After our special "Hope and Fear" last issue that highlighted thematically connected essays from Carroll College's interdisciplinary conference, this issue of Soundings features a collection of writings that are connected only through their shared commitment to interdisciplinary interpretation and scholarship.
We begin with Anne Speckhard and Ardian Shajkovci's work on a growing issue that will face many countries (especially those with substantial Muslim populations) in the aftermath of the ongoing decline of ISIS: how to most successfully deradicalize and reintegrate former ISIS volunteers back into their home societies. Focusing on efforts in Kosovo and the Sandiak region of Serbia, the authors interrogate the possibilities and limitations of these strategies for intervention, and potentially, rehabilitation and how they might be adaptable in other locations.
Second, in light of much stricter immigration policies proposed and implemented by the Trump Administration, Melanie Howard takes a close look at three ways of interpreting the "Sermon on the Mount." Howard suggests innovatively that Jesus's teachings on responding nonviolently to one's enemies might be interpreted as words of peace, satire, or even terror. Her argument raises useful considerations on how Christian immigrant communities in particular might imagine responding to the new landscape in which they find themselves.
Our third essay explores the concept of a "Scientology captivity narrative" through a careful study of Jenna Miscavige Hill's memoir Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and my Harrowing Escape. Drawing on critical race theory and critical prison studies, author Hannah Anneliese Bailey sees significant intersections between Hill's account and the genre of slave and captivity narratives, but also concludes that its success in the marketplace reveals [End Page iii] the ways it reinforces uniquely American notions of white liberal personhood and racialized criminality.
Next, Luke William Hunt offers an opinion piece on the apparent increasing illiberality in a society founded on liberal constitutional principles and the need to recognize distinctions between moral, legal, and political norms. Using the popularity of J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy as a jumping off point and the "new normal" of the Trump presidency as a general background, Hunt considers how to square the socially and culturally normative views of publically and (often) self-defined "rednecks" with the legal and philosophical norms of the American political tradition.
Finally, Benjamin Davis provides an insightful review of Benjamin Schewel's new overview of conceptions of religion's history and future, Seven Ways of Looking at Religion: The Major Narratives. We hope these wideranging explorations of religion, philosophy, and politics prove useful as we collectively consider this uncertain time. [End Page iv]