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Religious Studies Books

Moravian Soundscapes

A Sonic History of the Moravian Missions in Early Pennsylvania

by Sarah Justina Eyerly

 

In Moravian Soundscapes, Sarah Eyerly contends that the study of sound is integral to understanding the interactions between German Moravian missionaries and Native communities in early Pennsylvania. In the mid-18th century, when the frontier between settler and Native communities was a shifting spatial and cultural borderland, sound mattered. People listened carefully to each other and the world around them. In Moravian communities, cultures of hearing and listening encompassed and also superseded musical traditions such as song and hymnody. Complex biophonic, geophonic, and anthrophonic acoustic environments—or soundscapes—characterized daily life in Moravian settlements such as Bethlehem, Nain, Gnadenhütten, and Friedenshütten. Through detailed analyses and historically informed recreations of Moravian communal, environmental, and religious soundscapes and their attendant hymn traditions, Moravian Soundscapes explores how sounds—musical and nonmusical, human and nonhuman—shaped the Moravians' religious culture. Combined with access to an interactive website that immerses the reader in mid-18th century Pennsylvania, and framed with an autobiographical narrative, Moravian Soundscapes recovers the roles of sound and music in Moravian communities and provides a road map for similar studies of other places and religious traditions in the future.

Representing Islam

Hip-Hop of the September 11 Generation

by Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir

How do Muslims who grew up after September 11 balance their love for hip-hop with their devotion to Islam? How do they live the piety and modesty called for by their faith while celebrating an art form defined, in part, by overt sexuality, violence, and profanity?

In Representing Islam, Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir explores the tension between Islam and the global popularity of hip-hop, including attempts by the hip-hop ummah, or community, to draw from the struggles of African Americans in order to articulate the human rights abuses Muslims face. Nasir explores state management of hip-hop culture and how Muslim hip-hoppers are attempting to "Islamize" the genre's performance and jargon to bring the music more in line with religious requirements, which are perhaps even more fraught for female artists who struggle with who has the right to speak for Muslim women. Nasir also investigates the vibrant underground hip-hop culture that exists online. For fans living in conservative countries, social media offers an opportunity to explore and discuss hip-hop when more traditional avenues have been closed.

Representing Islam considers the complex and multifaceted rise of hip-hop on a global stage and, in doing so, asks broader questions about how Islam is represented in this global community.

Soundscapes of Uyghur Islam

by Rachel Harris

China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is experiencing a crisis of securitization and mass incarceration. In Soundscapes of Uyghur Islam, author Rachel Harris examines the religious practice of a group of Uyghur women in a small village now engulfed in this chaos. Despite their remote location, these village women are mobile and connected, and their religious soundscapes flow out across transnational networks. Harris explores the spiritual and political geographies they inhabit, moving outward from the village to trace connections with Mecca, Istanbul, Bishkek, and Beijing. Sound, embodiment, and territoriality illuminate both the patterns of religious change among Uyghurs and the policies of cultural erasure used by the Chinese state to reassert its control over the land the Uyghurs occupy. By drawing on contemporary approaches to the circulation of popular music, Harris considers how various forms of Islam that arrive via travel and the Internet come into dialogue with local embodied practices. Synthesized together, these practices create new forms that facilitate powerful, affective experiences of faith.

Unity in Faith?

Edinoverie, Russian Orthodoxy, and Old Belief, 1800–1918

by James White

Established in 1800, edinoverie (translated as "unity in faith") was intended to draw back those who had broken with the Russian Orthodox Church over ritual reforms in the 17th century. Called Old Believers, they had been persecuted as heretics. In time, the Russian state began tolerating Old Believers in order to lure them out of hiding and make use of their financial resources as a means of controlling and developing Russia's vast and heterogeneous empire. However, the Russian Empire was also an Orthodox state, and conversion from Orthodoxy constituted a criminal act. So, which was better for ensuring the stability of the Russian Empire: managing heterogeneity through religious toleration, or enforcing homogeneity through missionary campaigns? Edinoverie remained contested and controversial throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, as it was distrusted by both the Orthodox Church and the Old Believers themselves. The state reinforced this ambivalence, using edinoverie as a means by which to monitor Old Believer communities and employing it as a carrot to the stick of prison, exile, and the deprivation of rights. In Unity in Faith?, James White's study of edinoverie offers an unparalleled perspective of the complex triangular relationship between the state, the Orthodox Church, and religious minorities in imperial Russia.

Founded in 1950, Indiana University Press is a full-service publisher committed to excellence in the dissemination of scholarly research and has worked at the forefront of journal publishing since 1987. Our more than three dozen scholarly journals play an important part in today’s increasingly global dialogue and feature essays, fiction, poetry, and art in a wide range of subject areas, including African studies, Jewish and Middle East studies, globalism, philosophy, religion, bioethics, folklore, electronic services, film, transnationalism, cultural studies, education, and environmental ethics.

Is Islam American Religion?
A virtual roundtable
This virtual roundtable sponsored by the Center for Religion & the Human and the academic journal American Religion, with funding provided by the Luce Foundation, took place on Thursday, October 15 at 5:00pm EDT via Zoom.

is-islam-social-media
Why is American Islam is so rarely framed as an “American religion” in the field of religious studies? Can Islam be “American religion”? What would it mean to say so and work in light of this understanding? Join our panel of experts as they discuss Islam in the US.

Featuring:
Zaid Adhami (Williams College)
Edward E. Curtis, IV (IUPUI)
Shreena Niketa Gandhi (Michigan State)
Kayla Renée Wheeler (Xavier University)

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