01: The current issue of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies (Winter) is devoted to fundamentalism and democracy. Although tomes have been written on this subject, the issue carries some interesting articles on conservative (not necessarily fundamentalist) religion and politics. An article by economists David Chen and Jo Thori Lind looks at the relationship between social and fiscal conservatism. They find that attendance at religious events predicts opposition to welfare in the US and among those in other countries without state churches; in European state churches, however, religious attendance predicted support for welfare.
Chen and Lind argue that church/state separation and increased secular welfare also increases “theocratic tendencies.” But at the same time, in a foreign policy context, economic sanctions can also increase theocratic tendencies. A lack of access to international capital markets may move elites in the direction of greater reliance on religious welfare and give them less incentive to separate church and state. Other articles in this issue include examinations of Jewish fundamentalism, George Bush’s use of religious references in his speeches and how it differs from his predecessors, and the tactical (and uneasy) alliance between neoconservatism and the Christian right. For more information on this issue, write: Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Temple University, 1114 W. Berks St., Philadelphia, PA 19122-6090.
02: Contemporary Islam is a new quarterly journal offering a much-neededplatform for discussion of contemporary aspects of Muslim life. it provides an active forum for the discussion of new ideas, fieldwork experiences, challenging views, and methodological and theoretical approaches to Muslim lives. The journal, which is published in electronic and print formats, seeks to be broad-based and wide-ranging, exploring the relationship between Islam and its contemporary cultural, material, economic, political, religious, and gender-based expressions throughout the social sciences.
Although the social scientific research on Muslims and Islam has been on the increase, such work tends to be spread among a variety of academic publications. Most journals in Islamic studies have also tended to take a historical, political and comparative approach rather than one based on social scientific research. The current issue includes articles on “Islamophobia” on the Internet, how Islam has been reframed post 9/11, and reports on Islamic movements in Egypt and Somalia. The first issue is available free online at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/1872-0226?sortorder=asc&v=condensed