Politics and the Religious Imagination  book cover
1st Edition

Politics and the Religious Imagination

ISBN 9780415870825
Published September 20, 2013 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

Politics and the Religious Imagination is the product of a group of interdisciplinary scholars each analyzing the connections between religious narratives and the construction of regional and global politics, combining a set of theoretical and philosophic insights with several case studies that represent varied geographies and religious customs.

The past decade has seen increasing interest in the links between religion and politics, and this edited volume seeks to take religion seriously as a motivator of action. Few studies have attempted to bring together the multi-disciplinary work in this burgeoning field of study and this work takes a global perspective, using a variety of contexts including East-West relations to analyze the following key themes:

  • the constructive and destructive hermeneutics of religious stories
  • the relevance and importance of religion as a dominant political narrative
  • the rise of new stories among groups as agents of change
  • the way that religious narratives help to define and constrain the Other
  • the manipulation of religious stories for political benefit


This work argues that it is insufficient to judge the relationship of religion and politics through mere institutional or quantitative lenses, and this collection proves that while this promise of the narrative part of the social imaginary has been recognized in political theory to a certain extent, its influence in the realm of empirical political science has yet to be fully considered.

Combining the work of a wide range of experts, this collection will be of great interests to scholars of politics, philosophy, religious studies, and the literary influence of religion.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Rowe, Zimmermann, and Dyck  Section One: Imagining Religion and Politics  2. Politics and the Religious Imagination Richard Kearney  3. Imagining the Catechism of the Citizen Simon Critchley  4. Catechising the Secular Imagination: a Response to Simon Critchley Jens Zimmermann  Section Two: The Religious Imagination in American Politics  5. Agents of Change: Lyndon Johnson, Catholics, and Civil Rights Lawrence McAndrews  6. Narrating Desire: the Gospel of Wealth in Christian America David Gutterman  7. Green for God: Religious Environmentalists in the United States Andrew Pieper  8. Understanding Jewish Women and their Efforts to Secure Political Power Terri Fine  Section Three: The Religious Imagination in Global Politics  9. Accomodating the Other: Lessons from Encounters between Christianity and Confucianism in Early Modern China Hassan Bashir  10. Charles Taylor’s Modernity in a Latin American Catholicism Gustavo Morello  11. Telling Multiple Stories: the BJP’s Appeal to Group-Specific Interests and the Hindutva Master Frame Shelly Ghai  12. Crosscutting Narratives: Diaspora and Indigenous Movements among Coptic Christians in Egypt Paul Rowe  13. Conclusion Rowe, Zimmermann and Dyck

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Paul S. Rowe is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Studies at Trinity Western University

Jens Zimmermann is Professor of English and Canada Research Chair in Religion, Interpretation and Culture at Trinity Western University

John H. A. Dyck is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Studies at Trinity Western University

All three are senior research fellows in the Religion, Culture, and Conflict Research Group based at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.