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Understanding Unbelief


This selected bibliography brings together some core texts for the study of unbelief from across the human science disciplines, and provides full citations for all material cited on the Understanding Unbelief website.

A regularly updated, comprehensive and multidisciplinary bibliography is provided by the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network (NSRN) on its website, at www.nsrn.net/bibliography.

Asad, T. 1993. Genealogies of religion: Discipline and reasons of power in Christianity and Islam. JHU Press.

Baker, Joseph and Buster Smith. 2009. ‘The Nones: Social Characteristics of the Religiously Unaffiliated’. Social Forces 87.3 (2009): 1251-65.

Barrett, J. L. 1999. ‘Theological Correctness: Cognitive Constraint and the Study of Religion’, Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 11(4), 325-339.

Blanes, R. & G. Oustinova-Stjepanovic. 2015. ‘Being Godless: Ethnographies of Atheism and Non-Religion’. Special issue of Social Analysis 59 (2).

Bullivant, S. and L. Lee. 2012. ‘Non-religion and Secularity:  The State of the Union’, Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1), 19-27.

Bullivant, S. and L. Lee. 2013. Secularity and Non-religion. London: Routledge.

Bullivant, S. and L. Lee. In press. Oxford Dictionary of Atheism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bullivant S. & M. Ruse (eds). 2013a, The Oxford Handbook of Atheism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bullivant S. & M. Ruse. 2013b, ‘Introduction: The Study of Atheism’, in The Oxford Handbook of Atheism edited by S. Bullivant and M. Ruse. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1-7.

Caporale, R., & A. Grumelli. 1971. The Culture of Unbelief: Studies and Proceedings from the First International Symposium on Unbelief. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Cimino, R., & C. Smith. 2014. Atheist Awakening: Secular Activism and Community in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Copeman, J. & J. Quack. 2015. ‘Godless People and Dead Bodies: Materiality and the Morality of Atheist Materialism’, Social Analysis 59 (2), 40-61.

Cragun, R. T., B Kosmin, A. Keysar, J. H. Hammer & M. Nielsen. 2012. ‘On the Receiving End: Discrimination towward the Non-religious in the United States’, Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1), 105-127.

Day, A. 2011. Believing in Belonging: Belief and Social Identity in the Modern World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Diversity of Nonreligion: Religious-Nonreligious Dynamics in the Contemporary World. University of Zurich. http://www.nonreligion.net/ (last accessed 14 July 2015).

Edgell, P., J. Gerteis & D Hartmann. 2006. ‘Atheists as “Other”: Moral Boundaries and Cultural Membership in American Society’, American Sociological Review 71 (2), 211-34.

Engelke, M. 2014. Christianity and the Anthropology of Secular Humanism. Current Anthropology 55 (10), 292-301.

Evans-Pritchard, E.E. 1965. Theories of Primitive Religion. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Farias, M. 2013. ‘The Psychology of Atheism’, in The Oxford Handbook of Atheism, edited by S. Bullivant & M. Ruse. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 468-482.

Febvre, L. 1985. The Problem of Unbelief in the Sixteenth Century: The Religion of Rabelais. Harvard University Press.

Flynn, T. 2007. The New Encyclopaedia of Unbelief. Amherst: Prometheus Books.

Geertz, C. 1973.  Religion as a Cultural System: The Interpretation of Cultures.  New York: Basic Books.

Gervais, W. M., & Norenzayan, A. 2012. ‘Analytic Thinking Promotes Religious Disbelief.’ Science 336 (6080), 493-496.

Gigerenzer, G., & Selten, R. 2002. Bounded Rationality: The Adaptive Toolbox. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gill, A., & Lundsgaarde, E. 2004. ‘State Welfare Spending and Religiosity a Cross-National Analysis’. Rationality and Society 16 (4), 399-436.

Henrich, J. 2009. ‘The Evolution of Costly Displays, Cooperation and Religion: Credibility Enhancing Displays and their Implications for Cultural Evolution’, Evolution and Human Behavior 30 (4), 244-260.

Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. 2010. The Weirdest People in the World?Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33 (2-3), 61-83.

Heywood, B. T., & Bering, J. M. 2014. ‘“Meant to be”: How Religious Beliefs and Cultural Religiosity Affect the Implicit Bias to think Teleologically’, Religion, Brain & Behavior 4 (3), 183-201.

Jackson, R. 2014. Signposts’: Policy and Practice for Teaching about Religions and Non-Religious Worldviews in Intercultural Education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.

Kahneman, D. 2011. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York, NY: Macmillan.

Kelemen, D., Rottman, J., & Seston, R. 2013. ‘Professional Physical Scientists Display Tenacious Teleological Tendencies: Purpose-based Reasoning as a Cognitive Default’, Journal of Experimental Psychology 142 (4), 1074-83.

Laborde, C. 2014. ‘Equal Liberty, Nonestablishment, and Religious Freedom’, Legal Theory 20 (1), 52–77. DOI: 10.1017/S1352325213000141.

Lanman, J. A. 2012. ‘The Importance of Religious Displays for Belief Acquisition and Secularization’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 27 (1), 49-65.

Lanman, J. 2013. ‘Atheism and Cognitive Science’,  in The Oxford Handbook of Atheism edited by S. Bullivant & M. Ruse. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 483-496.

Lee, L. 2011. ‘NSRN Glossary’. In NSRN Terminology – Virtual Conference: Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network. http://nsrn.net/events/nsrn-events/.

Lee, Lois. 2014. Secular or Nonreligious? Investigating and Interpreting Generic ‘Not Religious’ Categories and Populations. Religion 44 (3): 466-482.

Lee, L. 2015. Recognizing the Non-religious: Reimagining the Secular. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lim, C., C. A. MacGregor, and R. D. Putnam. 2010. ‘Secular and Liminal: Discovering Heterogeneity among Religious Nones’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 49 (4), 596-618.

Maclure, J. and C. Taylor. 2011. Secularism and Freedom of Conscience. Trans. Jane Marie Todd. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Martin, M. (ed.). 2007. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Marty, M.E. 1966. Varieties of Unbelief, New York: Anchor Books.

Norenzayan, A. 2013. Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict. Princeton University Press.

Norris, P. and R. Inglehart. 2004. Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

PEW Research Center. 2012. ‘Nones’ on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults have no Religious Affiliation. 2012a. http://www.pewforum.org/files/2012/10/NonesOnTheRise-full.pdf (last accessed on 24 April 2015).

Pew Research Center. 2015. America’s Changing Religious Landscape, available online at: http://www.pewforum.org/files/2015/05/RLS-05-08-full-report.pdf (last accessed on 3 July 2015).

Quack, J. 2012. Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sandberg, Russell. 2012.  ‘A Question of Belief’, Religion and Law edited by N. Spencer. London: Theos, 51-63.

Schielke, S. 2012. ‘Being a Nonbeliever in a Time of Islamic Revival: Trajectories of Doubt and Certainty in Contemporary Egypt’. International Journal of Middle East Studies 44 (2), 301-320.

Schnell, T. and W. J. F. Keenan. 2011. ‘Meaning-Making in an Atheist World’, Archive for the Psychology of Religion 33, 55–78. DOI: 10.1163/157361211X564611.

Schnell, T. 2010. ‘Existential Indifference: Another Quality of Meaning in Life’, Journal of Humanistic Psychology 50 (3): 351–73. DOI: 10.1177/0022167809360259.

Sheard, M. Sheard, M. (2014), ‘Ninety-eight atheists: Atheism among the non-elite in twentieth century Britain’, Secularism and Nonreligion, 3 (6): 1-16, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/snr.ar.

Sperber, D. 1996. Explaining Culture. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Stein, E. 1996. Without Good Reason: The Rationality Debate in Philosophy and Cognitive Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Taira, T. and R. Illman. 2012. ‘The New Visibility of Atheism in Europe’, Approaching Religion 2 (1), 1-2.

Taves, A. 2015.  ‘Portrait: Ann Taves – From Weird Experiences to Revelatory Events’, Religion and Society: Advances in Research 6, 1–26.

Taylor, C. 2007. A Secular Age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Turner, J. 1985. Without God, Without Creed: The Origins of Unbelief in America. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Whitehouse, H., & J.A. Lanman. 2014. ‘The Ties that Bind Us: Ritual, Fusion, and Identification’, Current Anthropology 55 (6), 674-695.

Willard, A. K., & Norenzayan, A. (2013). Cognitive biases explain religious belief, paranormal belief, and belief in life’s purpose. Cognition, 129(2), 379-391.

Zuckerman, P. 2010. ‘Introduction: The Social Scientific Study of Atheism and Secularity’, in Atheism and Secularity, Volume 1: Issues, Concepts, Definitions, edited by P. Zuckerman. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, vii-xii.

Zuckerman, P. 2007. ‘Atheism: Contemporary Numbers and Patterns’, in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, edited by M. Martin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 47–65.


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