Religious Nationalism: A Reference Handbook

Religious Nationalism: A Reference Handbook

Religious Nationalism: A Reference Handbook

Religious Nationalism: A Reference Handbook


"Religious Nationalism: A Reference Handbook" challenges dominant scholarly works on religious nationalism by identifying the preconceptions that skew analysis of the phenomenon dubbed "religious nationalism." The book utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that draws insight from theories of nationalism, religious studies, peace research, and political theory, and reframes the questions of religious nationalism within the perspectives of secularism, modernity, and Orientalism. In doing so, the author enables readers to uncover their own presumptions regarding the role of religion in public life.

Unlike other works on this subject, the work outlines connections between the analysis of the role of religion in conflict to thoughts regarding how religion may relate to processes of peacebuilding and conflict transformation, and further connects the discussion of religious nationalism to broader conversations on the so-called resurgence of religion. The book will serve advanced high school and college students studying religion, international relations, and related subjects while also appealing to a wide audience of readers with an interest in questions of religion and politics.


This book investigates the concept of religious nationalism. It provides an account of how different forms of religious nationalism emerge and evolve, and overviews the debates about whether nationalism is an essentially modern development, or dates back much further than the onset of the modern era. From India to Israel/Palestine, from Northern Ireland to Sri Lanka, to Serbia and Egypt, this book unpacks and examines a range of examples of the ways in which religious and national identities interweave, sometimes fuse together, and interact in many of the most persistent— and in some cases explosive—political, ethnic, and cultural conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries. No less importantly, we investigate how nationalism and religion can, and often do, blend and lace with exclusivism and chauvinism even the most seemingly stable and self-avowedly just and inclusive of liberal-democratic societies, such as the United States and France. Finally, we explore possibilities for thinking differently—perhaps constructively—about the ways that national and religious forms of identification have, and do, intersect, reinforce, and/or conflict with one another.

Motivating Questions

A central aim of this book is to challenge the common understanding that religious nationalism is a uniquely volatile and antimodern form of nationalism because it is religious in one sense or another. A second aim, which parallels the first, is to challenge the common presupposition that secular (nonreligious) varieties of nationalism are intrinsically more stable, rational, and benign than what typically gets categorized under the banner of religious nationalism.

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