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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.

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.

2018

Islam in Der Moderne, Moderne Im Islam

Eine Festschrift Für Reinhard Schulze Zum 65. Geburtstag

Johannes​ Stephan, Florian Zemmin, Monica Corrado

Islam in Der Moderne, Moderne Im Islam

The contributors to this commemorative publication congratulate Reinhard Schulze on his 65th birthday by shedding light on a life-long theme of the jubilarian: the relationship between Islam and modernity. Representatives of Islamic studies, religious studies, sociology and Arabic literary studies refer to Reinhard Schulze’s work in various ways in order to constructively criticise a Eurocentric understanding of modernity. The aspects dealt with under the main topic Islam and Modernity are evident from the four thematic sections of the volume: Islam (science), religion and the obstinacy of modernity; Islamic cultures of knowledge and normativity; language and literature as modern media; Islamic (science) in public.

Stephan, Johannes, Florian Zemmin, and Monica Corrado, eds. Islam in Der Moderne, Moderne Im Islam: Eine Festschrift Für Reinhard Schulze Zum 65. Geburtstag. Social, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East and Asia 119. Boston: Brill, 2018.

2018

A Secular Age Beyond the West

Religion, Law and the State in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa

Mirjam Künkler, John Madeley, Shylashri Shankar

A Secular Age Beyond the West

This book traces religion and secularity in eleven countries not shaped by Western Christianity (Japan, China, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, and Morocco), and how they parallel or diverge from Charles Taylor's grand narrative of the North Atlantic world, A Secular Age (2007). In all eleven cases, the state - enhanced by post-colonial and post-imperial legacies - highly determines religious experience, by variably regulating religious belief, practice, property, education, and/or law. Taylor's core condition of secularity - namely, legal permissibility and social acceptance of open religious unbelief (Secularity III) - is largely absent in these societies. The areas affected by state regulation, however, differ greatly. In India, Israel and most Muslim countries, questions of religious law are central to state regulation. But it is religious education and organization in China and church property and public practice in Russia that bear the brunt. This book explains these differences using the concept of 'differential burdening'.


Künkler, Mirjam, John Madeley, and Shylashri Shankar, eds. A Secular Age Beyond the West: Religion, Law and the State in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

2018

Religious Pluralism and the City

Inquiries into Postsecular Urbanism

Helmuth Berking, Silke Steets, Jochen Schwenk

 Religious Pluralism and the City

Religious Pluralism and the City challenges the notion that the city is a secular place, and calls for an analysis of how religion and the city are intertwined. It is the first book to analyze the explanatory value of a number of typologies already in use around this topic – from "holy city" to "secular city", from "fundamentalist" to "postsecular city". By intertwining the city and religion, urban theory and theories of religion, this is the first book to provide an international and interdisciplinary analysis of post-secular urbanism.

The book argues that, given the rise of religiously inspired violence and the increasing significance of charismatic Christianity, Islam and other spiritual traditions, the master narrative that modern societies are secular societies has lost its empirical plausibility. Instead, we are seeing the pluralization of religion, the co-existence of different religious worldviews, and the simultaneity of secular and religious institutions that shape everyday life. These particular constellations of "religious pluralism" are, above all, played out in cities.
Including contributions from Peter L. Berger and Nezar Alsayyad, this book conceptually and empirically revokes the dissolution between city and religion to unveil its intimate relationship, and offers an alternative view on the quotidian state of the global urban condition.

Table of contents

Berking, Helmuth, Silke Steets, and Jochen Schwenk, eds. Religious Pluralism and the City: Inquiries into Postsecular Urbanism. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018.

2018

Die Religiöse Stiftung im Islam (waqf) nach hanafitischer Lehre

Die stiftungsrechtliche Kodifikation von Qadrî Pâshâ

Hans-Georg Ebert

Die Religiöse Stiftung im Islam (waqf) nach hanafitischer Lehre

Hans-Georg Ebert provides a commented, critical translation into German of Muhammad Qadrî Pâshâ's (d. 1886) compilation of waqf-law, which can be seen as a legal source for the national laws of Islamic countries. Hence, standards and methods can be derived from it to reform the religious endowments to strengthen their social responsibility. The text was printed in 1894 in Bûlâq (Cairo) following an Arabic manuscript (646 articles).


Der ägyptische Jurist Muhammad Qadrî Pâshâ (gest. 1886) erstellte Ende des 19. Jh. nach den Kodifikationen zum islamischen Familienrecht und zum islamischen Zivilrecht auch eine solche zum Recht der Religiösen Stiftung (waqf) auf hanafitischer Grundlage. Er orientierte sich dabei vor allem an den klassischen islamischen Rechtswerken und Fatwâ-Sammlungen. Nach dem Muster europäischer Gesetzeswerke untergliederte der Autor das Sachgebiet in einzelne Kapitel und Abschnitte. Damit schuf er ein wichtiges Referenzwerk, welches nach seinem Tode erstmals 1894 in Kairo im Druck erschien. Qadrî Pâshâ nutzte verschiedene Methoden der hanafitischen Lehre, um den Rechtstext an die existierenden gesellschaftlichen Bedingungen und Herausforderungen anzupassen. Die in der Folgezeit veröffentlichten Gesetze der arabischen Länder zur Religiösen Stiftung konnten auf den Text zurückgreifen. Dabei ging und geht es vor allem um eine zeitgemäße Verwaltung und gewinnbringende Nutzung von gestifteten Immobilien. Die kommentierte Übersetzung folgt dem arabischen Original.

Ebert, Hans-Georg. Die Religiöse Stiftung im Islam (waqf) nach hanafitischer Lehre: Die stiftungsrechtliche Kodifikation von Qadrî Pâshâ. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018.

2017

Religious Indifference

New Perspectives from Studies on Secularization and Nonreligion

Johannes Quack, Cora Schuh

Religious Indifference

This book provides a conceptually and empirically rich introduction to religious indifference on the basis of original anthropological, historical and sociological research.

Religious indifference is a central category for understanding contemporary societies, and a controversial one. For some scholars, a growing religious indifference indicates a dramatic decline in religiosity and epitomizes the endpoint of secularization processes. Others view it as an indicator of moral apathy and philosophical nihilism, whilst yet others see it as paving the way for new forms of political tolerance and solidarity. 

This volume describes and analyses the symbolic power of religious indifference and the conceptual contestations surrounding it. Detailed case studies cover anthropological and qualitative data from the UK, Germany, Estonia, the USA, Canada, and India analyse large quantitative data sets, and provide philosophical-literary inquiries into the phenomenon. They highlight how, for different actors and agendas, religious indifference can constitute an objective or a challenge. Pursuing a relational approach to non-religion, the book conceptualizes religious indifference in its interrelatedness with religion as well as more avowed forms of non-religion.


Quack, Johannes, and Cora Schuh, eds. Religious Indifference: New Perspectives from Studies on Secularization and Nonreligion. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2017.

2017

The Global Repositioning of Japanese Religions

An Integrated Approach

Ugo Dessi

The Global Repositioning of Japanese Religions

The Global Repositioning of Japanese Religions: An Integrated Approach explores how Japanese religions respond to the relativizing effects of globalization, thereby repositioning themselves as global players. Organized around concrete case studies focusing on the engagement of Japanese Buddhism, Shinto, and several new religious movements in areas such as ecology, inter-religious dialogue, and politics, this book shows that the globalization of Japanese religions cannot be explained simply in terms of worldwide institutional expansion. Rather, it is a complex phenomenon conditioned by a set of pervasive factors: changes in consciousness, the perception of affinities and resonances at the systemic and cultural levels, processes of decontextualization, and a wide range of power issues including the re-enactment of cultural chauvinism.

The author investigates these dynamics systematically with attention to broader theoretical questions, cross-cultural similarities, the definition of religion and the perils of ethnocentrism, in order to develop his Global Repositioning model, which constitutes an integrated approach to the study of Japanese religions under globalization.

An empirically-grounded and theoretically-informed study of the effects of global trends on local religions, this book will appeal to scholars and students with interests in globalization, religious studies, Japanese studies, Hawaii, sociology, anthropology, and ecology.


Dessì, Ugo. The Global Repositioning of Japanese Religions: An Integrated Approach. New York: Routledge, 2017.

2017

Zwei Pluralismen

Positionen Aus Sozialwissenschaft Und Theologie Zu Religiöser Vielfalt Und Säkularität

Peter L. Berger, Silke Steets, Wolfram Weiße

 Zwei Pluralismen

Does it still make sense today to assume the secularisation theory or should a theory of pluralisation replace this concept? The paradigm of Peter L. Berger discussed here sees two pluralisms: on the one hand, in the sense of a diversity of religions, world views and value systems in a society, and on the other hand, as the coexistence of religious and secular discourses, without which a modern or even a modernising society cannot exist. This approach was discussed at the scientific symposium of the Academy of World Religions at the University of Hamburg in October 2015. The contributions in the volume address Berger's basic thesis from both theological and sociological perspectives.

Berger, Peter L., Silke Steets, and Wolfram Weiße, eds. Zwei Pluralismen: Positionen Aus Sozialwissenschaft Und Theologie Zu Religiöser Vielfalt Und Säkularität. Münster, New York: Waxmann, 2017.

2017

Formations of the Secular in Japan

Rots, Aike P.; Teeuwen, Mark

Formations of the Secular in Japan

In recent years, a number of new historical studies have traced the formation and development of the category "religion" in (early) modern Japan. They have shed light on the profound political embeddedness of the category, showing how its conceptualization and implementation were intertwined with statehood and national ideology, which led to the transformation of earlier practices and ideas. As these works demonstrate, in modern Japan the newly incorporated category "religion" came to occupy a clearly demarcated space, differentiated from other societal realms such as governance, education, and science. The isolation of secular orthodoxy from a privatized realm of contingent belief was central to the formation of the modern imperial state.


Rots, Aike P.; Teeuwen, Mark (2017). Formations of the Secular in Japan. Japan Review 30.

2017

Faith and Social Movements

Religious Reform in Contemporary India

Chakrabarti, Anindita

Faith and Social Movements

How do we understand the multitude of faith movements in our post-secular world? Faith and Social Movements explores this question by analyzing the theology and practice as well as the transformation of two discrepant religious movements in contemporary India. The research opens up a conversation between the sociology of religion and social movements. Using a comparative lens, two different movements - a Hindu and an Islamic reform movement - have been studied in ethnographic detail. The book is divided into two parts. The first part dwells on Svadhyaya, a Hindu reform movement, and the second part on the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic reform movement. Focusing on the internal dynamics of these movements and the 'unintended consequences' of piety, the author argues that it is only by raising new questions vis-à-vis religion, secularity and civil society that their entanglement could be uncovered. This book aims to raise some of these questions.

Read the Introduction on "Dissent, Religion and Civil Society"

Chakrabarti, Anindita. Faith and Social Movements: Religious Reform in Contemporary India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

2016

Die andere Seite des Islam

Säkularismus-Diskurs und muslimische Intellektuelle im modernen Ägypten

Daniel Kinitz

Die andere Seite des Islam

Secularism (al-'almaniyya) is a central and controversial issue of Islam in Arab societies. The study reconstructs related social problems with reference to newer Egyptian publications and illustrative case studies. For the first time, the ambivalent authority of the Muslim intellectual is analysed sociologically, making an important contribution to the understanding of Islam in the globalised present.


Kinitz, Daniel (2016). Die andere Seite des Islam: Säkularismus-Diskurs und muslimische Intellektuelle im modernen Ägypten. Berlin: De Gruyter.

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