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Articles in Religion

The Geography of Religion in Montana (and the Rest of the US)

By Martin W. Lewis | August 5, 2022 |

The map of religious adherence in the United States defies some common perceptions. Membership in a religious organization, for example, is shown as higher rate in southern New England than in the eastern part of the so-called Bible Belt. The data used to make these maps, however, are not necessarily accurate, and they do not measure the intensity of religious …

Cannabis Legalization and the Electoral Geography of Montana

By Martin W. Lewis | August 3, 2022 |

Only two reliably Republican-voting states have fully legalized cannabis: Montana and Alaska.  It is not coincidental that both are in the West. Western conservatism leans in a more libertarian direction than Southern or Midwestern conservatism, with the important exception of the deeply religious LDS (Mormon) region centered on Utah and eastern Idaho.

Caste Controversies Slides

By Martin W. Lewis | May 15, 2016 | One Comment

Dear Readers,
The slides from my recent lecture on caste controversies in India and on a related controversy about teaching Indian/South Asian history in California are available at the link below:
Caste Controversies in India
 
 
 

Radicalization of Russia’s Muslims—Are Crimean Tatars Next? (Part 2)

By Asya Pereltsvaig | April 11, 2016 | One Comment

[Part 1 can be read here. Thanks to Iryna Novosyolova for a helpful discussion of some of the issues discussed in this post.]
 
In 2014, the Russian Federation acquired another Muslim group that may prove troublesome both within Russia and globally: the Crimean Tatars. According to the 2002 Russian census, there were only 4,131 Crimean Tatars living in the country, concentrated …

Radicalization of Russia’s Muslims—Are Crimean Tatars Next? (Part 1)

By Asya Pereltsvaig | April 10, 2016 | 14 Comments

[Thanks to Iryna Novosyolova for a helpful discussion of some of the issues discussed in this post.]
 
A recent article in Foreign Affairs listed the use of the French language as the best predictor of a country’s rate of Sunni radicalization and violence, and particularly of the percentage of a country’s Muslim population that joins in the international Jihad. According to …

Tatarstan: A “Hostage of Freezing Relations between Russia and Turkey”?

By Asya Pereltsvaig | February 4, 2016 | 4 Comments

[Many thanks to Ekaterina Lyutikova for most helpful discussions of some of the issues discussed in this post, as well as for the photos, some of which are used as illustrations below. I’m also grateful to Martin W. Lewis for helpful discussions and edits and for modifying the Wikipedia map of Percentage of Ethnic Tatars, used below.]

Tatarstan has not been …

Is Japan a Religiously Divided Country? Fabian Drixler on Japan’s East/West Divide

By Martin W. Lewis | November 30, 2015 | 2 Comments

 
I was surprised by the depiction of Japan in Scolbert08’s map of world religion. The map depicts the main island of Honshu as essentially bifurcated into a more Buddhist west and a more Shinto east and northeast*; Shinto is also shown as more prevalent on the island of Shikoku and to a lesser extent in southern Kyushu, whereas Hokkaido in …

Most Moravians Live In Tanzania: The Global Spread of the Moravian and Mennonite Faiths

By Martin W. Lewis | November 16, 2015 | 2 Comments

The Moravian Church has a good claim to being the oldest Protestant denomination, tracing its origin back to the Bohemian Reformation of the early 15th century, closely associated with Jan Huss. “Hussites” were persecuted at the time and eventually defeated in battle, and during the Counter-Reformation, Bohemia and Moravia were brought back into the Roman Catholic fold. In the Czech …

The Global Spread of Heterodox Christianity

By Martin W. Lewis | November 12, 2015 | 7 Comments

As noted in an earlier post, I regard Scolbert08’s map of world religions as a cartographic masterpiece. I do, however, have some qualms about the categories that it employs. I am particularly dissatisfied with the “other” grouping, which is composed, according to the key, of indigenous/animist faiths, non-Trinitarian Christianity, and Sikhism. These religions, or groups of religions, hardly belong together. …

Intriguing Patterns in Scolbert08’s Map of Religion in Insular Southeast Asia

By Martin W. Lewis | November 1, 2015 | 6 Comments

Scolbert08 does an excellent job of mapping the religious complexity of Insular Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea. I have therefore posted a detail of his or her map of world religion that focuses on this region, both with and without my own annotations. Many interesting and important spatial patterns of religious affiliation are revealed on the map.
Scolbert08’s map does …

Religious Complexity in Northeastern South Asia

By Martin W. Lewis | October 29, 2015 | 3 Comments

Northeastern South Asia has one of the world’s most complex religious environments, and such complexity is captured nicely in Scolbert08’s amazing map of world religions. To illustrate this, I have posted a detail from this map of this region, both in annotated and non-annotated form, along with a smaller version of the same map juxtaposed with other maps of the …

Scolbert08’s Magnificent Map of World Religion, Part 1

By Martin W. Lewis | October 27, 2015 | 6 Comments

An astoundingly detailed map of world religion has recently been published by reddit user “scolbert08.” The map is much too large for me to post in its entirely on GeoCurrents, but one can find the full-resolution map both here and at the interesting website Brilliant Maps. The level of precision found on this map is truly remarkable; over much of the …

Innovative Wikipedia Maps of World Religion

By Martin W. Lewis | October 20, 2015 | 10 Comments

As mentioned in the previous post, a number of innovative world maps of religion have recently appeared on the internet. Several of these are posted at the bottom of the Wikipedia article on “Major Religious Groups” in a section labeled “Maps of self-reported adherence.” Today’s post will focus on three of the maps found here.
The first map reproduced here shows …

The Pitfalls and Promises of Mapping World Religion

By Martin W. Lewis | October 15, 2015 | 9 Comments

I have long been dissatisfied with world religion maps, especially those that are available on the internet. To be sure, mapping religion is an inherently difficult task. Many areas contain multiple faiths, just as different places often vary tremendously in regard religiosity itself. Changes in the religious landscape, moreover, are often difficult to capture. Most of Europe, for example, is …

The Ahl-e Haqq Minority Faith Fights for Its Homeland in Northern Iraq

By Martin W. Lewis | August 29, 2015 |

Earlier this week, Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched an offensive against ISIS in the Daquq district of Iraq, some 40 kilometers south of Kirkuk. Aided by airstrikes from US-led coalition warplanes, Kurdish forces took over a number of villages. As reported in the news service Rudaw:

Hismadin said Kurdish reinforcements streamed in once the Peshmerga’s heavy fighting began. He added that members …

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