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New Books in Secularism

New Books Network

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98
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New Books in Secularism

New Books in Secularism

New Books Network

67
Followers
98
Plays
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Interviews with Scholars of Secularism about their New Books

Latest Episodes

Jay Wexler, "Our Non-Christian Nation" (Redwood Press, 2019)

Less and less Christian demographically, America is now home to an ever-larger number of people who say they identify with no religion at all. These non-Christians have increasingly been demanding their full participation in public life, bringing their arguments all the way to the Supreme Court. The law is on their side, but that doesn't mean that their attempts are not met with suspicion or outright hostility. The book I’m looking at today is Our Non-Christian Nation: How Atheists, Satanists, Pagans, and Others Are Demanding Their Rightful Place in Public Life, by Jay Wexler. In it, he travels the country to engage the non-Christians who have called on us to maintain our ideals of inclusivity and diversity. With his characteristic sympathy and humor, he introduces us to the Summum and their Seven Aphorisms, a Wiccan priestess who would deck her City Hall with a pagan holiday wreath, and other determined champions of free religious expression. As Wexler reminds us, anyone who cares about pluralism, equality, and fairness should support a public square filled with a variety of religious and nonreligious voices. The stakes are nothing short of long-term social peace. A Professor at Boston University School of Law, Jay Wexler is also a humorist, short story writer, and novelist. A one-time clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former lawyer at the US Department of Justice, he has written for National Geographic, The Boston Globe, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Salon, and many other outlets. His non-fiction books include When God Isn't Green (2016) , The Odd Clauses (2011), and Holy Hullabaloos (2009). He joins me today, to talk about Our Non-Christian Nation. Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

62 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Jay Wexler, "Our Non-Christian Nation" (Redwood Press, 2019)

K. Linder et al., "Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers" (Stylus Publishing, 2020)

If you’re a grad student facing the ugly reality of finding a tenure-track job, you could easily be forgiven for thinking about a career change. However, if you’ve spent the last several years working on a PhD, or if you’re a faculty member whose career has basically consisted of higher ed, switching isn’t so easy. PhD holders are mostly trained to work as professors, and making easy connections to other careers is no mean feat. Because the people you know were generally trained to do the same sorts of things, an easy source of advice might not be there for you. Thankfully, for anybody who wishes there was a guidebook that would just break all of this down, that book has now been written. Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers (Stylus Publishing, 2020) by Kathryn E. Linder, Kevin Kelly, and Thomas J. Tobinoffers practical advice and step-by-step instructions on how to decide if you want to leave behind academia and how to start searching for a new career. If a lot of career advice is too vague or too ambiguous, this book corrects that by outlining not just how to figure out what you might want to do, but critically, how you might go about accomplishing that. Zeb Larson is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a PhD in History. His research deals with the anti-apartheid movement in the United States. To suggest a recent title or to contact him, please send an e-mail tozeb.larson@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39 MIN3 w ago
Comments
K. Linder et al., "Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers" (Stylus Publishing, 2020)

Christopher Cameron, "Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism" (Northwestern UP, 2019)

Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism (Northwestern University Press, 2019) by Christopher Cameron, an Associate Professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, is a precise and nuanced history of African American secularism from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. This text is written with economy and clarity as defined by four concise chapters that detail the major moments in African American history including some discussion of Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights-Black Power era. Traversing nearly two centuries of black thought, from the Antebellum period to the demise of the Black Power era, Black Freethinkers is the first comprehensive historical survey of black free thought. For Cameron, free thought encompasses atheism, agnosticism, deism, paganism and other non-traditional modes of thinking. Cameron’s work focuses primarily on the ideas advanced by African American men and women of letters such as Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, Lorraine Hansberry, and James Baldwin to support his core argument that freethought and “unbelief” have been key elements of Black thought since the era of enslavement to the institutionalization of free thought oriented associations in African American society. Cameron’s work forces us to rethink the way we study the era of enslavement and African American culture, and the place of Douglass as an American intellectual central to this history, as well as the role of religion in Black life more generally. In many respects, his text presents a more humanistic portrait of African American thought and culture from a historical perspective that goes well beyond most texts on this subject. Hettie V. Williams Ph.D., has taught survey courses in U.S. history, Western Civilization, and upper division courses on the history of African Americans at the university level for more than fifteen years. Her teaching and research interests include: African American intellectual history, gender in U.S. history, and race/ethnicity studies. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of African American history in the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University where she teaches courses in African American history and U.S. history. She has published book chapters, essays, and encyclopedia entries and edited/authored five books. Her latest publications include Bury My Heart in a Free Land: Black Women Intellectuals in Modern U.S. History (Praeger, 2017) and, with Dr. G. Reginald Daniel, professor of historical sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Race and the Obama Phenomenon: The Vision of a More Perfect Multiracial Union (University Press of Mississippi 2014). You can learn more about her work here or follow her on twitter (@DrHettie2017). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

48 MINJAN 13
Comments
Christopher Cameron, "Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism" (Northwestern UP, 2019)

Alberto Cairo, "How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information" (Norton, 2019)

We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at? Social media has made charts, infographics, and diagrams ubiquitous―and easier to share than ever. We associate charts with science and reason; the flashy visuals are both appealing and persuasive. Pie charts, maps, bar and line graphs, and scatter plots (to name a few) can better inform us, revealing patterns and trends hidden behind the numbers we encounter in our lives. In short, good charts make us smarter―if we know how to read them. However, they can also lead us astray. Charts lie in a variety of ways―displaying incomplete or inaccurate data, suggesting misleading patterns, and concealing uncertainty―or are frequently misunderstood, such as the confusing cone of uncertainty maps shown on TV every hurricane season. To make matters worse, many of us are ill-equipped to interpret the visuals that politicians, journalists, advertisers, and even our employers present each day, enabling bad actors to easily manipulate them to promote their own agendas. In How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information (W. W. Norton, 2019), data visualization expert Alberto Cairo teaches us to not only spot the lies in deceptive visuals, but also to take advantage of good ones to understand complex stories. Public conversations are increasingly propelled by numbers, and to make sense of them we must be able to decode and use visual information. By examining contemporary examples ranging from election-result infographics to global GDP maps and box-office record charts, How Charts Lie demystifies an essential new literacy, one that will make us better equipped to navigate our data-driven world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

57 MIN2019 DEC 3
Comments
Alberto Cairo, "How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information" (Norton, 2019)

Kathryn Conrad on University Press Publishing

As you may know, university presses publish a lot of good books. In fact, they publish thousands of them every year. They are different from most trade books in that most of them are what you might called "fundamental research." Their authors--dedicated researchers one and all--provide the scholarly stuff upon which many non-fiction trade books are based. So when you are reading, say, a popular history, you are often reading UP books at one remove. Of course, some UP books are also bestsellers, and they are all well written (and, I should say, thoroughly vetted thanks to the peer review system), but the greatest contribution of UPs is to provide a base of fundamental research to the public. And they do a great job of it. How do they do it? Today I talked to Kathryn Conrad, the president of the Association of University Presses, about the work of UPs, the challenges they face, and some terrific new directions they are going. We also talked about why, if you have a scholarly book in p...

40 MIN2019 NOV 3
Comments
Kathryn Conrad on University Press Publishing

J. Neuhaus, "Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers" (West Virginia UP, 2019)

The things that make people academics -- as deep fascination with some arcane subject, often bordering on obsession, and a comfort with the solitude that developing expertise requires -- do not necessarily make us good teachers. Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers (West Virginia University Press, 2019) helps us to identify and embrace that geekiness in us and then offers practical, step-by-step guidelines for how to turn it to effective pedagogy. It’s a sharp, slim, and entertaining volume that can make better teachers of us all. Stephen Pimpareis Senior Lecturer in the Politics & Society Program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author ofThe New Victorians(New Press, 2004),A Peoples History of Poverty in America(New Press, 2008), winner of the Michael Harrington Award, andGhettos, Tramps and Welfare Queens: Down and Out on the Silver Screen(Oxford, 2017). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32 MIN2019 OCT 24
Comments
J. Neuhaus, "Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers" (West Virginia UP, 2019)

Yael Almog, "Secularism and Hermeneutics" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2019)

In the late Enlightenment, a new imperative began to inform theories of interpretation: all literary texts should be read in the same way that we read the Bible. However, this assumption concealed a problem—there was no coherent "we" who read the Bible in the same way. In Secularism and Hermeneutics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), Yael Almog shows that several prominent thinkers of the era constituted readers as an imaginary "we" around which they could form their theories and practices of interpretation. She argues that this conception of interpreters as a universal community established biblical readers as a coherent collective. In the first part of the book, Almog focuses on the 1760s through the 1780s and examines these writers' works on biblical Hebrew and their reliance on the conception of the Old Testament as a cultural, rather than religious, asset. She reveals how the detachment of textual hermeneutics from confessional affiliation was stimulated by debates on t...

59 MIN2019 OCT 16
Comments
Yael Almog, "Secularism and Hermeneutics" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2019)

Candy Gunther Brown, "Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools: Reforming Secular Education or Reestablishing Religion?" (UNC Press, 2019)

In this episode of New Books in Law Siobhan talks with Candy Gunther Brown about her book Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools: Reforming Secular Education or Reestablishing Religion? (UNC Press, 2019). Dr. Brown is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. She is a historian and ethnographer of religion and culture. Yoga and mindfulness activities, with roots in Asian traditions such as Hinduism or Buddhism, have been brought into growing numbers of public schools since the 1970s. While they are commonly assumed to be secular educational tools, Candy Gunther Brown asks whether religion is truly left out of the equation in the context of public-school curricula. An expert witness in four legal challenges, Brown scrutinized unpublished trial records, informant interviews, and legal precedents, as well as insider documents, some revealing promoters of “Vedic victory” or “stealth Buddhism” for public-school children. The legal ...

33 MIN2019 SEP 26
Comments
Candy Gunther Brown, "Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools: Reforming Secular Education or Reestablishing Religion?" (UNC Press, 2019)

Ronald E. Purser, "McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality" (Repeater Books, 2019)

In his recent exposé, McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality (Repeater Books, 2019), Ronald Purser Ph.D. takes a hard look at the mindfulness movement that has taken society by storm. Purser opens the book by questioning elements of the movement that have lead to its success: its scientific credibility, its secular façade, the prevailing discourse in society around stress, and other topics. Purser’s main concern, however, is that mindfulness is being used to reinforce the capitalist system by absolving companies of any responsibility for its negative consequences, for example work-related mental health problems, and shifting full responsibility onto the shoulders of the individual. Purser also points out how mindfulness is being used in questionable ways in schools, the US military and national governments. Purser ends the book by discussing his vision of a revolutionary, socially-minded, collective-based form of mindfulness. Full of humor and eye-o...

91 MIN2019 SEP 18
Comments
Ronald E. Purser, "McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality" (Repeater Books, 2019)

E. H. Ecklund and D. R. Johnson, "Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think of Religion" (Oxford UP, 2019)

It is common to see science and religion portrayed as mutually exclusive and warring ways of viewing the world, but is that how actual scientists see it? For that matter, which cultural factors shape the attitudes of scientists toward religion? Could scientists help show us a way to build collaboration between scientific and religious communities, if such collaborations are even possible? The book we’re looking at today, Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion (Oxford University Press, 2019), aims to answer these questions and more. Scholars Elaine Howard Ecklund, David Johnson, Brandon Vaidyanathan, Kirstin Matthews, Steven Lewis, Robert Thomson Jr, and Di Di collaborated to complete the most comprehensive international study of scientists' attitudes toward religion ever undertaken, surveying more than 20,000 scientists and conducting in-depth interviews with over 600 of them. From this wealth of data, the authors extract the real story...

94 MIN2019 SEP 5
Comments
E. H. Ecklund and D. R. Johnson, "Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think of Religion" (Oxford UP, 2019)

Latest Episodes

Jay Wexler, "Our Non-Christian Nation" (Redwood Press, 2019)

Less and less Christian demographically, America is now home to an ever-larger number of people who say they identify with no religion at all. These non-Christians have increasingly been demanding their full participation in public life, bringing their arguments all the way to the Supreme Court. The law is on their side, but that doesn't mean that their attempts are not met with suspicion or outright hostility. The book I’m looking at today is Our Non-Christian Nation: How Atheists, Satanists, Pagans, and Others Are Demanding Their Rightful Place in Public Life, by Jay Wexler. In it, he travels the country to engage the non-Christians who have called on us to maintain our ideals of inclusivity and diversity. With his characteristic sympathy and humor, he introduces us to the Summum and their Seven Aphorisms, a Wiccan priestess who would deck her City Hall with a pagan holiday wreath, and other determined champions of free religious expression. As Wexler reminds us, anyone who cares about pluralism, equality, and fairness should support a public square filled with a variety of religious and nonreligious voices. The stakes are nothing short of long-term social peace. A Professor at Boston University School of Law, Jay Wexler is also a humorist, short story writer, and novelist. A one-time clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former lawyer at the US Department of Justice, he has written for National Geographic, The Boston Globe, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Salon, and many other outlets. His non-fiction books include When God Isn't Green (2016) , The Odd Clauses (2011), and Holy Hullabaloos (2009). He joins me today, to talk about Our Non-Christian Nation. Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

62 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Jay Wexler, "Our Non-Christian Nation" (Redwood Press, 2019)

K. Linder et al., "Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers" (Stylus Publishing, 2020)

If you’re a grad student facing the ugly reality of finding a tenure-track job, you could easily be forgiven for thinking about a career change. However, if you’ve spent the last several years working on a PhD, or if you’re a faculty member whose career has basically consisted of higher ed, switching isn’t so easy. PhD holders are mostly trained to work as professors, and making easy connections to other careers is no mean feat. Because the people you know were generally trained to do the same sorts of things, an easy source of advice might not be there for you. Thankfully, for anybody who wishes there was a guidebook that would just break all of this down, that book has now been written. Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers (Stylus Publishing, 2020) by Kathryn E. Linder, Kevin Kelly, and Thomas J. Tobinoffers practical advice and step-by-step instructions on how to decide if you want to leave behind academia and how to start searching for a new career. If a lot of career advice is too vague or too ambiguous, this book corrects that by outlining not just how to figure out what you might want to do, but critically, how you might go about accomplishing that. Zeb Larson is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a PhD in History. His research deals with the anti-apartheid movement in the United States. To suggest a recent title or to contact him, please send an e-mail tozeb.larson@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39 MIN3 w ago
Comments
K. Linder et al., "Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers" (Stylus Publishing, 2020)

Christopher Cameron, "Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism" (Northwestern UP, 2019)

Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism (Northwestern University Press, 2019) by Christopher Cameron, an Associate Professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, is a precise and nuanced history of African American secularism from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. This text is written with economy and clarity as defined by four concise chapters that detail the major moments in African American history including some discussion of Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights-Black Power era. Traversing nearly two centuries of black thought, from the Antebellum period to the demise of the Black Power era, Black Freethinkers is the first comprehensive historical survey of black free thought. For Cameron, free thought encompasses atheism, agnosticism, deism, paganism and other non-traditional modes of thinking. Cameron’s work focuses primarily on the ideas advanced by African American men and women of letters such as Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, Lorraine Hansberry, and James Baldwin to support his core argument that freethought and “unbelief” have been key elements of Black thought since the era of enslavement to the institutionalization of free thought oriented associations in African American society. Cameron’s work forces us to rethink the way we study the era of enslavement and African American culture, and the place of Douglass as an American intellectual central to this history, as well as the role of religion in Black life more generally. In many respects, his text presents a more humanistic portrait of African American thought and culture from a historical perspective that goes well beyond most texts on this subject. Hettie V. Williams Ph.D., has taught survey courses in U.S. history, Western Civilization, and upper division courses on the history of African Americans at the university level for more than fifteen years. Her teaching and research interests include: African American intellectual history, gender in U.S. history, and race/ethnicity studies. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of African American history in the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University where she teaches courses in African American history and U.S. history. She has published book chapters, essays, and encyclopedia entries and edited/authored five books. Her latest publications include Bury My Heart in a Free Land: Black Women Intellectuals in Modern U.S. History (Praeger, 2017) and, with Dr. G. Reginald Daniel, professor of historical sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Race and the Obama Phenomenon: The Vision of a More Perfect Multiracial Union (University Press of Mississippi 2014). You can learn more about her work here or follow her on twitter (@DrHettie2017). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

48 MINJAN 13
Comments
Christopher Cameron, "Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism" (Northwestern UP, 2019)

Alberto Cairo, "How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information" (Norton, 2019)

We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at? Social media has made charts, infographics, and diagrams ubiquitous―and easier to share than ever. We associate charts with science and reason; the flashy visuals are both appealing and persuasive. Pie charts, maps, bar and line graphs, and scatter plots (to name a few) can better inform us, revealing patterns and trends hidden behind the numbers we encounter in our lives. In short, good charts make us smarter―if we know how to read them. However, they can also lead us astray. Charts lie in a variety of ways―displaying incomplete or inaccurate data, suggesting misleading patterns, and concealing uncertainty―or are frequently misunderstood, such as the confusing cone of uncertainty maps shown on TV every hurricane season. To make matters worse, many of us are ill-equipped to interpret the visuals that politicians, journalists, advertisers, and even our employers present each day, enabling bad actors to easily manipulate them to promote their own agendas. In How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information (W. W. Norton, 2019), data visualization expert Alberto Cairo teaches us to not only spot the lies in deceptive visuals, but also to take advantage of good ones to understand complex stories. Public conversations are increasingly propelled by numbers, and to make sense of them we must be able to decode and use visual information. By examining contemporary examples ranging from election-result infographics to global GDP maps and box-office record charts, How Charts Lie demystifies an essential new literacy, one that will make us better equipped to navigate our data-driven world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

57 MIN2019 DEC 3
Comments
Alberto Cairo, "How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information" (Norton, 2019)

Kathryn Conrad on University Press Publishing

As you may know, university presses publish a lot of good books. In fact, they publish thousands of them every year. They are different from most trade books in that most of them are what you might called "fundamental research." Their authors--dedicated researchers one and all--provide the scholarly stuff upon which many non-fiction trade books are based. So when you are reading, say, a popular history, you are often reading UP books at one remove. Of course, some UP books are also bestsellers, and they are all well written (and, I should say, thoroughly vetted thanks to the peer review system), but the greatest contribution of UPs is to provide a base of fundamental research to the public. And they do a great job of it. How do they do it? Today I talked to Kathryn Conrad, the president of the Association of University Presses, about the work of UPs, the challenges they face, and some terrific new directions they are going. We also talked about why, if you have a scholarly book in p...

40 MIN2019 NOV 3
Comments
Kathryn Conrad on University Press Publishing

J. Neuhaus, "Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers" (West Virginia UP, 2019)

The things that make people academics -- as deep fascination with some arcane subject, often bordering on obsession, and a comfort with the solitude that developing expertise requires -- do not necessarily make us good teachers. Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers (West Virginia University Press, 2019) helps us to identify and embrace that geekiness in us and then offers practical, step-by-step guidelines for how to turn it to effective pedagogy. It’s a sharp, slim, and entertaining volume that can make better teachers of us all. Stephen Pimpareis Senior Lecturer in the Politics & Society Program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author ofThe New Victorians(New Press, 2004),A Peoples History of Poverty in America(New Press, 2008), winner of the Michael Harrington Award, andGhettos, Tramps and Welfare Queens: Down and Out on the Silver Screen(Oxford, 2017). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32 MIN2019 OCT 24
Comments
J. Neuhaus, "Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers" (West Virginia UP, 2019)

Yael Almog, "Secularism and Hermeneutics" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2019)

In the late Enlightenment, a new imperative began to inform theories of interpretation: all literary texts should be read in the same way that we read the Bible. However, this assumption concealed a problem—there was no coherent "we" who read the Bible in the same way. In Secularism and Hermeneutics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), Yael Almog shows that several prominent thinkers of the era constituted readers as an imaginary "we" around which they could form their theories and practices of interpretation. She argues that this conception of interpreters as a universal community established biblical readers as a coherent collective. In the first part of the book, Almog focuses on the 1760s through the 1780s and examines these writers' works on biblical Hebrew and their reliance on the conception of the Old Testament as a cultural, rather than religious, asset. She reveals how the detachment of textual hermeneutics from confessional affiliation was stimulated by debates on t...

59 MIN2019 OCT 16
Comments
Yael Almog, "Secularism and Hermeneutics" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2019)

Candy Gunther Brown, "Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools: Reforming Secular Education or Reestablishing Religion?" (UNC Press, 2019)

In this episode of New Books in Law Siobhan talks with Candy Gunther Brown about her book Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools: Reforming Secular Education or Reestablishing Religion? (UNC Press, 2019). Dr. Brown is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. She is a historian and ethnographer of religion and culture. Yoga and mindfulness activities, with roots in Asian traditions such as Hinduism or Buddhism, have been brought into growing numbers of public schools since the 1970s. While they are commonly assumed to be secular educational tools, Candy Gunther Brown asks whether religion is truly left out of the equation in the context of public-school curricula. An expert witness in four legal challenges, Brown scrutinized unpublished trial records, informant interviews, and legal precedents, as well as insider documents, some revealing promoters of “Vedic victory” or “stealth Buddhism” for public-school children. The legal ...

33 MIN2019 SEP 26
Comments
Candy Gunther Brown, "Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools: Reforming Secular Education or Reestablishing Religion?" (UNC Press, 2019)

Ronald E. Purser, "McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality" (Repeater Books, 2019)

In his recent exposé, McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality (Repeater Books, 2019), Ronald Purser Ph.D. takes a hard look at the mindfulness movement that has taken society by storm. Purser opens the book by questioning elements of the movement that have lead to its success: its scientific credibility, its secular façade, the prevailing discourse in society around stress, and other topics. Purser’s main concern, however, is that mindfulness is being used to reinforce the capitalist system by absolving companies of any responsibility for its negative consequences, for example work-related mental health problems, and shifting full responsibility onto the shoulders of the individual. Purser also points out how mindfulness is being used in questionable ways in schools, the US military and national governments. Purser ends the book by discussing his vision of a revolutionary, socially-minded, collective-based form of mindfulness. Full of humor and eye-o...

91 MIN2019 SEP 18
Comments
Ronald E. Purser, "McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality" (Repeater Books, 2019)

E. H. Ecklund and D. R. Johnson, "Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think of Religion" (Oxford UP, 2019)

It is common to see science and religion portrayed as mutually exclusive and warring ways of viewing the world, but is that how actual scientists see it? For that matter, which cultural factors shape the attitudes of scientists toward religion? Could scientists help show us a way to build collaboration between scientific and religious communities, if such collaborations are even possible? The book we’re looking at today, Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion (Oxford University Press, 2019), aims to answer these questions and more. Scholars Elaine Howard Ecklund, David Johnson, Brandon Vaidyanathan, Kirstin Matthews, Steven Lewis, Robert Thomson Jr, and Di Di collaborated to complete the most comprehensive international study of scientists' attitudes toward religion ever undertaken, surveying more than 20,000 scientists and conducting in-depth interviews with over 600 of them. From this wealth of data, the authors extract the real story...

94 MIN2019 SEP 5
Comments
E. H. Ecklund and D. R. Johnson, "Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think of Religion" (Oxford UP, 2019)
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