790 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Christianity about their New Books
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New Books in Christian Studies Marshall Poe

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 3.9 • 8 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Christianity about their New Books
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    Maria Chiara Rioli, "A Liminal Church: Refugees, Conversions and the Latin Diocese of Jerusalem, 1946–1956" (Brill, 2020)

    Maria Chiara Rioli, "A Liminal Church: Refugees, Conversions and the Latin Diocese of Jerusalem, 1946–1956" (Brill, 2020)

    The history of the Palestine War does not only concern military history. It also involves social, humanitarian and religious history, as in the case of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jerusalem. A Liminal Church: Refugees, Conversions and the Latin Diocese of Jerusalem, 1946–1956 (Brill, 2020) offers a complex narrative of the Latin patriarchal diocese, commonly portrayed as monolithically aligned with anti-Zionist and anti-Muslim positions during the “long” year of 1948. Making use of largely unpublished archives in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, including the recently released Pius XII papers, Maria Chiara Rioli depicts a church engaged in multiple and sometimes contradictory pastoral initiatives, amid harsh battles, relief missions for Palestinian refugees, theological reflections on Jewish converts to Catholicism, political relations with the Israeli and Jordanian authorities, and liturgical responses to a fluid and uncertain scenario.
    The pieces of this history include the Jerusalem grand mufti’s appeal to Pius XII to support the Arab cause, the Catholic liturgies for peace and international mobilization during the Palestine War and Suez crisis, refugees petitioning the patriarch for aid, and Jewish converts establishing Christian kibbutzim. New archival collections and records reveal hidden aspects of the lives of women, children and other silenced actors, faith communities and religious institutions during and after 1948, connecting narratives that have been marginalized by a dominant historiography more focused on military campaigns or confessional conflicts.
    A Liminal Church weaves diocesan history with global history. In the momentous decade from 1946 to 1956, the study of the transnational Jerusalem Latin diocese, as split between Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Cyprus, with ties to diaspora and religious international networks and comprising clergy from all over the world, attests to the possibilities of contrapuntal narratives, reintroducing complexity to a deeply and painfully polarized debate, exposing false assumptions and situating changes and ruptures in a long-term perspective.
    Roberto Mazza is visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter: @robbyref
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    • 51 min
    Dana W. Logan, "Awkward Rituals: Sensations of Governance in Protestant America" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

    Dana W. Logan, "Awkward Rituals: Sensations of Governance in Protestant America" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

    In the years between the American Revolution and the Civil War, there was an awkward persistence of sovereign rituals, vestiges of a monarchical past that were not easy to shed. In Awkward Rituals: Sensations of Governance in Protestant America (U Chicago Press, 2022), Dana Logan focuses our attention on these performances, revealing the ways in which governance in the early republic was characterized by white Protestants reenacting the hierarchical authority of a seemingly rejected king. With her unique focus on embodied action, rather than the more common focus on discourse or law, Logan makes an original contribution to debates about the relative completeness of America's Revolution.
    Awkward Rituals theorizes an under-examined form of action: rituals that do not feel natural even if they sometimes feel good. This account challenges common notions of ritual as a force that binds society and synthesizes the self. Ranging from Freemason initiations to evangelical societies to missionaries posing as sailors, Logan shows how white Protestants promoted a class-based society while simultaneously trumpeting egalitarianism. She thus redescribes ritual as a box to check, a chore to complete, an embarrassing display of theatrical verve. In Awkward Rituals, Logan emphasizes how ritual distinctively captures what does not change through revolution.
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    • 55 min
    Katherine Dugan, "Millennial Missionaries: How a Group of Young Catholics Is Trying to Make Catholicism Cool" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Katherine Dugan, "Millennial Missionaries: How a Group of Young Catholics Is Trying to Make Catholicism Cool" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Millennials in the U.S. have been characterized as uninterested in religion, as defectors from religious institutions, and as agnostic about the role of religious identity in their culture. Amid the rise of so-called "nones," though, there has also been a countervailing trend: an increase in religious piety among some millennial Catholics. The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), which began evangelizing college students on American university campuses in 1998, hires recent college graduates to evangelize college students and promote an attractive and culturally savvy Catholicism. These millennial Catholics have personal relationships with Jesus, attend Mass daily, and know and defend papal teachings, while also being immersed in U.S. popular culture. With their skinny jeans, devotional tattoos, and large-framed glasses, FOCUS missionaries embody a hip, attractive style of Catholicism. They promote a faith that interweaves distinctly Catholic identity with outreach methods of twentieth-century evangelical Protestants and the anxieties of middle-class emerging adulthood. Though this new generation of missionaries lives according to strict gender essentialism prescribed by papal teachings-including the notions that men lead while women follow and that biology dictates gender roles-they also support stay-at-home fatherhood and women earning MBAs. 
    Millennial Missionaries: How a Group of Young Catholics Is Trying to Make Catholicism Cool (Oxford UP, 2019) examines how these young people navigate their Catholic and American identities in the twenty-first century. Illuminating the ways missionaries are reshaping American Catholic identity, Katherine Dugan explores the contemporary U.S. religious landscape from the perspective of millennials who proudly proclaim "I am Catholic"-and devote years of their lives to convincing others to do the same.
    Allison Isidore is the Assistant Director for the American Catholic Historical Association and is an Instructor of Record for the Religious Studies department at the University of Alabama. Her research interest is focused on the twentieth-century American Civil Rights Movement and the Catholic Church’s response to racism and the participation of Catholic clergy, nuns, and laypeople in marches, sit-ins, and kneel-ins during the 1950s and 1960s. Allison is also a Video Editor for The Religious Studies Project, producing videos for the podcast and marketing team. She tweets from @AllisonIsidore1.
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    • 41 min
    Piotr H. Kosicki, "Catholics on the Barricades: Poland, France, and 'Revolution,' 1891-1956" (Yale UP, 2018)

    Piotr H. Kosicki, "Catholics on the Barricades: Poland, France, and 'Revolution,' 1891-1956" (Yale UP, 2018)

    In Poland in the 1940s and '50s, a new kind of Catholic intended to remake European social and political life--not with guns, but French philosophy.
    Piotr H. Kosicki's book Catholics on the Barricades: Poland, France, and 'Revolution,' 1891-1956 (Yale UP, 2018) examines generations of deeply religious thinkers whose faith drove them into public life, including Karol Wojtyla, future Pope John Paul II, and Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the future prime minister who would dismantle Poland's Communist regime.
    Seeking to change the way we understand the Catholic Church, World War II, the Cold War, and communism, this study centers on the idea of "revolution." It examines two crucial countries, France and Poland, while challenging conventional wisdom among historians and introducing innovations in periodization, geography, and methodology. Why has much of Eastern Europe gone back down the road of exclusionary nationalism and religious prejudice since the end of the Cold War? Kosicki helps to understand the crises of contemporary Europe by examining the intellectual world of Roman Catholicism in Poland and France between the Church's declaration of war on socialism in 1891 and the demise of Stalinism in 1956.
    Brenna Moore teaches in the Department of Theology at Fordham University and works in the areas of Catholic Intellectual History, particularly in modern Europe.
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    • 57 min
    Sarah Walsh, "The Religion of Life: Eugenics, Race, and Catholicism in Chile" (U Pittsburgh Press, 2021)

    Sarah Walsh, "The Religion of Life: Eugenics, Race, and Catholicism in Chile" (U Pittsburgh Press, 2021)

    The Religion of Life: Eugenics, Race, and Catholicism in Chile (U Pittsburgh Press, 2021) examines the interconnections and relationship between Catholicism and eugenics in early twentieth-century Chile. Specifically, it demonstrates that the popularity of eugenic science was not diminished by the influence of Catholicism there. In fact, both eugenics and Catholicism worked together to construct the concept of a unique Chilean race, la raza chilena. A major factor that facilitated this conceptual overlap was a generalized belief among historical actors that male and female gender roles were biologically determined and therefore essential to a functioning society. As the first English-language study of eugenics in Chile, The Religion of Life surveys a wide variety of different materials (periodicals, newspapers, medical theses, and monographs) produced by Catholic and secular intellectuals from the first half of the twentieth century. What emerges from this examination is not only a more complex rendering of the relationship between religion and science but also the development of White supremacist logics in a Latin American context.
    Sarah Walsh is the Hansen Lecturer in Global History at the University of Melbourne. She specializes in the history of the human sciences in Latin America with an emphasis on race and ethnicity.
    Claudia Monterroza Rivera is a PhD candidate in Latin American History at Vanderbilt University.
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    • 1 hr 13 min
    Stanley Bill, "Czesław Miłosz's Faith in the Flesh: Body, Belief, and Human Identity" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Stanley Bill, "Czesław Miłosz's Faith in the Flesh: Body, Belief, and Human Identity" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    In Czesław Miłosz’s Faith in the Flesh: Body, Belief, and Human Identity (Oxford University Press, 2021), Cambridge professor Stanley Bill offers a profoundly original, fine-grained, and rich interpretation of the poetic œuvre of Nobel laureate Czesław Miłosz. The book presents Miłosz’s poetic philosophy of the body as an original defense of religious faith, transcendence, and the value of the human individual against what he viewed as dangerous modern forms of materialism. The Polish poet saw the reductive “biologization” of human life as a root cause of the historical tragedies he had witnessed under Nazi German and Soviet regimes in twentieth-century Central and Eastern Europe. Stanley Bill argues that Miłosz’s response was not merely to reconstitute spiritual or ideal forms of human identity, which no longer seemed plausible. Instead, he aimed to revalidate the flesh, elaborating his own non-reductive understandings of the self on the basis of the body's deeper meanings. For Miłosz, the double nature of poetic meaning reflects the fused duality of the human self.
    Piotr H. Kosicki is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Catholics on the Barricades (Yale, 2018) and editor, among others, of Political Exile in the Global Twentieth Century (with Wolfram Kaiser).
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    • 1 hr 14 min

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