I know it has been a while since I’ve posted and I have actually picked up lots of new books in the past few weeks, but today I took my dad to my favorite bookstore that happens to be down the street from my house.
Seven Theories of Religion (Daniel Pals, 1996)
This book provides an introduction to major theorists of religion (E.B. Tylor and James Frazer; Sigmund Freud; Emile Durkheim; Karl Marx; Mircea Eliade; E.E. Evans-Pritchard; Clifford Geertz) by providing their context, key concepts, and selected readings. I teach on several of these thinkers in my Anthropology class and thought this would be a helpful text for seeing them in comparison with one another. (I have since learned that there are new editions called the “Eight Theories” and “Nine Theories” of Religion- can you guess what the next edition will be called?)
The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism, and White Privilege (Robert Jensen, 2005)
This short book covers a subject that I (as a privileged white person) need to continually be examining and finding new ways to root out. This book does not cover much new territory for me, but does provide some language for working with other white folks. Also, it is a handy size to lend to someone starting to look at these concepts and structures for themselves. (Note: the book was written by a white man)
Decolonization: Perspectives from Now and Then (Pransenjit Duara, editor, 2003)
The history of decolonization is a tricky subject, as its subjects and its methods are not necessarily compatible. There is so much diversity (cultural, political, regional) to the phenomenon of post/de-coloniality that it defies traditional Western historical frameworks to try to contain (and re-colonize!). This is a collection of essays from contemporary historians to represent the current and potential for decolonial movements.
Roaring Lambs: A Gentle Plan to Radically Change Your World (Bob Briner, 1993)
I spend a lot of time thinking about faith and culture- this book tries to tackle that by making the case for how Christians should be shaping (rather than fleeing or denouncing) culture and social change. This book is 25 years old and written from a much, much more conservative place than I am (or have ever been). I am curious to read it as an outsider and see what can be gleaned for a different context.
*If you are ever in Fullerton, go to Half Off Books. They sell comics, kids books, records, DVDs, fiction, and non-fiction. One of the perks of living in a city with several colleges and universities is that when people clear their bookshelves, you get some good material- I pick up sociology, philosophy, theology, etc. Their prices are affordable ($5-7, usually) and they do a good job of rotating material and reducing prices to move books (where I vulture them up). Regardless of what you’re into, you will find it here in downtown Fullerton, CA. [end commercial]