Irfan Ahmad: Beyond Trump’s Notion of the “Pathetic Critic”

Today we welcome a guest post from Irfan Ahmad, author of Religion as Critique:  Islamic Critical Thinking from Mecca to the Marketplace.  Professor Ahmad is an anthropologist and senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Studies in Göttingen, Germany. In Religion as Critique, Irfan Ahmad makes the far-reaching… Continue Reading Irfan Ahmad: Beyond Trump’s Notion of the “Pathetic Critic”

Elaine Maisner: Announcing a Multimedia Collaboration between UNC Press and Mavcor on Material Religion

Elaine Maisner is Executive Editor at UNC Press.  A Communion of Shadows: Religion and Photography in Nineteenth-Century America, is available now in both print and e-book editions. ### As the UNC Press editor responsible for our list in religious studies, I am delighted to announce that Rachel McBride Lindsey’s book, A Communion of Shadows: Religion… Continue Reading Elaine Maisner: Announcing a Multimedia Collaboration between UNC Press and Mavcor on Material Religion

John Hayes: “Those People”

Today we welcome a guest post from John Hayes, author of Hard, Hard Religion:  Interracial Faith in the Poor South, on the history of class and race in the American South. In Hard, Hard Religion, his captivating study of faith and class, John Hayes examines the ways folk religion in the early twentieth century allowed… Continue Reading John Hayes: “Those People”

Author Interview: Adam Gussow, Beyond the Crossroads

  Today, UNC Press Publicity Director Gina Mahalek talks with Adam Gussow, author of Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition, about Sterling Magee, the blues tradition and folklore in the American South, and more. You can also read Adam’s Book Notes post over at the Largehearted Boy blog, where he also shares a… Continue Reading Author Interview: Adam Gussow, Beyond the Crossroads

Save 40% on our new Religious Studies Books!

We’ve just launched our 2017 Religious Studies catalog promotion.  UNC Press is now offering 40% off of our latest Religious Studies books (and ALL UNC Press print books)! Simply enter the code 01REL40 at checkout to get your discount. Additionally, all orders of $75 and above will receive FREE shipping! Be sure to act on this… Continue Reading Save 40% on our new Religious Studies Books!

John Hayes: On Class, Religion, and Politics

Today we welcome a guest post from John Hayes, author of Hard, Hard Religion:  Interracial Faith in the Poor South, on the history behind the increasing importance of class and religion on today’s American political landscape. In his captivating study of faith and class, John Hayes examines the ways folk religion in the early twentieth… Continue Reading John Hayes: On Class, Religion, and Politics

UNC Press Summer Reading List

Happy Summer! In honor of the summer solstice, we’re posting our suggestions for your summer reading list. If you’re planning a fun tropical vacation or just heading to your neighborhood pool, UNC Press has your perfect summer read. Pick up a fun guidebook or new biography, and don’t forget about our 40% sale! Continue Reading UNC Press Summer Reading List

Judy Kutulas: What If My Relatives Were on the “Wrong” Side of History?

I understand that Ben Affleck was unhappy to learn his ancestors owned slaves. I mention this because I was also unexpectedly side-swiped by history while researching a chapter for After Aquarius Dawned on the Peoples Temple and the Jonestown mass death. As traditional authority, aka the Establishment, declined after the war in Vietnam and Watergate and all those liberation movements – sexual, gay, women’s, black – Americans practiced more freedom of choice, summarized by a women’s movement slogan, “the personal is political.” Since I was already looking into the Temple, I took a side-jaunt into the story of my cousins who perished in Jonestown. Continue Reading Judy Kutulas: What If My Relatives Were on the “Wrong” Side of History?

Deirdre M. Moloney: The Muslim Ban of 1910

Certain immigrants, including Mormons, Hindus, and Muslims faced barriers in their effort to settle in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries because they were perceived as adhering to belief systems that were un-American. Though those religiously based cases were small relative to those immigrants facing exclusion or deportation based on their poverty or on medical grounds, they suggest that religious bias has long been a significant factor in early federal immigration policies. Continue Reading Deirdre M. Moloney: The Muslim Ban of 1910

Lon Kurashige: When Buddhism Was an Enemy Religion

A few months after the Pearl Harbor attack, the FBI took my grandfather away from his wife and seven children and confined him and hundreds of other Buddhist priests apart from their families and congregations. Their main “crime” was to be leaders of an enemy religion. There was no evidence produced to implicate my grandfather or any Buddhist priest of wrongdoing. Continue Reading Lon Kurashige: When Buddhism Was an Enemy Religion

Save 40% on our Religious Studies Books!

UNC Press is now having a special offer for 40% off of our latest Religious Studies books!

Simply enter the code 01RELI40 at check out to redeem the offer. Additionally, all orders of $75 and above will receive FREE shipping! Be sure to act on this offer before it’s gone!
Continue Reading Save 40% on our Religious Studies Books!

Anne M. Blankenship: E Pluribus Unum?

Headlines of racial violence and the unabashed racism within Donald Trump’s campaign for the U.S. presidency do not allow Americans to escape the fact that our nation’s value of pluralism lies on shaky ground. The U.S. Constitution, of course, did not originally allow for the full rights of women or people of African, Asian, or Native American descent, but the notion of America as a land of opportunity for all persists. Continue Reading Anne M. Blankenship: E Pluribus Unum?

Bruce B. Lawrence: Daily Mercy: Allah in the Cracks

We welcome a guest post from Bruce B. Lawrence, author of Who is Allah? This vivid introduction to the heart of Islam offers a unique approach to understanding Allah, the central focus of Muslim religious expression. Drawing on history, culture, theology, politics, and the media, Lawrence identifies key religious practices by which Allah is revered and… Continue Reading Bruce B. Lawrence: Daily Mercy: Allah in the Cracks

Emily Suzanne Clark: I Don’t Believe in No Ghosts: America and Spirits

Whether or not you reading this post believe in them, ghosts fascinate Americans. A century and a half before the popularity of ghost-hunter shows on the SyFy Network and NBC’s award-winning show “Medium,” belief in spirit communication was serious and widespread in the United States. Spiritualism swept across the United States in the mid-nineteenth century and remained popular into the twentieth century. Put simply, a Spiritualist is one who believes that communication with the spirits of the dead is not only possible but also desirable. Popularized by the Fox Sisters and their “Rochester rappings,” Spiritualism interested Americans young and old, white and black, male and female, rich and poor. Much of this appeal came from Spiritualism’s ability to bridge the world of the living and the world of the dead. Continue Reading Emily Suzanne Clark: I Don’t Believe in No Ghosts: America and Spirits

Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez: Muslims in the Classroom

Donald Trump’s suggested ban on Muslims entering the United States and the creation of a Muslim “registry” has been widely (and wisely) condemned. But from my perspective in the classroom, I see how the ideas are already affecting young people. Amid the rows of Catholics, Jews, agnostics, and evangelicals in my religion courses sit dozens of students hailing from the Middle East and South Asia. Their presence is a very good thing. Like most of my students, they are open, curious, and eager to learn. And they are baffled and intimidated by Trump’s rhetoric. Continue Reading Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez: Muslims in the Classroom

Shabana Mir: The Headscarf/Hijab Debate

Recently, a blogosphere debate erupted on headscarves/hijab among various Muslim women. The debate was preceded by physical harassment against visibly Muslim women. The worsened climate of Islamophobia was greeted with shock and disgust by a number of Americans. A number of non-Muslim women—Dr. Larycia Hawkins of Wheaton College, for instance—put on the headscarf as a gesture of solidarity with Muslims. While some Muslims critiqued hijab solidarity as a form of appropriation, many welcomed it as a well-intentioned and courageous gesture in difficult times. Continue Reading Shabana Mir: The Headscarf/Hijab Debate

Video: Patricia Appelbaum on St. Francis, America’s Most Popular Saint

Patricia Appelbaum, author of St. Francis of America: How a Thirteenth-Century Friar Became America’s Most Popular Saint, talks to Peggy Bendroth as part of the History Matters series at the Congregational Library and Archives. Continue Reading Video: Patricia Appelbaum on St. Francis, America’s Most Popular Saint

Margaret Bendroth: Disorganized Religion

Protestant aversion to organized religion is everywhere, even on the sign on the front lawns of churches. Smart congregations are dropping the Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian label and replacing it with soft generic names like Willow Grove or Saddleback. They are becoming nonspecific “communities” and “fellowships” associating themselves with some broad spiritual aspiration, like “resurrection” or “hope” or “reconciliation.” Continue Reading Margaret Bendroth: Disorganized Religion

Interview: Patricia Appelbaum on St. Francis of America

I started out thinking that the garden statue was kind of a cliché. Imagine just going out and buying a mass-produced plastic image and thinking there is something special about it! Commercial statuary seemed to trivialize Francis’s meaning, to make him less challenging. Instead of a figure who calls for drastic change, radical poverty, and absolute devotion—a saint who was active in the wider world—our vision is limited to a pretty statue and birdbath on our private property. But I came to change my views. There’s a real spiritual side to this, and also a cultural critique. Continue Reading Interview: Patricia Appelbaum on St. Francis of America

Video: Kishwar Rizvi on Islamic Architecture and Historical Memory

In the following video, Rizvi talks with Marilyn Wilkes about The Transnational Mosque in an episode of The MacMillan Report, produced by the MacMillan Center at Yale University. Continue Reading Video: Kishwar Rizvi on Islamic Architecture and Historical Memory