Letter from the editor:
With both sadness to miss seeing so many friends in person and great pleasure to share so many exciting new books, I present the Columbia University Press religion catalog for 2020. These titles, which span subjects from Buddhism to American religion, philosophy of religion, Islam, religion and literature, and more, reflect the interdisciplinary and global approach of our list and exemplify the innovative and field-changing scholarship that we value.
Among the many outstanding titles in this year’s wide-ranging catalog, several deserve special attention. Take Back What the Devil Stole by Onaje X. O. Woodbine is an extraordinary portrait of an African American prophet and warrior whose gripping experiences in the spirit world reveal how one Black woman in contemporary America has reclaimed her power in the face of a lifetime of racial injustice. Solimar Otero’s Archives of Conjure examines the stories that the dead tell in Afrolatinx cultures and how they shape experiences of gender, sexuality, and race. Making Peace with the Universe by Michael Alexander narrates poignant testimonies of personal crisis and spiritual healing drawn from the world’s religious traditions, along with his own account. A Partial Enlightenment by Avram Alpert reads modernist literature from Asia and the West alongside his own experience to find a way to understand Buddhism in the contemporary world.
We are proud to introduce three entries in our new and innovative interdisciplinary No Limits series, edited by Costica Bradatan. Mark Taylor’s Intervolution reveals that we are already cyborgs, integral cogs in what will become a superorganism of bodies and things. Touch by Richard Kearney argues that touch is our most primordial sense, foundational to our individual and common selves. Aimlessness by Tom Lutz asks us to give up our striving for achievement and instead become sidetracked, get lost, and daydream.
Our list offers many exciting new titles in global Buddhisms. To mention just a few, Wisdom as a Way of Life is Steven Collins’s final work, a powerful argument that Theravāda Buddhism offers insights into the self and how to act that are relevant today. Steven Heine’s Readings of Dōgen’s “Treasury of the True Dharma Eye” offers a textual, historical, literary, and philosophical examination of this Zen Buddhist classic. Beef, Brahmins, and Broken Men is an annotated critical selection from B. R. Ambedkar’s classic The Untouchables, which locates the origins of the Dalit caste in Indian Buddhism. And Nicole Willock’s Lineages of the Literary tells the story of three Tibetan Buddhist scholars who kept their tradition alive in twentieth-century China.
Among our books on the Islamic world, Bashir Bashir and Leila Farsakh’s collection The Arab and Jewish Questions examines how European anti-Semitism and Israeli Islamophobia resulted in the historical entanglement of Jewish and Palestinian struggles for self-determination that continues unabated today. Modern Sufis and the State, edited by Katherine Pratt Ewing and Rosemary R. Corbett, exposes the myth of Sufi unworldliness, demonstrating the role of the tradition in political violence from the colonial period to the present. And Anna M. Gade’s Muslim Environmentalisms shows how Muslim scripture, jurisprudence, science, art, and social and political engagement have foregrounded the environment as an ethical idea.
And lastly, no religion catalog would be complete without mention of religion and politics in America. At Home and Abroad, edited by Elizabeth Shakman Hurd and Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, provides a new theoretical approach to the politics of religion, interrogating American religious exceptionalism and illuminating imperial dynamics beyond the United States.
I am confident that you will find much to enjoy and ponder in these pages. My colleagues and I look forward to continuing our dialogue.
Publisher, Philosophy, Religion, Political Theory, Animal and Critical Life Studies