Website: Where Religion Lives
This book series was created to provide a place for innovative and accessibly written ethnographies of religion in the Américas. We will publish two books each year that offer a fresh approach to the study of religion via an ethnographic approach. The books that will be selected for publication in this series will bring religion to life by placing people and their stories at the center. Importantly, authors selected for this series will position their interlocutors as agents and creators of theory, knowledge, and ontologies.
Inspiration for this Series:
Where Religion Lives is inspired by the publication of the now classic Mama Lola, the late Karen McCarthy Brown’s 1992 ethnographic study of Haitian vodou. Mama Lola changed the field of religious studies and how scholars research and write about religion. The ethnographic approach to the study of religion, as McCarthy Brown showed us, focuses on people’s stories and what matters to them. McCarthy Brown worked within a community and placing her interlocutor’s voices at the center of her investigation, humanized Haitians and the religion of vodou as no other book had done before. Following in the legacy of Dr. McCarthy Brown, we want the books in Where Religion Lives to bring people’s stories and religious worlds to life in evocative research and writing.
What Sets this Series Apart:
This is the first book series to exclusively publish ethnographies of religion from a religious studies perspective. What does this mean? It means that we feature books that are distinctively, specifically, and crucially enriched by the religious studies scholar’s deep, discerning, and broad knowledge of the histories and doctrines of the religious tradition or traditions under study. Religious Studies scholars are attuned to the specificities and vagaries of individuals and communities, and bring a particular sensitivity to lived religion in their published work. Where Religion Lives will bring together top scholars from the Humanities and Social Sciences who have been trained in ethnographic approaches to the study of religion.
The depth of religious studies scholars’ knowledge of history is particularly significant in the production of knowledge in the field of religion. This rich and meaningful incorporation of ethnographic with historical knowledge will figure as a distinction in the titles selected for our series. This series is a home and hub for cutting-edge ethnographies of religion in the broad geographic terrain of the Américas.
Elaine Maisner, Executive Editor for the University of North Carolina Press, is the sponsoring editor for Where Religion Lives. Elaine works closely with Dr. Kristy Nabhan-Warren, an experienced author, editor, and university Professor of religious studies, to publish innovative ethnographies for the series. Elaine and Kristy work with a stellar Editorial Advisory Committee. The Professors who are part of this committee are leaders in the ethnography of religion and have published award-winning books. They serve as important consultants, readers, and as talent scouts for this series.
Where Religion Lives series Editorial Advisory Committee Members:
Dr. Penny Edgell, University of Minnesota
Dr. Marla Frederick, Emory University
Dr. Gerardo Marti, Davidson College
Dr. Robert Orsi, Northwestern University
Dr. Leela Prasad, Duke University
Dr. Sarah McFarland Taylor, Northwestern University
What we want are excellent ethnographies of religion that tell powerful stories about people and their communities. We want you, in your book, to tell a compelling story about people who intrigue you, and we want you to show your reader why these individuals and communities are compelling/important/noteworthy.
We welcome ethnographies that are both qualitative as well as quantitative in approach, as well as blends of the two approaches. Qualitative ethnographies tend to consist of face to face interviews and participation observation on the part of the scholar, and they feature smaller sample sizes. These ethnographies tend to be illuminating snapshots of particular communities. The majority of religious studies ethnographers conduct qualitative ethnography which involves hundreds of hours of participation observation, one-on-one interviews, as well as small group interviews. Quantitative ethnographies tend to offer larger sample sizes and are based on surveys. The quantitative approach can offer data to make big picture arguments. The majority of ethnographies today feature a blend of qualitative and quantitative data.
This series welcomes ethnographies that are more traditional “offline” (in person, face to face research) as well as “online” or “virtual” ethnographies. We also welcome ethnographies that blend online (virtual, not face to face) and offline (in person, face to face research).
A Note to Prospective Authors:
1.) The methodological focus of the book must be ethnographic. The series welcomes qualitative, quantitative, virtual, as well as mixed ethnographic approaches to the study of religion.
2.) The Introduction should include be ethnographically centered and should include details of the author’s method.
3.) Ethnography must be foregrounded in each of the chapters.
4.) The author should look to her/his/their interlocutors as producers of theory and knowledge.
5.) The author should seek to make interventions in ethnographic methods as well as the study of religion.
If you are interested in submitting an outline and chapter(s) for consideration in the series, please contact:
Elaine Maisner, Executive Editor, The University of North Carolina Press firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristy Nabhan-Warren, Professor, The University of Iowa
Scheduling an Appointment:
If you would like to meet in person to discuss your project, Elaine and Kristy meet with prospective authors every November at the annual American Academy of Religion (AAR) conference. We typically schedule half-hour conversations the Saturday-Monday of the annual meeting. If you are interested in scheduling a meeting, please contact us at our e-mail addresses.
Books Under Contract:
Where Religion Lives was officially launched in November, 2017. We will publish 2-3 books per calendar year. Our first two books are forthcoming 2020.