Books

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The Divine Institution

White Evangelicalism’s Politics of the Family

Summary

The Divine Institution provides an account of how a theology of the family came to dominate a white evangelical tradition in the post-civil rights movement United States, providing a theological corollary to Religious Right politics. This tradition inherently enforces racial inequality in that it draws moral, religious, and political attention away from problems of racial and economic structural oppression, explaining all social problems as a failure of the individual to achieve the strong gender and sexual identities that ground the nuclear family. The consequences of this theology are both personal suffering for individuals who cannot measure up to prescribed gender and sexual roles, and political support for conservative government policies. Exposure to experiences that undermine the idea that an emphasis on the family is the solution to all social problems is causing a younger generation of white evangelicals to shift away from this narrow theological emphasis and toward a more social justice-oriented theology. The material and political effects of this shift remain to be seen.
“Intersectionality is hard work, but Sophie Bjork-James applies it brilliantly to issues of race, faith, gender, and sexuality. Her study shows the ways in which race and racial supremacy structure and infect white evangelicalism’s entire approach to men, women, and children.”

–Edward J. Blum, co-author of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America

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Beyond Populism: Angry Politics and the Twilight of Neoliberalism

Edited by Jeff Maskovsky and Sophie Bjork-James, Feb. 2020

Summary

Across the world, politics is lurching to the right, ethnic nationalism is on the rise, and people are furious. Beyond Populism critically examines the new destructive projects of resentment that have surfaced in the political spaces opened by neoliberalism’s failures, particularly since the financial collapse of 2008. It contextualizes the recent history of the Global North—notably Brexit and the Trump election—among wider comparative politics, with chapters on India, Colombia, Eastern Europe, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and other parts of the globe marked by populist insurgencies.

The essays collected here explore how global, regional, national, and local structures of power produce angry politics. They go beyond conventional academic debates about populism to explore the different kinds of anger that shape politics today and to make legible the multiplicity of forces, antagonisms, conflicts, and emergent political forms that mark the present. By examining the politics of anger, Beyond Populism also considers what is needed to transform anger from a reactionary to an emancipatory force.

 

“This book, on one of the major conundrums of our time, refuses foreclosure and widens the horizon.”
Don Kalb, coeditor of Worldwide Mobilizations: Class Struggles and Urban Commoning

“A timely, engaged, and committed intervention that truly goes beyond existing scholarship on populism and produces insights of huge analytical and political potential.”
Paul Stubbs, coeditor of Making Policy Move: Towards a Politics of Translation and Assemblage

“This outstanding volume is an essential and timely engagement with one of the most important—and little understood—developments in the current crisis.”
Leith Mullings, coeditor of Let Nobody Turn Us Around: An African American Anthology