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In 1982, David B. Barrett released his 1,000-page World Christian Encyclopedia, which presented a comprehensive quantitative assessment of World Christianity for the first time. This book is the first historical project to analyze Barrett’s archival materials, which shed light not only on the production of the Encyclopedia, but more importantly, on the development of World Christianity as a discipline and the importance of both African Christianity and quantitative perspectives in its history. This book captures innovations at the intersection of World Christianity, mission studies, and the sociology of religion – the kind of interdisciplinary research that makes World Christianity studies unique.
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Death in History, Culture, and Society is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary series of monographs and edited volumes. It is dedicated to social and cultural engagements with death across the globe. This includes synchronous studies of death during a specific period within a culture and studies with a cross-cultural approach; diachronous studies of death-related issues within a region, genre or culture; explorations of new death-related concepts and methodologies; or specific death-related inquiries. The focus may lie on concepts and definitions of death and dying; death rituals, both sacred and secular; social or cultural responses to death; issues of memory and identity related to death and loss; as well as individual, social or political strategies of integrating death and the dead into life.
The Case of Polish Female Converts to Islam
This is the first systematic study of Polish women's conversion to Islam in English. Through interviews with Polish female converts to Islam and ethnographic observation, we learn about their journey to Islam in a country where Muslims constitute less than 0,5% of the population and experience daily struggles related to maintaining their national and religious identities sometimes considered to be spoiled. The analysis presented in the book illuminates different factors that shape the converts' religious lives: attempts to establish "Polish Islam" with its unique cultural flavor; a new hybrid language that includes Polish, English and Arabic elements; intersectional identities as women, Muslims, Poles, and Eastern European immigrants among those who live outside of Poland. This study offers a fascinating window into the lives of Muslims in a sociopolitical context that is considered to be on the margins of the "Muslim world."
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Studies in Critical Research on Religion provides a venue for scholars engaged in critical research on religion. This includes studies contributing to our understanding of how religious institutions and thought may simultaneously serve as a source of domination and progressive social change. We seek to analyze the historical and economic conditions giving rise to religious systems while recognizing that religious ideas can be motivational and therefore dialectically related to material conditions. We are interested in the role that religion plays within social and political conflicts. A critical perspective recognizes that its own intellectual heritage lies within the confluence of various religious, political, and philosophical traditions. It does not reject this heritage but critically self-reflects on its relationship to it. This peer-reviewed book series invites proposals for and submissions of monographs and edited volumes from scholars across all academic disciplines. Works can use a wide range of methodologies, including quantitative, qualitative, and historical. While encouraging works to be theoretical driven by a critical perspective, it is also interested in empirical research which is theoretically guided.

Published in association with the Center for Critical Research on Religion.

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/ or full manuscripts to Warren S. Goldstein

Authors will find the proposal guidelines on the Critical Theory of Religion book series web page.

Studies in Critical Research on Religion was initially published as a subseries of Studies in Critical Social Sciences. Starting with Vol. 4, Studies in Critical Research on Religion is published as a separate series.
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Abstract

This article undertakes an analysis of QAnon marketing and metaphysics through a holistic lens of mediatization theory and medium theory. It proposes a means of understanding the movement as an example of mediatization in the sense of a social environment in which behavior comes to resemble the logic of the media, and mediatization in the sense of an institution—that is, the Q movement as a media entity operating as a social agent in the world at large. It will be argued that the specific character of these mediatizations comes about partly—and perhaps largely—as a consequence of the technical affordances of key digital platforms through which QAnon conspiracy culture spreads. The marketing of the QAnon faith-brand is both strategic and decentralized. It comes about as both the result of conscious planning by key figures within the movement and the emergent consequence of countless would-be marketers’ efforts (both true believers and cynics). The speed, anonymity, and ephemerality of the 8chan and 8kun imageboards favor the cryptic, rapid-fire messages which characterized Q’s writing. The collective anonymity and anonymous collectivity fostered by the design and engineering of online messageboards like 8chan and 8kun () likewise fostered a social environment of mass anonymous exegesis. Simultaneously, the entrepreneurial design and engineering (and ideology) of social media platforms intersect with this anonymous collectivity to produce a class of “Q-fluencers,” individuals who market the QAnon conspiracy theory, its politics and metaphysics, as a lifestyle brand—and who market themselves as Q-based brand-personalities. Through this analysis, this article aims to shed light on the socio-technical conditions out of which Q arose and to critique the assumptions of digital ideology which produce technologies and use-behaviors amenable to extremist swindles such as QAnon.

In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture

Abstract

This article argues that, in promoting Mars colonization, SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s marketing strategies effectively tap into powerful and culturally resonant Christian-inflected, otherworldly, apocalyptic millennial tropes embedded in American culture. SpaceX’s messaging engages in a second-order appropriation of entwined Christian, colonial, frontierist, and imperialist themes that saturate works of astrocolonial science fiction. Musk and many of his followers are devoted fans of these works and draw inspiration from their endemic romanticized, utopian, space expansionist narratives in order to fuel the project of Mars colonization. In deploying popular marketing techniques, such as “manufactured urgency,” “perceived obsolescence,” “scarcity marketing,” “exploding offers,” and “argument dilution,” Musk prophetically stresses the existential urgency of planetary exodus. As Mars gets rebranded as “Earth 2.0,” the strategic use of apocalyptic “Mars as New Earth” visual and verbal rhetoric activates troubling dynamics that effectively legitimize siphoning off Earth’s remaining fragile resources in order to feed the colonial and corporate interests of a technocratic billionaire elite. This article dissects the religio-cultural providential resonances of otherworldly escape and manifest destiny evoked in Mars colonization marketing, while urging public media interventions into that marketing’s grossly misleading messaging.

In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture
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In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture

Abstract

This special issue probes the ways in which religion and marketing hybrids are flourishing in the digital age. The powerful partnership of marketing and religion magnetically attracts consumers to products both secular and sacred. Popular media have increasingly noticed this phenomenon, but it warrants more serious and concerted attention from the academy. Our article contributors consequently explore the religio-cultural and media implications of what is a two-sided phenomenon: marketing religion as a product and marketing products as religion.

Free access
In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture

Abstract

Using a feminist critical discourse analysis, this article examines modest dress stylist Hakeemah Cummings’ Instagram posts from December 2019 to July 2021 to show how she constructs the image of the “modern Muslim woman.” Cummings represents a postfeminist woman who believes it is possible to have it all—a successful career and a happy family, all while looking beautiful and being modest. As an influencer, she markets this image of the “modern Muslim woman” to her followers on Instagram, showing them that they too can have a similar life if they consume particular products and perform certain actions. I argue that Cummings has expanded the definition of the “modern Muslim woman” to include a commitment to racial justice, following the Prophetic model of supporting marginalized community. Rather than dismantling the “modern Muslim woman” image, which traditionally excludes Black women, she expands the image to center Black women and Black issues.

In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture