For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 October 2019) | Viewed by 44820

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Liberty Fund, Inc., 11301 N. Meridian Street Carmel, IN 46032-4564, USA
Interests: nationalism; balkans; islam; ottoman empire; max weber
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to invite you to contribute to this special issue on Religion and Nationalism.  Religion and Nationalism are both powerful and important markers of individual identity, but the relationship between the two has been a source of considerable debate.  Much, if not most, of the early work done in Nationalism Studies has been based, at least implicitly, on the idea that Religion, as a genealogical carrier of identity, was displaced with the coming of secular Modernity by Nationalism.  Or, to put it another way, National Identity, and its ideological manifestation Nationalism, filled the void left in people’s self-identification as Religion retreated in the face of Modernity.

Since at least the late 1990’s, this view has been increasingly challenged by scholars trying to account for the apparent persistence of Religious identities. Perhaps even more interestingly, scholars of both Religion and Nationalism have noticed that these two kinds of self-identification, while sometimes in tension as the earlier models explained, are also frequently coexistent or even mutually supportive.  A number of different scholarly projects have resulted from these observations.  Some, exemplified by the work of Rogers Brubaker, have sought to offer “views” or “strategies” for studying this relationship.  Others, perhaps best represented by the work of J. Christopher Soper and Joel Fetzer, have tried to think of the relationship between Nationalism and Religion as a kind of “continuum”, at one end of which is an Ideal-Type “Secular Nationalism” and at the other a fully realized “Religious Nationalism”.  Somewhere in the middle they postulate a “civil-religious nationalism” which partakes of characteristics of both.  Yet others, perhaps the best example of which is the work of Steven Grosby, try to situate religion within a broader conceptual framework of national primordiality.

What all these approaches have in common is their interest in complicating our understandings of Nationalism as a primarily secular phenomenon by bringing Religion back into the discussion.

This special issue hopes to make an original contribution to this growing body of scholarship.  In particular, we invite submissions that interrogate the following areas:

  • Typologies or theories of Religion and Nationalism
  • Religion as instrumental or ontological in the development of Nationalism
  • Religious Nationalism as a factor in interpreting and imagining genealogical accounts and narratives
  • Religious Nationalism and Pre-Modern/Primordial Nations and Nationalisms
  • The concepts of “civil religion” and/or “public religion”
  • The differences and similarities between Religion and Nationalism in “Abrahamic” and non-Abrahamic religions (and between Ancient and Axial Age religions)
  • Religious Nationalism vs. Nationalist Religion?
  • Historical case studies of different manifestations of Religious Nationalism

Dr. Peter C. Mentzel
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Nationalism
  • Religion
  • Civil Religion
  • Religious Nationalism
  • Secularism
  • Modernity

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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8 pages, 190 KiB  
Editorial
Introduction: Religion and Nationalism? Or Nationalism and Religion? Some Reflections on the Relationship between Religion and Nationalism
by Peter C. Mentzel
Genealogy 2020, 4(4), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4040098 - 28 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4203
Abstract
This essay is the introduction to the special issue of Genealogy, “For God and Country: Essays on Nationalism and Religion.” It poses the question of what relationship, if any, nationalism has to religion, and then briefly reviews the history and current state [...] Read more.
This essay is the introduction to the special issue of Genealogy, “For God and Country: Essays on Nationalism and Religion.” It poses the question of what relationship, if any, nationalism has to religion, and then briefly reviews the history and current state of the scholarship on the topic. This essay then introduces the seven essays making up the special edition. It concludes by observing that, overall, the collection suggests that while religion and nationalism are more closely related than previously held, they nevertheless remain two distinct phenomena. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

17 pages, 326 KiB  
Article
Non-Violence, Asceticism, and the Problem of Buddhist Nationalism
by Yvonne Chiu
Genealogy 2020, 4(3), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4030094 - 16 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4838
Abstract
Contemporary Buddhist violence against minority Muslims in Myanmar is rightfully surprising: a religion with its particular moral philosophies of non-violence and asceticism and with its functional polytheism in practice should not generate genocidal nationalist violence. Yet, there are resources within the Buddhist canon [...] Read more.
Contemporary Buddhist violence against minority Muslims in Myanmar is rightfully surprising: a religion with its particular moral philosophies of non-violence and asceticism and with its functional polytheism in practice should not generate genocidal nationalist violence. Yet, there are resources within the Buddhist canon that people can draw from to justify violence in defense of the religion and of a Buddhist-based polity. When those resources are exploited in the context of particular Theravāda Buddhist practices and the history of Buddhism and Buddhist identity in Burma from ancient times through its colonial and contemporary periods, it perpetuates an ongoing tragedy that is less about religion than about ethno-nationalism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism)
36 pages, 456 KiB  
Article
Self-Ruled and Self-Consecrated Ecclesiastic Schism as a Nation-Building Instrument in the Orthodox Countries of South Eastern Europe
by Dragan Šljivić and Nenad Živković
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020052 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4571
Abstract
The Orthodox concept of autocephaly, a formerly organizational and administrative measure, has been a powerful nation-building tool since the 19th century. While autocephaly could be granted—from the perspective of the Orthodox canon law—in an orderly fashion, it was often the case that a [...] Read more.
The Orthodox concept of autocephaly, a formerly organizational and administrative measure, has been a powerful nation-building tool since the 19th century. While autocephaly could be granted—from the perspective of the Orthodox canon law—in an orderly fashion, it was often the case that a unilateral, non-canonical way towards autocephaly was sought. This usually took place when the state actors, often non-Orthodox, intervened during the nation-building process. We investigated the effects of unilateral declarations of autocephaly (through a schism) by comparing Bulgarian, Northern Macedonian, and Montenegrin examples. We contend that the best success chances are to be expected by the ecclesiastic body that is less willing to make major transgressions of the canon law, than to radicalize the situation after the initial move. This is mostly because autocephaly’s recognition requires a global acceptance within the circle of the already autocephalous churches. We also suggest that the strong political backing of the autocephaly movement can paradoxically have a negative impact on its ultimate success, as it can prolong the initial separation phase of the schism and prevent or postpone the healing phase, and with it, the fully fledged autocephaly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism)
14 pages, 276 KiB  
Article
Civility and Civil Religion before and after the French Revolution: Religious and Secular Rituals in Hume and Tocqueville
by Spyridon Tegos
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020048 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2756
Abstract
In his critique of religion, Hume envisages forms of religious ritual disconnected from the superstitious “neurotic” mindset; he considers simple rituals fostering moderation. In this paper, I claim that one can profitably interpret Hume’s obsession with secular rituals, such as French highly ceremonial [...] Read more.
In his critique of religion, Hume envisages forms of religious ritual disconnected from the superstitious “neurotic” mindset; he considers simple rituals fostering moderation. In this paper, I claim that one can profitably interpret Hume’s obsession with secular rituals, such as French highly ceremonial manners, in the sense of anxiety-soothing institutions that bind citizenry without the appeal to a civil religion, properly speaking. Let us call this path the Old Regime’s civil ritualism”. Overall, Tocqueville conceives rituals in a Humean spirit, as existential anxiety-soothing institutions. Moving beyond the Humean line of thought, he focuses on the ambiguous role of religious rituals in the context of democratic faith and the Christian civil religion that he deems appropriate for the US. Yet, he also detects novel forms of superstition firmly embedded in secular, democratic faith. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism)
17 pages, 437 KiB  
Article
History and Religion as Sources of Hellenic Identity in Late Byzantium and the Post-Byzantine Era
by Georgios Steiris
Genealogy 2020, 4(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010016 - 31 Jan 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 6960
Abstract
Recently, seminal publications highlighted the Romanitas of the Byzantines. However, it is not without importance that from the 12th century onwards the ethnonym Hellene (Ἓλλην) became progressively more popular. A number of influential intellectuals and political actors preferred the term Hellene [...] Read more.
Recently, seminal publications highlighted the Romanitas of the Byzantines. However, it is not without importance that from the 12th century onwards the ethnonym Hellene (Ἓλλην) became progressively more popular. A number of influential intellectuals and political actors preferred the term Hellene to identify themselves, instead of the formal Roman (Ρωμαῖος) and the common Greek (Γραικός). While I do not intend to challenge the prevalence of the Romanitas during the long Byzantine era, I suggest that we should reevaluate the emerging importance of Hellenitas in the shaping of collective and individual identities after the 12th century. From the 13th to the 16th century, Byzantine scholars attempted to recreate a collective identity based on cultural and historical continuity and otherness. In this paper, I will seek to explore the ways Byzantine scholars of the Late Byzantine and Post Byzantine era, who lived in the territories of the Byzantine Empire and/or in Italy, perceived national identity, and to show that the shift towards Hellenitas started in the Greek-speaking East. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism)
13 pages, 235 KiB  
Article
Whose Dharma Is It Anyway? Identity and Belonging in American Buddhist (Post)Modernities
by Joyce Janca-Aji
Genealogy 2020, 4(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010004 - 30 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2895
Abstract
This study engages some aspects of the conversations, implicit and explicit, between American(ized) Buddhism in non-heritage/convert communities and religious nationalism in the U.S. Specifically, how does a Buddhist understanding of emptiness and interdependence call into question some of the fundamental assumptions behind conflations [...] Read more.
This study engages some aspects of the conversations, implicit and explicit, between American(ized) Buddhism in non-heritage/convert communities and religious nationalism in the U.S. Specifically, how does a Buddhist understanding of emptiness and interdependence call into question some of the fundamental assumptions behind conflations of divine and political order, as expressed through ideologies of “God and Country”, or ideas about American providence or exceptionalism? What does belonging to a nation or transnational community mean when all individual and collective formations of identity are understood to be nonessential, contingent and impermanent? Finally, how can some of the discourses within American Buddhism contribute to a more inclusive national identity and a reconfigured understanding of the intersection of spiritual and national belonging? The focus here will be on exploring how an understanding of identity and lineage in Buddhist contexts offers a counter-narrative to the way national and spiritual belonging is expressed through tribalist formations of family genealogy, nationalism and transnational religious affiliation in the dominant Judeo-Christian context, and how this understanding has been, and is being, expressed in non-heritage American(ized) Buddhist communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism)
18 pages, 354 KiB  
Article
The Age of the ‘Socialist-Wahhabi-Nationalist Revolutionary’: The Fusion of Islamic Fundamentalism and Socialism in Tatar Nationalist Thought, 1898–1917
by Danielle Ross
Genealogy 2019, 3(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3040058 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2928
Abstract
This article examines the relationship among radical socialism, Islamic balanced reform and Tatar national identity in early twentieth-century Russia. In contrast to previous studies, which either have studied these various intellectual strains individually or have positioned Islamic legal and theological reforms as precursors [...] Read more.
This article examines the relationship among radical socialism, Islamic balanced reform and Tatar national identity in early twentieth-century Russia. In contrast to previous studies, which either have studied these various intellectual strains individually or have positioned Islamic legal and theological reforms as precursors to the emergence of a secular national identity among Kazan’s Tatars, I will argue that Tatar intellectuals’ positions on theology, socio-economic organization, and national identity were mutually reinforcing. Supporters of nationalism also embraced socialism and Islamic balanced reform because they saw all three ideologies as egalitarian and liberating. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism)
18 pages, 258 KiB  
Article
Once Again, Nationality and Religion
by Steven E. Grosby
Genealogy 2019, 3(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3030048 - 8 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 9986
Abstract
An examination of the relation between nationality and religion calls for comparative analysis. There is a variability of the relation over time and from one nation and religion to another. At times, nationality and religion have clearly converged; but there have also been [...] Read more.
An examination of the relation between nationality and religion calls for comparative analysis. There is a variability of the relation over time and from one nation and religion to another. At times, nationality and religion have clearly converged; but there have also been times when they have diverged. Examination of this variability may lead to generalizations that can be achieved through comparison. While the generalizations achieved through a comparative analysis of the relation are heuristically useful, there are complications that qualify those generalizations. Moreover, while further refining the comparative framework of the relation between nationality and religion remains important, it is not the pressing theoretical problem. That problem is ascertaining what is distinctive of religion as a category of human thought and action such that it is distinguishable from nationality and, thus, a variable in the comparative analysis. It may be that determining that distinctiveness results in the need for a different framework to analyze the relation between nationality and religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism)
13 pages, 209 KiB  
Article
From a Christian World Community to a Christian America: Ecumenical Protestant Internationalism as a Source of Christian Nationalist Renewal
by Mark Edwards
Genealogy 2019, 3(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3020030 - 30 May 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3318
Abstract
Christian nationalism in the United States has neither been singular nor stable. The country has seen several Christian nationalist ventures come and go throughout its history. Historians are currently busy documenting the plurality of Christian nationalisms, understanding them more as deliberate projects rather [...] Read more.
Christian nationalism in the United States has neither been singular nor stable. The country has seen several Christian nationalist ventures come and go throughout its history. Historians are currently busy documenting the plurality of Christian nationalisms, understanding them more as deliberate projects rather than as components of a suprahistorical secularization process. This essay joins in that work. Its focus is the World War II and early Cold War era, one of the heydays of Christian nationalist enthusiasm in America—and the one that shaped our ongoing culture wars between “evangelical” conservatives and “godless” liberals. One forgotten and admittedly paradoxical pathway to wartime Christian nationalism was the world ecumenical movement (“ecumenical” here meaning intra-Protestant). Protestant ecumenism curated the transformation of 1920s and 1930s Christian internationalism into wartime Christian Americanism. They involved many political and intellectual elites along the way. In pioneering many of the geopolitical concerns of Cold War evangelicals, ecumenical Protestants aided and abetted the Christian conservative ascendancy that wields power even into the present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism)
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