compiled by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, TIRN on APRIL 29, 2014:  

The following are the intros to Joseph Richard Preville’s seven latest “By the Book” Q & As; published from January 2014  through April 2014 on ISLAMiCommentary. Happy Reading! 

Column » ‘By the Book’ with Joseph Preville

bookcover.religionoutloudQ & A With Isaac Weiner on “Religion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism” (NYU Press, 2014)

The free exercise of religion is enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But, what happens when religion becomes noisy or offensive to the ear? What happens when religion sounds “out of place”? Isaac Weiner explores these issues in his splendid new book, Religion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism (NYU Press, 2014). Weiner’s objective is to analyze “the politics of religious pluralism in the United States by attending to disputes about religious sound in the public realm.” He states that his book “listens to Americans complain about religion as noise.”

Isaac Weiner is Assistant Professor of Religion and Culture in the Department of Comparative Studies at the Ohio State University. He was educated at Yale University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Religion Out Loud is Weiner’s first book. His scholarly work has appeared in Anthropological Quarterly, Religion Compass and Material Religion.

In Religion Out Loud, Weiner takes a detailed look at three major disputes regarding religious sound and noise: 1) Harrison v. St. Mark’s Church, Philadelphia (1877), involving the ringing of church bells at a Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 2) Saia v. New York (1948) on the use of loudspeakers by Jehovah’s Witnesses to broadcast religious lectures in Lockport, New York, and 3) the petition of al-Islah Islamic Center to the city council of Hamtramck, Michigan (2004) for permission to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer. Weiner states that these three case studies “make evident how central sound has been to the ongoing project of demarcating religion’s proper place in American society.”

Isaac Weiner discusses his new book in this exclusive interview. READ INTERVIEW Continue reading