by Phillip Luke Sinitiere
Thumbing through a University of California Press catalog I received in the mail yesterday, I noticed some new books relevant to recent posts here at Religion in American History. So, since this is the season of giving, here they are.
Posts on religion and globalization have appeared more frequently this year, so I'm looking forward to seeing Thomas J. Csordas's collection of edited essays titled Transnational Transcendence: Essays on Religion and Globalization, due out in March. Globalization, as the essays argue, is much more than economics. Here's a description of the book:
This innovative collection examines the transnational movements, effects, and transformations of religion in the contemporary world, offering a fresh perspective on the interrelation between globalization and religion. Transnational Transcendence challenges some widely accepted ideas about this relationship—in particular, that globalization can be understood solely as an economic phenomenon and that its religious manifestations are secondary. The book points out that religion's role remains understudied and undertheorized as an element in debates about globalization, and it raises questions about how and why certain forms of religious practice and intersubjectivity succeed as they cross national and cultural boundaries. Framed by Thomas J. Csordas's introduction, this timely volume both urges further development of a theory of religion and globalization and constitutes an important step toward that theory.
Another book that caught my eye was Eileen Luhr's Witnessing Suburbia: Conservatives and Christian Youth Culture. It appears Luhr's analysis includes an investigation of the evangelical rock music of the 1980s, so this may provide an answer to Randall Stephens' recent query. Plus, I've always wanted to read more about the ultimate 1980s Christian hair band, Stryper. Here's more:
Witnessing Suburbia is a lively cultural analysis of the conservative shift in national politics that transformed the United States during the Reagan-Bush era. Eileen Luhr focuses on two fundamental aspects of this shift: the suburbanization of evangelicalism and the rise of Christian popular culture, especially popular music. Taking us from the Jesus Freaks of the late 1960s to Christian heavy metal music to Christian rock festivals and beyond, she shows how evangelicals succeeded in "witnessing" to America's suburbs in a consumer idiom. Luhr argues that the emergence of a politicized evangelical youth culture in fact ranks as one of the major achievements of "third wave" conservatism in the late twentieth century.
In other book notes, with Kathryn Lofton's review and John Turner's recent post, the field of Du Bois and religion seems to be "in Blum." Paul Harvey mentioned this a while back, and like him I'm looking forward to The Souls of W.E.B. Du Bois: New Essays and Reflections, due out in January with Mercer University Press. Ed Blum and Jason Young edit what I think will be a stellar collection of essays.
Also, literary scholar and college administrator Brian Johnson recently published W.E.B. Du Bois: Toward Agnosticism, 1868-1934 with Rowman & Littlefield. I've enjoyed reading about Du Bois the agnostic in light of understanding Du Bois as an American prophet. Interested readers may also want to take a look at Johnson's previous book, Du Bois on Reform.