Special Issue "For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism
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