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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.

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.

2019

Islamicate Secularities in Past and Present

Markus Dressler, Armando Salvatore, Monika Wohlrab-Sahr

Islamicate Secularities in Past and Present

Partly as a result of manifold encounters with Europe, especially in the last about 150 years, societies shaped by Islam developed new epistemic distinctions and structural differentiations between religious and non-religious areas and practices. In this special issue, these distinctions and differentiations are conceptualised as “Islamicate secularities” – with recourse to Marshall Hodgson’s term “Islamicate” and the concept of “Multiple Secularities”. The individual contributions deal with the question of secularity in relation to Islam with reference to a variety of geographical areas and temporal focuses: from Turkey to China and Indonesia, from contemporary and colonial times to pre-colonial contexts. They develop different perspectives on how Muslims deal with religion in relation to social and political conflicts and how this has led to controversial redefinitions of “Islam” and its boundaries, especially in the political sphere. A tendency of “soft distinctions” is discernible overall, but these remain contained under the umbrella of “Islam”.

Dealing with the epistemic and political context of the debates on the contours of Islam in relation to the social and political spheres offers insights into the theoretical and normative conflicts that shape the debates on secularity and Islam in the early 21st century.

Dressler, Markus, Armando Salvatore, and Monika Wohlrab-Sahr, eds. “Islamicate Secularities in Past and Present.” Special issue, Historical Social Research 44, no. 3 (2019).

2019

Kurdish Alevis and the Case of Dersim

Historical and Contemporary Insights

Erdal Gezik, Ahmet Kerim Gültekin

Kurdish Alevis and the Case of Dersim

In contemporary Turkey, discussions on the concept of ethnicity and religiosity continue to maintain their utmost importance in politics and daily social life. In this context, Alevi and Kurdish identities have come to the fore with mass representation marked by protests and violence. In spite of the importance of Kurds and Alevis for the history of Turkey, one specific group, namely the Kurdish Alevis, has escaped the attention of the international world. Although wide interest upon the topic in the international academic sphere, there are very limited academic works about Kurdish Alevis in general. Who are the Kurdish Alevis? What are the particular conditions for its association with the Kurdish identity, Alevi religion, and the history of Turkey? What has been the role of Dersim within Kurdish Alevism? The main purpose of this edited volume, the first of its kind, is to contribute to the understanding of these and other questions. Based on six perspectives from scholars from various disciplinary, this approach will present new insights on contemporary research and discussions on the issue.



Gezik, Erdal, and Ahmet K. Gültekin, eds. Kurdish Alevis and the Case of Dersim: Historical and Contemporary Insights. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2019.

2019

Religionsbegegnung in der asiatischen Religionsgeschichte:

Kritische Reflexionen über ein etabliertes Konzept

Max Deeg, Oliver Freiberger, Christoph Kleine

Religionsbegegnung in der asiatischen Religionsgeschichte:

At first glance, the Asian religious history is rich in encounters between religions. Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, Confucianism, Shintō and other religions coexisted in certain regions and epochs, interacting with each other and influencing each other. However, this presentation is quite abstract and says little about who or what actually meets in a “religious encounter”. What exactly is meant by “religious encounter” in a specific historical context? Which processes can be observed? And what consequences does a precise analysis of such processes have for the theorisation of religious identities and social dynamics from a study of religions perspective? The contributions in this volume discuss these questions on the basis of concrete historical cases from different geographic regions: South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia and East Asia. They show that the term “religious encounter” is not irrelevant, but that the respective boundaries between religions can be determined differently in each concrete historical context. It therefore needs to be carefully examined for each case what encounter means for religious people and traditions.


Extract (German)

Deeg, Max, Oliver Freiberger, and Christoph Kleine, eds. Religionsbegegnung in der asiatischen Religionsgeschichte: Kritische Reflexionen über ein etabliertes Konzept. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019.

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