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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.

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

Orthodox Christian Identity in Western Europe

Contesting Religious Authority

Sebastian Rimestad

Orthodox Christian Identity in Western Europe

This book analyses the discourses of Orthodox Christianity in Western Europe to demonstrate the emerging discrepancies between the mother churches in the east and their western congregations. Showing the genesis and development of these discourses over the 20th century, it examines the challenges the Orthodox Church is facing in the modern world. Organised along four different discursive fields, the book uses these fields to analyse the Orthodox Church in Westenr Europe during the 20th century. It explores pastoral, ecclesiological, institutional, and ecumenical discourses in order to present a holistic view of how the actors in the church view themselves and how they seek to interact with other denominations. Taken together, the four discursive fields reveal a discursive vitality outside of the traditionally Orthodox societies that is, however, only partly reabsorbed by church hierarchs in core Orthodox regions, like Southeast Europe and Russia. The Orthodox Church is a complex and multifaceted global reality. Therefore, this book is a vital guide to scholars studying the Orthodox Church, ecumenism, and religion in Europe, as well as those working in religious studies, sociology of religion, and theology more generally.


Rimestad, Sebastian. Orthodox Christian Identity in Western Europe: Contesting Religious Authority. London: Routledge, 2020.

2020

Religion and Secularities

Reconfiguring Islam in Contemporary India

Sitharman, Sudha; Chakrabarti, Anindita

Religion and Secularities

The resurgence of religion and its militant mixing with politics is now a ubiquitous feature of our times. Since 9/11, discussions on religion, particularly Islam, have been characterised by debates surrounding the rise of political Islam, war on terror and the ascent of religious politics globally. Islam, particularly, appears as the bearer of a frightening tradition, and stereotypes render it an anathema in the modern world. The notion of a unitary, timeless and unchanging religion has been reinforced not only by sections of academia and the media, but also through the Muslim communities’ interpretations and representations of their own religion.


Sitharman, Sudha, and Anindita Chakrabarti. Religion and Secularities: Reconfiguring Islam in Contemporary India. [s.l.]: Orient Blackswan, 2020.

2020

Indigenous Religion(s):

Local Grounds, Global Networks

Siv Ellen Kraft, Bjørn Ola Tafjord, Arkotong Longkumer, Gregory D. Alles and Greg Johnson

Indigenous Religion(s):

What counts as ‘indigenous religion’ in today’s world? Who claims this category? What are the processes through which local entities become recognisable as ‘religious’ and ‘indigenous’? How is all of this connected to struggles for power, rights and sovereignty? This book sheds light on the contemporary lives of indigenous religion(s), through case studies from Sápmi, Nagaland, Talamanca, Hawai‘i and Gujarat, and through a shared focus on translations, performances, mediation and sovereignty. It builds on longterm case-studies and on the collaborative comparison of a long-term project, including shared fieldwork. At the centre of its concerns are translations between a globalising discourse (indigenous religion in the singular) and distinct local traditions (indigenous religions in the plural). With contributions from leading scholars in the field, this book is a must read for students and researchers in indigenous religions, including those in related fields such as religious studies and social anthropology.


Kraft,Siv Ellen, Tafjord, Bjørn Ola, Longkumer, Arkotong, Alles, Gregory D., and Johnson, Greg. Indigenous Religion(s): Local Grounds, Global Networks. Abingdon: Routledge, 2020.

2020

Faith-Based Organizations in Development Discourses and Practice

Jens Koehrsen, Andreas Heuser

Faith-Based Organizations in Development Discourses and Practice

Exploring faith-based organizations (FBOs) in current developmental discourses and practice, this book presents a selection of empirical in-depth case-studies of Christian FBOs and assesses the vital role credited to FBOs in current discourses on development. Examining the engagement of FBOs with contemporary politics of development, the contributions stress the agency of FBOs in diverse contexts of development policy, both local and global. It is emphasised that FBOs constitute boundary agents and developmental entrepreneurs: they move between different discursive fields such as national and international development discourses, theological discourses, and their specific religious constituencies. By combining influxes from these different contexts, FBOs generate unique perspectives on development: they express alternative views on development and stress particular approaches anchored in their theological social ethics. This book should be of interest to those researching FBOs and their interaction with international organizations, and to scholars working in the broader areas of religion and politics and politics and development.


Koehrsen, Jens, and Andreas Heuser. Faith-Based Organizations in Development Discourses and Practice. Abingdon: Routledge, 2020.

2020

Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions

Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts

Clart, Philip, David Ownby, and Chien-chuan Wang

Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions

Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts is an edited volume (Philip Clart, David Ownby, and Wang Chien-chuan) offering eight essays on the modern history of redemptive societies in China and Vietnam by an international cast of scholars. The focus of the volume is on the texts produced by the various groups, examining questions of textual production (spirit-writing), textual traditions (how to “modernize” traditional discourse), textual authority (the role of texts in making a master a master), and the distribution of texts (via China’s experience of “print capitalism”). Throughout, the goal is to explore in depth what some scholars have called the most vital aspect of Chinese religion during the Republican period.


Clart, Philip, David Ownby, and Chien-chuan Wang, eds. Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts. Religion in Chinese societies 16. Leiden: Brill, 2020.

2020

Transnational Religious Spaces

Religious Organizations and Interactions in Africa, East Asia, and Beyond

Philip Clart and Adam Jones

Transnational Religious Spaces

This volume resulted from a workshop on “Transnational Religious Spaces”, jointly organized in December of 2018 by two research groups within the Leipzig University Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199 “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition”. As one of the research groups, headed by Adam Jones, focused on Africa, and the other, headed by Philip Clart, on East Asia, in the joint workshop we sought to achieve two aims: first, to investigate transnational religious spaces in a comparative manner by juxtaposing East Asian and African case examples, and second, to examine specific cases where the transnational space in question encompassed both East Asia and Africa.


Clart, Philip, and Adam Jones, eds. Transnational Religious Spaces. Religious Organizations and Interactions in Africa, East Asia, and Beyond. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co, 2020.

2020

Affective Trajectories

Religion and Emotion in African Cityscapes

Hansjörg Dilger, Astrid Bochow, Marian Burchardt, Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon

Affective Trajectories

The contributors to Affective Trajectories examine the mutual and highly complex entwinements between religion and affect in urban Africa in the early twenty-first century. Drawing on ethnographic research throughout the continent and in African diasporic communities abroad, they trace the myriad ways religious ideas, practices, and materialities interact with affect to configure life in urban spaces. Whether examining the affective force of the built urban environment or how religious practices contribute to new forms of attachment, identification, and place-making, they illustrate the force of affect as it is shaped by temporality and spatiality in the religious lives of individuals and communities. Among other topics, they explore Masowe Apostolic Christianity in relation to experiences of displacement in Harare, Zimbabwe; Muslim identity, belonging, and the global ummah in Ghana; crime, emotions, and conversion to neo-Pentecostalism in Cape Town; and spiritual cleansing in a Congolese branch of a Japanese religious movement. In so doing, the contributors demonstrate how the social and material living conditions of African cities generate diverse affective forms of religious experiences in ways that foster both localized and transnational paths of emotional knowledge.


Dilger, Hansjörg, Astrid Bochow, and Marian Burchardt. Affective Trajectories: Religion and Emotion in African Cityscapes. Religious cultures of African and African diaspora people., 2020.

2020

Regulating Difference

Religious Diversity and Nationhood in the Secular West

Marian Burchardt

Regulating Difference

Transnational migration has contributed to the rise of religious diversity and has led to profound changes in the religious make-up of society across the Western world. As a result, societies and nation-states have faced the challenge of crafting ways to bring new religious communities into existing institutions and the legal frameworks. Regulating Difference explores how the state regulates religious diversity and examines the processes whereby religious diversity and expression becomes part of administrative landscapes of nation-states and people’s everyday lives. Arguing that concepts of nationhood are key to understanding the governance of religious diversity, Regulating Difference employs a transatlantic comparison of the Spanish region of Catalonia and the Canadian province of Quebec to show how processes of nation-building, religious heritage-making and the mobilization of divergent interpretations of secularism are co-implicated in shaping religious diversity. It argues that religious diversity has become central for governing national and urban spaces.


Burchardt, Marian. Regulating Difference Religious Diversity and Nationhood in the Secular West. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2020.

2020

A Reflexive Islamic Modernity

Academic Knowledge and Religious Subjectivity in the Global Ismaili Community

Mohammad Magout

A Reflexive Islamic Modernity

The book examines how a transnational Muslim minority, Nizari Ismailis, engages academically with itself in order to enhance its legitimacy, manage cultural differences, and adapt the religious subjectivities of its followers to conditions of doubt and uncertainty.


Magout, Mohammad. A Reflexive Islamic Modernity: Academic Knowledge and Religious Subjectivity in the Global Ismaili Community. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2020.

2020

Islamisches Familien- und Erbrecht der arabischen Länder

Herausforderungen und Reformen

Hans-Georg Ebert

Islamisches Familien- und Erbrecht der arabischen Länder

Hans-Georg Ebert introduces the origin and development of Islamic family and inheritance law in the Arab countries. He refers to the manifold sources and norms of Islamic law and its European influences since the end of the 19th century. In a typology of the legal systems of the Arab nation states, he emphasises not only the differences in content and degree of codification, which are based on social, religious and political circumstances, but also the mutual references and fundamental commonalities. Using marriage, divorce, parenthood and inheritance law as examples, Ebert shows the methods and reforms that can be used to overcome current challenges while respecting cultural-religious values.


Ebert, Hans-Georg. Islamisches Familien- Und Erbrecht Der Arabischen Länder: Herausforderungen Und Reformen. Berlin: Frank & Timme, 2020.

2019

Das Verhältnis von Buddhismus und Politik in Sri Lanka

Narrative Kontinuität durch Traditionskonstruktion

Madlen Krüger

Das Verhältnis von Buddhismus und Politik in Sri Lanka

For centuries, the relationship between the king and the monastic order as laid down in Buddhist chronicles was valid in Sri Lanka. After the end of kingship in the 19th century, the relationship between Buddhism and politics had to be renegotiated. As an introduction to the discussion on the construction of tradition, the author illustrates how, against the background of colonial influences and post-colonial upheavals, pre-colonial orders, such as the connection king – monastic order – people, were subject to new negotiation processes. The focus here is on religious-political debates that have been conducted between politically active monks and the respective governments or presidents from independence in 1948 until the presidential elections in 2015. The author shows how questions concerning the state’s areas of responsibility and duties towards the Buddha Sāsana as well as the monks’ competences and duties are debated.


Krüger, Madlen. Das Verhältnis Von Buddhismus Und Politik in Sri Lanka: Narrative Kontinuität Durch Traditionskonstruktion. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2019.

2019

Buddhism and Medicine in Japan

A Topical Survey (500-1600 CE) of a Complex Relationship

Katja​ Triplett

Buddhism and Medicine in Japan

This book demonstrates the close link between medicine and Buddhism in early and medieval Japan. It may seem difficult to think of Japanese Buddhism as being linked to the realm of medical practices since religious healing is usually thought to be restricted to prayers for divine intervention. There is a surprising lack of scholarship regarding medicinal practices in Japanese Buddhism although an overwhelming amount of primary sources proves otherwise. A careful re-reading of well-known materials from a study-of-religions perspective, together with in some cases a first-time exploration of manuscripts and prints, opens new views on an understudied field. The book presents a topical survey and comprises chapters on treating sight-related diseases, women’s health, plant-based materica medica and medicinal gardens, and finally horse medicine to include veterinary knowledge. Terminological problems faced in working on this material – such as ‘religious’ or ‘magical healing’ as opposed to ‘secular medicine’ – are assessed. The book suggests focusing more on the plural nature of the Japanese healing system as encountered in the primary sources and reconsidering the use of categories from the European intellectual tradition.


Triplett, Katja. Buddhism and Medicine in Japan: A Topical Survey (500-1600 CE) of a Complex Relationship. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.

2019

Buddhism and Medicine

An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Sources

C. Pierce Salguero

Buddhism and Medicine

Over the centuries, Buddhist ideas have influenced medical thought and practice in complex and varied ways in diverse regions and cultures. A companion to Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Premodern Sources, this work presents a collection of modern and contemporary texts and conversations from across the Buddhist world dealing with the multifaceted relationship between Buddhism and medicine.

Covering the early modern period to the present, this anthology focuses on the many ways Buddhism and medicine were shaped by the forces of colonialism, science, and globalization, as well as ruptures and reconciliations between tradition and modernity. Editor C. Pierce Salguero and an international collection of scholars highlight diversity and innovation in the encounters between Buddhist and medical thought. The chapters contain a wide range of sources presenting different perspectives rooted in distinct times and places, including translations of published and unpublished documents and transcripts of ethnographic interviews as well as accounts by missionaries and colonial authorities and materials from the contemporary United States and United Kingdom. Together, these varied sources illustrate the many intersections of Buddhism and medicine in the past and how this nexus continues to be crucial in today’s global context.


Salguero, C. Pierce, ed. Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Sources. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019.

2019

The Diversity of Nonreligion

Normativities and Contested Relations

Johannes Quack, Cora Schuh, Susanne Kind

The Diversity of Nonreligion

This book explores the relational dynamic of religious and nonreligious positions as well as the tensions between competing modes of nonreligion. Across the globe, individuals and communities are seeking to distinguish themselves in different ways from religion as they take on an identity unaffiliated to any particular faith. The resulting diversity of nonreligion has until recently been largely ignored in academia.

Conceptually, the book advances a relational approach to nonreligion, which is inspired by Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory. It also offers further analytical distinctions that help to identify and delineate different modes of nonreligion with respect to actors’ values, objectives, and their relations with relevant religious others. The significance of this conceptual frame is illustrated by three empirical studies, on organized humanism in Sweden, atheism and freethought in the Philippines, and secular politics in the Netherlands. These studies analyze the normativities and changing positions of different groups against the background of both institutionalized religious practice and changing religious fields more generally.

This is a fascinating exploration of how nonreligion and secularities are developing across the world. It complements existing approaches to the study of religion, secularity, and secularism and will, therefore, be of great value to scholars of religious studies as well as the anthropology, history, and sociology of religion more generally.


Quack, Johannes, Cora Schuh, and Susanne Kind. The Diversity of Nonreligion: Normativities and Contested Relations. New York: Routledge, 2019.

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