facebook twitter Linkedin Email

LU professor, distinguished collaborator of book about religious demise

Stuart A. Wright, Lamar University professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, Social Work & Criminal Justice is a collaborator on a book, “Religious Demise: How Religions Die, Decline and Dissolve,” which will soon be published by Bloomsbury Academic Publishers.

The book is a culmination of a funded project through the Norwegian Academy of Science & Letters awarded to
Stuart Wright
Wright with collaborators Erica Baffelli and Michael Stausberg
the Center for Advanced Studies in Oslo. As a visiting fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies, part of the Norwegian Academy of Science & Letters, in Oslo, Norway during the latter part of the 2019 spring semester, Wright was asked to work on the funded project researching how religions die or become extinct.

“I was invited to be a part of this project in part because of my research on government raids targeting minority religions,” said Wright. “This research resulted in my last book, “Storming Zion: Government Raids on Religious Communities.” Some of the raided religious groups did not survive; hence, they faced decline, dissolution or were driven underground.”

The book takes a broad approach to the concept of religious demise so that it includes a range of cases involving processes of decline, attenuation, disintegration, transmutation, and/or death and extinction and employs scholars of religion with different disciplinary backgrounds in the fields of anthropology, sociology, Japanese studies, history and religious studies. The authors found eight possible categories in which religious demise or dissolution occur and suggest that religious demise be viewed as either an endogenous and exogenous force.

The authors state the objective of the collective project in the book proposal to Bloomsbury, “….the book offers a unique multidisciplinary perspective designed to stimulate further exploration, discussion and debate among a larger audience. In effect, the editors envision this book to be a catalyst to open up a neglected area of inquiry, not a definitive or conclusive statement of the subject matter.”  

The book, the first systematic work focusing on religious demise in the scholarly literature, will be a multicultural work offering case studies from the U.S., England, Sweden, Japan, New Guinea and France. It is due to be published by December 2020 and will be available widely and on Amazon.

Wright, who is contributing a chapter in the book that surveys seven cases of religious demise due to government raids, says he’s proud to be part of such a significant work with an esteemed group of colleagues.
“This is a very distinguished, international group of scholars of which I am extremely proud to be a part of,” said Wright.

Additional contributors to “Religious Demise: How Religions Die, Decline and Dissolve:”
Erica Baffelli, Associate Professor, School of Arts, Languages and Culture, University of Manchester
Eileen Barker, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, London School of Economics
Carole M. Cusack, Professor, Studies in Religion, University of Sydney
Lisolette Frisk, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Dalarna University
Jessica Johnson, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, William & Mary College
James R. Lewis, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Tromso
Alistair Lockhart, Director of the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements and Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
Joel Robbins, Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Michael Stausberg, Professor, Department of Archeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen