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Günther, Christoph and Simone Pfeifer (eds). 2020. Jhadi Audiovisuality and its Entanglements. Meanings, Aesthetics, Appropriations.

Christoph Günther, Simone Pfeifer (eds.) 2020. Jihadi Audiovisuality and its Entanglements. Meanings, Aesthetics, Appropriations. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

ISIS is often described as a terrorist organisation that uses social media to empower its supporters and reinforce its message. Through 12 case studies, this book examines the different ways in which Jihadi groups and their supporters use visualisation, sound production and aesthetic means to articulate their cause in online as well as offline contexts.

Divided into four thematic sections, the chapters probe Jihadi appropriation of traditional and popular cultural expressions and show how, in turn, political activists appropriate extremist media to oppose and resist the propaganda. By conceptualising militant Islamist audiovisual productions as part of global media aesthetics and practices, the authors shed light on how religious actors, artists, civil society activists, global youth, political forces, security agencies and researchers engage with mediated manifestations of Jihadi ideology to deconstruct, reinforce, defy or oppose the messages.

Wilson, Erin K. and Benjamin Schewel (eds). 2019. Religion and European Society: A Primer. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.

Wilson, Erin K. and Benjamin Schewel (eds). 2019. Religion and European Society: A Primer. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.

A contemporary examination of the role of religion in the European public sphere and beyond.

Although the role of religion has arguably declined in the societies of Western and Northern Europe, religious participation in other parts of the continent and among growing immigrant communities remains an important aspect of daily life. Recent years have seen a resurgence of religion in the public sphere, prompting many researchers to view European secularism as an outlier in this global trend. Religion and European Society: A Primer presents recent academic literature that explores key developments and current debates in the field, covering topics such as changing patterns of belief, religion across the political spectrum, and development and humanitarian aid.

Articles written by leading scholars draw from well-established findings to help readers contemplate the role of religion in public life, understand the assumptions and underpinnings of the secular worldview, and develop new ways of thinking about global issues relevant to contemporary global affairs. Each theme is addressed by several articles to provide readers with diverse, sometimes competing perspectives. This volume offers concepts and ideas that can be used in various policy, practitioner, and academic settings—clarifying overarching concepts and trends rather than analyzing specific policy issues that can quickly become outdated.

Tarusarira, Joram and Ezra Chitando). 2019. Religion and Human Security in Africa. London: Routledge.

Tarusarira, Joram and Ezra Chitando). 2019. Religion and Human Security in Africa. London: Routledge.

Across diverse countries and contexts in Africa, religion has direct implications for human security. While some individuals and groups seek to manipulate and control through the deployment of religion, religious belief is also a common facet of those working towards peace and reconciliation. Despite the strategic importance of religion to human security in Africa, there are few contemporary publications that explore this issue on an international scale. This volume redresses that imbalance by examining religion’s impact on human security across Africa.

Written by an international team of contributors, this book looks in detail at the intersection of religion and security in a variety of African contexts. Case studies from a diverse set of countries including Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Burkina Faso, and more, are used to illustrate wider trends across the continent. Acknowledging that religion can be used to incite violence as well as encourage peace, the chapters employ an interdisciplinary exploration of the ethics, sociology, and politics around these issues.

Faith leaders

2017: The Centre for Religion, Conflict and Globalisation at the University of Groningen University and the University of Stellenbosch recently concluded a one-year study on the role of faith leaders in challenging gender-based violence and gender inequality. The study resulted in a series of publications.

Secularisms in a Postsecular Age? Religiosities and Subjectivities in Comparative Perspective
Secularisms in a Postsecular Age? Religiosities and Subjectivities in Comparative Perspective

Mapril, Jos​é, Ruy Blanes, Emberto Giumbelli and Erin K. Wilson (eds). 2017. Secularisms in a Postsecular Age? Religiosities and Subjectivities in Comparative Perspective.

This volume ethnographically explores the relation between secularities and religious subjectivities.As a consequence of the demise of secularization theory, we live in an interesting intellectual moment where the so-called ‘post-secular’ coexists with the secular, which in turn has become pluralized and historicized. This cohabitation of the secular and post-secular is revealed mainly through political dialectical processes that overshadow the subjective and inter-subjective dimensions of secularity, making it difficult to pinpoint concrete sites, agents, and objects of expression.
Drawing on cases from South America, Africa, and Europe, contributors apply key insights from religious studies debates on the genealogies and formations of both religion and secularism. They explore the spaces, persons, and places in which these categories emerge and mutually constitute one another.
For additional details, please visit Palgrave, New York.

The Refugee Crisis and Religion: Secularism, Security and Hospitality in Question

Mavelli, Luca and Erin K. Wilson (eds). 2016. The Refugee Crisis and Religion: Secularism, Security and Hospitality in Question.

The current refugee crisis sweeping Europe, and much of the world, closely intersects with largely neglected questions of religion. Moving beyond discussions of religious differences, what can we learn about the interaction between religion and migration? Do faith-based organisations play a role within the refugee regime? How do religious traditions and perspectives challenge and inform current practices and policies towards refugees? This volume gathers together expertise from academics and practitioners, as well as migrant voices, in order to investigate these interconnections. It shows that reconsidering our understanding and approaches to both could generate creative alternative responses to the growing global migration crisis. Beginning with a discussion of the secular/religious divide - and how it shapes dominant policy practices and counter approaches to displacement and migration - the book then goes on to explore and deconstruct the dominant discourse of the Muslim refugee as a threat to the secular/Christian West. The discussion continues with an exploration of Christian and Islamic traditions of hospitality, showing how they challenge current practices of securitization of migration, and concludes with an investigation of the largely unexplored relation between gender, religion and migration. Bringing together leading and emerging voices from across academia and practice, in the fields of International Relations, migration studies, philosophy, religious studies and gender studies, this volume offers a unique take on one of the most pressing global problems of our time. For additional details, please visit Rowman and Littlefield International.

Faith in the Familiar

Knibbe, Kim E. 2013. Faith in the Familiar: Religion, Spirituality and Place in the South of the Netherlands.

Faith in the Familiar : Religion, Spirituality and Place in the South of the Netherlands is an ethnography of religious change in the Netherlands, a country that has moved from strongly pillarized to strongly secularist in the space of fifty years. This book shows how people look back on this, but also how Catholic rituals continue to play a role in the reproduction of place. Furthermore, it shows how forms of spiritualism and new age have become part of a pluralistic local religious landscape, and are used to create new ways of relating to religious authority and to reshape personal relationships.

Situating itself within general theories of religious change in Western Europe, it offers a contribution to this discussion from an angle that is often neglected, focusing on locality, rather than on globalization; on what happens to ‘old’ religion, rather than on new religious trends, on popular forms of ‘spirituality’ rather than on middle class and highbrow spirituality. Please visit the Brill Publishing website here.

Gender and Power in Contemporary Spirituality

Fedele, Anna and Kim E. Knibbe (eds). 2013. Gender and Power in Contemporary Spirituality: Ethnographic Approaches.

This book explores the entanglements of gender and power in spiritual practices and analyzes strategies used by spiritual practitioners to attain what to social scientists might seem an impossible goal: creating spiritual communities without creating gendered hierarchies.

What strategies do people within these networks use to attain gender equality and gendered empowerment? How do they try to protect and develop individual freedom? How do gender and power nevertheless play a role? The chapters in this book together and separately demonstrate that, in order to understand contemporary spirituality, the analytical lenses of gender and power are essential. Furthermore, they show that it is not possible to make a clear distinction between established religions and contemporary spirituality: the two sometimes overlap, and at other times spirituality distances itself from religion while reproducing some of its underlying interpretative frameworks. This book does not take the discourses of spiritual practitioners for granted, yet recognizes the reflexivity of spiritual practitioners and the reciprocal relationship between spirituality and disciplines such as anthropology. The ethnographic descriptions of lived spirituality included in this volume span a wide range of countries, from Portugal, Italy, and the Netherlands to Mexico and Israel. Please visit Routledge's website here.

Justice Globalism

Steger, Manfred B., James Goodman and Erin K. Wilson. 2013. Justice Globalism: Ideology, Crises, Policy. London: Sage Find the book here

A review of this book can be found on the website of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

After Secullarism
Wilson, Erin K. 2012. After Secularism: Rethinking Religion in Global Politics.

The book, by Erin Wilson, proposes an alternative framework for understanding religion and the ways in which it influences politics and public life, especially in the supposedly secular West. For more information, or to order a copy of the book, please visit the Palgrave Macmillan website. It is also available as an e-book.

Read a review by Journal of Church and State

Read a review by Australian Journal of Political Science

Recent Journal Articles

McIvor, Méadhbh. 2019. Rights and Relationships: Rhetorics of Religious Freedom among English Evangelicals. Journal of the American Academy of Religion. Find the article here .

McIvor. Méadhbh. 2018. Religious Freedom and the Politics of Empire. Religious Studies Review 44(1): 57-63. Find the article here.

McIvor, Méadhbh. 2018. Human Rights and Broken Cisterns: Counterpublic Christianity and Rights-based Discourse in Contemporary England. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology. Find the article here.

Wilson, Erin K. 2017. 'Power Differences’ and ‘the Power of Difference’: The Dominance of Secularism as Ontological Injustice. Globalizations. Find the article here.

Martínez-Ariño, Julia. 2017. Conceptualising the Role of Cities in the Governance of Religious Diversity in Europe. Current Sociology. Find the article here.

Martínez-Ariño, Julia. (2016). Grupos religiosos y gobierno local en interacción: Un estudio de caso en Francia. Sociedad y Religión.

Steger, Manfred B. and Erin K. Wilson. 2012. Anti- or Alter-Globalization? Mapping the Political Ideology of the Global Justice Movement. International Studies Quarterly

Wilson, Erin K. 2012. Religion and Climate Change: The Politics of Hope and Fear. Local Global Journal.

Book Chapters

Wilson, E.K. and R. Bleiker. 2013. “Performing Political Apologies” in Budryte, Dovile and Erica Resende (eds).Memory and Trauma Studies in International Relations: A Theoretical Survey. London: Routledge Find the article here

Wilson, E.K. 2013. “Be Welcome: Religion, Hospitality and Statelessness in International Politics” in Baker, Gideon (ed). Hospitality and World Politics. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan Find the article here

Online Publications

Policy Paper: Faith and the Asylum Crisis. The role of religion in responding to displacement. Find the article here.

Policy Paper: Gender, Religion and Humanitarian Responses to Refugees.

Staff and fellows of the Centre regularly contribute posts to The Religion Factor , a blog showcasing research connected with the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen and the Protestant Theological University.

Master Theses, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies

Ellen Sebamalai
"Examining FBOs in a Post-Conflict Society: Modern Missionaries or Helping Hands?"
Thesis is online available here
Research cluster: Religion Violence and Security

Katie Casey
"Liberalism’s Fault Lines. Dividing the Public from the Private in US and UK Cases of Conscientious Objection to Abortion."
Thesis is online available here
Research cluster: Religious Freedom

Erik Meinema
"Provoking Peace: Grassroots peacebuilding by Ambonese Youth"."
Thesis is online available here

Last modified:23 January 2021 3.16 p.m.