News and Events

November 2003 Bookbeat

Publications from CLAS faculty.

Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust

Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trustedited by Richard C. Foltz, Department of Religion, Frederick M. Denny, and Azizan Baharuddin.
(Harvard University Press, 2003)
Available through Amazon

UF has become one of the world's main learning centers on religion and the environment, and UF Religion Professor Richard Foltz is making new strides in the field with the book Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust. The book further identifies UF, and specifically the religion department, as one of the core centers for the academic discourse on religion and the environment.

Richard C. Foltz"This is the first book of its kind and represents the rather elementary state of the discussion on Islam and the environment so far," Foltz says.

The book discusses the Islamic tradition for environmental ethics and how Islam's message of social justice does not match many of the current environmentally destructive development models. Foltz also explores the current global environmental crisis, which falls hardest upon the world's poor, a disproportionate number of whom are Muslims.

Though the discourse is young, Foltz says he hopes the book demonstrates that it is at least possible to generate an Islamic response to the present crisis. "Given that one out of five people in the world is Muslim, I would say that avoiding global ecological collapse requires that an Islamic response be included."

The book is part of the World Religions and Ecology Series published by Harvard University Press. The series grew out of conferences held in Cambridge and New York from 1996 to 1998 and continues through the Forum on Religion and Ecology based at Harvard, of which Foltz is the Islam consultant.

Based on his research, Foltz teaches a course on Islam and nature—using his book as the main text—and believes he is the only one in the nation teaching such a course.

—Kimberly A. Lopez

Social Learning Theory and the Explanation of Crime

Social Learning Theory and the Explanation of Crimeedited by Ronald Akers Department of Criminology, Law, and Society and Gary Jensen,
(Transaction Publishers, 2003)
Available through Amazon

Social learning theory has recently been called perhaps the dominant theory of crime and delinquency in the US. Yet the theory is often misrepresented. Some equate it with differential association theory. Others depict it as little more than a micro-level appendage to cultural deviance theories. There have been earlier attempts to clarify the theory's unique features in comparison to other theories, and others have applied it to broader issues. These efforts are extended in this volume, Social Learning Theory and the Explanation of Crime, which focuses on developing, applying, and testing the theory on a variety of criminal and delinquent behaviors.


The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empireby Edward Gibbon, Edited by Hans-Friedrich Mueller, Department of Classics
(Random House, 2003)
Available through Amazon

This classic book, written by Edward Gibbon in 1776 to 1787, chronicles the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and is widely considered one of the greatest works of history ever written. Originally published in seven volumes, this new edition, abridged and edited by Hans-Friedrich Mueller, retains the full scope of the original, but in a compass equivalent to a long novel. Casual readers now have access to the full sweep of Gibbon's narrative, while instructors and students have a volume that can be read in a single term. This unique edition emphasizes elements ignored in all other abridgments—in particular the role of religion in the empire and the rise of Islam. It includes a critical forward by Mueller.


The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo

The Assassination of Herbert ChitepoLuise White, Department of History,
(Indiana University Press, 2003)
Available through Amazon

On March 18, 1975, Herbert Chitepo, an African nationalist in exile and chairman of the war council that struggled to liberate Zimbabwe from white-ruled Rhodesia, was killed by a car bomb. In this book, Luise White does not set out to resolve questions about who was accountable for this horrible murder. Instead, in a style that is as much murder mystery as it is history writing, she explores why Chitepo's assassination continues to incite conflict and controversy in Zimbabwe's national politics. White casts doubt on official accounts of the murder and addresses how and for whom history is written and how myths and ideas about civic culture were founded in war-torn Zimbabwe. Readers will discover how one man's murder continues to unsettle Zimbabwe.


Jane Dominguez

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