices such as cattle slaughter by arguing with economic rationales; nor were they able to go beyond the orthodox/heterodox binary when discussing measures in pacifying different uprisings involving Muslims in the late 18th century. In these imperial discourses, “Huimin” was further juxtaposed with conceptual distinctions along geography, ethnicity, language, and Islamic institutions (Sufi orders or not). By following the concept of “Huimin,” the sourcebook illuminates how Muslims were subjugated to Qing imperial rule and, in turn, participated in the very dynamics that kept reshaping the imperial governance. These dynamics included Eurasian early modern imperial struggles, transregional migration and (religious) knowledge circulation, regional economy, politics, and the construction of state orthodoxy and imperial local indirect rule. The conceptual history of “Huimin” will shed new light on the distinction and entanglement of Islam in Qing China with imperial (geo)politics together with the material/social processes and conditions that enabled this history.


Hung Tak Wai, Wong Ting Chueng, and Lee Yee Lak Elliot, eds. Huimin (Muslim Subjects): Pre-1800 Historical Sources about the Qing Empire and Islam in the Veritable Records of the Qing [「回民」──《清實錄》所載1800年前大清帝國與伊斯蘭教史料彙編]Hong Kong: Centre for the Study of Islam Culture, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2022.

2022

The Secular Imaginary

Gandhi, Nehru and the Idea(s) of India

Sushmita Nath

The Secular Imaginary

Given the popularity and success of the Hindu-Right in India's electoral politics today, how may one study ostensibly 'Western' concepts and ideas, such as the secular and its family of cognates, like secularism, secularisation and secularity in non-Western societies without assuming them simply as derivative, or colonial legacies or contrast cases of Western societies? While recognizing that the dominant language of political modernity of Western societies is not easily translatable in non-Western societies, The Secular Imaginary elaborates upon an intellectual history of secularity in modern India by focusing on the two most influential political leaders – M.K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. It is an intellectual history of both idea(s) and intellectuals, which sheds light on Indian narratives of secularity – the Gandhian sarva dharma samabhava, Nehruvian secularism, and unity in diversity. It revisits this dominant narrative of secularity of the twentieth century that influenced and shaped the imagination of the modern nation-state.



Nath, Sushmita. The Secular Imaginary: Gandhi, Nehru and the Idea(s) of India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022.

2022

Politics, Ethics and the Self

Re-reading Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj

Rajeev Bhargava, ed.

Politics, Ethics and the Self

Hind Swaraj by Mahatma Gandhi is arguably the greatest text to have emerged from the anti-colonial movement in India and the first to seriously challenge the cultural and civilizational premises of the colonizers’ mentality. It is also the first text in India that falls within the broad tradition of modern political philosophy, advancing a complex cluster of theses with conceptual sensitivity, analytical precision, and sustained argument. This book critically engages with Hind Swaraj and explores the fascinating and subtle dialogue set up by Gandhi between the characters of the reader and the editor. With essays from leading contemporary thinkers on Gandhi, the volume looks at themes such as Gandhi on epistemic servitude, decolonization, and intercultural translation; his complex critique of modern civilization; his views on the empire, democracy, citizenship, and violence; the normative structure of Gandhian thought; Gandhi and the political praxis of educational reconstruction; and how to read this text. An important intervention in Gandhian studies, this book will be useful for scholars and researchers of peace studies, political philosophy, Indian philosophy, Indian political thought, political sociology, and South Asian studies.


Bhargava, Rajeev, ed. Politics, Ethics and the Self: Re-reading Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj. London: Routledge India, 2022.


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.

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