New books by Professors Mahmood, Nader, and Kirch

October 15, 2015

Date/Time: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 02:00

Please take a look at recently published books by our faculty and emeritus faculty.

 The plight of religious minorities in the Middle East is often attributed to the failure of secularism to take root in the region. In Religious Difference in a Secular Age, published by Princeton University Press, Professor Saba Mahmood challenges this assessment by examining four cornerstones of secularism—political and civil equality, minority rights, religious freedom, and the legal separation of private and public domains.

The fruits of the three-year Politics of Religious Freedom research project, the contributions to this volume unsettle the assumption—ubiquitous in policy circles—that religious freedom is a singular achievement, an easily understood state of affairs, and that the problem lies in its incomplete accomplishment. Professor Saba Mahmood’s edited volume Politics of Religious Freedom, co-edited with Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, and Peter G. Danchin and published by the University of Chicago Press, makes clear that the reasons for persecution are more varied and complex than is widely acknowledged.

Unprecedented in its scope, What the Rest Think of the West, published by University of California Press, provides a rich historical look through the eyes of outsiders as they survey and scrutinize the politics, science, technology, religion, family practices, and gender roles of civilizations not their own. Focusing on four civilizations—Islamic, Japanese, Chinese, and South Asian—Professor Laura Nader has collected observations made over centuries by scholars, diplomats, missionaries, travelers, merchants, and students reflecting upon their own “Wests.”

In Unearthing the Polynesian Past, published by University of Hawai’i Press, Professor Emeritus Patrick Kirch looks back over the past half-century of Polynesian archaeology and reflects on how the questions we ask about the past have changed over the decades, how archaeological methods have advanced, and how our knowledge of the Polynesian past has greatly expanded.