Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production


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The cultural products of new religions and spiritualities are frequently ignored or dismissed within academia, often stemming from a hesitation to acknowledge these movements as genuine. This volume explores the impact of new religions upon cultural production, exemplifying the theological and spiritual principles of particular movements and demonstrating their substantial impact on wider society. Contributions explore the realms of music, architecture, food, art, books, films, video games, and more. This scholarship will be of interest to those who wish to explore the gamut of modern religious expression, and those who wish to broaden their knowledge of the spiritual origins of human culture.

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Preliminary Material
Editor(s): Carole M. Cusack and Alex Norman
Pages: i–xxix
Editor(s): Carole M. Cusack and Alex Norman
Pages: 755–789
Carole M. Cusack, Ph.D. (1996) in Studies in Religion, University of Sydney, is Associate Professor of this department. She has published extensively on contemporary religious trends, medieval religion, and method and theory in the study of religion, including Invented Religions (Ashgate, 2010).

Alex Norman, Ph.D. (2010) in Studies in Religion, University of Sydney, is a lecturer at the University of New South Wales and the University of Western Sydney. His research interests include religion and travel, leading to the publication of Spiritual Tourism (Continuum, 2011).
"With this volume, Cusack and Norman have done a great service to scholars of new religions. It is both descriptively rich and informative and theoretically and methodologically suggestive."
Kevin A. Whitesides,University of California, Santa Barbara, Nova Religio, Vol. 18, No. 2

"Anyone at all interested in the development and place of new religions in society, or in cultural studies in general, should ensure that they and others can have access to the book by persuading their libraries to purchase a copy."
Eileen Barker, London School of Economics, International Journal for the Study of New Religions 5:2

"The quality of the contributions is high, in keeping with the standard set by previous entries into this series. [...] Within the specific region of the NRM field treated by the editors, the handbook serves as an important and valuable contribution, and will likely be useful for scholars of NRMs, particularly those working with cultural and social dimensions."
Christopher A. Plaisance, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Religious Studies Review, Vol. 41, No. 4

"The book is well edited, and the contributors have, albeit in different ways, managed to start a new chapter in the study of new religions. This makes the book most welcome. It “seeks to remedy a scholarly lacuna”, as the editors state in their introduction, and that is what it does."
Mikael Rothstein, University of Southern Denmark, Journal of Contemporary Religion 29:2

"The Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production is actually extremely readable, providing a new dimension to the study of new religious movements (NRMs). [...] This Handbook is a most welcome introduction to an area which merits further exploration in NRM studies."
George D. Chryssides, York St John University, Fieldwork in Religion 10:1

"Overall, this volume offers a kaleidoscopic look at some of the creative energy present in emerging from new religions and spiritualities and should be considered an essential addition to any religious studies scholar’s personal or institutional library."
Bernard Doherty, Macquarie University, Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, Volume 5, Issue 1

"Some might consult this volume for its focus on certain religions, others for its commentary on specific products and many for the important conversation between the two that, if not made explicit in each chapter, is indicated by the sheer number of articles included here, and by the numerous articles that are sure to be inspired by what remains to be said. In all, it provides a significant contribution to the study of the creative and industrious exploits of new religious movements."
Venetia Robertson, University of Sydney, Culture and Religion 14:4

"it offers an important complement to existing literature, and will be a necessary point of reference for those whose research or teaching involves new religious movements (NRMs). Even outside this specific audience, the questions raised and data addressed in this volume make it valuable reading for any scholars of religion who are trying to understand the bewildering range of existential orientations that have arisen in recent decades."
Jack Tsonis, University of Western Sydney, Journal of Religious History, 2014

"This is an authoritative and exciting set of case studies on the many cultural products created and disseminated by the new religions in modern times. The collection is an impressive addition to the Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion and opens up new lines of enquiry into the societal impact of new religions. Chapters cover a fascinating array of new forms and products ranging from material artifacts, architecture, music, dance, diet, education and popular narratives. Many of these creations have developed independent life and status within the wider society, showing the fecundity and adaptability of the generative forces behind them. Shaped by expert editing and a lively team of contributors, the volume invites a fresh perspective on the study of new religions. It encourages scholars away from constructing their data as marginalia and exotica and towards analysis of new religions as serious cultural agents and pioneers of new aesthetics."
Dr. Steven J. Sutcliffe, University of Edinburgh

Contributors include: Joseph Azize, Chiara Baldini, Lauren Bernauer, Anthony Blake, Liselotte Frisk, Kennet Granholm, Christopher Hartney, Graham Harvey, Graham Hassall, Jay Johnston, Jenny McFarlane, Elisha McIntyre, Milad Milani, Nathaniel Samuel Murrell, Rod Pattenden, David Pecotic, Johanna Petsche, Adam Possamai, Alphia Possamai-Inesedy, Jason Prior, Eric Repphun, Stephen D. Ricks, David G. Robertson, Bettina E. Schmidt, Justin Snider, Graham St John, Michael F. Strmiska, Mona Suhrbier, Jaap Timmer, Garry W. Trompf, and Benjamin E. Zeller
All those interested in new religious movements or contemporary religious trends, those researching cultural production, and sociologists or anthropologists as a whole. A valuable contribution to any academic library.
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