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New Books in Islamic Studies

English, Religion, 1 season, 710 episodes, 1 day, 1 hour, 7 minutes
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Interviews with Scholars of Islam about their New Books Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
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Egor Lazarev, "State-Building as Lawfare: Custom, Sharia, and State Law in Postwar Chechnya" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

State-Building as Lawfare: Custom, Sharia, and State Law in Postwar Chechnya (Cambridge University Press, 2023) by Dr. Egor Lazarev explores the use of state and non-state legal systems by both politicians and ordinary people in postwar Chechnya. The book addresses two interrelated puzzles: why do local rulers tolerate and even promote non-state legal systems at the expense of state law, and why do some members of repressed ethnic minorities choose to resolve their everyday disputes using state legal systems instead of non-state alternatives? The book documents how the rulers of Chechnya promote and reinvent customary law and Sharia in order to borrow legitimacy from tradition and religion, increase autonomy from the metropole, and accommodate communal authorities and former rebels. At the same time, the book shows how prolonged armed conflict disrupted the traditional social hierarchies and pushed some Chechen women to use state law, spurring state formation from below. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/13/202450 minutes, 47 seconds
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Eric Calderwood, "On Earth Or in Poems: The Many Lives of Al-Andalus" (Harvard UP, 2023)

During the Middle Ages, the Iberian Peninsula was home not to Spain and Portugal but rather to al-Andalus. Ruled by a succession of Islamic dynasties, al-Andalus came to be a shorthand for a legendary place where people from the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe; Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together in peace. That reputation is not entirely deserved, yet, as On Earth Or in Poems: The Many Lives of Al-Andalus (Harvard UP, 2023) shows, it has had an enduring hold on the imagination, especially for Arab and Muslim artists and thinkers in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. From the vast and complex story behind the name al-Andalus, Syrians and North Africans draw their own connections to history’s ruling dynasties. Palestinians can imagine themselves as “Moriscos,” descended from Spanish Muslims forced to hide their identities. A Palestinian flamenco musician in Chicago, no less than a Saudi women’s rights activist, can take inspiration from al-Andalus. These diverse relationships to the same past may be imagined, but the present-day communities and future visions those relationships foster are real. Where do these notions of al-Andalus come from? How do they translate into aspiration and action? Eric Calderwood traces the role of al-Andalus in music and in debates about Arab and Berber identities, Arab and Muslim feminisms, the politics of Palestine and Israel, and immigration and multiculturalism in Europe. The Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish once asked, “Was al-Andalus / Here or there? On earth … or in poems?” The artists and activists showcased in this book answer: it was there, it is here, and it will be. Eric Calderwood is Associate Professor of Comparative and World Literature at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the author of the award-winning Colonial al-Andalus. He is a contributor to NPR, the BBC, and Foreign Policy. Tugrul Mende holds an M.A in Arabic Studies. He is based in Berlin as a project coordinator and independent researcher Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/8/202440 minutes, 20 seconds
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Sumita Pahwa, "Politics as Worship: Righteous Activism and the Egyptian Muslim Brothers" (Syracuse UP, 2023)

Despite expectations that the deeply held political and religious organizing principles at the heart of the Muslim Brotherhood would prove incompatible and contentious should the organization ever come to power, the Brotherhood succeeded in maintaining a united identity following the 2011 ousting of Hosni Mubarak and the election of a Brotherhood-majority government.  To understand how the movement threaded these disparate missions, Politics as Worship: Righteous Activism and the Egyptian Muslim Brothers (Syracuse UP, 2023) examines the movement's internal debates on preaching, activism, and social reform from the 1980s through the 2000s. In doing so, Sumita Pahwa finds that the framing of political work as ethical conduct has been critical to the organization's functioning. Through a comprehensive analysis of texts, speeches, public communications, interviews, and internal training documents, Pahwa shows how Islamic and religious ideals have been folded into the political discourse of the Brotherhood, enabling the leadership to shift the boundaries of justifiable and righteous action. Over a period of three decades, the movement has built an influential Islamic political project and carved a unified identity around how to "work for God." Sumita Pahwa is an Associate Professor of Politics at Scripps College in Claremont CA, where she also teaches in the Middle East and North Africa Studies program. She grew up in India, and received her PhD from the Johns Hopkins University and a BA from Middlebury College. Her research focuses on religion and politics and social movements in South Asia and the Middle East, with older research on Egypt and Morocco, and newer research on civil society in India. Cooking and gardening are her main hobbies, and she has done informal comparative research on mango varieties in Egypt and India. Lamis Abdelaaty is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She is the author of Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford University Press, 2021). Email her comments at [email protected] Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/8/202457 minutes
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Annika Schmeding, "Sufi Civilities: Religious Authority and Political Change in Afghanistan" (Stanford UP, 2023)

Annika Schmeding’s new book Sufi Civilities: Religious Authority and Political Change in Afghanistan (Stanford UP, 2023) is a deeply sensitive and rich study of a variety of facets of Sufism in contemporary Afghanistan. Focused on the intersection and interaction of Sufism and Afghan civil society, this book simultaneously offers a layered and often moving account of Sufism in Afghanistan, while also presenting an excellent critique of Western NGO driven understandings of civility and civil society. The book also engages a number of themes connected to Sufism in Afghanistan including Sufism and the state, gender and Sufism, Sufis and the ‘ulama’, and Sufi religious authority through the oneiric imagination. This wonderfully written book will also be a pleasure to teach in the classroom. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/7/202459 minutes, 30 seconds
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Esra Mirze Santesso, "Muslim Comics and Warscape Witnessing" (Ohio State UP, 2023)

Recent decades have seen an unprecedented number of comics by and about Muslim people enter the global market. Now, Muslim Comics and Warscape Witnessing (Ohio State UP, 2023) offers the first major study of these works. Esra Mirze Santesso assesses Muslim comics to illustrate the multifaceted nature of seeing and representing daily lives within and outside of the homeland. Focusing on contemporary graphic narratives that are primarily but not exclusively from the Middle East--from blockbusters like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis to more local efforts such as Leila Abdelrazaq's Baddawi--Santesso explores why the graphic form has become a popular and useful medium for articulating Muslim subjectivities. Further, she shows how Muslim comics "bear witness" to a range of faith-based positions that complicate discussions of global ummah or community, contest monolithic depictions of Muslims, and question the Islamist valorization of the shaheed, the "martyr" figure regarded as the ideal religious witness. By presenting varied depictions of everyday lives of Muslims navigating violence and militarization, this book reveals the connections between religious rituals and existence in warscapes and invites us to more deeply consider the nature of witnessing itself. Dr. Esra Santesso received her B.A. from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey, and her PhD from the University of Nevada. She is currently Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Georgia. She specializes in postcolonial theory and literature with an emphasis on Muslim identity, diasporic and immigrant experiences, and human rights narratives. Her first book, Disorientation: Muslim Identity in Contemporary Anglophone Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) investigates the extent to which the questions and theories of postcolonial identity can be applied to Muslim subjects living in the West. She is the co-editor of Islam and Postcolonial Literature (Routledge, 2017), which offers a collection of essays on religion’s role in self-representation explored via film, theater, poetry, visual arts, performance pieces. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/7/202440 minutes, 5 seconds
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Loren D. Lybarger, "Palestinian Chicago: Identity in Exile" (U California Press, 2020)

Chicago is home to one of the largest, most politically active Palestinian immigrant communities in the United States. For decades, secular nationalism held sway as the dominant political ideology, but since the 1990s its structures have weakened and Islamic institutions have gained strength.  Drawing on extensive fieldwork and interview data, Loren D. Lybarger's book Palestinian Chicago: Identity in Exile (U California Press, 2020) charts the origins of these changes and the multiple effects they have had on identity across religious, political, class, gender, and generational lines. The perspectives that emerge through this rich ethnography challenge prevailing understandings of secularity and religion, offering critical insight into current debates about immigration and national belonging. Roberto Mazza is currently a visiting lecturer at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Website: www.robertomazza.org Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/3/20241 hour, 21 minutes, 52 seconds
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Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, "Merits of the Plague" (Penguin, 2023)

Six hundred years ago, the author of this landmark work of history and religious thought—an esteemed judge, poet, and scholar in Cairo—survived the bubonic plague, which took the lives of three of his children, not to mention tens of millions of others throughout the medieval world. Holding up an eerie mirror to our own time, he reflects on the origins of plagues—from those of the Prophet Muhammad’s era to the Black Death of his own—and what it means that such catastrophes could have been willed by God, while also chronicling the fear, isolation, scapegoating, economic tumult, political failures, and crises of faith that he lived through. But in considering the meaning of suffering and mass death, he also offers a message of radical hope. Weaving together accounts of evil jinn, religious stories, medical manuals, death-count registers, poetry, and the author’s personal anecdotes, Merits of the Plague (Penguin, 2023), translated by Joel Blecher and Mairaj Syed, is a profound reminder that with tragedy comes one of the noblest expressions of our humanity: the practice of compassion, patience, and care for those around us. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (1372 - 1449) was an Islamic poet, scholar and judge. Born in modern day Egypt, in his lifetime al-Asqalani authored some 150 works of history, poetry and biography, as well as many influential treatises on Islamic jurisprudence. Joel Blecher is Associate Professor of History at the George Washington University in Washington Mairaj Syed is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and the director of Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program at UC Davis.  Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/2/20241 hour, 9 minutes, 11 seconds
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Jörg Matthias Determann and Shoaib Ahmed Malik, "Islamic Theology and Extraterrestrial Life: New Frontiers in Science and Religion" (I. B. Tauris, 2024)

Over the last thirty years, humanity has discovered thousands of planets outside of our solar system. The discovery of extraterrestrial life could be imminent. This book explains how such a discovery might impact Islamic theology. It is the foundational reference on the subject, comprising a variety of different insights from both Sunni and Shi'i positions, from different Muslim contexts, and with chapters that compare and contrast Islamic perspectives with Christianity. Together, they address some of our biggest questions through an Islamic lens: What makes humans unique in the cosmos? What are the ethics of dealing with other sentient beings? And how universal is salvation? Given the accelerating advances in exoplanet research and astrobiology, Islamic Theology and Extraterrestrial Life: New Frontiers in Science and Religion (I. B. Tauris, 2024) is at the frontier of science and Islamic thought. Contributors include a range of leading experts from Muslim theologians, scholars of comparative religion and philosophers, to historians, social scientists and natural scientists. Roberto Mazza is currently an independent scholar. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Website: www.robertomazza.org Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/19/20241 hour, 7 minutes, 46 seconds
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Financial Access and Socio-Economic Development in Indonesia

Globally, 1.4 billion people are considered to be “financially excluded,” meaning they cannot safely access appropriate and affordable financial services. Muslim communities have particularly high levels of financial exclusion – for example, Muslim-majority countries have 24% lower participation rates in active borrowing from banks, and 29% lower rates of bank account ownership compared to other countries. In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim majority country, the vast majority of financial enterprises are classified as small to medium enterprises and lack access to capital in the same way as larger corporations. President Joko Widodo has actively sought to promote Islamic finance-based development initiatives, through both grassroots support of Islamic microfinance as well as top-down policy support. Dr Tanvir Uddin is founder & CEO of Wholesum, an impact-focused investment platform that enables investors to support socio-economic development through a global portfolio of small and medium-sized enterprise and microfinance financing. He joins SSEAC Stories to discuss financial access and socio-economic development in Indonesia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/19/202429 minutes, 45 seconds
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Umme Al-wazedi and Afrin Zeenat, "Veil Obsessed: Representations in Literature, Art, and Media" (Syracuse UP, 2024)

In their edited volume Veil Obsessed: Representations in Literature, Art, and Media (Syracuse University Press, 2024), Umme Al-wazedi and Afrin Zeenat complicate discussions of the veil and highlight the prevalent anxieties surrounding it. The edited volume is unique in its focus and engagement of the veil as it appears in various literary, artistic, and popular cultures, such as of historical Algeria and contemporary Iranian television series, Bollywood films, and street art in Europe. The book locates these critical discussions and theoretical interventions within both a postcolonial and neocolonial critique of how the veil was orientalised and fetishized historically, for example in the Victorian transmissions of the 1001 Nights, and how the veil, specifically the burka, is deployed in reductive and harmful ways in contemporary state projects today, as seen in France, and even in popular liberal discourses (such as in the United States). The essays in this collection are sharp and accessibly written and will be useful as a teaching tool in various undergraduate courses. The book will also be of interest to those who work on literature, popular culture, gender, Islam, and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/17/202450 minutes, 15 seconds
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SherAli Tareen, "Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship After Empire" (Columbia UP, 2023)

Friendship—particularly interreligious friendship—offers both promise and peril. After the end of Muslim political sovereignty in South Asia, how did Muslim scholars grapple with the possibilities and dangers of Hindu-Muslim friendship? How did they negotiate the incongruities between foundational texts and attitudes toward non-Muslims that were informed by the premodern context of Muslim empire and the realities of British colonialism, which rendered South Asian Muslims a political minority?  In Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship After Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023), SherAli Tareen, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin & Marshall College, explores how leading South Asian Muslim thinkers imagined and contested the boundaries of Hindu-Muslim friendship from the late eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. He argues that often what was at stake in Muslim scholarly debates on Hindu-Muslim friendship were unresolved tensions over the meaning of Islam in the modern world. Tareen’s framework also provides a timely perspective on the historical roots of present-day Hindu-Muslim relations, considering how to overcome thorny legacies and open new horizons for interreligious friendship. In our conversation we discussed Muslim scholarly translations of Hinduism, Hindu-Muslim theological polemics, intra-Muslim debates on cow sacrifice, and debates on emulating Hindu customs and habits. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/15/20241 hour, 31 minutes, 35 seconds
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Legal Cultures in the Russian Empire

Law. How does the state form and use it? How do people use and shape it? How does law shape culture? How does the practice of law change over time in a modernizing colony? What was stable and what was malleable in the application of law in early modern Russia versus its Central Asian colony in the Empire’s final century? What’s the difference between a bribe and a gift? These are some of the questions at the heart of this fascinating conversation about two books that probe the theoretical and instrumental underpinnings, as well as the everyday practice, of law in different periods and regions of the Russian Empire. Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia (Cambridge UP, 2012) by Nancy Kollmann analyzes the day-to-day practice of Russian criminal justice in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Visions of Justice: Sharī’a and Cultural Change in Russian Central Asia (Brill, 2017; available open access) by Paolo Sartori excavates civil law practice to explore legal consciousness among the Muslim communities of Central Asia from the end of the eighteenth century through the fall of the Russian Empire, situating his work within a range of debates about colonialism and law, legal pluralism, and subaltern subjectivity. Paolo Sartori and Nancy Kollmann explore overlaps, divergence and much more that emerge from their respective findings in these deeply researched books. Paolo Sartori is a Senior Research Associate and the Chairman of the Commission for the Study of Islam in Central Eurasia at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient and the Journal of Central Asian History (Brill). In addition to Visions of Justice, authoring several scholarly articles and co-editing essay collections, Sartori has co-authored two books, Seeking Justice at the Court of the Khans of Khiva (19th–Early 20th Centuries) (Leiden: Brill, 2020), co-authored with Ulfat Abdurasulov and Éksperimenty imperii: adat, shariat, i proizvodtsvo znanii v Kazakhskoi stepi (Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2019), co-authored with Pavel Shabley. Nancy Kollmann is the William H. Bonsall Professor of History at Stanford University in California. In addition to Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia (2012), she is the author of Kinship and Politics: The Making of the Muscovite Political System, 1345–1547 (1987), By Honor Bound: State and Society in Early Modern Russia (1999); The Russian Empire, 1450–1801 (2017), and Visualizing Russia in Early Modern Europe (forthcoming August 2024). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/13/20241 hour, 13 minutes, 1 second
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Sofia Rehman, "Gendering the Hadith Tradition: Recentering the Authority of Aisha, Mother of the Believers" (Oxford UP, 2024)

Gendering the Hadith Tradition: Recentering the Authority of Aisha, Mother of the Believers (Oxford UP, 2024) presents for the first time a partial translation and study of Imam Badr al-Din al-Zarkashi's work, al-Ijaba li-Iradi ma Istadraktahu Aisha Ala al-Sahabah-"The Corrective: Aisha's Rectification of the Companions. "It critically analyses from the perspective of hadith criticism a number of sections presenting Aisha's refutations and corrections of key Companions including, Umar b. al-Khattab, Abdullah b. Abbas, Zayd b. Thabit, and Abu Hurayra, applying classical hadith methodology to the scrutiny of narrators by way of impugnment and validation (al-jarh wa al-tadil) in an effort to re-construct and re-present Aisha as a central authority in Islamic knowledge production. This work constitutes a major rethinking of the Muslim hadith and jurisprudential traditions by evaluating how Aisha responded to hadiths that were circulating and being ascribed, often incorrectly, as authoritative statements of the Prophet Muhammad. From her critique of overwhelmingly male Companions of the Prophet, the study elicits a methodology for hadith criticism which is sure to challenge classical approaches. Sofia Rehman unearths the scholarly acumen of this great female Companion and mother of the believers, in her discussion of several legal positions which Aisha held in contradistinction to many of the male authorities among the Companions. This interdisciplinary study serves as a model for how the voice of Aisha may be given renewed life and significance in the way it re-centres her traditions and thinking. A crucial aspect is its contributing to expanding the horizons of multiple Islamic disciplines. A major contribution to the study of hadith lies in the development of an emergent methodology of Aisha in the scrutiny of the actual statements (matn) of traditions, not just the chains of transmission (isnad). The contributions of this study to the development of the Muslim legal tradition (fiqh) also lies in a framework that emerges from this research based on the pattern of how Aisha approaches juridical matters. The implications for this are many, especially regarding women and their spiritual and daily life and practice.“ Sofia Rehman is an independent scholar of Islam, trained both traditionally in Syria and Turkey, and in Western academia, receiving her PhD from the University of Leeds. She advocates bridging the gap between scholarship on Islam and the Muslim community, setting up critical reading groups with global reach to facilitate learning and empowerment. She is a contributor to Mapping Faith: Theologies of Migration, edited by Lia Shimada, Cut from the Same Cloth?, edited by Sabeena Akhtar and Violent Phenomena: 21 Essays on Translation, edited by Kavita Bhanot and Jeremy Tiang. She is author of A Treasury of Aisha Bint Abu Bakr. Tugrul Mende holds an M.A in Arabic Studies. He is based in Berlin as a project coordinator and independent researcher. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/12/202442 minutes, 4 seconds
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Emily Lynell Edwards, "Digital Islamophobia: Tracking a Far-Right Crisis" (de Gruyter, 2023)

In Digital Islamophobia: Tracking a Far-Right Crisis (De Gruyter, 2023), Emily Lynell Edwards explores this virtual and vicious threat, analyzing how these networks grow, develop, and circulate Islamophobic hate-speech on Twitter. Edwards details how far-right discourse is not merely national, or even transatlantic, but increasingly transnationalized among American, German, as well as Indian and Nigerian digital networks. By tracking and tracing the contours of these far-right digital communities on Twitter and analyzing the content of their conversations, Digital Islamophobia provides policy-makers, researchers, and scholars with a potential road-map to stop them. Emily Lynell Edwards is an Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities and Educational Technologist at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Jewish Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/7/20241 hour, 1 minute, 30 seconds
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Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky, "Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State" (Stanford UP, 2024)

Between the 1850s and World War I, about one million North Caucasian Muslims sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire. This resettlement of Muslim refugees from Russia changed the Ottoman state. Circassians, Chechens, Dagestanis, and others established hundreds of refugee villages throughout the Ottoman Balkans, Anatolia, and the Levant. Most villages still exist today, including what is now the city of Amman. Muslim refugee resettlement reinvigorated regional economies, but also intensified competition over land and, at times, precipitated sectarian tensions, setting in motion fundamental shifts in the borderlands of the Russian and Ottoman empires. Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State (Stanford UP, 2024) reframes late Ottoman history through mass displacement and reveals the origins of refugee resettlement in the modern Middle East. Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky offers a historiographical corrective: the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire created a refugee regime, predating refugee systems set up by the League of Nations and the United Nations. Grounded in archival research in over twenty public and private archives across ten countries, this book contests the boundaries typically assumed between forced and voluntary migration, and refugees and immigrants, rewriting the history of Muslim migration in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Dr. Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky is a historian of global migration and forced displacement and Assistant Professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research examines Muslim refugee migration and its role in shaping the modern world. He is the author of Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State (Stanford University Press, 2024). Dr. Hamed-Troyansky is currently working on a transnational history of Muslim displacement in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia since 1850. His articles appeared in Past & Present, Comparative Studies in Society and History, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Slavic Review, and Kritika. He received his Ph.D. in History from Stanford University and served as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/6/202449 minutes, 1 second
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Razak Khan, "Minority Pasts: Locality, Emotions, and Belonging in Princely Rampur" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Razak Khan's Minority Pasts: Locality, Emotions, and Belonging in Princely Rampur (Oxford UP, 2022) explores the diversity of the histories and identities of Muslims in Rampur-the last Muslim-ruled princely state in colonial United Provinces and a city that is pejoratively labelled as the center of "Muslim vote bank" politics in contemporary Uttar Pradesh. The book highlights the importance of locality and emotions in shaping Muslim identities, politics, and belonging in Rampur. The book shows that we need to move beyond such homogeneous categories of nation and region, in order to comprehend local dynamics that allow a better and closer understanding of the historical re-negotiations of politics and identities by Muslims in South Asia. This is the first comprehensive English-language monograph on the local history and politics of Rampur princely state, based on Persian, Pashto, Urdu, Hindi, and English archives and oral histories of Rampuris. The book provides insights into the various facets of the political, economic, religious, literary, socio-cultural, and affective history of Rampur and Rampuris in India and Pakistan. Anindita Ghosh is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Illinois Chicago. Her dissertation is about the histories of absorption of the eastern native states of South Asia into the nations and their socio- political afterlives in the post- colonial nations. Arighna Gupta is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His dissertation attempts to trace early-colonial genealogies of popular sovereignty located at the interstices of monarchical, religious, and colonial sovereignties in India and present-day Bangladesh. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/6/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 59 seconds
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Vernon James Schubel, "Teaching Humanity: An Alternative Introduction to Islam" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023)

In his splendid new book, Teaching Humanity: An Alternative Introduction to Islam (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023), Vernon Schubel makes a compelling case for taking seriously the foundational importance of humanity and moral pedagogy to the venture of Islam, especially in relation to introductory books on this topic. Through a finely layered yet always engaging and accessible examination of a panoply of Muslim intellectual traditions and lived practice, Schubel offers an alternative to introductory textbooks on Islam limited in their conceptual purview to Islamic law, theology, and the textual sources of the tradition. One of the hallmarks of this book is that it focuses substantively on Shi‘i Islam and Sufism, especially in contexts like the Alevi-Bektashi tradition that might be relegated to the margins of Islam in dominant introductory surveys of Islam. Indeed, among the major achievements of this beautifully written book is that it fundamentally reorients our understanding of the center and the margins of Islam. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/27/202452 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Future of Afghanistan: A Discussion with Kate Clark

Ever since the Taliban victory in 2021 there has been very little prospect of significant change in Afghanistan. There is no rival to the Taliban and no prospect of them losing power at least for the foreseeable future - but within that framework what does the future hold for the country? There is no one better able to answer that than Kate Clark who used to report from Kabul for the BBC under the first Taliban government and who has remained working on Afghanistan ever since. Listen to her in conversation with Owen Bennett-Jones. Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/17/202440 minutes, 7 seconds
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Adam Bursi, "Traces of the Prophets: Relics and Sacred Spaces in Early Islam" (Edinburgh UP, 2024)

Adam Bursi’s Traces of the Prophets: Relics and Sacred Spaces in Early Islam (Edinburg University Press, 2024) uses writings by early Muslims to map a history of material objects, relics, and tombs of prophetic figures as they were conceptualized in the 8th and 9th centuries. The book draws from various genres of writings, including biographies and hadith of the Prophet Muhammad and Qur’an commentaries and juristic compilations to capture the tensions and practices around tomb and relic veneration. Some of the discussion of Muslim relic veneration are polemical as they aim to establish some boundaries around similar pious practices amongst Jewish and Christian communities. In the process, we learn that there were indeed debates with regards to the post-mortem “traces” or “athar” of Muhammad’s tomb, which then impacted how spaces associated with him were also perceived, as well as other prophetic figures like Ibrahim (Abraham) or Daniel. Such examples raise conceptual questions of absence and presence and Prophet Muhammad’s capacity for intercession and obligatory versus non-obligatory rituals. In charting these early Muslim debates and narratives, Bursi masterfully captures the differing approaches Muslims had to holy bodies and sacred spaces. The book will be of interest to scholars who think about early Islamic history and also for scholars who work on contemporary Islamic material and shrine cultures. Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/17/202456 minutes, 59 seconds
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Merin Shobhana Xavier, "The Dervishes of the North: Rumi, Whirling, and the Making of Sufism in Canada" (U Toronto Press, 2023)

The thirteenth-century Muslim mystic and poet Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207–1273) is a popular spiritual icon. His legacy is sustained within the mystical and religious practice of Sufism, particularly through renditions of his poetry, music, and the meditation practice of whirling. In Canada, practices associated with Rumi have become ubiquitous in public spaces, such as museums, art galleries, and theatre halls, just as they continue to inform sacred ritual among Sufi communities.  The Dervishes of the North: Rumi, Whirling, and the Making of Sufism in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2023) explores what practices associated with Rumi in public and private spaces tell us about Sufism and spirituality, including sacred, cultural, and artistic expressions in the Canadian context. Using Rumi and contemporary expressions of poetry and whirling associated with him, the book captures the lived reality of Sufism through an ethnographic study of communities in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Drawing from conversations with Sufi leaders, whirling dervishes, and poets, Merin Shobhana Xavier, Associate Professor of Religion at Queen’s University, explores how Sufism is constructed in Canada, particularly at the nexus of Islamic mysticism, Muslim diaspora, spiritual commodity, popular culture, and universal spirituality.  In our conversation we discussed the history of the Sufi communities in Canada, Rumi’s rise in popularity in North America, the public performance versus the ritual practice of whirling, poetic remembrance ceremonies, the commemoration of the death anniversary of Rumi, gender dynamics in Sufi rituals, women’s positions of authority, the appropriation and commodification of Rumi, and future directions in the study of “Sufism in Canada.” The book is available an as open access title HERE. Kristian Petersen is an Associate Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/2/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 45 seconds
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Maryam Kashani, "Medina by the Bay: Scenes of Muslim Study and Survival" (Duke UP, 2023)

From the Black Power movement and state surveillance to Silicon Valley and gentrification, Medina by the Bay: Scenes of Muslim Study and Survival (Duke UP, 2023) examines how multiracial Muslim communities in the San Francisco Bay Area survive and flourish within and against racial capitalist, carceral, and imperial logics. Weaving expansive histories, peoples, and geographies together in an ethnographic screenplay of cinematic scenes, Maryam Kashani demonstrates how sociopolitical forces and geopolitical agendas shape Muslim ways of knowing and being. Throughout, Kashani argues that contemporary Islam emerges from the specificities of the Bay Area, from its landscapes and infrastructures to its Muslim liberal arts college, mosques, and prison courtyards. Theorizing the Medina by the Bay as a microcosm of socioeconomic, demographic, and political transformations in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, Kashani resituates Islam as liberatory and abolitionist theory, theology, and praxis for all those engaged in struggle. Maryam Kashani is a filmmaker and associate professor in Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is an affiliate with Anthropology, Media and Cinema Studies, the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Her films and video installations have been shown at film festivals, universities, and museums internationally and include things lovely and dangerous still (2003), Best in the West (2006), las callecitas y la cañada (2009), and Signs of Remarkable History (2016); she is currently working on two film duets with composer/musician Wadada Leo Smith that examine the ongoing relationships between the struggles for Black freedom, creative music, and spirituality. Kashani is also in the leadership collective of Believers Bail Out, a community-led effort to bailout Muslims in pretrial and immigration incarceration towards abolition. Najwa Mayer is an interdisciplinary cultural scholar of race, gender, sexuality, and Islam in/and the United States, working at the intersections of politics, aesthetics, and critical theory. She is currently a Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Scholar at Boston University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/31/20241 hour, 10 minutes, 8 seconds
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Amanda Lanzillo, "Pious Labor: Islam, Artisanship, and Technology in Colonial India" (U California Press, 2024)

Pious Labour: Islam, Artisanship, and Technology in Colonial India (University of California Press, 2023) focuses on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries northern India and working-class people who asserted Islamic piety through their trade while responding to industrial change, especially the development of new technologies and state and colonial projects. Indian Muslim artisans, such as those who worked in electroplating, or as stonemasons, tailors, carpenters, or woodworkers, used their craft, labour, class, and religion to establish prophetic lineages to their crafts and imbue it with Islamic piety in response to struggles of class and caste hierarchies and broader disenfranchisement. Amanda Lanzillo masterfully draws out these stories from Urdu technical manuals and oral histories of artisans themselves and in the process challenges us to think more capaciously about Islamic piety through the economy of labour, class, and technology, and our approaches to the histories of Islam in South Asia and beyond. This book is available open access here. Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/27/20241 hour, 26 seconds
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Amar Sohal, "The Muslim Secular: Parity and the Politics of India's Partition" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Concerned with the fate of the minority in the age of the nation-state, Muslim political thought in modern South Asia has often been associated with religious nationalism and the creation of Pakistan. Amar Sohal's book The Muslim Secular: Parity and the Politics of India's Partition (Oxford UP, 2023) complicates that story by reconstructing the ideas of three prominent thinker-actors of the Indian freedom struggle: the Indian National Congress leader Abul Kalam Azad, the popular Kashmiri politician Sheikh Abdullah, and the nonviolent Pashtun activist Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Revising the common view that they were mere acolytes of their celebrated Hindu colleagues M.K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, this book argues that these three men collectively produced a distinct Muslim secularity from within the grander family of secular Indian nationalism; an intellectual tradition that has retained religion within the public space while nevertheless preventing it from defining either national membership or the state. At a time when many across the decolonising world believed that identity-based majorities and minorities were incompatible and had to be separated out into sovereign equals, Azad, Abdullah, and Ghaffar Khan thought differently about the problem of religious pluralism in a postcolonial democracy. The minority, they contended, could conceive of the majority not just as an antagonistic entity that is set against it, but to which it can belong and uniquely complete. Premising its claim to a single, united India upon the universalism of Islam, champions of the Muslim secular mobilised notions of federation and popular sovereignty to replace older monarchical and communitarian forms of power. But to finally jettison the demographic inequality between Hindus and Muslims, these thinkers redefined equality itself.  Rejecting its liberal definition for being too abstract and thus prone to majoritarian assimilation, they replaced it with their own rendition of Indian parity to simultaneously evoke commonality and distinction between Hindu and Muslim peers. Azad, Abdullah, and Ghaffar Khan achieved this by deploying a range of concepts from profane inheritance and theological autonomy to linguistic diversity and ethical pledges. Retaining their Muslimness and Indian nationality in full, this crowning notion of equality-as-parity challenged both Gandhi and Nehru's abstractions and Mohammad Ali Jinnah's supposedly dangerous demand for Pakistan. Arighna Gupta is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His dissertation attempts to trace early-colonial genealogies of popular sovereignty located at the interstices of monarchical, religious, and colonial sovereignties in India and present-day Bangladesh. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/24/20241 hour, 9 minutes, 49 seconds
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Nicholas Morton, "The Crusader States and their Neighbours: A Military History, 1099-1187" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Nicholas Morton’s The Crusader States and their Neighbours: A Military History, 1099-1187 (Oxford UP, 2020) explores the military history of the medieval Near East, piecing together the fault-lines of conflict which entangled this much-contested region. This was an area where ethnic, religious, dynastic, and commercial interests collided and the causes of war could be numerous. Conflicts persisted for decades and were fought out between many groups including Kurds, Turks, Armenians, Arabs, and the Crusaders themselves. Nic Morton recreates this world, exploring how each faction sought to advance its own interests by any means possible, adapting its warcraft to better respond to the threats posed by their rivals. Strategies and tactics employed by the pastoral societies of the Central Asian steppe were pitted against the armies of the agricultural societies of Western Christendom, Byzantium, and the Islamic World, galvanising commanders to adapt their practices in response to their foes.  In this episode, Nic joins me again to discuss histories of nomadic peoples fighting with and against the Crusader armies; what military history can tell us about the economic, social, and cultural history of the medieval Near East; and why Crusader history is still relevant to us today. Maggie Freeman is a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/22/20241 hour, 34 seconds
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Karen C. Pinto, "Medieval Islamic Maps: An Exploration" (U Chicago Press, 2016)

The history of Islamic mapping is one of the new frontiers in the history of cartography. Medieval Islamic Maps: An Exploration (University of Chicago Press, 2016) offers the first in-depth analysis of a distinct tradition of medieval Islamic maps known collectively as the Book of Roads and Kingdoms (Kitab al-Masalik wa al-Mamalik, or KMMS). Created from the mid-tenth through the nineteenth century, these maps offered Islamic rulers, scholars, and armchair explorers a view of the physical and human geography of the Arabian peninsula, the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, Spain and North Africa, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, the Iranian provinces, present-day Pakistan, and Transoxiana. Historian Karen C. Pinto examines around 100 examples of these maps retrieved from archives across the world from three points of view: iconography, context, and patronage. By unraveling their many symbols, she guides us through new ways of viewing the Muslim cartographic imagination. Dr. Karen Pinto is an Associate Scholar in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Karen is working on a forthcoming book that explores the Islamic conception of the Mediterranean and mapping. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/16/202453 minutes, 4 seconds
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Rishad Choudhury, "Hajj Across Empires: Pilgrimage and Political Culture After the Mughals, 1739-1857" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

In Hajj Across Empires: Pilgrimage and Political Culture After the Mughals, 1739-1857 (Cambridge UP, 2023), Rishad Choudhury presents a new history of imperial connections across the Indian Ocean from 1739 to 1857, a period that witnessed the decline and collapse of Mughal rule and the consolidation of British colonialism in South Asia. In this highly original and comprehensive study, he reveals how the hajj pilgrimage significantly transformed Muslim political culture and colonial attitudes towards it, creating new ideas of religion and rule. Examining links between the Indian Subcontinent and the Ottoman Middle East through multilingual sources – from first-hand accounts to administrative archives of hajj – Choudhury uncovers a striking array of pilgrims who leveraged their experiences and exchanges abroad to address the decline and decentralization of an Islamic old regime at home. Hajjis crucially mediated the birth of modern Muslim political traditions around South Asia. Hajj across Empires argues they did so by channeling inter-imperial crosscurrents to successive surges of imperial revolution and regional regime change. Rishad Choudhury is an Assistant Professor of History at Oberlin College. Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on X @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/14/20241 hour, 27 minutes, 7 seconds
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Matthew Levitt, "Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad" (Yale UP, 2008)

The world is reeling from the savage terror attack that brutalized, raped, murdered and kidnapped Israelis and civilians from at least 25 other countries, continuing to hold many of them hostage – and from the ongoing war that followed. After Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, some thought it would become more moderate. That was wishful thinking. The barbaric massacre of October 7, 2023 made it clear that Hamas is a terrorist group intent on destroying Israel and hoping to spark a regional – and even wider-war. We talk with Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism expert with extensive field experience in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale UP, 2008). This important book provides the most fully researched assessment of Hamas ever written. It draws aside the veil of legitimacy behind which Hamas hid, by presenting concrete, detailed evidence from an extensive array of international intelligence materials, including recently declassified CIA, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security reports. Levitt demolishes the notion that Hamas’ military, political, and social wings are distinct from one another. Levitt exposes Hamas as a unitary organization committed to a militant Islamist ideology.and expands the book’s insights and their implication for the future in “The War Hamas Always Wanted.” Foreign Affairs, 16 Oct. 2023, and "The Road to Oct 7: Hamas’ Long Game, Clarified" in CTC Sentinel (Combating Terrorism Center at West Point), Vol. 16, issue 10, Oct.-Nov. 2023. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at [email protected]. She's on Twitter @embracingwisdom. She blogs here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/14/202436 minutes, 10 seconds
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Judith Surkis, "Sex, Law, and Sovereignty in French Algeria, 1830-1930" (Cornell UP, 2019)

Judith Surkis's Sex, Law, and Sovereignty in French Algeria, 1830-1930 (Cornell UP, 2019) traces the intersection of colonialism, law, land expropriation, sex, gender, and family during the century after the French conquest of Algeria in 1830. Seeking to assimilate Algerian land while differentiating Algerian Muslims from European settlers, colonial authorities developed a system that confined Muslim law to family matters while subjecting Algerian property to French Civil law. Securing and extending French sovereignty over Algeria, this system deprived Algerian Muslims of full citizenship rights while reinforcing French colonial authority. Sex, Law, and Sovereignty is a rigorous and provocative critical "history of the present" that illuminates the persistence of the "Muslim question" in contemporary France. In chapters focused on polygamy, repudiation, and child marriage, the book traces the ways that the French fantasies of the family, including the sexualization of Muslim women and a preoccupation with the sexual "excesses" of Muslim men, found expression in legislation that segregated the legal control of property from the regulation of bodies, beliefs, and personhood. A fascinating genealogy that understands colonial law and the problem of difference within a broader cultural field, the book is an impressive, compelling analysis with striking resonances for a Franco-Algerian present still shaped by the legacies of the colonial past. Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century France and its empire. If you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast, please send her an email ([email protected]). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/12/20241 hour, 43 seconds
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Matthew Carr, "Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain, 1492-1614" (Hurst, 2017)

A centuries-old story with remarkable contemporary resonance, Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain, 1492-1614 (Hurst, 2017) is celebrated journalist Matthew Carr's riveting and "richly detailed" (Choice) chronicle of what was, by 1614, the largest act of ethnic cleansing in European history. Months after King Philip III of Spain signed an edict in 1609 denouncing the Muslim inhabitants of Spain as heretics, traitors, and apostates, the entire Muslim population of Spain was given three days to leave Spanish territory, on threat of death. In the brutal and traumatic exodus that followed, entire families and communities were forced to abandon homes and villages where they had lived for generations, leaving their property in the hands of their Christian neighbors. By 1613, an estimated 300,000 Muslims had been removed from Spanish territory. Blood and Faith presents a remarkable window onto a little known period of modern Europe--a complex tale of competing faiths and beliefs, cultural oppression, and resistance against over-whelming odds that sheds new light on national identity and Islam. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/8/20241 hour, 51 minutes, 7 seconds
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Sara Rahnama, "The Future Is Feminist: Women and Social Change in Interwar Algeria" (Cornell UP, 2023)

When Algerians of the 1920s and 30s imagined the future of their country, women’s liberation was foundational to their vision. From the first generation of French-educated schoolteachers, to urban domestic workers who challenged spatial and economic divisions, to nationalist journalists pushing back against French colonial claims, Sara Rahnama describes how a range of Algerian actors conceived of women’s rights and responded to new developments in their own country and across the Middle East.  The Future is Feminist: Women and Social Change in Interwar Algeria (Cornell University Press, 2023) reveals a broad consensus that the advancement of Muslim women was necessary to Algeria’s progress. Rahnama draws on new sources to explain the “ecosystem of intellectual energy devoted to Muslim” that debated girls’ education, women’s employment, voting rights, and women’s and men’s headwear. The book places Algeria in a broader regional conversation, as writers turned to Islamic teachings and history and looked to contemporary changes to women’s political and social opportunities in Egypt, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Palestine to justify needed reforms in Algeria. These discussions in the interwar period sowed seeds that would blossom in the 1950s and 60s as Algerian women joined the nationalist movement, and gained new platforms to contribute their own opinions to these contested issues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/7/202449 minutes, 52 seconds
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Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim, "Decolonizing Human Rights" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

In his extensive body of work, Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim challenges both historical interpretations of Islamic Sharia and neo-colonial understanding of human rights. To advance the rationale of scholarship for social change, An-Naim proposes advancing the universality of human rights through internal discourse within Islamic and African societies and cross-cultural dialogue among human cultures. This book proposes a transformation from human rights organized around a state determined practice to one that is focused on a people-centric approach that empowers individuals to decide how human rights will be understood and integrated into their communities. Decolonizing Human Rights (Cambridge UP, 2021) aims to illustrate the decisive role of human agency on the subject of change, without implying that Islamic or any other society are exceptionally disposed to politically motivated violence and consequent profound political instability. Kirk Meighoo is Public Relations Officer for the United National Congress, the Official Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago. His career has spanned media, academia, and politics for three decades. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/3/20241 hour, 1 minute, 58 seconds
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Noel Malcolm, "Useful Enemies: Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750" (Oxford UP, 2019)

Sir Noel Malcolm’s captivating new book, Useful Enemies: Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750 (Oxford University Press, 2019), tells the story of Western European fascination with the Ottoman empire and Islam between the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the latter half of the 18th century. This beautifully argued, erudite monograph traces a textured encounter between two civilizational complexes and exposes the dynamic role that the Ottomans played in intra-European political and cultural struggles. Useful Enemies contends that ideas about the Ottomans were active ingredients in European thought, and were used to “shake things up, to provoke, to shame, to galvanise.” Discussions of Islam and the Ottoman empire were thus bound up with mainstream thinking in the West on a wide range of important topics - power, religion, society, and war. These Eastern enemies were not just there to be denounced. They were there to be made use of, in arguments which significantly contributed to the development of Western political thought. Sir Noel Malcolm is a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, University of Oxford. His main research interests are in British and European early modern history. Sir Noel is one of the foremost scholars of Thomas Hobbes. His other interests concern Western knowledge of the Ottoman empire and Balkan history. Vladislav Lilić is a doctoral candidate in Modern European History at Vanderbilt University. His research focuses on the place and persistence of quasi-sovereignty in late Ottoman and post-Ottoman Southeastern Europe. Vladislav’s other fields of interest include the socio-legal history of empire, global history of statehood, and the history of international thought. You can reach him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/3/20241 hour, 4 minutes, 1 second
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David M. Freidenreich, "Jewish Muslims: How Christians Imagined Islam as the Enemy" (U California Press, 2023)

Uncovering the hidden history of Islamophobia and its surprising connections to the long-standing hatred of Jews. Hatred of Jews and hatred of Muslims have been intertwined in Christian thought since the rise of Islam. In Jewish Muslims: How Christians Imagined Islam as the Enemy (U California Press, 2023), David M. Freidenreich explores the history of this complex, perplexing, and emotionally fraught phenomenon. He makes the compelling case that, then and now, hate-mongers target "them" in an effort to define "us." Analyzing anti-Muslim sentiment in texts and images produced across Europe and the Middle East over a thousand years, the author shows how Christians intentionally distorted reality by alleging that Muslims are just like Jews. They did so not only to justify assaults against Muslims on theological grounds but also to motivate fellow believers to live as "good" Christians. The disdain premodern polemicists expressed for Islam and Judaism was never really about these religions. They sought to promote their own visions of Christianity―a dynamic that similarly animates portrayals of Muslims and Jews today. David M. Freidenreich is Pulver Family Professor of Jewish Studies at Colby College and author of Foreigners and Their Food: Constructing Otherness in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Law Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/21/202358 minutes, 51 seconds
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David S. Powers and Eric Tagliacozzo, "Islamic Ecumene: Comparing Muslim Societies" (Cornell UP, 2023)

The essays in Islamic Ecumene: Comparing Muslim Societies (Cornell UP, 2023) address the ways in which Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia and from sub-Saharan Africa to the steppes of Uzbekistan are members of a broad cultural unit. Although the Muslim inhabitants of these lands speak dozens of languages, represent numerous ethnic groups, and practice diverse forms of Islam, they are united by shared practices and worldviews shaped by religious identity. To highlight these commonalities, the co-editors invited a team of scholars from a wide range of disciplines to examine Muslim societies in comparative and interconnected ways.  The result is a book that showcases ethics, education, architecture, the arts, modernization, political resistance, marriage, divorce, and death rituals. Using the insights and methods of historians, anthropologists, literary critics, art historians, political scientists, and sociologists, Islamic Ecumene seeks to understand Islamic identity as a dynamic phenomenon that is reflected in the multivalent practices of the more than one billion people across the planet who identify as Muslims. Eric Taliacozzo: John Stambaugh Professor of History at Cornell University.  David S. Powers: Professor of Islamic studies at Cornell University.  Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on X @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/16/202331 minutes, 28 seconds
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Xavier Luffin, "Another Look at Congolese History: Arabic and Swahili Documents in the Belgian Archives" (Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, 2020)

Another Look at Congolese History: Arabic and Swahili Documents in the Belgian Archives (Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, 2020), edited by Xavier Luffin, unlocks an unprecedented journey through the tapestry of Congo's past in Central Africa and the Indian Ocean world. This meticulously compiled collection unveils a trove of Arabic and Swahili archival documents nestled within Belgian archives, presenting an unparalleled lens into a transformative era. Spanning the eve of Belgian colonization, these documents illuminate the diverse cultural landscape, revealing the profound influences of Arab-Muslim communities on Congo's societal fabric. From the Arab Campaign to the expulsion of Azande sultans, these texts narrate the entwined destinies of communities, their interactions, and the seismic shifts in power dynamics. Explore the evolution of Arabic script in East and Central Africa, its appropriation by local populations, and the intricate dance between Arabic and Swahili as potent tools during a tumultuous period of colonization. The Book traces these invaluable historical records' colonial acquisition and geographical origins, offering a vivid mosaic of voices across vast regions. From letters, contracts, and acts of submission to manuscripts, notebooks, and amulets, each document paints a vivid portrait of historical events, intertwined with linguistic nuances and epistolary formulas. Delve into the complexities of scribes, translators, and the materiality shaping the preservation of these texts, revealing the depths of cultural interplay. Another Look at Congolese History stands as a gateway to understanding the intersection of cultures, the triumphs, and complexities of language, and the enduring legacy of these historical testimonies. This anthology beckons historians, linguists, and enthusiasts alike to unearth the untold stories and refine their exploration of Central Africa's social, economic, political, and cultural history. Xavier Luffin a Professor of Arabic Literature at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium). He has translated several novels, short stories, poems, and dramas from Arabic into French. Among his recent publications Poètes noirs d'Arabie: une anthologie (VIe-XIIe siècle) (Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 2021). Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on X @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/9/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 56 seconds
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Gregory J. Goalwin, "Borders of Belief: Religious Nationalism and the Formation of Identity in Ireland and Turkey" (Rutgers UP, 2022)

Despite theories to the contrary, religious nationalism, and the use of religion to determine membership in the national community, has continued to play a role in processes of identification in societies all around the globe ... and such processes seems likely to continue to structure the ways in which communities view themselves even in today’s globalized and seemingly secularized world. – Gregory Goalwin, Borders of Belief: Religious Nationalism and the Formation of Identity in Ireland and Turkey (Rutgers UP, 2022) Religion and nationalism are two of the most powerful forces in the world. And as powerful as they are separately, humans throughout history have fused religious beliefs and nationalist politics to develop religious nationalism, which uses religious identity to define membership in the national community. But why and how have modern nationalists built religious identity as the foundational signifier of national identity in what sociologists have predicted would be a more secular world? This book takes two cases - nationalism in both Ireland and Turkey in the 20th century - as a foundation to advance a new theory of religious nationalism. By comparing cases, Goalwin emphasizes how modern political actors deploy religious identity as a boundary that differentiates national groups. This theory argues that religious nationalism is not a knee-jerk reaction to secular modernization, but a powerful movement developed as a tool that forges new and independent national identities. "In an age where religious nationalisms and populisms are on the rise, Goalwin's comparative-historical work is a welcome contribution for comprehending how religious identities and politics interact. A valuable source for social scientists as well as non-specialists who are interested in this complex phenomenon." – Efe Peker, co-author, Challenging Neoliberalism at Turkey’s Gezi Park: From Private Discontent to Collective Action Gregory Goalwin is an assistant professor of sociology at Aurora University in Illinois. His research has been published in journals including Social Science History, Patterns of Prejudice, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, Nationalities Papers, and the Journal of Historical Sociology. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/7/20231 hour, 39 minutes, 4 seconds
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Afsar Mohammad, "Remaking History: 1948 Police Action and the Muslims of Hyderabad" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

The story Afsar Mohammad's book Remaking History: 1948 Police Action and the Muslims of Hyderabad (Cambridge UP, 2023) follows begins on August 15, 1947. As the new nation-states of India and Pakistan prepared to negotiate land and power, the citizens of the princely state of Hyderabad experienced the unravelling of an intense political conflict between the Union government of India and the local ruler, the Nizam of Hyderabad. With evidence from the oral histories of various sections - both Muslims and non-Muslims - and a wide variety of written sources and historical documents, this book captures such an intense moment of new politics and cultural discourses. Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/6/202340 minutes, 27 seconds
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Nur Sobers-Khan et al., "Beyond Colonial Rupture: Print Culture and the Emergence of Muslim Modernity in Nineteenth-Century South Asia" (2023)

Scholarly discussions on Islam in print have focused predominantly on the role of Urdu in the development of North Indian Muslim publics (Dubrow, 2018; Robb, 2020), ʿulama and Islamic jurisprudence (Tareen, 2020) and relations between Islam and colonial modernity (Robinson, 2008; Osella & Osella, 2008). This special issue of International Journal of Islam in Asia (Sept, 2023) instead offers fine-grained investigations on technology and labour; print landscapes, networks and actors; subaltern languages; and popular Islam. We critique the idea of an “epistemic rupture” brought about by colonial modernity, providing a more systematic analysis of continuities and changes in Islamic knowledge economy. Examining two centuries of print authored by South Asian Muslims, the articles in the issue provide new ways of thinking about questions of knowledge production, distribution, circulation and reception. The issue broadens the scope of earlier scholarship, examining genres such as cosmology, divination, devotional poems, salacious songs, romances and tales of war in Urdu, Persian, Arabic, dobhāṣī do Bangla, Arabic Malayalam, Sindhi, Balochi and Brahui. The articles show the different ways that pre-colonial practices and cultures of writing and reading persisted in the print landscape, in terms of copying, adaptation, translation and circulation of texts. They inquire into new technologies, labour and networks that evolved, and how it provided fertile ground for both new and traditional forms of religious activities and authorities. The articles present new Muslim publics, geographies, and imaginaries forged through the vernacularisation of Islam, and their relationship to the transnational or global community. Nur Sobers-Khan is a researcher and curator of Islamic manuscripts, art and archival collections. She served as director of the Aga Khan Documentation Center, a research centre and archive for the study of visual culture, architecture and urbanism in Muslim societies (2021-22). Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/4/202341 minutes, 6 seconds
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Nader Kadhem, "Africanism: Blacks in the Medieval Arab Imaginary" (McGill-Queen's UP, 2023)

Anti-blackness has until recently been a taboo topic within Arab society. This began to change when Nader Kadhem, a prominent Arab and Muslim thinker from Bahrain, published the first in-depth investigation of anti-black racism in the Arab world in 2004. This translation of the new and revised edition of Kadhem’s influential text brings the conversation to the English-speaking world. Al-Istifraq or Africanism, a term analogous to Orientalism, refers to the discursive elements of perceiving, imagining, and representing black people as a subject of study in Arabic writings. Kadhem explores the narratives of Africanism in the Arab imaginary from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century to show how racism toward black people is ingrained in the Arab world, offering a comprehensive account of the representations of blackness and black people in Arab cultural narratives - including the Quran, the hadith, and Arabic literature, geography, and history.  Africanism: Blacks in the Medieval Arab Imaginary (McGill-Queen's UP, 2023) examines the pejorative image of black people in Arab cultural discourse through three perspectives: the controversial anthropological concept that culture defines what it means to be human; the biblical narrative of Noah cursing his son Ham’s descendants - understood to be darker-skinned - with servitude; and Greco-Roman physiognomy, philosophy, medicine, and geography. Describing the shifting standards of inclusion that have positioned Arab identity in opposition to blackness, Kadhem argues that in the cultural imaginary of the Arab world, black people are widely conflated with the Other. Analyzing canonical Arabic texts through the lens of English, French, and German theory, Africanism traces the history of racism in Arab culture. Africanism digs deep into the cultural constructions of blacks in all aspects of the Arab imaginary, including language, religion, philosophy, literature, geography, and history. Author: Nader Kadhem is a professor emeritus of cultural studies at the University of Bahrain. Kadhim authored many literature and cultural criticism articles and studies published in Bahraini Arabic media. He has published 16 books that can be found here. Translator: Amir Al-Azraki is an Arab-Canadian playwright, literary translator, Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner, Associate Professor, and Coordinator of the Studies in Islamic and Arab Cultures Program, Renison University College, University of Waterloo. His research interests include Arab Theatre, Afro-Arab Cultural Heritage and Representation, and Literary Translation (Arabic-English) Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on X @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/25/202342 minutes, 41 seconds
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Konstantinos Retsikas, "A Synthesis of Time: Zakat, Islamic Micro-finance and the Question of the Future in 21st-Century Indonesia" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)

In A Synthesis of Time: Zakat, Islamic Micro-finance and the Question of the Future in 21st-Century Indonesia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), Konstantinos Retsikas has anthropological investigation into the different forms the economy assumes, and the different purposes it serves, when conceived from the perspective of Islamic micro-finance as a field of everyday practice. The book is based on long-term ethnographic research in Java, Indonesia, with Islamic foundations active in managing zakat and other charitable funds, for purposes of poverty alleviation. Specifically, the book explores the social foundations of contemporary Islamic practices that strive to encompass the economic within an expanded domain of divine worship and elucidates the effects such encompassment has on time, its fissure and synthesis.  In order to elaborate on the question of time, the book looks beyond anthropology and Islamic studies, engaging attentively, critically and productively with the post-structuralist work of G. Deleuze, M. Foucault and J. Derrida, three of the most important figures of the temporal turn in contemporary continental philosophy. Through doing so, the book impressively untangles the complex relationship between Islamic economics, divine worship, and time. Konstantinos Retsikas is Reader in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS, University of London, UK. His work focuses on temporality and personhood, and he has written extensively on issues of embodiment, place making, violence, and religion. He is also the author of Becoming: An Anthropological Approach to Understandings of the Person in Java (2012). Yadong Li is a PhD student in anthropology at Tulane University. He conducts ethnography among ufologists in China. His research interests lie at the intersection of the anthropology of the paranormal, hope studies, and post-structural philosophy. More details about his scholarship and research interests can be found here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/17/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 8 seconds
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Toby Matthiesen, "The Caliph and the Imam: The Making of Sunnism and Shiism" (Oxford UP, 2023)

It was common during the years of the U.S. invasion of Iraq to talk about the Sunni-Shia split—and how the sectarian violence was the result of a “centuries-long hatred” between the two different religious schools. But seeing this divide as the result of a longstanding feud—or to see it in the model of other religious schisms, like the Catholic-Protestant split and the centuries of war that followed—would be a mistake, argues Toby Matthiesen. Toby, in his most recent book The Caliph and the Imam: The Making of Sunnism and Shiism (Oxford University Press, 2023), tries to chart the history of the Sunni-Shia split: its origins at the very start of Islam’s founding, and how different Muslim polities—including those outside of the Arabian core—flitted between tolerance and conflict. In this interview, Toby and I talk about the origins of the division between the Sunni and the Shia, how different regimes throughout history molded and were molded by the split, and what that means for the present day. Toby Matthiesen is Senior Lecturer in Global Religious Studies at the University of Bristol. He is the author of several award-winning books and has previously held fellowships at the Universities of Oxford, Ca' Foscari of Venice, Stanford, Cambridge, and the LSE. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of The Caliph and the Imam. Follow on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/2/202343 minutes, 29 seconds
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James White, "Persian and Arabic Literary Communities in the Seventeenth Century: Migrant Poets between Arabia, Iran and India" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

A wealth of scholarship has highlighted how commercial, political and religious networks expanded across the Arabian Sea during the seventeenth century, as merchants from South Asia traded goods in the ports of Yemen, noblemen from Safavid Iran established themselves in the courts of the Mughal Empire, and scholars from across the region came together to debate the Islamic sciences in the Arabian Peninsula's holy cities of Mecca and Medina.  James White's book Persian and Arabic Literary Communities in the Seventeenth Century: Migrant Poets between Arabia, Iran and India (Bloomsbury, 2023) demonstrates that the globalising tendency of migration created worldly literary systems which linked Iran, India and the Arabian Peninsula through the production and circulation of classicizing Arabic and Persian poetry. By close reading over seventy unstudied manuscripts of seventeenth-century Arabic and Persian poetry that have remained hidden on the shelves of libraries in India, Iran, Turkey and Europe, the book examines how migrant poets adapted shared poetic forms, imagery and rhetoric to engage with their interlocutors and create communities in the cities where they settled. The book begins by reconstructing overarching patterns in the movement of over a thousand authors, and the economic basis for their migration, before focusing on six case studies of literary communities, which each represent a different location in the circulatory system of the Arabian Sea. In so doing, the book demonstrates the plurality of seventeenth-century aesthetic movements, a diversity which later nationalisms purposefully simplified and misread. James White is Departmental Lecturer of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford University. Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/29/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 57 seconds
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Youcef L. Soufi, "The Rise of Critical Islam: 10th-13th Century Legal Debate" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Youcef Sufi's book The Rise of Critical Islam: 10th-13th Century Legal Debate (Oxford University Press, 2023) is a fascinating and engaging exploration of the history of critique in Islamic legal and intellectual history. It does this specifically through a case study of dispensations and disputations, known as munāẓarāt in Arabic. Dispensations were a practice of debates that were an important feature of a jurist's practice and an opportunity for him to showcase his juristic skills – for instance, they were sometimes tasked with having to defend a position that they disagreed with or that contradicted the opinion of the school they followed and represented. Ultimately, these dispensations serve as an excellent case study of the tremendous diversity of thought and the celebration of difference of opinion in Islamic history and Islamic law; they also show that for Muslim jurists, engaging in these debate was an act of piety, as a part of their personal and intellectual quest to discover God's law. In our conversation, we discuss the origins of the book, some of its main points and arguments, a detailed description of these dispensations (such as who participated in them, who was excluded from them, how the debate topic was chosen), the shifts and developments they undergo with time, and the role of ijtihad (or independent reasoning or re-interpretations of Islamic law) and taqlid (or sticking to the past scholarly positions) in these debates. We also discuss specific themes such as child or forced marriage, women’s right to divorce, which are perceived to have been settled matters but it turns out, not quite! And finally, Sufi explains why and how these disputations came to an end and what jurists participating in them may have imagined the role of later generations to be in the process of Islamic law-making. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/27/20231 hour, 14 minutes, 17 seconds
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Leyla Amzi-Erdogdular, "The Afterlife of Ottoman Europe: Muslims in Habsburg Bosnia Herzegovina" (Stanford UP, 2023)

In her sparkling and splendid new book The Afterlife of Ottoman Europe: Muslims in Habsburg Bosnia Herzegovina (Stanford University Press, 2023), Leyla Amzi-Erdogdular presents a thorough and deeply layered account of the relationship between the Ottoman and Habsburg empires, and Muslims of Bosnia Herzegovina leading to and beyond the Berlin Treaty of 1878. At the heart of Erdogdular’s project is an argument for taking seriously the significant continuities in the relationship between Ottoman imperial rule and the religious and political lives of Bosnian Muslims. This meticulously researched and beautifully written book makes a compelling and convincing case for disrupting the popular opinion that locates the beginning of modernity in Bosnia Herzegovina with the onset of Habsburg rule. It does so by showing the complex and fascinating histories and discourses on such critical questions as migration (hijra), the encounter of Islam and modernity, education, and the nation that highlight the important role and place of Bosnian Muslim intellectuals and other actors to this story. This outstanding book is a landmark publication in the study of Islam and Muslim societies that provides a critically significant avenue of learning about a region and history often missed in dominant historiographies. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His second book is called Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship after Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023). His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/20/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 9 seconds
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Andrea Celli, "Dante and the Mediterranean Comedy: From Muslim Spain to Post-Colonial Italy" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022)

In Dante and the Mediterranean Comedy: From Muslim Spain to Post-Colonial Italy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), Andrea Celli explores the complex ways in which Dante’s Comedy could be considered ‘Mediterranean,’ ranging widely from Orientalist scholarship to prison wall graffiti in Palermo. He presents both a history of criticism that explores the 20th-century debates around Dante and Islam as well as a novel approach to interrogating Mediterranean possibilities in the reception and appropriation of Dante’s poem. Celli’s Mediterranean Dante is neither given over to the ‘clash of civilizations’ model nor to the idealized notion of a cultural melting pot, but instead to a nuanced perspective that moves beyond traditional binaries and paradigms. In a medieval mode, he draws attention to the possible use of Islamic sources in the punishment of Muhammad in Inferno 28 and explores affinities between Ibn Hazm’s 11th-century Andalusian work Ring of the Dove and Dante’s Vita Nuova. With an orientation to reception, he dwells at length on the 17th-century drawings and grafitti on the prison walls of the Palazzo Chiaramonte-Steri in Palermo that see a blending of high and low culture and connect Dante to broader Mediterranean culture in early modern Sicily. Dante and the Mediterranean Comedy breaks new ground in assembling such materials and critical perspectives; it urges us to both read the Comedy through the heuristic tool of the Mediterranean and to read the field of Mediterranean studies through Dante. Akash Kumar is Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on medieval Italian literature through the lens of Mediterranean and global culture, from the history of science to the origins of popular phenomena such as the game of chess. Recent work on a global Dante has appeared in the volume Migrants Shaping Europe, Past and Present (Manchester UP, 2022), MLN (2022), and the Blackwell Companion to World Literature (2020). Akash also serves as Editor of Dante Notes, the digital publication of the Dante Society of America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/11/202348 minutes, 25 seconds
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Zeynep K. Korkman, "Gendered Fortunes: Divination, Precarity, and Affect in Postsecular Turkey" (Duke UP, 2023)

In Gendered Fortunes: Divination, Precarity, and Affect in Postsecular Turkey (Duke UP, 2023), Zeynep K. Korkman examines Turkey’s commercial fortunetelling cafés where secular Muslim women and LGBTIQ individuals navigate the precarities of twenty-first-century life. Criminalized by long-standing secularist laws and disdained by contemporary Islamist government, fortunetelling cafés proliferate in part because they offer shelter from the conservative secularist, Islamist, neoliberal, and gender pressures of the public sphere. Korkman shows how fortunetelling is a form of affective labor through which its participants build intimate feminized publics in which they share and address their hopes and fears. Korkman uses feeling—which is how her interlocutors describe the divination process—as an analytic to view the shifting landscape of gendered vulnerability in Turkey. In so doing, Korkman foregrounds “feeling” as a feminist lens to explore how those who are pushed to the margins feel their way through oppressive landscapes to create new futures. Zeynep K. Korkman is Associate Professor of Gender Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Armanc Yildiz is a postdoctoral researcher at Humboldt University. He received his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at Harvard University, with a secondary degree in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. He is also the founder of Academics Write, where he supports scholars in their writing projects as a writing coach and developmental editor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/5/202345 minutes, 12 seconds
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Michelle Karnes, "Medieval Marvels and Fictions in the Latin West and Islamic World" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

Marvels like enchanted rings and sorcerers’ stones were topics of fascination in the Middle Ages, not only in romance and travel literature but also in the period’s philosophical writing. Rather than constructions of belief accepted only by simple-minded people, Michelle Karnes shows that these spectacular wonders were near impossibilities that demanded scrutiny and investigation. Medieval Marvels and Fictions in the Latin West and Islamic World (U Chicago Press, 2022) is the first book to analyze a diverse set of writings on such wonders, comparing texts from the Latin West—including those written in English, French, Italian, and Castilian Spanish —with those written in Arabic as it works toward a unifying theory of marvels across different disciplines and cultures. Karnes tells a story about the parallels between Arabic and Latin thought, reminding us that experiences of the strange and the unfamiliar travel across a range of genres, spanning geographical and conceptual space and offering an ideal vantage point from which to understand intercultural exchange. Karnes traverses this diverse archive, showing how imagination imbues marvels with their character and power, making them at once enigmatic, creative, and resonant. Skirting the distinction between the real and unreal, these marvels challenge readers to discover the highest capabilities of both nature and the human intellect. Karnes offers a rare comparative perspective and a new methodology to study a topic long recognized as central to medieval culture. Michelle Karnes is professor of English and the history of philosophy and science at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Imagination, Meditation, and Cognition in the Middle Ages and the coeditor of Studies in the Age of Chaucer. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/30/202331 minutes, 24 seconds
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Shezan Muhammedi, "Gifts from Amin: Ugandan Asian Refugees in Canada" (U of Manitoba Press, 2022)

In August 1972, military leader and despot Idi Amin expelled Asian Ugandans from the country, professing to return control of the economy to "Ugandan citizens." Within ninety days, 50,000 Ugandans of South Asian descent were forced to leave and seek asylum elsewhere; nearly 8,000 resettled in Canada. This major migration event marked the first time Canada accepted a large group of predominantly Muslim, non-European, non-white refugees. Shezan Muhammedi's Gifts from Amin: Ugandan Asian Refugees in Canada (U of Manitoba Press, 2022) documents how these women, children, and men--including doctors, engineers, business leaders, and members of Muhammedi's own family--responded to the threat in Uganda and rebuilt their lives in Canada.  Building on extensive archival research and oral histories, Muhammedi provides a nuanced case study on the relationship between public policy, refugee resettlement, and assimilation tactics in the twentieth century. He demonstrates how displaced peoples adeptly maintain multiple regional, ethnic, and religious identities while negotiating new citizenship. Not passive recipients of international aid, Ugandan Asian refugees navigated various bureaucratic processes to secure safe passage to Canada, applied for family reunification, and made concerted efforts to integrate into--and give back to--Canadian society, all the while reshaping Canada's refugee policies in ways still evident today. As the numbers of forcibly displaced people around the world continue to rise, Muhammedi's analysis of policymaking and refugee experience is eminently relevant. The first major oral history project dedicated to the stories of Ugandan Asian refugees in Canada, Gifts from Amin explores the historical context of their expulsion from Uganda, the multiple motivations behind Canada's decision to admit them, and their resilience over the past fifty years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/28/20231 hour, 37 minutes, 9 seconds
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Timur Warner Hammond, "Placing Islam: Geographies of Connection in Twentieth-Century Istanbul" (U California Press, 2023)

For centuries, the Mosque of Eyüp Sultan has been one of Istanbul’s most important pilgrimage destinations, in large part because of the figure buried in the tomb at its center: Halid bin Zeyd Ebû Eyûb el-Ensârî, a Companion of the Prophet Muhammad.  In Placing Islam: Geographies of Connection in Twentieth-Century Istanbul (University of California Press, 2023), Timur Hammond argues here, however, that making a geography of Islam involves considerably more. Following practices of storytelling and building projects from the final years of the Ottoman Empire to the early 2010s, Placing Islam shows how different individuals and groups articulated connections among people, places, traditions, and histories to make a place that is paradoxically defined by both powerful continuities and dynamic relationships to the city and wider world. This book provides a rich account of urban religion in Istanbul, offering a key opportunity to reconsider how we understand the changing cultures of Islam in Turkey and beyond. Reuben Silverman is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Stockholm University’s Institute for Turkish Studies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/27/202353 minutes, 16 seconds
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Brian Ulrich, "The Medieval Persian Gulf" (ARC Humanities Press, 2023)

The Persian Gulf today is home to multiple cosmopolitan urban hubs of globalization. This did not start with the discovery of oil. The Medieval Persian Gulf (ARC Humanities Press, 2023) tells of the Gulf from the rise of Islam until the coming of the Portuguese, when port cities such as Siraf, Sohar, and Hormuz were entrepots for trading pearls, horses, spices, and other products across much of Asia and eastern Africa. Indeed, products traded there became a key part of the material culture of medieval Islamic civilization, and the Gulf region itself was a crucial membrane between the Middle East and the world of the broader Indian Ocean. The book also highlights the long-term presence of communities of South Asian and African ancestry, as well as patterns of religious change among Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Muslims that belie the image of a region long polarized between Arabs and Persians and Sunnis and Shi'ites. Brian J. Ulrich is a Professor of History at Shippensburg University. His interests include early Islamic history and the history of the Gulf. He has published on early Islamic history and worked with the archaeological excavations at Kazima in Kuwait. He is the author of Arabs in the Early Islamic Empire: Exploring al Azd Tribal Identity (Edinburgh University Press, 2019). Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/27/20231 hour, 23 minutes, 14 seconds
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Divya Cherian, "Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia" (U California Press, 2023)

In her formidable and fiercely well-argued new book Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia (U California Press, 2022), Divya Cherian shows with meticulous detail and in lyrical prose, the processes and practices that contributed to the emergence and hardening of an exclusivist Hindu identity set in opposition to a notion of Untouchability that also subsumed Muslims. Set in eighteenth century Marwar in the Rathor Kingdom, this book sketches an intimate portrait of the micro-politics and the everyday life of the aspirations, fissures, and resistances that went into the stipulation of caste distinctions in early modern South Asia. At the heart of this book is a narrative equally fascinating and frictious of how a state driven campaign to cultivate “virtuous” Hindu merchants or Mahajans contributed to the demarcation of epistemological, legal, and spatial boundaries between upper caste Hindus and untouchables, including Muslims.Merchants of Virtue combines the best forms of social, legal, political, and conceptual history, and its invasive examination of the interface between religion, state, and society will be of much interest to scholars of religion, South Asia, and Islam. Available also as an Indian edition, this book will also make for an excellent text to teach in both undergraduate and graduate seminars. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His second book is called Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship after Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023). His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/22/202357 minutes, 28 seconds
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Peter Adamson, "Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna): a Very Short Introduction" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Peter Adamson's book Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna): a Very Short Introduction (Oxford UP, 2023) provides an introduction to the most important philosopher of the Islamic world, Ibn Sīnā, often known in English by his Latinized name Avicenna. After introducing the man and his works, with an overview of the historical context in which he lived, the book devotes chapters to the different areas of Ibn Sīnā's thought. Among the topics covered are his innovations in logic, his theory of the human soul and its powers, the relation between his medical writings and his philosophy, and his metaphysics of existence. Particular attention is given to two famous arguments: his flying man thought experiment and the so-called “demonstration of the truthful,” a proof for the existence of God as the Necessary Existent. A distinctive feature of the book is its attention to the relationship between Ibn Sīnā and Islamic rational theology (kalām): in which we see how Ibn Sīnā responded to this tradition in many areas of his thought. A final chapter looks at Ibn Sīnā's legacy in both the Islamic world and in Latin Christendom. Here Adamson focuses on the critical responses to Ibn Sīnā in subsequent generations by such figures as al-Ghazālī, al-Suhrawardī, and Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī. Peter Adamson is professor of Philosophy at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He received his BA from Williams College and PhD from the University of Notre Dame. From 2000 to 2012 he was a member of the Philosophy Department at King's College London, and he maintains a connection to King's. But his primary position is now as Professor of Late Ancient and Arabic Philosophy at the LMU in Munich. The author of numerous monographs and articles on ancient and medieval philosophy, especially Neoplatonism and philosophy in the Islamic world, he also hosts the History of Philosophy podcast, which appears as a series of books with Oxford University Press. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/17/202351 minutes, 46 seconds
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Dženita Karić, "Bosnian Hajj Literature: Multiple Paths to the Holy" (Edinburgh UP, 2022)

Dženita Karić's new book Bosnian Hajj Literature: Multiple Paths to the Holy (Edinburgh University Press, 2023) maps the diverse understandings of the hajj in relation to Islamic geography by Bosnian Muslim authors who wrote in different genres from the 16th to the 21st centuries. The study captures how hajj was imagined and constructed in relation to Islamic cosmology, rituals, Sufi saints, and political and temporal realities, while remaining unchanged in other ways. The book generatively theorizes geographies in relation to mobilities but also in relation to emotion, body, and embodiment, materiality, and the sacred. The book will be of interest to scholars of Bosnian studies, Islamic studies, and especially pilgrimage and ritual studies.  Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/15/202359 minutes, 38 seconds
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A Better Way to Buy Books

Bookshop.org is an online book retailer that donates more than 80% of its profits to independent bookstores. Launched in 2020, Bookshop.org has already raised more than $27,000,000. In this interview, Andy Hunter, founder and CEO discusses his journey to creating one of the most revolutionary new organizations in the book world. Bookshop has found a way to retain the convenience of online book shopping while also supporting independent bookstores that are the backbones of many local communities.  Andy Hunter is CEO and Founder of Bookshop.org. He also co-created Literary Hub. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/12/202334 minutes, 29 seconds
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Divya Cherian, "The Owl and the Occult: Popular Politics and Social Liminality in Early Modern South Asia" (2023)

Today I talked to Divya Cherian about her article "The Owl and the Occult: Popular Politics and Social Liminality in Early Modern South Asia" published in Comparative Studies in Society and History (June, 2023).  Historians of Islamic occult science and post-Mongol Persianate kingship in the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires have in recent years made clear just how central this body of knowledge was to the exercise of imperial power. Alongside, scholarship on tantra has pointed to its diffuse persistence in the early modern period. But what dynamics beyond courts and elite initiates did these investments in occult science and tantra unleash? Through a focus on the seventeenth-century Mughal court and the Rajput polity of Marwar in the eighteenth century, this article weaves together the history of animals with that of harmful magic by non-courtly actors. It demonstrates the blended histories of tantra, Islamicate occult sciences, and folk magic to argue that attributions of liminality encoded people, animals, and things with occult potential. For some, like the owl, this liminality could invite violence and death and for others, like expert male practitioners, it could generate authority. By the eighteenth century, the deployment of practical magic towards harmful or disruptive ends was a political tool wielded not only by kings and elite adepts for state or lineage formation but also by non-courtly subjects and “low”-caste specialists in local social life. States and sovereigns responded to the popular use of harmful magic harshly, aiming to cut off non-courtly access to this resource. If the early modern age was one of new ideologies of universal empire, the deployment of occult power outside the court was inconsistent with the ambitions of the kings of this time. Divya Cherian: An assistant professor in the Department of History at Princeton University. Prof. Cherian is a historian of early modern and colonial South Asia, with interests in social, cultural, and religious history, gender and sexuality, ethics and law, and the local and the everyday. Her research focuses on western India, chiefly on the region that is today Rajasthan. She is the author of Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia (University of California Press, 2023) (Indian edition: Navayana, 2023), winner of the American Institute of Indian Studies' 2022 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences. Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/9/202355 minutes, 47 seconds
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Hafsa Kanjwal, "Colonizing Kashmir: State-building under Indian Occupation" (Stanford UP, 2023)

In her scintillating and brilliant new book, Colonizing Kashmir: State-Building Under Indian Occupation (Stanford UP, 2023), Hafsa Kanjwal details and showcases the discursive and institutional means and mechanisms through which the Indian state made possible and maintained its occupation and colonization of Kashmir. Focused on the mid twentieth century period of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, the Second Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Kanjwal examines a range of arenas including tourism, agriculture, film, education, and political engineering through which a seemingly postcolonial nation-state, that of India, perpetuated its colonization of Kashmiris, all the while justifying that colonial enterprise through the ruse of “state-building.” From the resulting analysis, Kanjwal forcefully and convincingly pushes us to rethink the very separation, temporal and conceptual, between the colonial and the postcolonial. Historically invasive, theoretically cutting edge, and written in prose at once mellifluous and purposeful, this book is nothing short of a wonderfully mesmerizing intellectual earthquake in the fields of South Asian history and contemporary politics more broadly. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His second book is called Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship after Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023). His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/8/202345 minutes, 28 seconds
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Marion Holmes Katz, "Wives and Work: Islamic Law and Ethics Before Modernity" (Columbia UP, 2022)

In this interview, I speak with Marion Holmes Katz about her latest book Wives and Work: Islamic Law and Ethics Before Modernity (Columbia UP, 2022). This fascinating book explores the question of wives’ domestic responsibilities from a Sunni Islamic legal perspective, covering scholarship from the ninth to the fourteenth centuries. The book addresses questions such as, does the wife have the obligation to provide housework? What counts as housework? And if it is true that the wife is not obligated to perform any household labor, as many western Muslims believe, how did the Muslim tradition reconcile this ruling with the anecdote involving Fatima’s request to the Prophet Muhammad for help with household work because she is overworked? And how did Muslim scholars reconcile this idea with what they understood to be morally, culturally, or religiously correct behavior from a woman? If the wife does choose to perform housework, is she entitled to compensation from her husband?  For most Muslim scholars historically, answers to these questions involved distinguishing between ethical ideals and legal claims. Katz shows, for instance, that the discourse on women’s household labor evolves with time, context, geographical location, such that, for example, in the formative period, it was widely accepted that wives are not obligated to perform any household chores, but by the time we get to the 14th century, this doctrine is challenged. Overall, then, not only do scholarly views expectedly disagree with each other, but also, scholars are less interested in providing a set of generic rules about wifely duties and more in encouraging the fulfillment of duties as they’re understood in one’s own social location. In our conversation today, we discuss the book’s main contributions and its origins; a hadith report describing an incident about Fatima’s request to Muhammad for domestic help; what exactly domestic service means and who is required or obligated to provide it—and what that obligation means; what exactly is so ethical about household work, since this discourse is rooted in ethics for Muslim scholars; and how male scholars have historically treated domestic service. We end with some thoughts on discussions about Islamic law and domestic service from a class perspective; for example, where do poor men and poor wives fit into this discussion? What are their rights? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/1/20231 hour, 44 minutes, 48 seconds
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Mbaye Lo and Carl W. Ernst, "I Cannot Write My Life: Islam, Arabic, and Slavery in Omar Ibn Said's America" (UNC Press, 2023)

Carl Ernst’s and Mbaye Lo’s new book I Cannot Write My Life: Islam, Arabic, and Slavery in Omar Ibn Said's America (UNC Press, 2023) is a fascinating and rivetting book that offers the most authoritative account to date of the life and Arabic writings of Omar Ibn Said, a scholar from what is today Senegal who was sold to slavery in the early 19th century and brought to Southern US. Moreover, this path paving book offers critical correctives to dominant perceptions of Said’s remarkable life narrative. Rather than understand Omar Ibn Said as a Muslim slave who had made peace with his new life in the US or had even converted to Christianity, Ernst and Lo demonstrate the deep imprints of Islam and Islamicate knowledge traditions in Omar Ibn Said’s varied writings such as his reflections on his life and his letters. This book, written in lyrical and engaging prose, makes available for the first time comprehensive translations of Omar Ibn Said’s Arabic writings into English. It also makes a compelling and convincing case for taking seriously Arabic texts from Africa as part of world literature. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His second book is called Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship after Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023). His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/25/202348 minutes, 38 seconds
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Jamila Rodrigues, "Sufi Women, Embodiment and the 'Self': Gender in Islamic Ritual" (Routledge, 2023)

Jamila Rodrigues's new book Sufi Women, Embodiment and the “Self”: Gender in Islamic Ritual (Routledge 2023) uses her dance and performance studies background to study women’s hadra or zikr experiences of a Naqshbandi Sufi community in Cape Town, South Africa. This ritual includes engagement with sacred texts, music, and bodily movement with the aim of reaching union with Allah. This focused study on women’s bodily movement during zikr and women’s understanding of the mind and soul provides fascinating insights of what constitutes the “self” via ritual and performance studies. Rodrigues also uses auto-ethnography to situate some of this discussion on embodiment. The book will be of interest to anthropologists, Sufi studies scholars, and performance studies scholars. Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/18/202358 minutes, 35 seconds
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Esra Özyürek, "Subcontractors of Guilt: Holocaust Memory and Muslim Belonging in Postwar Germany" (Stanford UP, 2023)

At the turn of the millennium, Middle Eastern and Muslim Germans had rather unexpectedly become central to the country's Holocaust memory culture—not as welcome participants, but as targets for re-education and reform. Since then, Turkish- and Arab-Germans have been considered as the prime obstacles to German national reconciliation with its Nazi past, a status shared to a lesser degree by Germans from the formerly socialist East Germany. It is for this reason that the German government, German NGOs, and Muslim minority groups have begun to design Holocaust education and anti-Semitism prevention programs specifically tailored for Muslim immigrants and refugees, so that they, too, can learn the lessons of the Holocaust and embrace Germany's most important postwar democratic political values. Based on ethnographic research conducted over a decade, Subcontractors of Guilt: Holocaust Memory and Muslim Belonging in Postwar Germany (Stanford UP, 2023) explores when, how, and why Muslim Germans have moved to the center of Holocaust memory discussions. Esra Özyürek argues that German society "subcontracts" the guilt of the Holocaust to new minority immigrant arrivals, with the false promise of this process leading to inclusion into the German social contract and equality with other members of postwar German society. By focusing on the recently formed but already sizable sector of Muslim-only anti-Semitism and Holocaust education programs, this book explores the paradoxes of postwar German national identity. Esra Özyürek is the Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths and Shared Values at the University of Cambridge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/10/202343 minutes, 11 seconds
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Falguni A. Sheth, "Unruly Women: Race, Neocolonialism, and the Hijab" (Oxford UP, 2022)

In Unruly Women: Race, Neocolonialism, and the Hijab (Oxford UP, 2022), Falguni Sheth explores the multiple ways that liberalism is understood and exploited, and liberalism’s origin as a project of British colonialism and as a legacy of settler colonialism in the U.S. The “unruly women” in the author’s title are, in liberalism, women who do not conform or who are not “suitably feminist”—like Muslim women who veil or Black women who, really, simply exist. Falguni argues that certain key terms, such as professionalism, dismissiveness, excruciation, ontopolitics, and address are crucial to our understanding of the ways that women of color are treated in legal cases and in the broader culture as well as our understanding of the psychic violence that liberalism and colonialism perpetuate on women of color. In our interview today, we discuss liberalism as a problem in theory, too, and not just in practice and its connections to the prejudice and discrimination faced by different groups of women of color. We also talk about the ways that feminism is defined by liberal and radical western feminists, the limitations of such understandings; specific supreme court and other legal cases involving discrimination against Muslim women; and the author explains the significance of political theory, liberal feminist theory, and theories of power to her arguments in the book overall. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/4/202343 minutes, 38 seconds
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Rudi Matthee, "Angels Tapping at the Wine-Shop's Door: A History of Alcohol in the Islamic World" (Oxford UP, 2023)

When meeting an expatriate friend on my first trip to Dubai, the host at the restaurant where we were meeting quickly ushered me up to the second floor. For foreigners, he said—before handing me a wine list. Dubai’s tolerance of alcohol is a more formalized version of Muslim tolerance—and clandestine drinking—of alcohol that dates back to its very inception, despite religious commands to the contrary. Professor Rudi Matthee tells that story in Angels Tapping at the Wine-shop's Door: A History of Alcohol in the Islamic World (Oxford University Press / Hurst, 2023). In this interview, Rudi and I chat about alcohol in the Islamic world: who drank it—and how they excused their behavior—and how non-Muslims ended up being a part of the Muslim drinking world. Rudi Matthee is the John A. Munroe and Dorothy L. Munroe Chair of History at the University of Delaware. He is the author of four prize-winning monographs on Iranian history, and the editor or co-editor of another six books. He is currently President of the Persian Heritage Foundation. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Angels Tapping at the Wine-shop's Door. Follow on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/3/202344 minutes, 23 seconds
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Rahil Roodsaz, "Sexual Self-Fashioning: Iranian Dutch Narratives of Sexuality and Belonging" (Berghahn Books, 2022)

Sexuality and gender have come to serve as measures for cultural belonging in discussions of the position of Muslim immigrants in multicultural Western societies. While the acceptance of assumed local norms such as sexual liberty and gender equality is seen as successful integration, rejecting them is regarded as a sign of failed citizenship. Focusing on premarital sex, homosexuality, and cohabitation outside marriage, Sexual Self-Fashioning: Iranian Dutch Narratives of Sexuality and Belonging (Berghahn Books, 2022) provides an ethnographic account of sexuality among the Iranian Dutch. It argues that by embracing, rejecting, and questioning modernity in stories about sexuality, the Iranian Dutch actively engage in processes of self-fashioning. Rahil Roodsaz is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.  Armanc Yildiz is a postdoctoral researcher at Humboldt University. He received his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at Harvard University, with a secondary degree in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. He is also the founder of Academics Write, where he supports scholars in their writing projects as a writing coach and developmental editor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/26/202336 minutes, 8 seconds
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Tarek Younis, "The Muslim, State, and Mind: Psychology in Times of Islamophobia" (Sage, 2022)

Mental health is positioned as the cure-all for society’s discontents, from pandemics to terrorism. But psychology and psychiatry are not apolitical, and neither are Muslims. This book unpacks where the politics of the psy-disciplines and the politics of Muslims overlap, demonstrating how psychological theories and practices serve State interests and perpetuate inequality—especially racism and Islamophobia. Viewing the psy-disciplines from the margins, The Muslim, State, and Mind: Psychology in Times of Islamophobia (Sage, 2022) illustrates how these necessarily serve the State in the production of loyal, low-risk and productive citizens, offering a modern discussion of three paradigms underlying the psy-disciplines: neoliberalism, security and the politics of mental health. Dr Tarek Younis is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Middlesex University, and a registered psychologist. He researches and writes on Islamophobia, racism in mental health, the securitisation of clinical settings and the politics of psychology; and teaches on the impact of culture, religion, globalisation and security policies on mental health interventions. Catriona Gold is a PhD candidate in Geography at University College London. She is currently researching the US Passport Office's role in governing Cold War travel, and broadly interested in questions of security, surveillance and mobility. She can be reached by email, Mastodon or Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/23/202335 minutes, 49 seconds
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Erin Pettigrew, "Invoking the Invisible in the Sahara: Islam, Spiritual Mediation, and Social Change" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

In Invoking the Invisible in the Sahara: Islam, Spiritual Mediation, and Social Change (Cambridge UP, 2022), Erin Pettigrew utilizes invisible forces and entities - esoteric knowledge and spirits - to show how these forms of knowledge and unseen forces have shaped social structures, religious norms, and political power in the Saharan West. Situating this ethnographic history in what became la Mauritanie under French colonial rule and, later the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Pettigrew traces the changing roles of Muslim spiritual mediators and their Islamic esoteric sciences - known locally as l'ḥjāb - over the long-term history of the region. By exploring the impact of the immaterial in the material world and demonstrating the importance of Islamic esoteric sciences in Saharan societies, she illuminates peoples' enduring reliance upon these sciences in their daily lives and argues for a new approach to historical research that takes the immaterial seriously. Erin Pettigrew is an associate professor of History and Arab Crossroads Studies at NYU Abu Dhabi. She is a historian of Africa specializing in West African colonial and postcolonial history with a focus on Muslim societies. Her research has focused on the cultural history of Islam, slavery, race, gender, and nation in what she calls "the Saharan West," or what is today primarily the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/23/20231 hour, 13 minutes, 21 seconds
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Oyman Başaran, "Circumcision and Medicine in Modern Turkey" (U Texas Press, 2023)

In Turkey, circumcision is viewed as both a religious obligation and a rite of passage for young boys, as communities celebrate the ritual through gatherings, gifts, and special outfits. Yet the procedure is a potentially painful and traumatic ordeal. With the expansion of modern medicine, the social position of sünnetçi (male circumcisers) became subject to the institutional arrangements of Turkey’s evolving health care and welfare system. In the transition from traditional itinerant circumcisers to low-ranking health officers in the 1960s and hospital doctors in the 1990s, the medicalization of male circumcision has become entangled with state formation, market fetishism, and class inequalities. Based on Oyman Başaran’s extensive ethnographic and historical research, Circumcision and Medicine in Modern Turkey is a close examination of the socioreligious practice of circumcision in twenty-five cities and their outlying towns and villages in Turkey. By analyzing the changing subjectivity of medical actors who seek to alleviate suffering in male circumcision, Başaran offers a psychoanalytically informed alternate approach to the standard sociological arguments surrounding medicalization and male circumcision. Oyman Başaran is an associate professor of sociology at Bowdoin College. Alize Arıcan is a Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Scholar at Boston University, focusing on urban renewal, futurity, care, and migration. You can find her on Twitter @alizearican. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/23/202341 minutes, 33 seconds
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Amir Sedaghat, "Translating Rumi Into the West: A Linguistic Conundrum and Beyond" (Routledge, 2023)

Amir Artaban Sedaghat’s Translating Rumi into the West: A Linguistic Conundrum and Beyond (Routledge, 2023) engages Rumi, the 13th-century Muslim Persian mystic and a best-selling poet, and the paradoxes of English translations associated with him. Sedaghat explores generative questions from translation to audience reception using translation studies and theories of semiotics.  The book addresses linguistic and pragmatic questions of translations, such as how text, gender, language, and lexicon can or cannot be translated into languages like English and what's lost in the process. To highlight the latter example, Sedaghat masterfully maps various translators' works over the years, such as Orientalist scholars (Arberry and Nicholson) to contemporary Rumi enthusiasts (Coleman Barks), to show how these various translations have resulted in negotiations informed by translators own particularities (i.e., beliefs, linguistic abilities, and social locations etc). The book further considers how Rumi’s poetry is also defined by kinetic and musical dimensions, which cannot be translated. What then are the ethical challenges to these paradoxes of untranslatability and reception politics of Rumi into the global west? This book will be of interest to any Rumi enthusiast, scholars of translation, linguistics, and semiotics, and mysticism, Sufism, Persian/Iranian Studies and much more. Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/21/20231 hour, 8 minutes, 5 seconds
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Liana Saif et al., "Islamicate Occult Sciences in Theory and Practice" (Brill, 2020)

Islamicate Occult Sciences in Theory and Practice (Brill, 2020) brings together the latest research on Islamic occult sciences from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, namely intellectual history, manuscript studies, and material culture. Its aim is not only to showcase the range of pioneering work that is currently being done in these areas but also to provide a model for closer interaction amongst the disciplines constituting this burgeoning field of study. Furthermore, the book provides a rare opportunity to bridge the gap on an institutional level by bringing the academic and curatorial spheres into dialogue. Dr. Liana Saif pays special attention to intercultural exchanges of esoteric and occult ideas between the Islamicate and Latinate worlds all the way to the European Renaissance, as reflected in her first monograph “The Arabic Influences on Early Modern Occult Philosophy” published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015. She explores there the Islamic scientific and natural-philosophical foundations of the theories of astral influences that “naturalised” astrology and astral magic, becoming sciences that explore the dynamics that link the terrestrial and celestial worlds, thus co-producing knowledge about nature and the cosmos, and resulting in a universe more intelligible to both Muslim scientists and philosophers, and their European counterparts. Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department. His research focuses on the intersection of the occult sciences and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/10/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 45 seconds
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Brad Stoddard and Craig Martin, "Stereotyping Religion II: Critiquing Clichés" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

Building on the success of Stereotyping Religion: Critiquing Clichés, this follow up volume dismantles a further 10 widespread stereotypes and clichés about religion, focusing on clichés that a new generation of students are most familiar with. Each chapter includes: A description of a particular cliché; Discussion of where it appears in popular culture or popular media; Discussion of where it appears in scholarly literature; A historical contextualization of its use in the past; An analysis of the social or rhetorical work the cliché accomplishes in the present. Clichés addressed include: "Religion and science naturally conflict", "All religions are against LGBTQ rights", "Eastern religions are more spiritual than Western religions", "Religion is personal and not subject to government regulation", "Religious pluralism gives everyone a voice", etc. Written in an easy and accessible style, Stereotyping Religion II: Critiquing Clichés is suitable for all readers looking to clear away unsophisticated assumptions in preparation for more critical studies. Brad Stoddard is Associate Professor in the History and Art History Department at McDaniel College, Westminster, MD. He researches religion in the United States. He is the author of Spiritual Entrepreneurs: Florida's Faith-Based Prisons and the American Carceral State (2021) and has edited or coedited several books. He is currently researching the topic of entheogens.  Craig Martin is Professor of Religious Studies at St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, NY. His research interests include method and theory in the study of religion, discourse analysis and ideology critique, and poststructuralism. His books include A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion (2017) and Discourse and Ideology: A Critique of the Study of Culture (2022). He edits a book series with Bloomsbury titled Critiquing Religion: Discourse, Culture, Power. This episode’s host, Jacob Barrett, is currently a PhD student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Religion and Culture track. For more information, visit his website thereluctantamericanist.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/1/202342 minutes, 4 seconds
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Yael Rice, "The Brush of Insight: Artists and Agency at the Mughal Court" (U Washington Press, 2023)

Over the course of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Mughal court painters evolved from illustrators of manuscripts and albums to active mediators of imperial visionary experience, cultivating their patrons’ earthly and spiritual authority. The Brush of Insight: Artists and Agency at the Mughal Court (University of Washington Press, 2023) traces this shift, demonstrating how royal artists created a new visual economy that featured highly naturalistic royal portraits and depictions of the emperors’ dreams. These images, in turn, shaped the perception of the Mughal emperors’ preeminence in all domains—temporal and spiritual—from the reign of Akbar to that of his son and successor, Jahangir. In analyzing a wide range of visual materials including manuscripts, albums, and coins, art historian Yael Rice, Associate Professor at Amherst College, documents how manuscript painters and paintings challenged the status of writing as the primary medium for the transmission of knowledge and experience. The Brush of Insight probes how pictures and illustrated books became central to imperial modes of seeing and being in early modern Mughal South Asia. In our conversation we discussed royal court culture, illustrated manuscripts, the role of painters, the collective foundations of the workshop, sacred kingship and Sufi sheikhs, artists as mediators between the spiritual and material worlds, the celebration of Nawruz, and the creation of a specific Mughal artistic style and professional identity. Kristian Petersen is an Associate Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/30/202359 minutes, 4 seconds
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Michael Muhammad Knight, "Sufi Deleuze: Secretions of Islamic Atheism" (Fordham UP, 2023)

“There is always an atheism to be extracted from a religion,” Deleuze and Guattari write in their final collaboration, What Is Philosophy? Their claim that Christianity “secretes” atheism “more than any other religion,” however, reflects the limits of their archive. Theological projects seeking to engage Deleuze remain embedded within Christian theologies and intellectual histories; whether they embrace, resist, or negotiate with Deleuze’s atheism, the atheism in question remains one extracted from Christian theology, a Christian atheism. In Sufi Deleuze, Michael Muhammad Knight offers an intervention, engaging Deleuzian questions and themes from within Islamic tradition. Even if Deleuze did not think of himself as a theologian, Knight argues, to place Deleuze in conversation with Islam is a project of comparative theology and faces the challenge of any comparative theology: It seemingly demands that complex, internally diverse traditions can speak as coherent, monolithic wholes. To start from such a place would not only defy Islam’s historical multiplicity but also betray Deleuze’s model of the assemblage, which requires attention to not only the organizing and stabilizing tendencies within a structure but also the points at which a structure resists organization, its internal heterogeneity, and unpredictable “lines of flight.” A Deleuzian approach to Islamic theology would first have to affirm that there is no such thing as a universal “Islamic theology” that can speak for all Muslims in all historical settings, but rather a multiplicity of power struggles between major and minor forces that contest each other over authenticity, authority, and the making of “orthodoxy.” The discussions in Sufi Deleuze: Secretions of Islamic Atheism (Fordham UP, 2023) thus highlight Islam’s extraordinary range of possibilities, not only making use of canonically privileged materials such as the Qur’an and major hadith collections, but also exploring a variety of marginalized resources found throughout Islam that challenge the notion of a singular “mainstream” interpretive tradition. To say it in Deleuze’s vocabulary, Islam is a rhizome. Adam Bobeck is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Leipzig. His PhD is entitled “Object-Oriented Azadari: Ontology and Ritual Theory”. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/28/202339 minutes, 50 seconds
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Anna Piela, "Wearing the Niqab: Muslim Women in the UK and the US" (Bloomsbury, 2021)

In recent years the niqab has emerged as one of the most ubiquitous symbols of everything that is perceived to be wrong with Islam: barbarity, backwardness, exploitation of women, and political radicalization. Yet all these notions are assigned to women who wear the niqab without their consultation; “niqab debates” are held without their voices being heard, and, when they do speak, their views are dismissed. Wearing the Niqab: Muslim Women in the UK and the US (Bloomsbury, 2021) brings niqab wearers' voices to the fore, discussing their narratives on religious agency, identity, social interaction, community, and urban spaces. Anna Piela, Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University, situates women's accounts firmly within UK and US socio-political contexts as well as within media discourses on Islam. The picture painted by the stories told here demonstrates that, for these women, religious symbols such as the niqab are deeply personal, freely chosen, multilayered, and socially situated. In our conversation we discussed religious explanations for wearing niqab, public notions of what constitutes religious practice, mainstream media’s image of niqab wearers, niqabi inclusive journalism, contradictions between religious perspectives and secular frameworks, Muslim use of social media, religious identity and pious dress, and intersections of racism and sexism with wearing the niqab. Kristian Petersen is an Associate Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/16/202354 minutes, 22 seconds
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Masood Ashraf Raja, "Democratic Criticism: Poetics of Incitement and the Muslim Sacred" (Lever Press, 2023)

After the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (1988), the poetics of incitement— found in texts originating in the West containing themes and representations of Islam hurtful to Muslims—became an accepted method of textual production in the West. Production of such texts intensified after the attacks of 9/11. Democratic Criticism: Poetics of Incitement and the Muslim Sacred (Lever Press, 2023) by Masood Ashraf Raja urges a new mode of reading, one that permits Western readers to transcend local reading practices in order to, as best as one can, read from the point of view of the Other. Raja argues that the lack of understanding of Muslim responses to the poetics of incitement in the West is the result of a lack of cross-cultural knowledge. He claims metropolitan universities often do not teach the proper social, historical, and religious context required for effectively reading these texts with any form of cultural knowledge.  To remedy this, Raja offers and theorizes “democratic reading practices” and new ways for students to engage with texts. A genealogy of the Muslim Sacred is included, thereby giving readers the history and specific knowledge that constitutes an average Muslim reader of these texts, a subject who should be imagined and empathized with when those in the West read works of the poetics of incitement. Democratic Criticism encourages Western readers to develop a deeper understanding of the meaning-making processes of the Islamic world while at the same time encouraging the Muslim readers to read representations of the Islamic world with a more expansive understanding. It will be a helpful tool in creating reading practices that allow both teachers and students of literature to transcend their mode of reading as universal and to read from the perspective of the Other, and allow readers to engage meaningfully with these texts. Students and scholars of world literature, history, and religious studies will find this book insightful and valuable. Iqra Shagufta Cheema writes and teaches in the areas of media cultures, Anglophone literatures, transnational digital feminisms, gender and sexuality studies, and global south film studies. Check out their upcoming books: The Other #MeToos and ReFocus: The Films of Annemarie Jacir. Follow them on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/14/202321 minutes, 39 seconds
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Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu, "Nur Baba: A Sufi Novel of Late Ottoman Istanbul" (Routledge, 2023)

This conversation is with Brett Wilson, who has composed the first English translation of the classic and controversial novel from late Ottoman Turkey Nur Baba--a classic of modern Turkish literature written by Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu--offers a unique window into Sufi lodges, social dilemmas, and intellectual life in early twentieth-century Istanbul. Wilson’s tranlsation is both lyrical and captivating, and will make for an excellent resource for courses on Sufism and Islam more broadly Inspired by Karaosmanoğlu's personal experiences with Islamic mystical orders, it is a story of illicit romance and spiritual inquiry, depicting a colourful lodge of Sufi dervishes led by a charismatic, yet morally suspect, spiritual master named Nur Baba. The plot follows his attempts to seduce an attractive married woman from an elite family and recounts her dramatic experiences in the life of a Sufi community. The setting shuttles between the grand mansions of Istanbul's elite families and a Sufi lodge where rich and poor intermingle. Exploring questions of gender, morality, and religious bias throughout, it captures the zeitgeist of early twentieth-century modernist thinkers who criticised Sufism for impeding social progress and debated the public roles of women in a rapidly modernising society. Alongside the editor's meticulous translation, Nur Baba: A Sufi Novel of Late Ottoman Istanbul (Routledge, 2023) includes a scholarly introduction, maps, and images, as well as explanatory footnotes that will aid both students and scholars alike. The novel will be of particular interest to those studying world literature, Sufi studies, and Ottoman-Turkish history. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His second book is called Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship after Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023). His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/6/202355 minutes, 36 seconds
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Tazeen M. Ali, "The Women’s Mosque of America: Authority and Community in US Islam" (NYU Press, 2022)

The Women’s Mosque of America (WMA), a multiracial, women-only mosque in Los Angeles, is the first of its kind in the United States. Since 2015, the WMA has provided a space for Muslim women to build inclusive communities committed to gender and social justice, challenging the dominant mosque culture that has historically marginalized them through inadequate prayer spaces, exclusion from leadership, and limited access to religious learning. In The Women’s Mosque of America: Authority and Community in US Islam (NYU Press, 2022), Tazeen M. Ali explores this congregation, focusing on how members contest established patriarchal norms while simultaneously contending with domestic and global Islamophobia that renders their communities vulnerable to violence. Drawing on textual analysis of WMA sermons and ethnographic interviews with community members, and utilizing Black feminist and womanist frameworks, Ali investigates how American Muslim women create and authorize new conceptions of Islamic authority. Whereas the established model of Islamic authority is rooted in formal religious training and Arabic language expertise, the WMA is predicated on women’s embodied experiences, commitments to social and racial justice, English interpretations of the Qur’an, and community building across Islamic sects and in an interfaith context. Situating the US at the center rather than at the margins of debates over Islamic authority and showing how American Muslim women assert themselves as meaningful religious actors in the US and beyond, Ali’s work offers new insights on Islamic authority as it relates to the intersections of gender, religious space, and national belonging. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/28/202333 minutes, 39 seconds
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Reyhan Durmaz, "Stories Between Christianity and Islam: Saints, Memory, and Cultural Exchange in Late Antiquity and Beyond" (U California Press, 2022)

In Stories between Christianity and Islam: Saints, Memory, and Cultural Exchange in Late Antiquity and Beyond (University of California Press, 2022), Reyhan Durmaz offers an original and nuanced understanding of Christian–Muslim relations that shifts focus from discussions of superiority, conflict, and appropriation to the living world of connectivity and creativity. Durmaz uses stories of saints to demonstrate and analyze the mutually constitutive relationship between Christianity and Islam in the Middle Ages. Reyhan Durmaz is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/27/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 29 seconds
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Evelyn Alsultany, "Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion" (NYU Press, 2022)

In Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion (NYU Press, 2022), Evelyn Alsultany, Professor at the University of Southern California, argues that, even amid challenges to institutionalized Islamophobia, diversity initiatives fail on their promise by only focusing on crisis moments.  Muslims get included through “crisis diversity,” where high-profile Islamophobic incidents are urgently responded to and then ignored until the next crisis. In the popular cultural arena of television, this means interrogating even those representations of Muslims that others have celebrated as refreshingly positive. In the realm of corporations, she critically examines the firing of high-profile individuals for anti-Muslim speech—a remedy that rebrands corporations as anti-racist while institutional racism remains intact. At universities, Muslim students get included in diversity, equity, and inclusion plans but that gets disrupted if they are involved in Palestinian rights activism. And in law enforcement, hate crime laws revolving around violence against Muslims fail to address root causes.  In our conversation we discuss anti-Muslim racism and the racialization of Muslims, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, corporate motivations to value diversity, recent Hollywood representations of Muslims, the Obeidi-Alsultany Test, racial gaslighting in law enforcement, the 2015 Chapel Hill shooting, anti-Muslim speech at NPR and ESPN, Palestinian activism on campus, and strategies to move beyond “crisis diversity.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/26/20231 hour, 1 minute, 9 seconds
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Moyukh Chatterjee, "Composing Violence: The Limits of Exposure and the Making of Minorities" (Duke UP, 2023)

In 2002, armed Hindu mobs attacked Muslims in broad daylight in the west Indian state of Gujarat. The pogrom, which was widely seen over television, left more than one thousand dead. In Composing Violence: The Limits of Exposure and the Making of Minorities (Duke UP, 2023). Moyukh Chatterjee examines how highly visible political violence against minorities acts as a catalyst for radical changes in law, public culture, and power. He shows that, far from being quashed through its exposure by activists, media, and politicians, state-sanctioned anti-Muslim violence set the stage for transforming India into a Hindu supremacist state. The state's and civil society’s responses to the violence, Chatterjee contends, reveal the constitutive features of modern democracy in which riots and pogroms are techniques to produce a form of society based on a killable minority and a triumphant majority. Focusing on courtroom procedures, police archives, legal activism, and mainstream media coverage, Chatterjee theorizes violence as a form of governance that creates minority populations. By tracing the composition of anti-Muslim violence and the legal structures that transform that violence into the making of minorities and majorities, Chatterjee demonstrates that violence is intrinsic to liberal democracy. Yash Sharma is a PhD student in Political Science at the School of Public and International Affairs, University of Cincinnati. His research is focused on the interactions of political mobilization and anti-minority violence within Hindu nationalist organizations in India. Twitter. Email: [email protected] Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/20/202353 minutes, 19 seconds
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Mark LeVine, "We'll Play Till We Die: Journeys Across a Decade of Revolutionary Music in the Muslim World" (U California Press, 2022)

In We'll Play till We Die: Journeys across a Decade of Revolutionary Music in the Muslim World (University of California Press, 2022), Mark LeVine, Professor at University of California, Irvine, dives into the revolutionary youth music cultures of Muslim societies before, during, and beyond the waves of resistance that shook the region from Morocco to Pakistan.  This sequel to his celebrated 2008 musical travelogue Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam, shows how some of the world's most extreme music not only helped inspire and define region-wide protests, but also exemplifies the beauty and diversity of youth cultures throughout Muslim societies. In our conversation we discussed early metal scenes in the Southwest Asia, the Arab uprisings, hip hop culture, the rise of electronic music, musicians and fans organizing and protesting, the circulation of music through global platforms, the role of subcultures, harassment, imprisonment and police brutality toward youth, the role of women in music scenes, and collaboration and authorship. Kristian Petersen is an Associate Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/19/20231 hour, 11 minutes, 58 seconds
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Divya Cherian, "Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia" (U California Press, 2023)

Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia (U California Press, 2023) explores the question of what it meant to be Hindu in precolonial South Asia. Divya Cherian presents a fine-grained study of everyday life and local politics in the kingdom of Marwar in eighteenth-century western India to uncover how merchants enforced their caste ideals of vegetarianism and bodily austerity as universal markers of Hindu identity. Using legal strategies and alliances with elites, these merchants successfully remade the category of "Hindu," setting it in contrast to "Untouchable" in a process that reconfigured Hinduism in caste terms. In a history pertinent to understanding India today, Cherian establishes the centrality of caste to the early-modern Hindu self and to its imagination of inadmissible others. This book is available open access here.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/18/202354 minutes, 6 seconds
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Claudia Liebelt, "Istanbul Appearances: Beauty and the Making of Middle-Class Femininities in Urban Turkey" (Syracuse UP, 2023)

In the past two decades, the consumption of beauty services and cosmetic surgery in Turkey has developed from an elite phenomenon to an increasingly common practice, especially among younger and middle-aged women. Turkey now ranks among the top countries worldwide with the highest number of cosmetic procedures, and with its cultural and economic capital, Istanbul has become a regional center for the beauty and fashion industries. Istanbul Appearances: Beauty and the Making of Middle-Class Femininities in Urban Turkey (Syracuse University Press, 2023) shows the profound effects of this growing market on urban residents’ body images, gendered norms, and practices. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork carried out in beauty salons and clinics in different parts of the city, Liebelt explores how standards of femininity and female desire have shifted since the consolidation of power and authoritarian rule of the conservative, pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party.  Arguing that the politics of beauty are intricately bound up with the politics of race, class, gender, and sexuality, Liebelt shows that female bodies have become a major site for the negotiation of citizenship. It is in the numerous beauty salons and clinics that the heteronormative ideals and images of gendered bodies become real, embodied in a complex array of emotional desires of who and what is considered not only beautiful but also morally proper. Claudia Liebelt is professor in social and cultural anthropology at the Free University of Berlin. She is the author of Caring for the ‘Holy Land’: Filipina Domestic Workers in Israel. Armanc Yildiz is a doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology with a secondary field in Studies in Women, Gender and Sexuality at Harvard University. He is also the founder of Academics Write, where he supports scholars in their writing projects as a writing coach and developmental editor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/14/202331 minutes, 46 seconds
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Leyla Jagiella, "Among the Eunuchs: A Muslim Transgender Journey" (Hurst, 2022)

In the powerful book Among the Eunuchs: A Muslim Transgender Journey (Hurst Publishers, 2022), Leyla Jagiella reflects on her story as a trans Muslim living among a third-gender community known as Khwajasira in Pakistan and hijra in India. Throughout the book, we learn about this community, the ways they forge relationships with each other and with the mainstream community, the roles they play, the challenges they face, all told from an inviting, loving perspective. Jagiella’s academic background as an anthropologist is especially prominent in her writing, given her attention to the everyday in this book. Jagiella also pays close attention to religious history, to Islam more specifically, and the role of trans people in Islam. However, as Jagiella emphasizes in our conversation, this book is not about trans people – it is specifically her own journey, and as a part of a community, she cannot be separated from the community she is part of. The book in fact resists attempts to essentialize and clearly define identity. In our conversation, Jagiella discusses the origins of the book, its contributions to our understanding of gender and sexuality in the Muslim South Asian context, the evolution of the terms for this third-gender community, her own experiences as a trans person traveling throughout South Asia, colonialism and its impact on trans identity, homonationalism and identity as ideology, and the importance and beauty of nuance, complexity, and ambiguity, which the book embraces. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/12/20231 hour, 19 minutes, 57 seconds
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Hosam A. Ibrahim Elzembely and Emad El-Din Aysha, "Arab and Muslim Science Fiction" (McFarland, 2022)

How is science fiction from the Arab and Muslim world different than mainstream science fiction from the West? What distinctive and original contributions can it make? Why is it so often neglected in critical considerations of the genre? While other books have explored these questions, all have been from foreign academic voices.  Instead, Hosam A. Ibrahim Elzembely and Emad El-Din Aysha,'s book Arab and Muslim Science Fiction (McFarland, 2022) examines the nature, genesis, and history of Arabic and Muslim science fiction, as well as the challenges faced by its authors, in the authors’ own words. These authors share their stories and struggles with censors, recalcitrant publishers, critics, the book market, and the literary establishment. Their uphill efforts, with critical contributions from academics, translators, and literary activists, will enlighten the sci-fi enthusiast and fill a gap in the history of science fiction. Topics covered range from culture shock to conflicts between tradition and modernity, proactive roles for female heroines, blind imitation of storytelling techniques, and language games. Iqra Shagufta Cheema writes and teaches in the areas of media cultures, Anglophone literatures, transnational digital feminisms, gender and sexuality studies, and global south film studies. Check out their upcoming books: The Other #MeToos and ReFocus: The Films of Annemarie Jacir. Follow them on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/10/20231 hour, 26 seconds
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Laetitia Nanquette, "Iranian Literature After the Islamic Revolution: Production and Circulation in Iran and the World" (Edinburgh UP, 2021)

In Iranian Literature After the Islamic Revolution: Production and Circulation in Iran and the World (Edinburgh UP, 2021), Dr. Laetitia Nanquette explores how Iranian literature has functioned and circulated from the 1979 revolution to the present. She looks at prose productions in particular, analyzing several genres and media. Taking Iran as a starting point, Nanquette explores the forms, structures and functions of Iranian literature within Iranian society. She then turns to the diaspora – with a focus on North America, Western Europe and Australia – and the world beyond Iranians to examine the current dynamics of literary production and circulation between Iranian diasporic spaces and the homeland. Laetitia Nanquette is Senior Lecturer in the School of the Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales. Between 2015 and 2019, she was an Australia Research Council DECRA Fellow at UNSW and worked on the project "A Global Comparative Study of Contemporary Iranian Literature". Connor Christensen is a graduate student at the University of Chicago, pursuing both an MPP at the Harris School of Public Policy and an MA at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He welcomes collaboration, so feel free to reach out on LinkedIn or at his email, [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/6/202349 minutes, 22 seconds
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Shenila Khoja-Moolji, "Rebuilding Community: Displaced Women and the Making of a Shia Ismaili Muslim Sociality" (Oxford UP, 2023)

In her moving, sophisticated, and analytically groundbreaking new book Rebuilding Community: Displaced Women and the Making of a Shia Ismaili Muslim Sociality (Oxford UP, 2023), Shenila Khoja-Moolji recounts and engages critical narratives of displacement and migration to examine the formation of religious communities. A central theme of this book is the idea of an Isma‘ili ethics of care, as Khoja-Moolji documents with meticulous care the powerful manifestations and consequences of everyday life connected with practices ranging from cooking, socio-religious counseling, and story telling. Moving nimbly between different locations including East Africa, South Asia, and North America, as well as varied theoretical registers dealing with categories of sacred space, the sensorium, and embodied sociality, Rebuilding Community is a delightful text that will interest scholars in multiple fields across the Humanities. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His second book is called Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship after Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023). His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/5/202339 minutes, 23 seconds
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People of the Book (with Munir Sheikh)

I talk with a Muslim friend about the places that Islam and Christianity overlap, and also the places where they diverge. Of these subjects, none is more interesting than the role of Jesus Christ whom Muslims call the Prophet Issa (peace be upon him). Muslims hold him in high esteem but do not believe in his divinity or in the Trinity itself. Muslims believe in the Resurrection and Second Coming but interestingly not in the death of Jesus. They also revere Our Lady, the Virgin Mary. Munir Sheikh is a Sunni Muslim from Bangladesh. He’s a management consultant on Wall Street in New York. He joined a Catholic Dads’ group (how I met him) to talk about important issues of faith and family life with some of his oldest American friends (who are Catholic). Munir Sheikh on LinkedIn Derya Little, on Almost Good Catholics, episode 27: Faithful Frontiers: A Turkish Scholar Describes How She Became a Catholic Apologist Mufti Menk, “The Story of Jesus” Omar Suleiman, “The Life and Mission of Jesus” Omar Suleiman, “Islam,” on the Lex Fridman Podcast Krzysztof Odyniec is a historian of Medieval and Early Modern Europe; he is also the host of the 'Almost Good Catholics' podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/4/20231 hour, 16 minutes, 2 seconds
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Teena U. Purohit, "Sunni Chauvinism and the Roots of Muslim Modernism" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Teena Purohit’s new book Sunni Chauvinism and the Roots of Muslim Modernism (Princeton University Press, 2023) maps how various Muslim modernists from the 19th to the 20th centuries used their Sunni normativity to construct social and political boundaries around conceptions of tawhid or Islamic unity. The book distinctively focuses on how Muslim modernists such as canonical figures like Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad ‘Abduh, Rashid Rida and many others, focused on communities such as Shi‘as, Ismailis, Ahmadis, and Bahai’s in their activist and intellectual projects that aspired for a singular unified Islam against encroaching western modernity.  For Muslim modernists who were anxious to reclaim a “lost unity” of Islam that existed in the past and believed could be achieved again in the future (though lacking in their time), non-Sunni groups, like Ahmadis for Muhammad Iqbal or esoteric groups for Rashid Rida, became communities that received disparaging attention and intolerant attitudes that led to a particular Sunni chauvinism, Purohit argues. And as such, this obsession with unity (tawhid) and the privileging of Sunnism that went with it was found in all forms of Muslim modernism. This book then invites a rethinking of our conceptualization of Muslim modernism in light of these thinkers approaches to esoteric (i.e., Sufi) and Shi‘a groups who were viewed as problematic for the social and political goal of tawhid. This accessible book will be of interest to those who think and write on Muslim modernism and non-Sunni movements in Islam. It will also be a great teaching resource for undergraduate and graduate classes. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/28/20231 hour, 9 minutes, 6 seconds
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Kaamil Ahmed, "I Feel No Peace: Rohingya Fleeing Over Seas and Rivers" (Hurst, 2023)

The Rohingya population, from Myanmar’s Rakhine State, are a community almost living entirely in exile, whether in refugee camps in Bangladesh, or working on boats throughout the Indian Ocean. The Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, is now the world’s largest. But the Rohingya’s struggles began long before the crisis intensified in 2012 and 2017, as noted in Kaamil Ahmed’s first book, I Feel No Peace: Rohingya Fleeing Over Seas and Rivers (Hurst, 2023). Kaamil talks to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and beyond to understand how this community has tried to survive years of neglect and at times hostility from the governments and institutions meant to look after them. In this interview, Kaamil and I talk about the Rohingya population, their lives in the refugee camps, and their attempts to make a life for themselves. Kaamil Ahmed is a journalist at The Guardian, covering international development, who previously lived in and reported from Jerusalem, Bangladesh and Turkey. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of I Feel No Peace. Follow on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/27/202351 minutes, 55 seconds
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Saadia Sumbal, "Islam and Religious Change in Pakistan: Sufis and Ulema in 20th-Century South Asia" (Routledge, 2021)

Saadia Sumbal's book Islam and Religious Change in Pakistan: Sufis and Ulema in 20th-Century South Asia (Routledge, 2021) examines the history of, and the contestations on, Islam and the nature of religious change in 20th century Pakistan, focusing in particular on movements of Islamic reform and revival. This book is the first to bring the different facets of Islam, particularly Islamic reformism and shrine-oriented traditions, together within the confines of a single study ranging from the colonial to post-colonial era. Using a rich corpus of Urdu and Arabic material including biographical accounts, Sufi discourses (malfuzat), letter collections, polemics and unexplored archival sources, the author investigates how Islamic reformism and shrine-oriented religiosity interacted with one another in the post-colonial state of Pakistan. Focusing on the district of Mianwali in Pakistani northwestern Punjab, the book demonstrates how reformist ideas could only effectively find space to permeate after accommodating Sufi thoughts and practices; the text-based religious identity coalesced with overlapped traditional religious rituals and practices. The book proceeds to show how reformist Islam became the principal determinant of Islamic identity in the post-colonial state of Pakistan and how one of its defining effects was the hardening of religious boundaries. Challenging the approach of viewing the contestation between reformist and shrine-oriented Islam through the lens of binaries modern/traditional and moderate/extremist, this book makes an important contribution to the field of South Asian religion and Islam in modern South Asia. Iqra Shagufta Cheema writes and teaches in the areas of media cultures, postcolonial literatures, transnational digital feminisms, gender and sexuality studies, and global south film studies. Check out their upcoming books: The Other #MeToos and ReFocus: The Films of Annemarie Jacir. Follow them on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/24/202334 minutes, 46 seconds
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Awad Halabi, "Palestinian Rituals of Identity: The Prophet Moses Festival in Jerusalem, 1850-1948" (U Texas Press, 2023)

Members of Palestine's Muslim community have long honored al-Nabi Musa, or the Prophet Moses. Since the thirteenth century, they have celebrated at a shrine near Jericho believed to be the location of Moses's tomb; in the mid-nineteenth century, they organized a civic festival in Jerusalem to honor this prophet. Considered one of the most important occasions for Muslim pilgrims in Palestine, the Prophet Moses festival yearly attracted thousands of people who assembled to pray, conduct mystical forms of worship, and hold folk celebrations. Palestinian Rituals of Identity: The Prophet Moses Festival in Jerusalem, 1850-1948 (U Texas Press, 2023) takes an innovative approach to the study of Palestine's modern history by focusing on the Prophet Moses festival from the late Ottoman period through the era of British rule. Halabi explores how the festival served as an arena of competing discourses, with various social groups attempting to control its symbols. Tackling questions about modernity, colonialism, gender relations, and identity, Halabi recounts how peasants, Bedouins, rural women, and Sufis sought to influence the festival even as Ottoman authorities, British colonists, Muslim clerics, and Palestinian national leaders did the same. Drawing on extensive research in Arabic newspapers and Islamic and colonial archives, Halabi reveals how the festival has encapsulated Palestinians' responses to modernity, colonialism, and the nation's growing national identity. Roberto Mazza is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Website: www.robertomazza.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/23/20231 hour, 21 minutes, 26 seconds
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Alfrid Bustanov and Vener Usmanov, "Muslim Subjectivity in Soviet Russia" (Brill, 2022)

The world as seen by a Qur’an specialist in late imperial and early Soviet Russia.  Alfrid Bustanov and Vener Usmanov's book Muslim Subjectivity in Soviet Russia (Brill, 2022) tells a dramatic story of ’Abd al-Majid al-Qadiri, a Muslim individual born in the Kazakh lands and brought up in the Sufi environment of the South Urals, who memorized the entire Qur’an at the Mosque of the Prophet. In Russia he travelled widely, performing the Qur'an recitations. The Stalinist terror was merciless to him: in total, he spent fifteen years of his life in labour camps in Solovki, in the North, and Tashkent, in the south. At the end of his life, al-Qadiri wrote the fascinating memoirs that we analysed and translated in this book for the first time. Al-Qadiri’s life account allows us to look at the history of Islam in Russia from a new angle. His lively language provides access to everyday concerns of Russia’s Muslims, their personal interactions, their emotions, and the material world that surrounded them. Al-Qadiri’s book is a book of memory, full of personal drama and hope. Alfrid Bustanov is an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam Aruuke Uran Kyzy is a History Ph.D. student at Stanford University in the Transnational, Global, and International (TIG) field with a focus on trans-imperial Naqshbandiyya Sufi networks across the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and Central Asia near the turn of the 18th century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/10/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 24 seconds
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Jonathan A. C. Brown, "Islam and Blackness" (Oneworld Academic, 2022)

Jonathan Brown’s Islam and Blackness (Oneworld Academic, 2022) is a thorough and thoroughly riveting study of the tensions and conceptions of Blackness in Muslim intellectual traditions and social histories, premodern and modern, in a variety of contexts. At once deeply reflective, philologically majestic, and theoretically productive, Islam and Blackness engages and examines a range of texts from a wide expanse of scholarly genres to show that the question of whether Islam is antiblack is immensely complicated and knotty. Unafraid to pose and address difficult and provocative questions on issues of race, class, and difference in Islamic thought, this book not only represents a profound meditation on Islam and Blackness, but is also a painstakingly researched presentation of the depth and complexity of Muslim scholarly traditions and debates more broadly. The ethical perceptiveness of this book competes fiercely with the clarity of its prose and propose, and the intellectual cum political significance of its argument. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His second book is called Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship after Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023). His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/7/20231 hour, 36 minutes, 58 seconds
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Tony K. Stewart, "Witness to Marvels: Sufism and Literary Imagination" (U California Press, 2019)

There is a vast body of imaginal literature in Bengali that introduces fictional Sufi saints into the complex mythological world of Hindu gods and goddesses. Dating to the sixteenth century, the stories--pīr katha--are still widely read and performed today. The events that play out rival the fabulations of the Arabian Nights, which has led them to be dismissed as simplistic folktales, yet the work of these stories is profound: they provide fascinating insight into how Islam habituated itself into the cultural life of the Bangla-speaking world. In Witness to Marvels: Sufism and Literary Imagination (U California Press, 2019), Tony K. Stewart unearths the dazzling tales of Sufi saints to signal a bold new perspective on the subtle ways Islam assumed its distinctive form in Bengal. This book is available open access here.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/6/202347 minutes, 41 seconds
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Divya Cherian, "Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia" (U California Press, 2022)

Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia (U California Press, 2022) explores the question of what it meant to be Hindu in precolonial South Asia. Divya Cherian presents a fine-grained study of everyday life and local politics in the kingdom of Marwar in eighteenth-century western India to uncover how merchants enforced their caste ideals of vegetarianism and bodily austerity as universal markers of Hindu identity. Using legal strategies and alliances with elites, these merchants successfully remade the category of “Hindu,” setting it in contrast to “Untouchable” in a process that also reconfigured Muslims in caste terms. In a history pertinent to understanding India today, Cherian establishes the centrality of caste to the early-modern Hindu self and to its imagination of inadmissible others. This book is the winner of the 2022 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences. Divya Cherian is Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University. She is a historian of early modern and pre-colonial South Asia, with interests in social, cultural, and religious history, gender and sexuality, ethics and law, and the local and the everyday. Her research focuses on western India, chiefly on the region that is today Rajasthan. Sanjukta Poddar is Assistant Professor of Modern South Asian Studies at Leiden University. She is a cultural and social historian of modern South Asia with an interest in examining cultural contestations within colonial and postcolonial societies. Her research focuses on northern India in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly, in understanding identities that are expressed and debated at the intersection of print culture and urban history in provincial cities. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/24/20231 hour, 12 minutes, 35 seconds
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Rethinking Community in Myanmar: Practices of We-Formation Among Muslims and Hindus in Urban Yangon

Where does the concept of “community” come from? How does it shape the lives of Hindus and Muslims in metropolitan Yangon? And how do these people navigate between their ethno-religious and other cosmopolitan identities? In this episode, Prof. Judith Beyer, a Professor of Social and Political Anthropology at the University of Konstanz, joins Dr. Mai Van Tran, a postdoc at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, to discuss her latest book Rethinking Community in Myanmar: Practices of We-Formation Among Muslims and Hindus in Urban Yangon (NIAS Press, 2022). In it, she offers the first anthropological monograph of Muslim and Hindu lives in contemporary Myanmar. The book introduces the concept of “we-formation” as a fundamental yet underexplored capacity of humans to relate to one another outside of and apart from demarcated ethno-religious lines and corporate groups. Her argument also provides an alternative lens to understand the dynamics of the ongoing Myanmar Spring Revolution. The work on this episode was supported by funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under grant agreement No 101079069. The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, and Asianettverket at the University of Oslo. We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia. About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/18/202327 minutes, 56 seconds
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Aaron Rock-Singer, "In the Shade of the Sunna: Salafi Piety in the Twentieth-Century Middle East" (U California Press, 2022)

Who are the Salafis, and what are the roots of Salafism? What does it even mean to be Salafi? Why is Salafism concerned with ethics of visibility and bodily regulation? Why, when, and how did Salafism become significant?  In his latest book, In the Shade of the Sunnah: Salafi Piety in the 20th Century Middle East (University of California Press, 2022), Aaron Rock-Singer explores these questions and many more about Salafism. Rock-Singer situates Salafism as a movement whose core logic is shaped by questions that emerge distinctly during modernity even though the movement derives its claims to legitimacy from claims to continuity with early Islamic history. In other words, Salafism is a distinctly modern project that is not rooted in the Islamic legal, textual, or ethical tradition, given that many Salafi practices aren’t rooted in Islamic texts. As a result, Salafis finds themselves in a challenging textual position when seeking religious, textual justification for some practices, such as gender segregation or not praying in shoes. How, then, does Salafism legitimate and ground itself? How is their claim to authenticity premised on continuity with the Islamic seventh century? To answer these questions, Rock-Singer takes a few specific issues, such as gender segregation, beards, the length of the robe or pants, as potent ideological sites that are connected in significant ways to Salafism’s project to regulate social space. These issues were not applied in the early 20th century or prior but became significant in the mid to late 20th century in a specific social and political context. So, for instance, the beard matters not just because it’s an attempt to emulate the Prophet Muhammad but because it’s a visual way of identifying the commitment to emulating Muhammad, to make clear who a Salafi is. In our discussion today, Aaron talks about the origins of this book, its major contributions and findings, the roots of Salafism, its ideas of worship and tawhid (i.e., oneness of God), Salafism’s textual and political challenges, the significance of the regulation of social space, questions of authenticity and continuity, and the issues of beards, praying in shoes, gender segregation, and the length of one’s robe according to Salafi practice. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/17/20231 hour, 16 minutes, 23 seconds
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Joseph W. Peterson, "Sacred Rivals: Catholic Missions and the Making of Islam in Nineteenth-Century France and Algeria" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Upon the French invasion of Algeria in 1830, the territory quickly became a placeholder for French dreams, debates, and experiments in social engineering, economic development and even religious culture. Missionaries and Jesuit priests sent to minister to the new French colonial population there commented favorably on Arab Muslims’ religiosity, seeing in it both the possibility of effective missionization and an example of how religion and civil society might work together. After decades of failed missionary efforts, violent conquest and conflict, and influential international events, liberal Catholics in Algeria like the Bishop Charles Lavigerie—founder of the White Fathers—had abandoned active evangelization and instead embraced a visceral and violent rejection of racialized Islam as the antithesis of French civilization. These transitionary decades serve as the backdrop to Joseph W. Peterson’s wide-ranging and deeply human book, Sacred Rivals: Catholic Missions and the Making of Islam in Nineteenth-century France and Algeria (Oxford UP, 2022). In it, he tells that stories of French Catholic missionaries and the Algerian men and women with whom they interacted, exploring the gray areas between faith and politics, between colonial ideology and colonized experience. Peterson balances micro-historical approaches with an awareness of global events to tell a new story about the role of religion in the development of the French civilizing mission, colonial ethnography and racial pseudo-science, as well as in the construction of regimes of legal difference. Sacred Rivals is deeply readable book and will be of interest to scholars of French Algeria, colonialism, and all those interested in the long and complex history of Christianity and Islam. Sarah K. Miles is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who specializes in global francophone history and the history of the French Left. If you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast, please send her an email ([email protected]). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/14/20231 hour, 20 minutes, 59 seconds
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Audrey Truschke, "The Language of History: Sanskrit Narratives of Indo-Muslim Rule" (Columbia UP, 2021)

In her layered and theoretically astute new book The Language of History: Sanskrit Narratives of Indo-Muslim Rule (Columbia UP, 2021), Audrey Truschke documents and analyzes a range of Sanskrit texts in premodern India invested in narrating and making sense of Indo-Persian political rule and governance. In a study at once ambitious and razor sharp in execution, Truschke demonstrates the importance of taking seriously the enterprise of Sanskrit historical writing in the premodern period. Historically and geographically expansive, Truschke takes her readers through a delightful tour of Sanskrit texts from a variety of genres to show their incongruity with modern conceptions of religious difference and antagonism between Hindus and Muslims. Through her close readings of Sanskrit historical texts often saturated with poetry and a keen poetic sensibility, Truschke achieves no less than a fundamental reorientation of how we imagine and approach the discipline of history. This meticulously researched and lyrically written book will be of tremendous interest to scholars of South Asia, Religion, and the wider Humanities. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His second book is called Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship after Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023). His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/10/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 23 seconds
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Seema Golestaneh, "Unknowing and the Everyday: Sufism and Knowledge in Iran" (Duke UP, 2022)

In her new ethnographic study Unknowing and the Everyday: Sufism and Knowledge in Iran (Duke University Press, 2023), Seema Golestaneh guides her readers through processes and praxes of mystical experience and knowledge acquisition amongst Sufi communities in contemporary Iran. The book focuses on the central conceptual paradigm of “ma‘rifat”, which Golestaneh has incisively translated as “unknowing.” From a Sufi perspective, this complicated concept renders any knowledge of the divine as ultimately limited, and it is from this unknowable state that one makes the effort to “know” the Divine, particularly through intellectual striving, such as hermeneutical interpretations of the Qur’an, literary, or poetic traditions or through practice, such as via zikr, a process that aims to achieve “non-subjectivity”. Using these frameworks then, the Golestaneh engages dimensions of knowing/unknowing of texts, bodies, memories, places, and spaces, as understood by diverse Sufi collectives, teachers, and students in Iran. This beautifully written monograph centers the voices of Golestaneh’s Iranian interlocutors to highlight complex Sufi states of being and knowing through accessible narratives of their everyday life. It is a must read for scholars who think and write on Sufism and mysticism, and anyone with interest in Iran. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/3/20231 hour, 7 minutes, 35 seconds
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Sabri Ciftci et al., "Beyond Piety and Politics: Religion, Social Relations, and Public Preferences in the Middle East and North Africa" (Indiana UP, 2022)

How do ordinary men and women in Muslim-majority societies create religion-informed views of political topics such as democracy and economics? Beyond Piety and Politics: Religion, Social Relations, and Public Preferences in the Middle East and North Africa (Indiana UP, 2022) provides a groundbreaking approach to understanding the depth and variety of political attitudes held by people who consider themselves to be pious Muslims. Using survey data on religious preferences and behavior, the authors argue for the relevance and importance of four outlook categories—religious individualist, social communitarian, religious communitarian, and post-Islamist—and use these to explore complex and nuanced attitudes of devout Muslims toward issues like democracy and economic distribution. They also reveal how intrafaith variation in political attitudes is not due simply to doctrinal differences but is also a product of the social aspects of religious association operating within political contexts. Sabri Ciftci is a professor of political science and Michael W. Suleiman Chair at Kansas State University. His research interests include Islam and democracy, Middle East, and Turkish foreign policy. Ciftci is the author of Islam, Justice, and Democracy (2021, Temple University Press) and co-author of Beyond Piety and Politics (2022, Indiana University Press). He has also widely published in journals like Comparative Political Studies, Political Research Quarterly, Democratization, and Foreign Policy Analysis among others. When not researching or teaching, Ciftci likes to spend time with his family, hike, or draw Islamic calligraphy. Michael Wuthrich is an associate professor of political science and the associate director of the Center for Global and International Studies at the University of Kansas. In addition to co-authorship of Beyond Piety and Politics, he is the author of National Elections in Turkey: People Politics and the Party System and numerous journal articles. His research explores campaigns and elections in Turkey, institutions and politics in Iran, and populism, religion, and gender in politics comparatively in MENA and beyond. Ammar Shamaileh is Assistant Professor of Politics and International Relations at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. His research interests primarily reside at the intersection of comparative non-democratic politics and political behavior. His current research focuses on autocratic ruling networks. He is the author of the book Trust and Terror and the coauthor of Beyond Piety and Politics. His work has appeared in Comparative Politics, International Interactions, Political Research Quarterly and Omran, among other journals. Lamis Abdelaaty is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She is the author of Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford University Press, 2021). Email her comments at [email protected] or tweet to @LAbdelaaty. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/27/202349 minutes
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Ron Hirschbein and Amin Asfari, "Jews and Muslims in the White Supremacist Conspiratorial Imagination" (Routledge, 2023)

Supremacists imagine that Jews and Muslims secretly strive to replace white, European civilization with an unspeakable tyranny. The authors, a Jew and a Muslim, analyze the nature of the conspiracism that targets their communities. They historicize the supremacist conspiratorial imagination, narrating the paranoia on a continuum, from modernity to the postmodern. They begin with the texts of modernity, following them through to the dark areas of the Internet and examining their violent denouement in synagogues and mosques. Ron Hirschbein and Amin Asfari's book Jews and Muslims in the White Supremacist Conspiratorial Imagination (Routledge, 2023) investigates the classic text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and neoclassic variations such as QAnon. It turns to Islamophobic responses to 9/11 such as paranoia regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and the doppelgänger of The Protocols, namely The Project. The authors conclude by questioning how "ordinary" people, prompted by paranoia and recognition hunger, resort to violence and murder. Admittedly, the authors are not certain—certainty is for conspiracists. But they may have a piece of the puzzle. Roberto Mazza is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/26/20231 hour, 17 minutes, 47 seconds
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Elizabeth Lhost, "Everyday Islamic Law and the Making of Modern South Asia" (UNC Press, 2022)

Beginning in the late eighteenth century, British rule transformed the relationship between law, society, and the state in South Asia. But professionals, alongside ordinary people without formal training in law, fought back as the colonial system in India sidelined Islamic legal experts. They petitioned the East India Company for employment, lobbied imperial legislators for recognition, and built robust institutions to serve their communities. By bringing legal debates into the public sphere, they resisted the colonial state’s authority over personal law and rejected legal codification by embracing flexibility and possibility. Following these developments from the beginning of the Raj through independence, Elizabeth Lhost, South Asia Digital Librarian for the Center for Research Libraries, rejects narratives of stagnation and decline and shows in Everyday Islamic Law and the Making of Modern South Asia (UNC Press, 2022), how an unexpected coterie of scholars, practitioners, and ordinary individuals negotiated the contests and challenges of colonial legal change.  The rich archive of unpublished fatwa files, qazi notebooks, and legal documents they left behind chronicles their efforts to make Islamic law relevant for everyday life, even beyond colonial courtrooms and the confines of family law. Lhost shows how ordinary Muslims shaped colonial legal life and how their diversity and difference have contributed to contemporary debates about religion, law, pluralism, and democracy in South Asia and beyond. In our conversation we discussed legal pluralism under British colonialism, alternative archives of legal information, the Queen’s Proclamation of 1858, the role of the category “religion” in colonial politics, Islamic legal publishing, Muslim marriage registers, the Muslim Personal Law Application Act of 1937, and the effects of Islamic legal practice in the lives of everyday people. Kristian Petersen is an Associate Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/24/202356 minutes, 43 seconds
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Hadia Mubarak, "Rebellious Wives, Neglectful Husbands: Controversies in Modern Qur'anic Commentaries" (Oxford UP, 2022)

In the excellent expansive book, Rebellious Wives, Neglectful Husbands: Controversies in Modern Qur'anic Commentaries (Oxford UP, 2022), Hadia Mubarak explores the many different interpretations of four Qur’anic verses: 4:128 on nashiz or neglectful husbands, 4:34 on nashiz or rebellious wives, 4:3 on polygyny, and 2:228 on divorce. She does this through a careful examination of four of the most influential Arab male Sunni Qur’anic commentators of the 20th century, namely Seyyed Qutb, Muhammad Abduh, Rashid Rida, and Ibn Ashur; she also compares their interpretations with several medieval, pre-modern commentators from the 9th to the 14th centuries. A part of Mubarak’s conclusion is that interpretations of the Qur’an cannot simplistically be reduced to a monolithic assessment like either patriarchal or feminist but that they are an evolving, complex engagement with phenomena such as colonialism, nationalism, modernity, and the commentator’s own personal background. In our conversation today, we discuss the individual modern exegetes on whom this study centers, their specific interpretations of the four verses, the unique ways in which they all depart from their predecessors’ interpretations of these verses, and the limits of the current genre of tafsir studies. For example, must we keep defining tafsir in such a way that it justifies our exclusion of scholarly interpretations of the Qur’an provided by those who have not written a complete commentary on the Qur’an? We also discuss whether the specific interpretations of the four verses are indeed diverse and if so, what exactly are those nuances that express diversity. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/17/20231 hour, 22 minutes, 56 seconds
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John D. Hosler, "Jerusalem Falls: Seven Centuries of War and Peace" (Yale UP, 2022)

When the armies of the Rashidun Caliphate entered Jerusalem in 638, the city was quite different from what it is today–one of the most important cities for three religions. As John Hosler writes in his latest book, Jerusalem Falls: Seven Centuries of War and Peace (Yale University Press, 2022): “Three things may seem nearly inconceivable to modern readers: that the Temple Mount, a place of such incredible significance and symbolism, once served as Jerusalem’s garbage dump; that it once went wholly unmentioned in a political treaty; and that a conqueror essentially acquired it with little effort.” Throughout his book, starting from the Persian invasion of 614 and ending with the Sixth Crusade in 1229, John explains how these successive “falls” of the city to invaders ended up setting the boundaries for inter-religious relations for centuries afterward. Invaders may have wanted to expel their religious competitors–but soon learned that governing the city without their help was impossible, eventually settling on a system of grudging tolerance and respect for each other’s holy sites. In this interview, John and I talk about the many “falls” of Jerusalem: to the Persians, the Arabs, and the Crusaders, and how the many negotiations over the city helped build a durable status quo that persisted for centuries. John D. Hosler is a Professor of Military History at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. An expert in medieval warfare in Europe and the Near East, he is the author of over 60 essays and reviews, and also the author and editor of seven books, including John of Salisbury: Military Authority of the Twelfth-Century Renaissance (Brill: 2013), and The Siege of Acre: 1189-1191 (Yale University Press: 2018), the latter of which was named among the best books of 2018 by the Financial Times and the Times Literary Supplement. He is a Trustee of the U.S. Commission for Military History, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and he sits on the editorial board for War Studies Journal. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Jerusalem Falls. Follow on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/16/202348 minutes, 14 seconds
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Piro Rexhepi, "White Enclosures: Racial Capitalism and Coloniality Along the Balkan Route" (Duke UP, 2022)

In White Enclosures: Racial Capitalism and Coloniality Along the Balkan Route (Duke UP, 2022), Piro Rexhepi explores the overlapping postsocialist and postcolonial border regimes in the Balkans that are designed to protect whiteness and exclude Muslim, Roma, and migrant communities. Rather than focusing on present crises to the exclusion of the histories that have gotten us to this point, Rexhepi takes a wide lens to understand how different mechanisms and regimes of exclusion are historically intertwined. This book makes a bold and important intervention against 'colorblindness' and white assimilation in the region, pushing us instead to disturb hierarchies of power by forging solidarities with those who are most excluded and marginalized by the Euro-American colonial project.  Piro Rexhepi is a researcher based in London. He received his PhD in Politics from the University of Strathclyde. His new review essay, co-authored with Harun Buljina and Dženita Karić, is "Feel-good Orientalism and the Question of Dignity," is available to read on The Maydan. You can follow him on Twitter @pirorexhepi. Dino Kadich is a PhD candidate in Geography at the University of Cambridge. You can follow him on Twitter @dinokadich. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/12/20231 hour, 12 minutes, 22 seconds
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Shahzad Bashir, "A New Vision for Islamic Pasts and Futures" (MIT Press, 2022)

In his innovative and conceptually ingenious new online, open-access, interactive book A New Vision for Islamic Pasts and Futures (MIT Press, 2022), Shahzad Bashir invites his readers to rethink and reimagine Islam and time as unbounded, non-linear, and abundantly capacious beyond the confines of text, theology, and normative confessional projects limited to Muslims. Bashir presents this argument through a beautifully presented and lyrically written digital book that traverses an extraordinary variety of premodern and modern texts, places, figures, material objects, and conceptual nodes. While browsing through and reading this book, the reader will travel through multiple places, genres of text, and theoretical arguments as the multiplicity of time in Islamic thought, practice, and geographies is performed and unfolds. Theoretically invasive and ambitious, aesthetically and visually delightful, and eminently accessible, A New Vision for Islamic Pasts is bound to spark important and productive debates in islamic Studies and beyond. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/10/20231 hour, 14 minutes, 41 seconds
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Mikel Burley, "A Radical Pluralist Philosophy of Religion: Cross-Cultural, Multireligious, Interdisciplinary" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

A Radical Pluralist Philosophy of Religion: Cross-Cultural, Multireligious, Interdisciplinary (Bloomsbury, 2020) is a unique introduction to studying the philosophy of religion, drawing on a wide range of cultures and literary sources in an approach that is both methodologically innovative and expansive in its cross-cultural and multi-religious scope. Employing his expertise in interdisciplinary and Wittgenstein-influenced methods, Mikel Burley draws on works of ethnography and narrative fiction, including Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman, to critically engage with existing approaches to the philosophy of religion and advocate a radical, pluralist approach. Breaking away from the standard fixation on a narrow construal of theism, topics discussed include conceptions of compassion in Buddhist ethics, cannibalism in mortuary rituals, divine possession and animal sacrifice in Hindu Goddess worship and animism in indigenous traditions. Original and engaging, Burley's synthesis of philosophical, anthropological and literary elements expands and diversifies the philosophy of religion, providing an essential introduction for anyone interested in studying the radical plurality of forms that religion takes in human life. Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on ‘Anthropology of Religion’ at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/1/202358 minutes, 54 seconds
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Meir M. Bar-Asher, "Jews and the Qur'an" (Princeton UP, 2022)

In this panoramic and multifaceted book, Meir Bar-Asher examines how Jews and Judaism are depicted in the Qur'an and later Islamic literature, providing needed context to those passages critical of Jews that are most often invoked to divide Muslims and Jews or to promote Islamophobia. He traces the Qur'anic origins of the protection of Jews and other minorities living under the rule of Islam, and shows how attitudes toward Jews in Shi'i Islam are substantially different from those in Sunni Islam. Bar-Asher sheds light on the extraordinary contribution of Jewish tradition to the Muslim exegesis of the Qur'an, and draws important parallels between Jewish religious law, or halakha, and shari'a law. An illuminating work on a topic of vital relevance today, Jews and the Qur'an (Princeton UP, 2022) offers a nuanced understanding of Islam's engagement with Judaism in the time of Muhammad and his followers, and serves as a needed corrective to common misperceptions about Islam. Drora Arussy, EdD, MA, MJS, is the Senior Director of the ASF Institute of Jewish Experience. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/1/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 40 seconds
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Stephen C. Finley, "In and Out of This World: Material and Extraterrestrial Bodies in the Nation of Islam" (Duke UP, 2022)

With In and Out of This World: Material and Extraterrestrial Bodies in the Nation of Islam (Duke University Press, 2022), Stephen C. Finley, Inaugural Chair, Department of African and African American Studies at Louisiana State University, examines the religious practices and discourses that have shaped the Nation of Islam (NOI) in America. Drawing on the speeches and writing of figures such as Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Warith Deen Mohammad, and Louis Farrakhan, Finley shows that the Nation of Islam and its leaders used multiple religious symbols, rituals, and mythologies meant to recast the meaning of the cosmos and create new transcendent and immanent black bodies whose meaning cannot be reduced to products of racism. Whether examining how the myth of Yakub helped Elijah Muhammad explain the violence directed at black bodies, how Malcolm X made black bodies in the Nation of Islam publicly visible, or the ways Farrakhan’s discourses on his experiences with the Mother Wheel UFO organize his interpretation of black bodies, Finley demonstrates that the Nation of Islam intended to retrieve, reclaim, and reform black bodies in a context of antiblack violence. In our conversation we discussed the theoretical framework of In- or Out-of-place, the body as both as social and symbolic, Nation of Islam mythological and cosmological narratives , Elijah Muhammad’s theological vision for African Americans, Malcolm X’ focus on civil and human rights movements, Warith Deen Mohammed’s notions of race, the identity of “Bilalians,” Louis Farrakhan’s mystical extraterrestrial experiences, and women’s embodiment in the Nation of Islam. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/27/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 3 seconds
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Catholic in Karachi: Living as a Christian in an Islamic Country

Ayyaz Gulzar, journalist and Catholic youth leader in Pakistan, describes the challenges and persecutions the Church faces in the Islamic Republic, which includes the county’s blasphemy laws. He also talks about the many successes and joys he has seen—and some surprises, for example Muslim women praying the ‘Hail Mary’ for Our Lady’s help during childbirth. We recorded this conversation during the floods of the summer of 2022 which have been described as the worst in the country’s history. Articles by Ayyaz Gulzar in UCA News (Union of Catholic Asian News): Caritas Pakistan Jesus Youth, Pakistan, Facebook Page Here is an excerpt from the National Geographic documentary, Inside the Vatican, that shows the humility, wisdom, and charm of Cardinal Joseph Coutts whom Ayyaz described in our interview Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/23/202348 minutes, 57 seconds
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Youshaa Patel, "The Muslim Difference: Defining the Line Between Believers and Unbelievers from Early Islam to the Present" (Yale UP, 2023)

According to a famous prophetic report, “Whoever imitates a people becomes one of them.” What does “imitation” here mean? Rather, what does this statement really mean at all, and how have Muslims historically understood it? How did this simple report become a doctrine in the Islamic tradition? What does this hadith mean for Muslims today, in an increasingly interreligious atmosphere and especially for those living in the West or in other non-Muslim-majority contexts? Finally, why do humans invest so much in being different and displaying their difference from those they declare as an ‘other’?  These and many other questions are answered in Youshaa Patel’s exciting book The Muslim Difference: Defining the Line between Believers and Unbelievers from Early Islam to the Present, published in 2022 with Yale University Press. The book explores the issue of difference and frames the hadith as significant to Muslim interreligious encounters, showing that ideas and examples of imitation—and Muslims’ understanding of the concept—have changed throughout times and in different contexts. And the debate around issues of religious difference, imitation, and Muslims’ effort to distinguish themselves from non-Muslims tells us about how Muslims understand and define religion. In our conversation today, we discuss the origins of the book, some of its main arguments and findings, the prophetic reports on imitation—specifically the hadith that “whoever imitates a people becomes one of them”—its role in establishing a Sunni orthodoxy given that the hadith or the concept of tashabbuh is not found in Shii collections, and influential scholars and thinkers’ development of the concept, individuals such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Najm al-Din al-Ghazzi. We also discuss examples of small differences that are not to be imitated, and Patel explains the significance and value of these small differences, which are quite powerful and symbolic. Our conversation ends with the relevance of imitation and emulation for today’s Muslims, including Muhammad Abduh’s Transvaal fatwa on, among other things, Muslims wearing European hats or Muslims doing Christian European things and how other Muslim scholars responded to this fatwa. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/20/20231 hour, 34 minutes, 18 seconds
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Afsar Mohammad, "An Evening with a Sufi" (Red River, 2022)

Afsar Mohammad's An Evening with a Sufi (Red River, 2022) is a collection of Afsar's Telugu poems translated into to English by Asfar and Shamala Gallagher. The stunning poems in the collection capture the stark realities of religious landscape of post-partition South Asia and is set against the backdrop of a barren panorama of village life that is reeling from political and social friction. The poems evoke Sufi saints and motherly figures (or ammas) to explore caste dynamics and sectarian differences while striking the readers with themes of exile and yearning of homeland. The poems are followed by reflections on the translation by Shamala Gallagher, an interview with the author, and two essays by David Shulman and Cheran Rudhramoorthy respectively. This provocative collection of poetry will be of interest to scholars who work on South Asian Islam and Sufism and those who think through literary and translation theory, especially from Telugu, but will also be of interest to general readers who are interested in South Asian poetry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/6/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 28 seconds
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Sebastian Elischer, "Salafism and Political Order in Africa" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

Violent Islamic extremism is affecting a growing number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In some, jihadi Salafi organizations have established home bases and turned into permanent security challengers. However, other countries have managed to prevent the formation or curb the spread of homegrown jihadi Salafi organizations. In Salafism and Political Order in Africa (Cambridge UP, 2021), Sebastian Elischer provides a comparative analysis of how different West and East African states have engaged with fundamentalist Muslim groups between the 1950s and today. In doing so, he establishes a causal link between state-imposed organizational gatekeepers in the Islamic sphere and the absence of homegrown jihadi Salafism. Sebastian Elischer is an associate professor of political science at the University of Florida. His research is focused on political Islam, violent extremism, and ethnicity, and democratization in sub-Saharan Africa. He is the author of Political Parties in Africa: Ethnicity and Party Formation (Cambridge University Press, 2013) Sally Sharif is Simons Foundation Canada Post-Doctoral Fellow at the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of “Predicting the End of the Syrian Conflict: From Theory to the Reality of a Civil War” (2021). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/4/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Future of Iranian Resistance: A Discussion with Azadeh Moaveni

How strong is the Iranian resistance? And which parts of society does that resistance come from? Are there any parallels with resistance that brought down the Shah of Iran in 1979? Iran watcher NYU academic and journalist Azadeh Moaveni discusses Iranian society with Owen Bennett-Jones. Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/4/202349 minutes, 14 seconds
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Eren Duzgun, "Capitalism, Jacobinism and International Relations: Revisiting Turkish Modernity" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

Western interpretations of the Ottoman age of reform and the Turkish Republic often evaluate these histories against an idealized, essentialized narrative of the European history, in which a triumphant bourgeois class instigated transitions to political liberalism and capitalism. Consequently, their explanations of persistent authoritarian tendencies and statist economic development policies focus on what features of European modernity are missing or insufficiently present in Turkey.  In Capitalism, Jacobinism and International Relations: Revisiting Turkish Modernity (Cambridge UP, 2022), Eren Duzgun, argues that this approach to comparative historical analysis not only fails to grasp Ottoman and Turkish history on its own terms, but it also gets European history wrong by overlooking the variety of trajectories of political and economic development that characterized European history from the age of revolutions onwards. Duzgun argues that the concept of Jacobinism holds the key to understanding both Ottoman and Turkish modernization and transitions to modernity in continental Europe that did not correspond to the narrative of ‘bourgeois revolutions’ that undergirds both liberal and Marxist theories of modernization. We will discuss the origins of the Jacobin route to modernity, how the Jacobin model relates to common understandings of capitalist political economies, and why a book about Turkish and Ottoman history needed a chapter on French history. Eren Duzgun is assistant professor of international relations at the University of Nottingham’s China Campus in Ningbo, China. Geoffrey Gordon is a PhD candidate in comparative politics at the University of Virginia. Follow him on Twitter: @geofflgordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/28/20221 hour, 39 minutes, 30 seconds
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Ron Kronish, "Profiles in Peace: Voices of Peacebuilders in the Midst of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" (2022)

Rabbi Ron Kronish spent thirty years directing the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), an interfaith organization devoted to promoting dialogue in Israel. Utilizing the tools of interfaith dialogue, the ICCI became a “council of organizations…as a tool in peacebuilding throughout the 1990’s, until 2015.” (From the introduction.) In Profiles in Peace: Voices of Peacebuilders in the Midst of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2022), Kronish interviews six diverse individuals whose remarkable work in peacebuilding in Israel-Palestine has contributed to creating an atmosphere conducive to developing better relations between Jews and Arabs. In our interview, Kronish highlights the important work conducted by his subjects, and brings to light important though perhaps little known efforts of men and women committed to creating peace in a troubled region. Phil Cohen is a rabbi in Columbia, MO. He's also the author of Nick Bones Underground. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/27/202246 minutes, 56 seconds
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Edward E. Curtis IV, "Muslims of the Heartland: How Syrian Immigrants Made a Home in the American Midwest" (NYU Press, 2022)

The American Midwest is often thought of as uniformly white, and shaped exclusively by Christian values. However, this view of the region as an unvarying landscape fails to consider a significant community at its very heart. Muslims of the Heartland: How Syrian Immigrants Made a Home in the American Midwest (NYU Press, 2022) uncovers the long history of Muslims in a part of the country where many readers would not expect to find them. Edward E. Curtis IV, a descendant of Syrian Midwesterners, vividly portrays the intrepid men and women who busted sod on the short-grass prairies of the Dakotas, peddled needles and lace on the streets of Cedar Rapids, and worked in the railroad car factories of Michigan City. This intimate portrait follows the stories of individuals such as farmer Mary Juma, pacifist Kassem Rameden, poet Aliya Hassen, and bookmaker Kamel Osman from the early 1900s through World War I, the Roaring 20s, the Great Depression, and World War II. Its story-driven approach places Syrian Americans at the center of key American institutions like the assembly line, the family farm, the dance hall, and the public school, showing how the first two generations of Midwestern Syrians created a life that was Arab, Muslim, and American, all at the same time. Muslims of the Heartland recreates what the Syrian Muslim Midwest looked, sounded, felt, and smelled like—from the allspice-seasoned lamb and rice shared in mosque basements to the sound of the trains on the Rock Island Line rolling past the dry goods store. It recovers a multicultural history of the American Midwest that cannot be ignored. Joseph Stuart is a scholar of African American history, particularly of the relationship between race, freedom rights, and religion in the twentieth century Black Freedom Movement. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/23/202240 minutes, 9 seconds
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Pamela Karimi, "Alternative Iran: Contemporary Art and Critical Spatial Practice" (Stanford UP, 2022)

Alternative Iran offers a unique contribution to the field of contemporary art, investigating how Iranian artists engage with space and site amid the pressures of the art market and the state's regulatory regimes. Since the 1980s, political, economic, and intellectual forces have driven Iran's creative class toward increasingly original forms of artmaking not meant for official venues. Instead, these art forms appear in private homes with "trusted" audiences, derelict buildings, leftover urban zones, and remote natural sites. These unusual cultural scenes are not only sites of personal encounters, but also part of the collective experience of Iran's citizens.  Drawing on interviews with over a hundred artists, gallerists, theater experts, musicians, and designers, Pamela Karimi throws into sharp relief extraordinary art and performance activities that have received little attention outside Iran. Attending to nonconforming curatorial projects, independent guerrilla installations, escapist practices, and tacitly subversive performances, Karimi also discloses the push-and-pull games between the art community and the authorities, and discusses myriad instances of tentative coalition as opposed to outright partnership or uncompromising resistance. Illustrated with more than 120 full-color images, Alternative Iran: Contemporary Art and Critical Spatial Practice (Stanford UP, 2022) provides entry into Iran's unique artistic experiences without catering to voyeuristic curiosity around Iran's often-perceived "underground" culture. Kaveh Rafie is a PhD candidate specializing in modern and contemporary art at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His dissertation charts the course of modern art in the late Pahlavi Iran (1941-1979) and explores the extent to which the 1953 coup marks the recuperation of modern art as a viable blueprint for cultural globalization in Iran. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/22/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 59 seconds
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Geoff Harkness, "Changing Qatar: Culture, Citizenship, and Rapid Modernization" (NYU Press, 2020)

Qatar, an ambitious country in the Arabian Gulf, grabbed headlines as the first Middle Eastern nation selected to host the FIFA World Cup. As the wealthiest country in the world—and one of the fastest-growing - it is known for its capital, Doha, which boasts a striking, futuristic skyline. In Changing Qatar: Culture, Citizenship, and Rapid Modernization (NYU Press, 2022), Geoff Harkness takes us beyond the headlines, providing a fresh perspective on modern-day life in the increasingly visible Gulf. Drawing on three years of immersive fieldwork and more than a hundred interviews, he describes a country in transition, one struggling to negotiate the fluid boundaries of culture, tradition, and modernity. Harkness shows how Qataris reaffirm - and challenge - traditions in many areas of everyday life, from dating and marriage, to clothing and humour, to gender and sports. A cultural study of citizenship in modern Qatar, this book offers an illuminating portrait that cannot be found elsewhere. Rituparna Patgiri is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi. She has a PhD in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Her research interests lie in the areas of food, media, gender and public. She is also one of the co-founders of Doing Sociology. Patgiri can be reached at @Rituparna37 on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/21/202241 minutes, 5 seconds
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Richard Brian Miller, "Why Study Religion?" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Can the study of religion be justified? Scholarship in religion, especially work in "theory and method," is preoccupied with matters of research procedure and thus inarticulate about the goals that motivate scholarship in the field. For that reason, the field suffers from a crisis of rationale. Richard B. Miller identifies six prevailing methodologies in the field, and then offers an alternative framework for thinking about the purposes of the discipline. Shadowing these various methodologies, he notes, is a Weberian scientific ideal for studying religion, one that aspires to value-neutrality. This ideal fortifies a "regime of truth" that undercuts efforts to think normatively and teleologically about the field's purpose and value. Miller's alternative framework, Critical Humanism, theorizes about the ends rather than the means of humanistic scholarship. Why Study Religion? (Oxford UP, 2021) offers an account of humanistic inquiry that is held together by four values: Post-critical Reasoning, Social Criticism, Cross-cultural Fluency, and Environmental Responsibility. Ordered to such purposes, Miller argues, scholars of religion can relax their commitment to matters of methodological procedure and advocate for the value of studying religion. The future of religious studies will depend on how well it can articulate its goals as a basis for motivating scholarship in the field. David Gottlieb is the Director of Jewish Studies at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago. He is the author of Second Slayings: The Binding of Isaac and the Formation of Jewish Memory (Gorgias Press, 2019). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/20/202244 minutes, 9 seconds
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David O’Brien and Melissa Shani Brown, "People, Place, Race, and Nation in Xinjiang, China: Territories of Identity" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022)

Entitled People, Place, Race, and Nation in Xinjiang, China: Territories of Identity (Palgrave MacMillan, 2022), David O’Brien and Melissa Shani Brown’s new book focuses upon the ways in which ethnic difference is writ through the banalities of everyday life: who one trusts, what one eats, where one shops, even what time one's clocks are set to (Xinjiang being perhaps one of the only places where different ethnic groups live by different time-zones). In this episode, Julie Yu-Wen Chen talk to David O’Brien and Melissa Shani Brown who are both working at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany now. The conversation unpacks how discourses of Chinese nationalism romanticise empire and promote racialised ways of thinking about Chineseness, how cultural assimilation ('Sinicisation') is being justified through the rhetoric of 'modernisation', how Islamic sites and Uyghur culture are being secularised and commodified for tourist consumption. Julie Yu-Wen Chen is Professor of Chinese Studies at the Department of Cultures at the University of Helsinki (Finland). Dr. Chen serves as one of the editors of the Journal of Chinese Political Science (Springer, SSCI). Formerly, she was chair of Nordic Association of China Studies (NACS) and Editor-in-Chief of Asian Ethnicity (Taylor & Francis). You can find her on University of Helsinki Chinese Studies’ website, Youtube and Facebook, and her personal Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/9/202222 minutes, 27 seconds
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Cristina Civantos, "Jamón and Halal: Lessons in Tolerance from Rural Andalucía" (Amherst College Press, 2022)

In this episode, I interview Dr. Christina Civantos (University of Miami, FL, USA) about her open access book Jamón and Halal: Lessons in Tolerance from Rural Andalucía (Amherst College Press, 2022). This case study examines a rural town in Spain’s Andalucía in order to shed light on the workings of coexistence. The town of Órgiva’s diverse population includes hippies from across Europe, European converts to Sufi Islam, and immigrants from North Africa. Christina Civantos combines the analysis of written and visual cultural texts with oral narratives from residents. In this book, we see that although written and especially televisual narratives about the town highlight tolerance and multiculturalism, they mask tensions and power differentials. Toleration is an ongoing negotiation and this book shows us how we can identify the points of contact that create robust, respect-based tolerance. Christina Civantos is a professor of Hispanic and Arabic literary and cultural studies at the University of Miami in Florida (USA). Her research focuses on Arabic-speaking immigrants in Hispano-America and Spain, South-South relations between Latin America and the Arab world, empire and coloniality, nationalisms, memory studies, and tolerance. She is the author of Between Argentines and Arabs: Argentine Orientalism, Arab Immigrants, and the Writing of Identity (2006), The Afterlife of al-Andalus: Muslim Iberia in Contemporary Arab and Hispanic Narratives (2017), and Jamón and Halal: Lessons in Tolerance from Rural Andalucía (2022), as well as numerous essays. Paula De La Cruz-Fernandez is a consultant, historian, and digital editor. Editor New Books Network en español. Edita CEO. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/5/202258 minutes, 51 seconds
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Gabriel Polley, "Palestine in the Victorian Age: Colonial Encounters in the Holy Land" (I. B. Tauris, 2022)

In this episode I have interviewed Gabriel Polley, winner of the Ibrahim Dakkak Award for the best essay published in 2021 by the Jerusalem Quarterly. Narratives of the modern history of Palestine/Israel often begin with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Britain's arrival in 1917. However, this work argues that the contest over Palestine has its roots deep in the 19th century, with Victorians who first cast the Holy Land as an area to be possessed by empire, then began to devise schemes for its settler colonization. The product of historical research among almost forgotten guidebooks, archives and newspaper clippings, this book presents a previously unwritten chapter of Britain's colonial desire, and reveals how indigenous Palestinians began to react against, or accommodate themselves to, the West's fascination with their ancestral land. From the travellers who tried to overturn Jerusalem's holiest sites, to an uprising sparked by a church bell and a missionary's tragic actions, to one Palestinian's eventful visit to the heart of the British Empire, Palestine in the Victorian Age: Colonial Encounters in the Holy Land (I. B. Tauris, 2022) reveals how the events of the nineteenth century have cast a long shadow over the politics of Palestine/Israel ever since. Roberto Mazza is currently an independent scholar. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/5/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 22 seconds
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Protests in Iran: Maybe not the Tocqueville Paradox

In mid-September of this year, a young Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini died under suspicious circumstances after her arrest by the morality police for improperly covering her hair. Her death set off a huge wave of protests across Iran – the biggest in many years. The protesters’ rallying cry was “Women, Life, Freedom,” and women have indeed taken a prominent role in the demonstrations that followed Amini’s death. This week on International Horizons, John Torpey talks with Ali Ansari about the protests in Iran, their ideological basis, and the interplay between state and religion in the desires of the population. Moreover, Ansari discusses the reasons why Iran supports Russia in the war on Ukraine, and how this support has boosted the attention on the protests, converting them into a transnational phenomenon. Ansari also compares the health of the Iranian and the Chinese regimes in the middle of the protests and concludes that the dire social and economic situation of the Iranian people has made them fearless and defiant of the status quo, whereas China's CCP has more leverage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/5/202236 minutes, 30 seconds
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Shaul Bartal and Nesya Rubinstein-Shemer, "Hamas and Ideology: Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qara?awi on the Jews, Zionism and Israel" (Routledge, 2017)

Sheikh Yusūf al- Qaraḍāwī is regarded as the most influential contemporary Muslim religious figure. His best-selling book, Al-Ḥalal wal-Ḥaram fi al-Islam ("The Forbidden and the Permitted in Islam") is perhaps one of the most widely read Islamic works, after the Qur’ān. The subject of jihad in Palestine is a salient feature of Qaraḍāwī’s thought and is addressed frequently in his books. His views on Israel and on the Jews shape those of many Muslims throughout the world. Hamas and Ideology: Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qara?awi on the Jews, Zionism and Israel (Routledge, 2017) paints al- Qaraḍāwī’s portrait within the context of the subject of the struggle for Palestine and assesses why he is committed so fervently to the Palestinian course. It also sheds light on another important aspect of al-Qaradawi’s thought, namely the marked contrast between his ideas regarding the Muslim world and his views on relations with other religions and countries. Whereas al- Qaraḍāwī is considered to be a moderate in Islamic matters, his attitude toward the Jews and to Israel is one of abiding hatred and uncompromising struggle. The book aims to classify Qaraḍāwī’s thought along the axis of moderation and extremism by drawing comparisons between Qaraḍāwī’s teachings and those of other Muslim jurists. Furthermore, it compares the features of antisemitic writing with that of Qaraḍāwī in order to answer the question as to whether Qaraḍāwī’s teachings actually constitute an expression of anti-semitism. Despite the subject of jihad in Palestine being so central to Qaraḍāwī’s thought, there has not been a comprehensive and systematic academic study of this to date. The book therefore represents a major contribution to the field and will appeal to anyone studying the Israel-Palestine conflict, Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies, Terrorism and Political Violence. The book was published also in Hebrew by the Pardes Publishing House in 2021 Dr Nesya Rubinstein-Shemer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Bar-Ilan University. Her research focuses on classical Islamic law and the relations between Islam and Judaism. Dr Shaul Bartal is a teaching associate in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Bar-Ilan University. He is a specialist on Palestinian affairs and Islamic fundamentalism. Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He can be reached at: [email protected] Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/4/202231 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Future of Religious Studies: A Conversation with Russell McCutcheon

Russell McCutcheon shares his views on the academic study of religion, and the path ahead for religion graduates and the field itself. McCutcheon is a professor of religious studies at the University of Alabama and a contributor to the Religious Studies Project podcast.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/28/20221 hour, 16 minutes, 37 seconds
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Amina Wadud, "Once in a Lifetime" (Kantara Press, 2022)

In this interview, we speak with Dr. amina wadud about her latest book Once in a Lifetime (Kantara Press, 2022), a book that started out as a blog for her hajj journey back in 2012. Dr. amina wadud is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned her PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Michigan in 1988. Her other books are Qur’an and Woman: Re-reading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective published in 1992 with Oxford UP and Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam, published with Oneworld in 2006. The book is rooted in her experience of the famous five pillars of Islam, through a feminist, inclusive, and faith-centered lens. Each chapter includes relevant experiences related to the theme of the chapter, such as her specific experiences at hajj or the gendered nature of certain Islamic rituals and the ways that common understandings of these rituals might affect women. In our conversation, we talk about the theme of the masculine and the feminine that figures throughout the book, the gender of God, the Islamic concept of tawhid (monotheism, unity of God) and its relation to fractals and nature and the cosmos, and her experiences at hajj, which serve as the basis of the book. But mostly, I attempt to utilize my time with her to hear her speak about her journey through the last several decades as a Muslim academic committed to social justice and faith. The book’s accessible and approachable style makes it especially useful for undergraduate religion courses, including Islam and Islam and gender specific courses. Anyone interested in personal journeys in religion, Islam and gender, Islam and religion would also benefit from this book. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/25/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 59 seconds
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Travis Zadeh, "Wonders and Rarities: The Marvelous Book That Traveled the World and Mapped the Cosmos" (Harvard UP, 2023)

During the thirteenth century, the Persian naturalist and judge Zakariyyāʾ Qazwīnī authored what became one of the most influential works of natural history in the world: Wonders and Rarities. Exploring the dazzling movements of the stars above, the strange minutiae of the minerals beneath the earth, and everything in between, Qazwīnī offered a captivating account of the cosmos. With fine paintings and leading science, Wonders and Rarities inspired generations as it traveled through madrasas and courts, unveiling the magical powers of nature. Yet after circulating for centuries, first in Arabic and Persian, then in Turkish and Urdu, Qazwīnī's compendium eventually came to stand as a strange, if beautiful, emblem of medieval ignorance. In Wonders and Rarities: The Marvelous Book That Traveled the World and Mapped the Cosmos (Harvard UP, 2023), Travis Zadeh dramatically revises the place of wonder in the history of Islamic philosophy, science, and literature. From the Mongol conquests to the rise of European imperialism and Islamic reform, Zadeh shows, wonder provided an enduring way to conceive of the world--at once constituting an affective reaction, an aesthetic stance, a performance of piety, and a cognitive state. Yet through the course of colonial modernity, Qazwīnī's universe of marvels helped advance the notion that Muslims lived in a timeless world of superstition and enchantment, unaware of the western hemisphere or the earth's rotation around the sun. Recovering Qazwīnī's ideas and his reception, Zadeh invites us into a forgotten world of thought, where wonder mastered the senses through the power of reason and the pleasure of contemplation. Travis Zadeh revives the work of the thirteenth-century Persian scholar Qazwīnī, whose Wonders and Rarities was for centuries one of the most influential natural histories in the world. Inviting us to embrace anew Qazwīnī’s rationalized study of nature and magic, Zadeh dramatically revises the place of wonder in the history of Islamic thought. Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/24/202254 minutes, 6 seconds
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Beatrice Forbes Manz, "Nomads in the Middle East" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

A history of pastoral nomads in the Islamic Middle East, Nomads in the Middle East by Beatrice Forbes Manz (Cambridge University Press, 2021) charts the rise of nomadic power from the formation of Islam through the Middle Ages, when Mongols and Turks ruled most of the region, to the decline of nomadic power in the twentieth century. Offering a vivid insight into the impact of nomads on the politics, culture, and ideology of the region, Beatrice Forbes Manz examines and challenges existing perceptions of these nomads, including the popular cyclical model of nomad-settled interaction developed by Ibn Khaldun. Looking at both the Arab Bedouin and the nomads from the Eurasian steppe, Manz demonstrates the significance of Bedouin and Turco-Mongolian contributions to cultural production and political ideology in the Middle East, and shows the central role played by pastoral nomads in war, trade, and state-building throughout history. Nomads provided horses and soldiers for war, the livestock and guidance which made long-distance trade possible, and animal products to provision the region's growing cities. Maggie Freeman is a PhD student in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/21/202247 minutes, 43 seconds
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Nile Green, "The Love of Strangers: What Six Muslim Students Learned in Jane Austen's London" (Princeton UP, 2015)

In July 1815, six Iranian students arrived in London under the escort of their chaperone, Captain Joseph D'Arcy. Their mission was to master the modern sciences behind the rapid rise of Europe. Over the next four years, they lived both the low life and high life of Regency London, from being down and out after their abandonment by D’Arcy to charming their way into society and landing on the gossip pages. The Love of Strangers: What Six Muslim Students Learned in Jane Austen's London (Princeton UP, 2015) tells the story of their search for love and learning in Jane Austen’s England. Drawing on the Persian diary of the student Mirza Salih and the letters of his companions, Nile Green vividly describes how these adaptable Muslim migrants learned to enjoy the opera and take the waters at Bath. But there was more than frivolity to their student years in London. Burdened with acquiring the technology to defend Iran against Russia, they talked their way into the observatories, hospitals, and steam-powered factories that placed England at the forefront of the scientific revolution. All the while, Salih dreamed of becoming the first Muslim to study at Oxford. The Love of Strangers chronicles the frustration and fellowship of six young men abroad to open a unique window onto the transformative encounter between an Evangelical England and an Islamic Iran at the dawn of the modern age. This is that rarest of books about the Middle East and the West: a story of friendships. Nile Green is professor of history at UCLA. His many books include Sufism: A Global History. He lives in Los Angeles. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube Channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/14/20221 hour, 13 minutes, 39 seconds
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Ken Chitwood, "The Muslims of Latin America and the Caribbean" (Lynn Rienner, 2021)

Ken Chitwood’s book The Muslims of Latin America and the Caribbean (Lynn Rienner Publishers Inc, 2021) is a provocation to its readers to include Latin American and Caribbean Muslim histories and contemporary expressions of piety in our studies of Islam and Muslim societies, particularly those committed to the theorization of global Islam. The book synthesizes histories and scholarship of Latin American and Caribbean Muslim’s narratives, but also draws on ethnographic study conducted across the hemisphere to provide complex textures and layers to how Muslim identities are constructed and negotiated in diverse regions of Brazil, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and much more. The first half of the book maps historical lineages and conjectures of Muslim histories and claims that inform Latin American and Caribbean Muslim imaginations, such as of potential pre-Columbian contact, and connections with Spain, as well as the enduring legacies of enslaved African Muslims across the Black Atlantic and indentured servants (from India and Indonesia) and (Arab) immigrants. The second half shifts to contemporary Muslim communities and their various global entanglements as it is informed by Islamic praxis. Some of these expressions act as prisms that illuminate densities of Islamic orthodoxy, economics, capitalism, transnational flows (of material and popular culture), and politics. Examples of some topics discussed include the halal economy in Brazil, Sufi missionary activities in Mexico or contestations for Sunni hegemony over a mosque in Havana, Cuba. These chapters in the latter half of the book are insightful, fascinating, and nuanced case studies that would be of interest to various academic and non-academic readers, but can also be great teaching tools in the classroom as they work as stand-alone chapters. From its rich historical contextualization to its engagement of numerous contemporary issues that overlap and problematize topics of Islamophobia, orientalism, piety, spatial flows, geographies, transnationalism and diaspora, and global Islam, this book is a must read for scholars who work on Islam at the crossroads of various intersections. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/11/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 58 seconds
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Abiodun Alao, "Rage and Carnage in the Name of God: Religious Violence in Nigeria" (Duke UP, 2022)

In Rage and Carnage in the Name of God (Duke University Press, 2022), Dr. Abiodun Alao examines the emergence of a culture of religious violence in postindependence Nigeria, where Christianity, Islam, and traditional religions have all been associated with violence. He investigates the root causes and historical evolution of Nigeria’s religious violence, locating it in the forced coming together of disparate ethnic groups under colonial rule, which planted the seeds of discord that religion, elites, and domestic politics exploit. Dr. Alao discusses the histories of Christianity, Islam, and traditional religions in the territory that became Nigeria, the effects of colonization on the role of religion, the development of Islamic radicalization and its relation to Christian violence, the activities of Boko Haram, and how religious violence intermixes with politics and governance. In so doing, he uses religious violence as a way to more fully understand intergroup relations in contemporary Nigeria. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/11/202256 minutes, 52 seconds
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On Edward Said's "Orientalism"

Beginning in the 17th century, European countries began colonizing countries east of Europe. They imposed their own ideas over local cultures and extracted free labor and resources. One way that European colonizers justified this exploitation was through an academic discipline called Orientalism. In 1978, Edward Said, a professor of literature at Columbia University, published a book of the same name, Orientalism. In his critique, he challenged Europeans’ construction of the so-called “East,” laid bare the biases of Orientalist study, and transformed the course of humanities scholarship. Stathis Gourgouris is a professor of classics, English, and comparative literature at Columbia University. He is the author of books such as Dream Nation: Enlightenment, Colonization, and the Institution of Modern Greece and Does Literature Think?: Literature as Theory for an Antimythical Era. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/8/202234 minutes, 24 seconds
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Aisha Khan, "The Deepest Dye: Obeah, Hosay, and Race in the Atlantic World" (Harvard UP, 2021)

In The Deepest Dye: Obeah, Hosay, and Race in the Atlantic World (Harvard University Press, 2021), Aisha Khan explores how colonial categories of race and religion together created identities and hierarchies that today are vehicles for multicultural nationalism and social critique in the Caribbean and its diasporas. When the British Empire abolished slavery, Caribbean sugar plantation owners faced a labor shortage. To solve the problem, they imported indentured “coolie” laborers, Hindus and a minority Muslim population from the Indian subcontinent. Indentureship continued from 1838 until its official end in 1917. The Deepest Dye begins on post-emancipation plantations in the West Indies—where Europeans, Indians, and Africans intermingled for work and worship—and ranges to present-day England, North America, and Trinidad, where colonial-era legacies endure in identities and hierarchies that still shape the post-independence Caribbean and its contemporary diasporas. Aisha Khan focuses on the contested religious practices of obeah and Hosay, which are racialized as “African” and “Indian” despite the diversity of their participants. Obeah, a catch-all Caribbean term for sub-Saharan healing and divination traditions, was associated in colonial society with magic, slave insurrection, and fraud. This led to anti-obeah laws, some of which still remain in place. Hosay developed in the West Indies from Indian commemorations of the Islamic mourning ritual of Muharram. Although it received certain legal protections, Hosay’s mass gatherings, processions, and mock battles provoked fears of economic disruption and labor unrest that led to criminalization by colonial powers. The proper observance of Hosay was debated among some historical Muslim communities and continues to be debated now. In a nuanced study of these two practices, Aisha Khan sheds light on power dynamics through religious and racial identities formed in the context of colonialism in the Atlantic world, and shows how today these identities reiterate inequalities as well as reinforce demands for justice and recognition. Aisha Khan is Associate Professor of Anthropology at New York University. She is a cultural anthropologist whose research interests focus on the ways that race and religion intersect in the Atlantic world, particularly in the production of identities and political culture. Her work also is concerned with Asian and African diasporas in the Americas, indenture as a system of labor, the carceral state, and the prison industrial complex. She has published in numerous journals and anthologies. Her other books include Callaloo Nation: Metaphors of Race and Religious Identity among South Asians in Trinidad (Duke University Press, 2004) and Islam and the Americas (University Press of Florida, 2015). She has also been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Aleem Mahabir is a PhD candidate in Geography at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. His research interests lie at the intersection of Urban Geography, Social Exclusion and Psychology. His dissertation research focuses on the link among negative psychosocial dispositions, exclusion, and under-development among marginalized communities in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. You can find him on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/7/20221 hour, 15 minutes
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Peter Adamson, "Don't Think for Yourself: Authority and Belief in Medieval Philosophy" (U Notre Dame Press, 2022)

In Don't Think for Yourself: Authority and Belief in Medieval Philosophy (U Notre Dame Press, 2022), Peter Adamson provides an answer to a question as relevant today as it was in the medieval period: how and when should we turn to the authoritative expertise of other people in forming our own beliefs? He challenges us to reconsider our approach to this question through a constructive recovery of the intellectual and cultural traditions of the Islamic world, the Byzantine Empire, and Latin Christendom. Adamson begins by foregrounding the distinction in Islamic philosophy between taqlid, or the uncritical acceptance of authority, and ijtihad, or judgment based on independent effort, the latter of which was particularly prized in Islamic law, theology, and philosophy during the medieval period. He then demonstrates how the Islamic tradition paves the way for the development of what he calls a “justified taqlid,” according to which one develops the skills necessary to critically and selectively follow an authority based on their reliability. The book proceeds to reconfigure our understanding of the relation between authority and independent thought in the medieval world by illuminating how women found spaces to assert their own intellectual authority, how medieval writers evaluated the authoritative status of Plato and Aristotle, and how independent reasoning was deployed to defend one Abrahamic faith against the other. This clear and eloquently written book will interest scholars in and enthusiasts of medieval philosophy, Islamic studies, Byzantine studies, and the history of thought. Peter Adamson is professor of philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat. Jackson Reinhardt is a graduate of University of Southern California and Vanderbilt University. He is currently an independent scholar, freelance writer, and research assistant. You can reach Jackson at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JTRhardt Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/4/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 36 seconds
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John Jeffries Martin, "A Beautiful Ending: The Apocalyptic Imagination and the Making of the Modern World" (Yale UP, 2022)

Professor Martin’s A Beautiful Ending: The Apocalyptic Imagination and the Making of the Modern World (Yale, 2022) is a survey of Early Modern European history from the Age of Discovery to the French Revolution with two important distinctions. First, Professor Martin views modernity through the enduring dream of the Apocalypse (which he calls the “stamp of modernity,” 250); second, he compares the Christian philosophy of the Apocalypse to the views of the two other great European religious traditions in this era—Judaism and Islam. The result is a magisterial survey of the age that presents familiar stories examined from a new angle. Christians, Muslims, and Jews alike understood the rapidly-changing, modern world they shared in terms of their common Abrahamic faith with its messianic elements, or “Apocalyptic Braid” (13). And, in addition, Christian Habsburgs and Muslim Ottomans entertained competing narratives of World Empire contested on continental battlefields and in the Mediterranean Sea as well as in literature. The Beautiful Ending ultimately was both the balm for the terrible uncertainties of the age but also a motivation for the modern Europeans to shape their own destiny—a motivation that Professor Martin argues has remained with us until today—“the idea that we are not simply made by history but also make history continues to stem from faith, and it matters little whether or not this faith is religious” (247). John Jeffries Martin is a historian of early modern Europe at Duke University. He specializes in social, cultural, and intellectual history of Italy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He is the author of Venice’s Hidden Enemies: Italian Heretics in a Renaissance City (1993), which won the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association, Myths of Renaissance Individualism (2004), as well as this book, A Beautiful Ending. He is the author of over 50 articles and essays and several edited volumes, including The Renaissance World (2007). After recording this interview about history for the New Books in History Podcast, Krzysztof Odyniec and John Jeffries Martin recorded a second conversation about Apocalypse from the Early Modern period to the present day for the Almost Good Catholics podcast; the link is here. Krzysztof Odyniec is a historian of the Early Modern Europe and the Atlantic World, specializing in sixteenth-century diplomacy and travel. His forthcoming book is Diplomacy at the Edges of Empires: Johannes Dantiscus in Spain, 1519-1352 (published by Brepols). He also hosts and produces the Almost Good Catholics podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/27/202258 minutes, 4 seconds
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Saskia Warren, "British Muslim Women in the Cultural and Creative Industries" (Edinburgh UP, 2022)

Why is religion important in understanding creative industries? In British Muslim Women in the Cultural and Creative Industries (Edinburgh University Press, 2022), Saskia Warren, a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester, presents an analysis of the fashion, digital media, and visual arts industries to show, for the first time, the centrality of faith and religion to any intersectional analysis of contemporary cultural production and consumption. The book uses in depth interviews, as well as a rich and detailed understanding of institutions and trends, to map the unique experiences of British Muslim women. Offering insights as to the barriers and exclusions, as well as the successes and forms of resistance, experienced by this community, the book is essential reading across social sciences and the humanities, as well as for anyone interested in understanding how culture is made today. Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Sheffield. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/26/202243 minutes, 52 seconds
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Michael Francis Laffan, "Under Empire: Muslim Lives and Loyalties Across the Indian Ocean World, 1775–1945" (Columbia UP, 2022)

Michael Francis Laffan’s Under Empire: Muslim Lives and Loyalties Across the Indian Ocean World, 1775–1945 (Columbia University Press, 2022) traces a tapestry of historical actors, empires, and ideas across the Indian Ocean world. Starting with an imam banished from eastern Indonesia to the Cape of Good Hope in 1780 to build a new Muslim community with a mix of fellow exiles, enslaved people, and even the men tasked with supervising his detention. To nineteenth-century colonial chroniclers who invent the legend of the “loyal Malay” warrior, whose anger can be tamed through the “mildness” of British rule. And a Tunisian-born teacher who arrived in Java from Istanbul in the early twentieth century becomes an enterprising Arabic-language journalist caught between competing nationalisms. Telling these stories and many more, Michael Laffan offers a sweeping exploration of two centuries of interactions among Muslim subjects of empires and future nation-states around the Indian Ocean world. Under Empire follows interlinked lives and journeys, examining engagements with Western, Islamic, and pan-Asian imperial formations to consider the possibilities for Muslims in an imperial age. It ranges from the dying era of the trading companies in the late eighteenth century through the period of Dutch and British colonial rule up to the rise of nationalist and cosmopolitan movements for social reform in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Laffan emphasizes how Indian Ocean Muslims by turn asserted loyalty to colonial states in pursuit of a measure of religious freedom or looked to the Ottoman Empire or Egypt in search of spiritual unity. Bringing the history of Southeast Asian Islam to African and South Asian shores, Under Empire is an expansive and inventive account of Muslim communal belonging on the world stage. Michael Francis Laffan is professor of history and Paula Chow Chair in International and Regional Studies at Princeton University. He is the author of Islamic Nationhood and Colonial Indonesia (2003) and The Makings of Indonesian Islam (2011) as well as the editor of Belonging Across the Bay of Bengal (2017). Kelvin Ng co-hosted the episode. He is a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University, History Department. His research interests broadly lie in the history of imperialism and anti-imperialism in the early-twentieth-century Indian Ocean circuit. Tamara Fernando co-hosted the episode. She is a Past & Present postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Historical Research, London, and an incoming assistant professor in the history of the global south at SUNY Stony Brook University. Her present book project, Of Mollusks and Men, is a history of pearl diving across the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Mannar and the Mergui archipelago. She is interested in histories of science, environment, and labour across the Indian Ocean. Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at PrincetonUniversity, Near Eastern Studies Department. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult, and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/24/20222 hours, 6 minutes, 29 seconds
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Yohanan Friedmann, "Messianic Ideas and Movements in Sunni Islam" (Oneworld Academic, 2022)

In his fascinating and painstakingly research new book Messianic Ideas and Movements in Sunni Islam (Oneworld Academic, 2022), the noted scholar of Islam Yohanan Friedmann details the religious thought and political movements of multiple actors who made messianic claims in premodern and modern Islam, spanning sites including South Asia, North Africa, and the Sudan. Over the course of this book, we learn extensively about a range of less known intellectual traditions-in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu-on questions of messianism and apocalypse in Muslim thought and history. Centered on the lives, messianic claims and aspirations, as well as the tensions and contradictions hovering over some of the most prominent Muslim actors across time and space, Friedmann highlights with glistening brilliance the importance of messianism to Sunni Islam. Throughout the book, Friedmann unleashes his signature prowess of presenting unexpected, finely grained, and yet eminently accessible readings of an encyclopedic reservoir of difficult texts and sources. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/22/202259 minutes, 6 seconds
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Siobhan Lambert-Hurley et al., "Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women" (Indiana UP, 2022)

Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Daniel Majchrowicz, and Sunil Sharma's edited anthology Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women (Indiana University Press 2022) is a collection of travel writings from the late 19th century to the early and mid-20th century. It captures the fascinating lives of diverse Muslim women as they travelled for religious pilgrimage, political reasons, education, and for leisure. This anthology not only recovers the voices of women from a broad range of languages, Urdu, Punjabi, Turkish, and Persian but also provides the historical and cultural contexts necessary to understand the full significance of what these women were trying to convey of their experiences in their context. Such fascinating travel excerpts include those of Mirza Khalil and the Nur Begum’s pilgrimage to hajj or those of the Egyptian Huda Shaarawi or Amina Said’s travel related to their thinking of feminism, the Indonesian communist Suharti Suwarto’s visit to the Soviet Union or the Indian nurse Mehr al-Nisa navigating new life in Ohio, to name just a few of the 45 examples documented here. The historical experiences of Muslim women offers a fascinating and understudied point of insight into the role of imperial, colonial, and global history.  The original texts gathered are accessible via the accompanying website for you to check out and explore. This anthology will be of interest to anyone working on travel, colonial history, Muslim women, and comparative literature, Islamic Studies. It will also be an excellent resource in many courses that cover a range of topics be it religious piety, feminism, travel, travel writing, and much more. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/14/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Future of the Taliban: A Discussion with Ahmed Rashid

Are the Afghan Taliban now unbeatable? They have had two remarkable victories, first seeing off the Soviets and then the Americans. But while Afghans may be prepared to fight for them, do they actually want to live under them? And what kind of government have they formed? Join this conversation between Owen Bennett Jones and Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid whose book Taliban: The Power of Militant Islam in Afghanistan and Beyond became an international best seller. Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/11/202235 minutes, 14 seconds
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Sarah Fatima Waheed, "Hidden Histories of Pakistan: Censorship, Literature, and Secular Nationalism in Late Colonial India" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

Censorship, Urdu literature, Islam, and progressive secular nationalisms in colonial India and Pakistan have a complex, intertwined history. Sarah Waheed, Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina, offers a timely examination of the role of progressive Muslim intellectuals in the Pakistan movement in her new book, Hidden Histories of Pakistan: Censorship, Literature, and Secular Nationalism in Late Colonial India (Cambridge University Press, 2022). She delves into how these left-leaning intellectuals drew from long-standing literary traditions of Islam in a period of great duress and upheaval, complicating our understanding of the relationship between religion and secularism.  Rather than seeing 'religion' and 'the secular' as distinct and oppositional phenomena, this book demonstrates how these concepts themselves were historically produced in South Asia and were deeply interconnected in the cultural politics of the left. Through a detailed analysis of trials for blasphemy, obscenity, and sedition, and feminist writers, Waheed argues that Muslim intellectuals engaged with socialism and communism through their distinctive ethical and cultural past. In so doing, she provides a fresh perspective on the creation of Pakistan and South Asian modernity. In our conversation we discuss leftist Muslim ideals, Urdu literary network, deconstructing the religious/secular binary, the banning of the controversial “Burning Embers” collection, the renowned writer Saadat Hasan Manto, the politics of sexuality, South Asia’s colonial legacies, poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Islamic traditions of aesthetics and ethics, legal trials on obscenity and blasphemy, feminist poet Fahmida Riaz, the gender politics of progressive intellectual spaces, and notions of South Asian Muslim nationalism and communal identity. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/7/202259 minutes, 32 seconds
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Emily Jane O'Dell, "The Gift of Rumi: Experiencing the Wisdom of the Sufi Master" (St. Martin's Essentials, 2022)

The Gift of Rumi: Experiencing the Wisdom of the Sufi Master (St. Martin’s Press, 2022), written by Dr. Emily Jane O’Dell was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2022. In this rich and insightful book, Dr. O’Dell takes us through her own spiritual and physical travels, as well as gives us historical and Islamic mystic context to help us understand and cherish the words of Rumi on a deeper level. As one of the world's most loved poets, Rumi's poems are celebrated for their message of love and their beauty, but too often they are stripped of their mystical and spiritual meanings. The Gift of Rumi offers a new reading of Rumi, contextualizing his work against the broader backdrop of Islamic mysticism and adding a richness and authenticity that is lacking in many Westernized conceptions of his work. Author Emily Jane O'Dell has studied Sufism both academically, in her work and research at Harvard, Columbia, and the American University of Beirut, and in practice, learning from a Mevlevi master and his whirling dervishes in Istanbul. She weaves this expertise throughout The Gift of Rumi, sharing a new vision of Rumi’s classic work. At the heart of Rumi’s mystical poetry is the “religion of love” which transcends all religions. Through his majestic verses of ecstasy and longing, Rumi invites us into the religion of the heart and guides us to our own loving inner essence. The Gift of Rumi gives us a key to experiencing this profound and powerful invitation, allowing readers to meet the master in a new way. Meg Gambino is an artist and activist currently working as the Client and Community Relations Manager at a local nonprofit focused on ending hunger in North Penn. Her life mission is to creatively empower others by modeling reconciliation between communities of people and people on the margins. Find her on Instagram @megambino. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/5/202238 minutes, 39 seconds
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Waleed Ziad, "Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints Beyond the Oxus and Indus" (Harvard UP, 2021)

Today, we speak with Waleed Ziad, about his book Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints beyond the Oxus and Indus, published in 2021 with Harvard University Press. Ziad is an assistant professor of Religion at UNC Chapel Hill and holds a PhD from Yale. In Hidden Caliphate, Ziad offers an incredibly rich, fascinating, and detailed study of Sufi networks. These are expansive networks that span a wide array of geography, from Afghanistan to China to Siberia. Challenging dominant and often simplistic narratives of the region, reduced to the story of the Great Game, the book centers on the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi Sufi order, the hidden caliphate in Ziad's title, who play instrumental roles in shaping the religious, social, political, and intellectual landscapes of Central and South Asia. Ziad shows that these networks stay alive well into the 20th century, in a period that other scholars have argued is one of decline, with their legacy and influence still alive today, embedded in everyday life and culture throughout the region. The book is a riveting telling of the mujaddidis’ impact on Muslim reformist movements and their responses to the decline of Muslim political power. In our discussion today, we talk about Ziad’s arguments and contributions. Some of the specific themes we cover in this discussion are Islamic sovereignty and kingship, millenarian eschatology, Sufis as scholars and scholars as Sufis, intellectuals, and teachers, Sufism’s connection with orthodoxy, parallels between Sufi training and Tantric Buddhist esoterism, the woman question in the book, and colonialism and its impact on the Mujaddidis. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/30/20221 hour, 34 minutes, 21 seconds
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Nazia Kazi, "Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018)

Nazia Kazi’s Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) is a brilliant and powerful meditation on the intersection and interaction of Islamophobia, racism, and U.S. imperial state power. This book seeks to reorient our understanding of Islamophobia from a phenomenon centered on individual attitudes and perceptions of hate, to one which is indelibly entrenched to the structural logics of modern state sovereignty, and to the long-running history of racism in the U.S. Another distinctive feature of this book lies in its sustained and nuanced analysis of liberal Islamophobia in varied social and political domains, that tethers the promise of being categorized as “good Muslim” to the endorsement and celebration of American exceptionalism. Combining methods and perspectives from anthropology, visual studies, race studies, and political studies, this thoroughly interdisciplinary book is also eminently accessible and written beautifully, rendering it particularly suitable for courses on modern Islam, Race and Religion, Islam in America, among many other topics. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/27/202246 minutes, 15 seconds
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Mohamed Abdou, "Islam and Anarchism: Relationships and Resonances" (Pluto Press, 2022)

In his new book Islam and Anarchism: Relationships and Resonances (Pluto Press, 2022), Mohamed Abdou reimagines the parameters of political Islam and the possibilities of anarchistic interpretation of Islam and Islamic interpretation of anarchism, which is conceptualized as “Anarcha-Islam.” Rooted in the hermeneutical tradition of the Qur’an, the study draws from radical Indigenous, Black, Islamic anarchistic, and social movements discourses, as well as BIPOC and Queer thought. In outlining the commitments of anarcha-Islam, the book covers topics of non-authoritarian structures of governmentality, non-capitalist approaches to property and caretaking, and approaches to self-defensive violence. The book will be of use to scholars who think and teach on Qur’anic hermeneutics, political Islam, social movements, critical race studies, and decolonial approaches to Islam and Muslim communities. The book is also written particularly for activists on the ground involved in social movements and organizing. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/16/20221 hour, 14 minutes, 16 seconds
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L. L. Wynn and Angel M. Foster, "Sex in the Middle East and North Africa" (Vanderbilt UP, 2022)

L. L. Wynn and Angel M. Foster,'s edited volume Sex in the Middle East and North Africa (Vanderbilt UP, 2022) examines the sexual practices, politics, and complexities of the modern Arab world. Short chapters feature a variety of experts in anthropology, sociology, health science, and cultural studies. Many of the chapters are based on original ethnographic and interview work with subjects involved in these practices and include their voices. The book is organized into three sections: Single and Dating, Engaged and Married, and It's Complicated. The allusion to categories of relationship status on social media is at once a nod to the compulsion to categorize, recognition of the many ways that categorization is rarely straightforward, and acknowledgment that much of the intimate lives described by the contributors is mediated by online technologies. Mathew Gagné is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/8/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 10 seconds
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Tilde Rosmer, "The Islamic Movement in Israel" (U Texas Press, 2022)

Since its establishment in the late 1970s, Israel’s Islamic Movement has grown from a small religious revivalist organization focused on strengthening the faith of Muslim Palestinian citizens of Israel to a countrywide sociopolitical movement with representation in the Israeli legislature. But how did it get here? How does it differ from other Islamic movements in the region? Particularly, what are the differences and connections – if any – with Hamas? And why does its membership continue to grow? Tilde Rosmer examines these issues in The Islamic Movement in Israel (U Texas Press, 2022) as she tells the story of the movement, its identity, and its activities. Using interviews with movement leaders and activists, their documents, and media reports from Israel and beyond, she traces the movement’s history from its early days to its 1996 split over the issue of its relationship to the state. She then tell us how the two factions have functioned since, revealing that while leaders of the two branches have pursued different approaches to the state, until the outlawing of the Northern Branch in 2015, both remained connected and dedicated to providing needed social, education, and health services in Israel’s Palestinian towns and villages. The first book in English on this group, The Islamic Movement in Israel is a timely study about how an Islamist movement operates within the unique circumstances of the Jewish state that may also help the listeners to make sense of the upcoming Israeli elections. Roberto Mazza is visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/7/20221 hour, 20 minutes, 13 seconds
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Aniket De, "The Boundary of Laughter: Popular Performances Across Borders in South Asia" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Combining archival research with ethnographic fieldwork, Aniket De's book The Boundary of Laughter: Popular Performances Across Borders in South Asia (Oxford UP, 2022) explores how spaces of popular performance have changed with the emergence of national borders in modern South Asia. The author traces the making of the popular theater form called Gambhira by Hindu and Muslim peasants and laborers in colonial Bengal, and explores the fate of the tradition after the Partition of the region in 1947. Drawing on a rich and hitherto unexplored archive of Gambhira songs and plays, this book provides a new approach for studying popular performances as shared spaces-that can accommodate peoples across national and religious boundaries. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/1/202237 minutes, 41 seconds
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Matthew Teller, "Nine Quarters of Jerusalem: A New Biography of the Old City" (Other Press, 2022)

Jerusalem’s Old City is normally understood to be split into four quarters: the Jewish Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Muslim Quarter. Those designations can be found on maps, on guidebooks, on news articles, and countless other pieces of writing about the city. But as Matthew Teller points out in his latest book, Nine Quarters of Jerusalem: A New Biography of the Old City (Profile Books / Other Press, 2022): the idea of the “four quarters” is entirely a nineteenth century creation, invented by a couple of British mapmakers. Instead, Teller explores Jerusalem and all its myriad peoples–not just the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the Africans, Syrians, and other peoples that call the holy city their home. In this interview, Matthew and I talk about how we should actually think about Jerusalem, and all the different people that make the city what it is today. Matthew Teller writes for the BBC, The Guardian, Times of London, Financial Times, and other global media. He has produced and presented documentaries for BBC Radio and has reported for the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent program from around the Middle East and beyond. He is the author of several travel guides, including the Rough Guide to Jordan (Rough Guides: 2012). He is also the author of Quite Alone: Journalism from the Middle East 2008–2019. He can be followed on Twitter at @matthewteller. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Nine Quarters of Jerusalem. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/1/202251 minutes, 40 seconds
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Hussein Aboubakr Mansour, "Minority Of One: The Unchaining of an Arab Mind" (2020)

“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” ― George Orwell, 1984 How do people change? How does someone living in a closed and oppressive society develop insights and a worldview at odds with everything around them and everyone they know? This is the journey of change for one such person. Hussein Aboubakr Mansour, born in 1989 in Cairo, Egypt received a conservative Muslim education and grew up religiously devout, originally wanting to become a jihadist. While witnessing the creeping radicalization of society, he developed his own personal beliefs, pursuing with strength and determination the right to live freely. He participated in the Arab Spring protests in 2011 and soon afterward sought political asylum in the United States which was granted in 2014. Hussein has since served as an Assistant Professor of Hebrew Language at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, become a U.S citizen in 2017, served in the U.S Army Reserve, and is currently a public speaker, a blogger and an advocate for peace and education. Through a very circuitous route, Hussein Aboubakr grew to challenge the all-pervasive propaganda in his native Egypt, driving its citizens to hate the West and all Infidels, in particular The United States, the state of Israel and the Jewish people. His deeply inquisitive intellect led him to suffer interrogations, imprisonments and torture, until finally being granted political asylum in the U.S. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at [email protected] Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/30/202243 minutes, 34 seconds
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Asad Q. Ahmed, "Palimpsests of Themselves: Logic and Commentary in Postclassical Muslim South Asia" (U California Press, 2022)

In his dense yet delightful new book Palimpsests of Themselves: Logic and Commentary in Postclassical Muslim South Asia (University of California Press, 2022), Asad Ahmad examines in layered detail the textual and commentarial tradition on the discipline in logic in early modern and modern South Asia, while constantly connecting his study to broader Muslim intellectual currents beyond South Asia. Focused on the seventeenth century text Sullam al-‘Ulum (The Ladder of the Sciences) by Muhibullah al-Bihari, Ahmed treats his readers to a journey through the operations, ambiguities, and possibilities of the dizzyingly complex yet enormously profitable landscape of the logic tradition in South Asian Islam. Textually magisterial, historically grounded, and ferociously erudite, this book breaks new and critical ground about an extremely important topic that is yet all too infrequently studied. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/26/202244 minutes, 55 seconds
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Karen Bauer and Feras Hamza, "An Anthology of Qur'anic Commentaries (vol. 2): On Women" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Karen Bauer and Feras Hamza's co-written book An Anthology of Qur’anic Commentaries (vol. 2): On Women (Oxford UP, 2022) is a collection of historical and contemporary commentaries on the Qur’an. It covers five issues: human creation and the idea of “a single soul”; marital roles, specifically Qur’anic verse 4:34 and women’s status in a marriage; Mary, mother of Jesus; women’s legal testimony; and Qur’anic ideas of modesty, specifically of veiling. A chapter is devoted to each of these topics, comprising classical, medieval, modern, and contemporary interpretations of these verses. All chapters include various Muslim perspectives, such as Sunni, Twelver Shia, Ismaili, Ibadi, and Sufi; with the exception of the chapter on Mary, each chapter also includes interviews with contemporary scholars, namely amina wadud, Sa’diyya Shaikh, Fariba Alasvand, Yusuf Saanei, and Nasser Ghorbannia. The various and competing perspectives explored in this volume highlight the diversity and plurality of the Islamic exegetical tradition, portraying commentaries as a very human and engaging endeavor. These commentaries are always in conversation with the cultural and political milieu of the commentator’s time and place, but they also deeply honor the commentaries of past generations as a way to demonstrate authority and knowledge of the historical male tradition. The book also includes an important and powerful chapter, a prolegomenon, on the Qur’anic lexicon on women, which offers a chronological sequence of women in the Qur’an and which traces the development of the Qur’an’s worldview from the earliest Meccan revelations through the later Medinan period. So, for instance, in the early Meccan verses, women are addressed rather implicitly and largely as a part of an anti-pagan polemic, but by the later Medinan verses, women have emerged as active pious and social subjects. In this very engaging and enriching conversation with Karen Bauer and Feras Hamza, we discuss many of these issues and all of the chapters. We talk extensively about Qur’anic verse 4:34 on marital roles and responsibilities, about what it means to read the Qur’an literally—and is it even possible not to?—about tradition and tafsir and the limits of both, and about lived reality and religious authority. The interview was done in video format, and some listeners might enjoy watching it in its original form on my YouTube channel, What the Patriarchy. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/19/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 5 seconds
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Hussein Banai, "Hidden Liberalism: Burdened Visions of Progress in Modern Iran" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

Compared to rival ideologies, liberalism has fared rather poorly in modern Iran. This is all the more remarkable given the essentially liberal substance of various social and political struggles - for liberal legality, individual rights and freedoms, and pluralism - in the century-long period since the demise of the Qajar dynasty and the subsequent transformation of the country into a modern nation-state. The deeply felt but largely invisible purchase of liberal political ideas in Iran challenges us to think more expansively about the trajectory of various intellectual developments since the emergence of a movement for reform and constitutionalism in the late nineteenth century. It complicates parsimonious accounts of Shi'ism, secularism, socialism, nationalism, and royalism as defining or representative ideologies of particular eras. Hidden Liberalism: Burdened Visions of Progress in Modern Iran (Cambridge UP, 2020) offers a critical examination of the reasons behind liberalism's invisible yet influential status, and its attendant ethical quandaries, in Iranian political and intellectual discourses. Hussein Banai is an Associate Professor of International Studies in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Research Affiliate at the Center for International Studies at MIT. Banai's research interests lie at the intersection of political thought and international relations, with a special focus on topics in democratic theory, non-Western liberal thought, diplomatic history and theory, US-Iran relations, and Iran’s political development. He has published on these topics in academic, policy, and popular periodicals. In addition to Hidden Liberalism, he is the co-author of two volumes on US-Iran relations: Republics of Myth: National Narratives and the US-Iran Conflict (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022); Becoming Enemies: U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979–1988 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012); and co-editor of Human Rights at the Intersections: Transformation through Local, Global, and Cosmopolitan Challenges (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2023).  Amir Sayadabdi is a Lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. He is mainly interested in anthropology of food and its intersection with gender studies, migration studies, and studies of race, ethnicity, and nationalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/18/202256 minutes, 6 seconds
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Paul Naylor, "From Rebels to Rulers: Writing Legitimacy in the Early Sokoto State" (James Currey, 2021)

Sokoto was the largest and longest lasting of West Africa's nineteenth-century Muslim empires. Its intellectual and political elite left behind a vast written record, including over 300 Arabic texts authored by the jihad's leaders: Usman dan Fodio, his brother Abdullahi and his son, Muhammad Bello (known collectively as the Fodiawa). Sokoto's early years are one of the most documented periods of pre-colonial African history, yet current narratives pay little attention to the formative role these texts played in the creation of Sokoto, and the complex scholarly world from which they originated.  Far from being unified around a single concept of Muslim statecraft, Paul Naylor's book From Rebels to Rulers: Writing Legitimacy in the Early Sokoto State (James Currey, 2021) demonstrates how divided the Fodiawa were about what Sokoto could and should be, and the various discursive strategies they used to enrol local societies into their vision. Based on a close analysis of the sources (some appearing in English translation for the first time) and an effort to date their intellectual production, the book restores agency to Sokoto's leaders as individuals with different goals, characters and methods. More generally, it shows how revolutionary religious movements gain legitimacy, and how the kind of legitimacy they claim changes as they move from rebels to rulers. Paul Naylor is a Cataloguer of West African Manuscripts at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, Minnesota. He has held teaching positions at Loyola University Chicago and Tulane University's Africana Studies Program. Sara Katz is a Postdoctoral Associate in the History Department at Duke University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/17/202248 minutes, 49 seconds
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Matthew Mark Silver, "The History of Galilee, 47 BCE to 1260 CE: From Josephus and Jesus to the Crusades" (Lexington Books, 2021)

Galilee, the region where monotheism multiplied, where Christianity came into being, where Judaism reinvented itself, and where Islam won some of its greatest triumphs. Matthew Silver's two volumes--The History of Galilee, 47 BCE to 1260 CE: From Josephus and Jesus to the Crusades (Lexington Books, 2021), and The History of Galilee, 1538-1949: Mysticism, Modernization, and War (Lexington Books, 2022)--chronicle the fascinating history of the Galilee region in a tour de force that includes interest in geography, politics, history, philosophy, and religion. Tune in as we speak with Matthew Silver about his recent books on The History of Galilee. M.M. Silver is professor of Jewish history and world history at the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College and at the University of Haifa. Michael Morales is Professor of Biblical Studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the author of The Tabernacle Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus (Peeters, 2012), Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of Leviticus (IVP Academic, 2015), and Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption (IVP Academic, 2020). He can be reached at [email protected] Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/13/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 30 seconds
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Sevgi Adak, "Anti-Veiling Campaigns in Turkey: State, Society and Gender in the Early Republic" (I. B. Tauris, 2022)

The veiling and unveiling of women have been controversial issues in Turkey since the late-Ottoman period. It was with the advent of local campaigns against certain veils in the 1930s, however, that women's dress turned into an issue of national mobilisation in which gender norms would be redefined.  In Anti-Veiling Campaigns in Turkey: State, Society and Gender in the Early Republic (I. B. Tauris, 2022), Sevgi Adak casts light onto the historical context within which the meanings of veiling and unveiling in Turkey were formed. By shifting the focus from the high politics of the elite to the implementation of state policies, the book situates the anti-veiling campaigns as a space where the Kemalist reforms were negotiated, compromised and resisted by societal actors. Using previously unpublished archival material, Adak reveals the intricacies of the Kemalist modernisation process and provides a nuanced reading of the gender order established in the early republic by looking at the various ways women responded to the anti-veiling campaigns. A major contribution to the literature on the social history of modern Turkey, the book provides a complex analysis of these campaigns which goes beyond a simple binary between liberation and oppression. Reuben Silverman is a PhD candidate at University of California, San Diego. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/12/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 23 seconds
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Jordan Denari Duffner, "Islamophobia: What Christians Should Know (and Do) about Anti-Muslim Discrimination" (Orbis, 2021)

Jordan Denari Duffner is an author and scholar of Muslim-Christian relations, interreligious dialogue, and Islamophobia. Jordan is currently pursuing a PhD in Theological and Religious Studies at Georgetown University. A former Fulbright scholar, she is also an associate of the Bridge Initiative, where she previously worked from 2014 to 2017 as a research fellow. Jordan’s writing on Islam and Catholicism has appeared in numerous outlets including TIME, The Washington Post, and America. This episode discusses her newest book Islamophobia: What Christians Should Know (and do) about Anti-Muslim Discrimination (Orbis, 2021) You can find her at JordanDenari.com and on twitter @JordanDenari. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/11/202255 minutes, 12 seconds
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David R. Stroup, "Pure and True: The Everyday Politics of Ethnicity for China's Hui Muslims" (U Washington Press, 2022)

Compared to their Uyghur and Kazakh co-religionists in Xinjiang, China’s largest single Muslim group – the Hui – has received less media and scholarly attention lately, perhaps understandably so since the former groups have borne the brunt of the campaigns of ethnic enclosure and erasure launched in recent years by the Chinese Communist Party. But as a near-ubiquitous presence across China and thus a community deeply involved in the waves of migration and urbanisation affecting many PRC citizens in recent decades, the Hui offer a compelling case through which to examine how religious, ethnic, class and other identities intersect with these processes. Focusing on communities in four diverse Chinese cities, David Stroup’s Pure and True: The Everyday Politics of Ethnicity for China's Hui Muslims (U Washington Press, 2022) provides a careful dissection of the complex negotiations of intersecting identities that face today’s Hui. Based on dozens of interviews and ethnographic observation, this clearly written and persuasive book has much to say about how people’s day-to-day understandings of ‘Huiness’ intersect with the categories put forward by the state, and how local debates unfolding internally within Hui communities may be reframed as they themselves fall under the gaze of the ‘people’s war on terror.’ Ed Pulford is an Anthropologist and Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on friendships and histories between the Chinese, Korean and Russian worlds, and indigeneity in northeast Asia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
8/9/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 47 seconds
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Culturally Competent Health Care, Equality in Health Care: The Case of Muslims and Jews in the UK

The health care sector frequently emphasizes “Cultural competence”, an elastic concept that stretches from the simplest recognition of diversity of patient populations, to include policy implications of patients’ overall worldviews re the body, health, and decision-making. The issue, highlighted again in the recent U.S. Supreme Court abortion decision, gained prominence during Covid-19 pandemic, with the challenge of so-called marginal groups’ access to and compliance with vaccination programs. Legislation for equality impacts minority health care. It has brought both benefits and unintended consequences. We will talk about these important issues with today’s guest, Ben Kasstan, Ph.D., an anthropologist at the University of Bristol and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His research explores public health, specifically, what health protection means and according to whom. Ben’s published works on public health issues include maternity care, childhood vaccinations, and sexuality education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/27/202229 minutes, 9 seconds
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Kecia Ali, ed., "Tying the Knot: A Feminist/Womanist Guide to Muslim Marriage in America" (Open BU, 2021)

Are you a born, revert, or convert Muslim who is trying to navigate the puzzle that is Muslim marriage in America? Do you want an egalitarian and fair Muslim marriage? Have you ever wondered how you can institute equality, respect, and care in your marital relationship? Do you want an interfaith and/or a non-heteronormative marriage? Are you planning or drafting a marriage contract that is more suitable for you and your marital goals? How can you build an ethics of care that facilitates and accommodates you, your partner, and your broader community? If you are curious about these and other questions related to Muslim marriages, then Tying the Knot: A Feminist/Womanist Guide to Muslim Marriage in America (Open BU, 2021) is the book for you. This book is edited by Dr Kecia Ali and advances the conversation that Dr Ali, along with her contributors, initiated in a reader, Half of Faith: American Muslim Marriage and Divorce in the Twenty-First Century. Tying the Knot is a collection of reflections and guides to facilitate Muslim women on their path to marriage. It addresses curiosities, questions, controversies, and needs of women from diverse Muslim communities in America. It also provides the solutions, guides, and sample contract drafts to equip them with the tools that they need to make the best decision for themselves before, during, or after their marriages. The book contains chapters that address issues as diverse as Muslim women’s interfaith/interracial/interethnic marriages, Muslim LGBTQ+ marriages, Muta’h marriage, pre-marital counseling and contracts, officiating the diverse Muslim marriages, and Muslim widows and their challenges. This book is available open-access here.  Iqra Shagufta Cheema (@so_difoucault) is a researcher, writer, teacher, and a chronic procrastinator. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/26/202259 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Future of Al Qaeda: A Discussion with Nelly Lahoud

The 9/11 attacks mean Al Qaeda will always have a place in history. But it that it? Or might it have the capacity to endure? Its striking that the UN has issued a report saying that Al-Qaida’s haven in Afghanistan means it could make a comeback. The years since 9/11 have seen ever more information about Al Qaeda coming in the public domain not least because of the documents and files seized in Abbottabad, Pakistan where bin Laden was living after 9/11 and where he was killed. Nelly Lahoud, senior fellow in New America's International Security program and has analysed thousands of the Abbottabad documents and describes what she found. She is the author of The Bin Laden Papers: How the Abbottabad Raid Revealed the Truth about Al-Qaeda, Its Leader and His Family (Yale UP, 2022). Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/26/202250 minutes, 22 seconds
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Asim Qureshi, "I Refuse to Condemn: Resisting Racism in Times of National Security" (Manchester UP, 2020)

In times of heightened national security, scholars and activists from the communities under suspicion often attempt to alert the public to the more complex stories behind the headlines. But when they raise questions about the government, military and police policy, these individuals are routinely shut down and accused of being terrorist sympathizers or apologists. In such environments, there is immense pressure to condemn what society at large fears.  I Refuse to Condemn: Resisting Racism in Times of National Security (Manchester University Press, 2021) explains how the expectation to condemn has emerged, tracking it against the normalization of racism, and explores how writers manage to subvert expectations as part of their commitment to anti-racism. In my conversation with the collection’s editor, Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE, an independent advocacy organization, we discuss the culture of condemnation and the presumption of guilt, its psychological and physiological impacts, issues of trauma, white supremacy and racism as a system of power, structural racism’s relationship to national security, Prevent and countering violent extremism programs, cultural representation, the role of artists and performers, the afterlife of one’s work or art, and advocacy to dismantle anti-Muslim racism. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/15/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 55 seconds
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Evan Berry, "Climate Politics and the Power of Religion" (Indiana UP, 2022)

How does our faith affect how we think about and respond to climate change? Climate Politics and the Power of Religion (Indiana University Press, 2022) is an edited collection that explores the diverse ways that religion shapes climate politics at the local, national, and international levels. Drawing on case studies from across the globe, it stands at the intersection of religious studies, environment policy, and global politics. From small island nations confronting sea-level rise and intensifying tropical storms to high-elevation communities in the Andes and Himalayas wrestling with accelerating glacial melt, there is tremendous variation in the ways that societies draw on religion to understand and contend with climate change. Climate Politics and the Power of Religion offers 10 timely case studies that demonstrate how different communities render climate change within their own moral vocabularies and how such moral claims find purchase in activism and public debates about climate policy. Whether it be Hindutva policymakers in India, curanderos in Peru, or working-class people's concerns about the transgressions of petroleum extraction in Trinidad—religion affects how they all are making sense of and responding to this escalating global catastrophe. Evan Berry is an associate professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University and President of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/14/202257 minutes, 55 seconds
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Shivan Mahendrarajah, "The Sufi Saint of Jam: History, Religion and Politics of a Sunni Shrine in Shi'i Iran" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

Shivan Mahendrarajah’s book, The Sufi Saint of Jam: History, Religion, and Politics of a Sunni Shrine in Shi‘i Iran (Cambridge UP, 2021), which explores the history and politics of Ahmad-i-Jam’s shrine, which is located in Iran. The shrine is of particular interest and importance today given that Ahmad of Jam (d. 1141 C.E.) was a Sunni-Sufi, while contemporary Iran is majority Shia, and the shrine has lasted and even thrived for 900 years; the renaissance of the shrine in Iran is also of particular relevance given prevailing assumptions about Iran’s alleged sectarian and intolerant Shi‘i theocracy. Complete with photographs, this exciting book would appeal to academics, researchers, and others interested in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Sufism, medieval Islam, and Iran. It will also be of use to anyone interested in Islamic art and architecture. In our conversation today, Mahendrarajah discusses the origins of this book, explains why and how Ahmad-i-Jam, whose shrine is the focus of the book, became known as the patron saint of kings, why the shrine has lasted for 900 years including in a contemporary Shia majority, the sorts of services the shrine has provided historically, its funding sources, and the ways the shrine operates today. We also talk about the architecture of the shrine, and the author explains how the book might also appeal to scholars interested in Islamic art and architecture. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/8/202255 minutes, 32 seconds
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Robin Dunbar, "How Religion Evolved: And Why It Endures" (Oxford UP, 2022)

What is the evolutionary purpose of religion, and are some individuals more inclined than others to be religious? Our species diverged from the great apes six to eight million years ago. Since then, our propensity toward spiritual thinking and ritual emerged. How, when, and why did this occur, and how did the earliest, informal shamanic practices evolve into the world religions familiar to us today? In How Religion Evolved: And Why It Endures (Oxford UP, 2022), Robin Dunbar explores these and other questions, mining the distinctions between religions of experience--as practiced by the earliest hunter-gatherer societies--and doctrinal religions, from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and their many derivatives. Examining religion's origins, social functions, its effects on the brain and body, and its place in the modern era, Dunbar offers a fascinating and far-reaching analysis of the quintessentially human impulse to reach beyond. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/7/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 11 seconds
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Yussef El Guindi, "In a Clear Concise Arabic Tongue" (Broadway Play Publishing, 2021)

Yussef El Guindi's In a Clear Concise Arabic Tongue (Broadway Play Publishing, 2021) collects short plays and monologues from almost twenty years of this exciting playwright's career. Guindi writes mainly about Arab and Muslim character, but does so within the framework of the American immigrant story. These are stories of characters caught between the reductive ideas wider American society holds about them and the much more complex reality they know is obscured by stereotypes. These plays are funny, moving, political, personal, epic, and miniature. They represent the arc of a playwright coming to artistic maturity, and should be a welcome addition to any theatre or school festival of short work. Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/6/202258 minutes, 40 seconds
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Nilanjana Paul, "Bengal Muslims and Colonial Education, 1854–1947: A Study of Curriculum, Educational Institutions, and Communal Politics" (Routledge, 2022)

In this episode, Dr. Nilanjana Paul of the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley speaks about her new monograph, Bengal Muslims and Colonial Education, 1854-1947: A Study of Curriculum, Educational Institutions and Communal Politics (Routledge, 2022). The book is a micro history of the spread of education among Muslims in Colonial Bengal. Dr. Paul discusses the role played by Muslim leaders such as Abdul Latif and Fazlul Huq in the spread of education and examines how segregation in education, supported by the British fueled Muslim anxiety and separatism. By examining the conflict of interest between Hindu elites and Muslim aristocrats over education and employment, Dr. Paul shows how discriminatory colonial education policies and pedagogy amplified religious separatism that would eventually culminate in the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. Bekeh Ukelina is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center of Gender and Intercultural Studies at State University of New York, Cortland. Twitter: @bekeh/ Instagram @mwalimuwakusafiri/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/5/202244 minutes, 52 seconds
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Christopher Silver, "Recording History: Jews, Muslims, and Music Across Twentieth-Century North Africa" (Stanford UP, 2022)

Recording History: Jews, Muslims, and Music Across Twentieth-Century North Africa (Stanford UP, 2022) offers a new history of twentieth-century North Africa, one that gives voice to the musicians who defined an era and the vibrant recording industry that carried their popular sounds from the colonial period through decolonization. If twentieth-century stories of Jews and Muslims in North Africa are usually told separately, Recording History demonstrates that we have not been listening to what brought these communities together: Arab music. For decades, thousands of phonograph records flowed across North African borders. The sounds embedded in their grooves were shaped in large part by Jewish musicians, who gave voice to a changing world around them. Their popular songs broadcast on radio, performed in concert, and circulated on disc carried with them the power to delight audiences, stir national sentiments, and frustrate French colonial authorities. With this book, Christopher Silver provides the first history of the music scene and recording industry across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, and offers striking insights into Jewish-Muslim relations through the rhythms that animated them. He traces the path of hit-makers and their hit records, illuminating regional and transnational connections. In asking what North Africa once sounded like, Silver recovers a world of many voices—of pioneering impresarios, daring female stars, cantors turned composers, witnesses and survivors of war, and national and nationalist icons—whose music still resonates well into our present. You can listen to the full versions of the songs mentioned in this interview here: Louisa Tounsia’s "Ma fiche flous" Habiba Messika’s “Anti Souria Biladi” Samy Elmaghribi’s “Allah watani oua-sultani”  Avery Weinman is a PhD student in History at the University of California, Los Angeles. She researches Jewish history in the modern Middle East and North Africa, with emphasis on Sephardi and Mizrahi radicals in British Mandatory Palestine. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/4/20221 hour, 44 minutes, 31 seconds
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Annie Tracy Samuel, "The Unfinished History of the Iran-Iraq War: Faith, Firepower, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

The Unfinished History of the Iran-Iraq War: Faith, Firepower, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (Cambridge UP, 2021) represents a fascinating and carefully documented intellectual history of how Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps document, remember, and contest the Iran-Iraq War and of its ramifications for the religious, cultural, and political history of the country. Utilizing a large corpus of a range of previously unexplored sources, Annie Tracy Samuel explains in meticulous detail and with aesthetic verve the interconnections between the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War, and the legacy of these two critical moments in relation to the Iranian state’s self- imagination today. This lucidly written book should interest scholars from a range of disciplines and non-academics as well. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
7/1/202251 minutes, 27 seconds
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Carla Power, "Home, Land, Security: Deradicalization and the Journey Back from Extremism" (One World, 2021)

In the Pulitzer Prize finalist book Home, Land, Security: Deradicalisation and the Journey Back from Extremism (One World, 2021), Carla Power explores: what are the roots of radicalism? Journalist Carla Power came to this question well before the January 6, 2021, attack in Washington, D.C., that turned the US’ attention to the problem of domestic radicalization. Her entry point was a different wave of radical panic—the way populists and pundits encouraged us to see the young people who joined ISIS or other terrorist organizations as simple monsters. Power wanted to chip away at the stereotypes by focusing not on what these young people had done but why: What drew them into militancy? What visions of the world—of home, of land, of security for themselves and the people they loved—shifted their thinking toward radical beliefs? And what visions of the world might bring them back to society? Power begins her journey by talking to the mothers of young men who’d joined ISIS in the UK and Canada; from there, she travels around the world in search of societies that are finding new and innovative ways to rehabilitate former extremists. We meet an American judge who has staked his career on finding new ways to handle terrorist suspects, a Pakistani woman running a game-changing school for former child soldiers, a radicalized Somali American who learns through literature to see beyond his Manichean beliefs, and a former neo-Nazi who now helps disarm white supremacists. Along the way Power gleans lessons that get her closer to answering the true question at the heart of her pursuit: Can we find a way to live together? An eye-opening, page-turning investigation, Home, Land, Security speaks to the rise of division and radicalization in all forms, both at home and abroad. In this richly reported and deeply human account, Carla Power offers new ways to overcome the rising tides of extremism, one human at a time. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/30/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 35 seconds
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Omar Kasmani, "Queer Companions: Religion, Public Intimacy, and Saintly Affects in Pakistan" (Duke UP, 2022)

In Queer Companions: Religion, Public Intimacy, and Saintly Affects in Pakistan (Duke UP, 2022), Omar Kasmani theorizes saintly intimacy and the construction of queer social relations at Pakistan's most important site of Sufi pilgrimage. Conjoining queer theory and the anthropology of Islam, Kasmani outlines the felt and enfleshed ways in which saintly affections bind individuals, society, and the state in Pakistan through a public architecture of intimacy. Islamic saints become lovers and queer companions just as a religious universe is made valuable to critical and queer forms of thinking. Focusing on the lives of ascetics known as fakirs in Pakistan, Kasmani shows how the affective bonds with the place's patron saint, a thirteenth-century antinomian mystic, foster unstraight modes of living in the present. In a national context where religious shrines are entangled in the state's infrastructures of governance, coming close to saints further entails a drawing near to more-than-official histories and public forms of affect. Through various fakir life stories, Kasmani contends that this intimacy offers a form of queer world making with saints. Mathew Gagné in an independent writer, scholar, and educator, currently teaching in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/29/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 24 seconds
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Marc David Baer, "German, Jew, Muslim, Gay: The Life and Times of Hugo Marcus" (Columbia UP, 2020)

Hugo Marcus (1880–1966) was a man of many names and many identities. Born a German Jew, he converted to Islam and took the name Hamid, becoming one of the most prominent Muslims in Germany prior to World War II. He was renamed Israel by the Nazis and sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp before escaping to Switzerland. He was a gay man who never called himself gay but fought for homosexual rights and wrote queer fiction under the pen name Hans Alienus during his decades of exile. In German, Jew, Muslim, Gay: The Life and Times of Hugo Marcus (Columbia University Press, 2020), Marc David Baer uses Marcus’s life and work to shed new light on a striking range of subjects, including German Jewish history and anti-Semitism, Islam in Europe, Muslim-Jewish relations, and the history of the gay rights struggle. Baer explores how Marcus created a unique synthesis of German, gay, and Muslim identity that positioned Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as an intellectual and spiritual model. Marcus’s life offers a new perspective on sexuality and on competing conceptions of gay identity in the multilayered world of interwar and postwar Europe. His unconventional story reveals new aspects of the interconnected histories of Jewish and Muslim individuals and communities, including Muslim responses to Nazism and Muslim experiences of the Holocaust. An intellectual biography of an exceptional yet little-known figure, German, Jew, Muslim, Gay illuminates the complexities of twentieth-century Europe’s religious, sexual, and cultural politics. Marc David Baer is professor of international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Armanc Yildiz is a doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology with a secondary field in Studies in Women, Gender and Sexuality at Harvard University. He is also the founder of Academics Write, where he supports scholars in their writing projects as a writing coach and developmental editor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/24/202248 minutes, 59 seconds
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Matthew Teller, "Nine Quarters of Jerusalem: A New Biography of the Old City" (Other Press/Profile Books, 2022)

In Jerusalem, what you see and what is true are two different things. Maps divide the walled Old City into four quarters, yet that division doesn’t reflect the reality of mixed and diverse neighbourhoods. Beyond the crush and frenzy of its major religious sites, much of the Old City remains little known to visitors, its people overlooked and their stories untold.  Nine Quarters of Jerusalem: A New Biography of the Old City (Other Press in the North America, 2022; Profile Books in the UK, 2022) lets the communities of the Old City speak for themselves. Ranging through ancient past and political present, it evokes the city’s depth and cultural diversity. Matthew Teller’s highly original ‘biography’ features the Old City’s Palestinian and Jewish communities, but also spotlights its Indian and African populations, its Greek and Armenian and Syriac cultures, its downtrodden Dom Gypsy families and its Sufi mystics. It discusses the sources of Jerusalem’s holiness and the ideas – often startlingly secular – that have shaped lives within its walls. It is an evocation of place through story, led by the voices of Jerusalemites. Roberto Mazza is visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/24/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 48 seconds
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Peter Oborne, "The Fate of Abraham: Why the West is Wrong about Islam" (Simon and Schuster, 2022)

Peter Oborne’s The Fate of Abraham: Why the West is Wrong about Islam (Simon and Schuster 2022) is as much a history of US, British, and French attitudes towards Islam and Muslims as it is about a relationship that was almost doomed from the outset. Not because of inherent problems with either the essence of the West or the essence of Islam but due to prejudice, bias, and, certainly in the 21st century, politicisation and weaponization of religion on both sides of the divide. Nonetheless, the book sketches how many of the Western and non-Western policy assumptions about Islam echo past fears, prejudices, and debates that that have fuelled a widening gap and Islamophobia. Oborne, the scion of a military and old-style politically conservative family, is passionate but well-documented, well-researched, and well-argued, in his description of the United States, France, and Britain’s encounters with Islam and Muslims, who initially were either subjects with very different experiences of colonialism or slaves. Although these encounters vary widely, Islam, whose adherents were often not granted full and equal recognition in society, has in Oborne’s telling in the 21th century replaced replaced communism as the enemy in the post-Cold War and post 9/11 era. Based on extensive historical research and investigative journalism, Oborne debunks myths and distortions of the truth. In doing so, he is clear about where he stands in the debate on whether non-violent political Islam poses a threat. Terms that have become fashionable such as Islamism and non-violent extremism constitute in his mind part of the vocabulary developed to force Muslims into a cultural straight jacket. With a well-put together list for further reading and spiced with historical nuggets, Oborne’s book is a valuable and important contribution to discussions about Islamophobia, political Islam, and the relationship between the United States, European countries, and Islam – a relationship that is likely to co-shape the 21st century world order. Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar, a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and the author of the syndicated column and blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/23/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 30 seconds
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Joseph A. Boone, "The Homoerotics of Orientalism" (Columbia UP, 2014)

One of the largely untold stories of Orientalism is the degree to which the Middle East has been associated with "deviant" male homosexuality by scores of Western travelers, historians, writers, and artists for well over four hundred years. And this story stands to shatter our preconceptions of Orientalism. To illuminate why and how the Islamicate world became the locus for such fantasies and desires, Boone deploys a supple mode of analysis that reveals how the cultural exchanges between Middle East and West have always been reciprocal and often mutual, amatory as well as bellicose. Whether examining European accounts of Istanbul and Egypt as hotbeds of forbidden desire, juxtaposing Ottoman homoerotic genres and their European imitators, or unlocking the homoerotic encoding in Persian miniatures and Orientalist paintings, this remarkable study models an ethics of crosscultural reading that exposes, with nuance and economy, the crucial role played by the homoerotics of Orientalism in shaping the world as we know it today. A contribution to studies in visual culture as well as literary and social history, The Homoerotics of Orientalism (Columbia UP, 2014) draws on primary sources ranging from untranslated Middle Eastern manuscripts and European belles-lettres to miniature paintings and photographic erotica that are presented here for the first time. Joseph Allen Boone is a professor of English and gender studies at the University of Southern California and the author of Libidinal Currents: Sexuality and the Shaping of Modernism and Tradition Counter Tradition: Love and the Form of Fiction. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Huntington, the Stanford Humanity Center, and the American Council of Learned Societies and has been in residency at the Liguria Center at Bogliasco, the Rockefeller-Bellagio Center, and the Valparaiso Foundation. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube Channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/22/20221 hour, 11 minutes, 12 seconds
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Mark Fathi Massoud, "Shari'a, Inshallah: Finding God in Somali Legal Politics" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

Western analysts have long denigrated Islamic states as antagonistic, even antithetical, to the rule of law. Mark Fathi Massoud tells a different story: for nearly 150 years, the Somali people have embraced shari'a, commonly translated as Islamic law, in the struggle for national identity and human rights. Lawyers, community leaders, and activists throughout the Horn of Africa have invoked God to oppose colonialism, resist dictators, expel warlords, and to fight for gender equality - all critical steps on the path to the rule of law. Shari'a, Inshallah traces the most dramatic moments of legal change, political collapse, and reconstruction in Somalia and Somaliland. In Shari'a, Inshallah: Finding God in Somali Legal Politics (Cambridge UP, 2021), Massoud upends the conventional account of secular legal progress and demonstrates instead how faith in a higher power guides people toward the rule of law. Mark Fathi Massoud is professor of politics and legal studies at UC Santa Cruz, where he directs the Legal Studies Program and serves as affiliated faculty with the Center for the Middle East and North Africa. Massoud also holds an appointment as a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford. Sara Katz is a Postdoctoral Associate in the History Department at Duke University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/21/20221 hour, 16 minutes, 13 seconds
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Rizwaan Sabir, "Shadows of Suspicion: Counterterrorism, Muslims and the British Security State" (Pluto Press, 2022)

What impact has two decades' worth of policing and counterterrorism had on the state of mind of Muslims in Britain? In The Suspect: Counterterrorism, Islam, and the Security State (Pluto Press, 2022), Rizwaan Sabir writes compellingly about his own experiences of wrongful arrest, detention and subsequent surveillance, placing these in the broader context of 21st century British counterterrorism practices and the policing of Muslims. Writing publicly for the first time about the traumatising mental health effects of these experiences, Sabir argues that these harmful outcomes are not the result of errors in government planning, but the consequences of using a counterinsurgency warfare approach to fight terrorism and police Muslims. To resist the injustice of these policies and practices, we need to centre the lived experiences of those subjected to them and build networks of solidarity and support. Dr Rizwaan Sabir (@RizwaanSabir) is a Lecturer (aka Assistant Professor) in Criminology at Liverpool John Moores University. His research concerns British counterterrorism policy and practice, especially the way in which counterinsurgency theory, doctrine, and practice have been integrated into the UK's domestic 'War on Terror' infrastructure. Catriona Gold is a PhD candidate in Geography at University College London. She is currently researching the US Passport Office's role in governing Cold War travel, and broadly interested in questions of security, surveillance and mobility. She can be reached by email or on Twitter. Listeners interested in British policing and surveillance may also appreciate this recent interview about Deep Deception: The Story of the Spycop Network, by the Women Who Uncovered the Shocking Truth (Ebury, 2022). Catriona Gold is a PhD candidate in Geography at University College London. She is currently researching the US Passport Office's role in governing Cold War travel, and broadly interested in questions of security, surveillance and mobility. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/16/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 19 seconds
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The Future of Religion: A Conversation with Robin Dunbar

Of the many differences between the West and the rest of the world the issue of religiosity is one of the most striking. In the West ever fewer people belong to a religion – the number for the UK is now around 50% - and in the US around a third of people are religiously unaffiliated. But elsewhere in the world religions are growing – and in the world as a whole nearly 90% of people are religious. Robin Dunbar – Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Oxford University has been thinking about the reason for religion’s appeal for his book How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures (Oxford UP, 2022). Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/14/202249 minutes, 41 seconds
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Matt King, "Dynasties Intertwined: The Zirids of Ifriqiya and the Normans of Sicily" (Cornell UP, 2022)

Dynasties Intertwined: The Zirids of Ifriqiya and the Normans of Sicily (Cornell UP, 2022) traces the turbulent relationship between the Zirids of Ifriqiya and the Normans of Sicily during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In doing so, it reveals the complex web of economic, political, cultural, and military connections that linked the two dynasties to each other and to other polities across the medieval Mediterranean. Furthermore, despite the contemporary interfaith holy wars happening around the Zirids and Normans, their relationship was never governed by an overarching ideology like jihad or crusade. Instead, both dynasties pursued policies that they thought would expand their power and wealth, either through collaboration or conflict. The relationship between the Zirids and Normans ultimately came to a violent end in the 1140s, when a devastating drought crippled Ifriqiya. The Normans seized this opportunity to conquer lands across the Ifriqiyan coast, bringing an end to the Zirid dynasty and forming the Norman kingdom of Africa, which persisted until the Almohad conquest of Mahdia in 1160. Previous scholarship on medieval North Africa during the reign of the Zirids has depicted the region as one of instability and political anarchy that rendered local lords powerless in the face of foreign conquest. Matt King shows that, to the contrary, the Zirids and other local lords in Ifriqiya were integral parts of the far-reaching political and economic networks across the Mediterranean. Despite the eventual collapse of the Zirid dynasty at the hands of the Normans, Dynasties Intertwined makes clear that its emirs were active and consequential Mediterranean players for much of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, with political agency independent of their Christian neighbors across the Strait of Sicily. Matt King is Assistant Professor of Medieval History and Digital Humanities at the University of South Florida. He is also actively involved in National History Day, an outreach program that allows middle school and high school students to conduct original historical research about topics of their choice. Luka Haeberle is an enthusiastic student of Latin American and medieval history. His main areas of interest are political economy, labor history and political theory. You can find him on Twitter: @ChepoteLuka Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/10/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 44 seconds
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Ziba Mir-Hosseini, "Journeys Toward Gender Equality in Islam" (Oneworld, 2022)

In her latest book Journeys Toward Gender Equality in Islam (Oneworld Publications, 2022) Ziba Mir-Hosseini interviews several Muslim scholars of gender in different settings over the course of a decade. These folks are Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, amina wadud, Asma Lamrabet, Khaled Abou El Fadl, Mohsen Kadivar, and Sedigheh Vasmaghi. Mir-Hosseini is a scholar of Islam, a film-maker, an anthropologist, and an activist. She is a founding member of Musawah: Global Movement for Equality in Muslim Family Laws, and the convenor of its knowledge-building initiative to rethink the notion of male authority in Muslim family laws. Currently, Mir-Hosseini is a professorial research associate at the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law at SOAS, University of London. Her other books include Marriage on Trial: A Study of Islamic Family Law in Iran and Morocco (I. B. Tauris, 1993, 2002) and Islam and Gender: The Religious Debate in Contemporary Iran (Princeton University Press, 1999). She is also co-editor of Men in Charge?: Rethinking Authority in Muslim Legal Tradition (Oneworld Academic, 2015), and co-director of two award-winning feature-length documentary films on contemporary issues in Iran, Divorce Iranian Style from 1998 and Runaway from 2001 (2001). Ziba and the six other scholars she speaks with are contemporary influential scholars of Islam who have been working for decades on gender and social justice issues from an Islamic perspective, using Islamic sources, and in most cases, working with Islamic institutions in Muslim-majority countries. As the tittle of the book suggests, it describes these scholars’ journey toward gender equality. Some of the themes covered in the book are these scholars’ opinion on the role of Muslim institutions in bringing gender justice in Muslim societies, that of the meaning and role of the Qur’an, their approaches to sharia and fiqh, and so on. In our conversation today, I talk with Ziba about each of the scholars covered in the book, some of the main issues and themes that arise in their journeys toward gender justice in Islam, sharia and fiqh – and in particular about the social construction of sharia – about maintaining hope and faith in working toward gender justice, about experience as a source of theological knowledge, the consequences of these scholars’ work on their lives, the future of Islamic feminism, and the work of Musawah, which is a movement for gender equality in Muslim family laws. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/10/202253 minutes, 30 seconds
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Caleb Elfenbein, "Fear in Our Hearts: What Islamophobia Teaches Us About America" (NYU Press, 2021)

In his sparkling and politically urgent new book Fear in Our Hearts: What Islamophobia Teaches Us About America (NYU Press, 2021), Caleb Elfenbein shows with precision and panache the discursive, institutional, and political conditions and processes that have normalized anti-Muslim hate in the United States, especially over the last two decades. How does fear for a caricatured and dehumanized religious minority become an entrenched part of public discourse? Elfenbein engages and answers this question through a painstaking analysis of a range of actors and discourses across the political spectrum that have contributed to establishing Islamophobia as a formidably pernicious form of violence. In our conversation, we discuss the key themes and arguments of this book that is ideally suited to be taught in various undergraduate courses, especially the introductory Islam course and Islam in North America. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/3/202246 minutes, 38 seconds
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Mohammed Ayoob and Danielle N. Lussier, "The Many Faces of Political Islam: Religion and Politics in Muslim Societies," Second Edition (U Michigan Press, 2020)

Analysts and pundits from across the American political spectrum describe Islamic fundamentalism as one of the greatest threats to modern, Western-style democracy. Yet very few non-Muslims would be able to venture an accurate definition of political Islam. Fully revised and updated, Mohammed Ayoob and Danielle N. Lussier's The Many Faces of Political Islam: Religion and Politics in Muslim Societies (U Michigan Press, 2020) thoroughly analyzes the many facets of this political ideology and shows its impact on global relations. Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
6/2/202245 minutes, 52 seconds
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Ariela Marcus-Sells, "Sorcery or Science?: Contesting Knowledge and Practice in West African Sufi Texts" (Pennsylvania State UP, 2022)

In Sorcery or Science? Contesting Knowledge and Practice in West African Sufi Texts (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2022) Ariela Marcus-Sells examines two Sufi Muslim theologians, known as Kunta scholars, who rose to prominence in the western Sahara Desert in the late eighteenth century. Sīdi al-Mukhtār al-Kuntī (d. 1811) and his son and successor, Sīdi Muḥammad al-Kuntī (d. 1826), influenced the development of Sufi Muslim thought in West Africa. Through textual analysis of their devotional aids, such as prayers and magic squares, we are provided a picture of their understanding of “the realm of the unseen” and the resulting practices of the “sciences of the unseen.” Marcus-Sells captures how Kunta scholars engaged with contested Sufi and Islamic praxis that contained cosmology, metaphysics, magic, sorcery, and occultism. The study also contextualizes these magical and Sufi practices within social and political context of the Saharan desert, such as Transatlantic slavery, while mapping the broader legacies of these devotional practices within Hellenistic and Arabo-Islamic worlds. The book further invites a methodological intervention in the study of religion, in terms of how scholars construct boundaries around emic and etic terminologies of magic, especially in Islamic Studies and broadly in religious studies. This remarkable book will be of interest to those who think and write about Africana religious studies, Islamic occultism, magic, Sufism, and Islam. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/27/20221 hour, 8 minutes
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Peter Mandaville, "Wahhabism and the World: Understanding Saudi Arabia's Global Influence on Islam" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Saudi global export of an ultra-conservative strand of Islam and its impact on Muslim countries and communities across the globe has been a hotly debate topic for more than two decades. The rise of jihadist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State and their attacks in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa fuelled the debate, particularly since the September 11, 2001, strikes in New York and Washington. Critics of Saudi Arabia charge that Wahhabism and Salafism, the ultra-conservative interpretations of Islam associated with the kingdom, created the theological and ideological incubator and the breeding ground for jihadism. Wahhabism and the World, Understanding Saudi Arabia’s Global Influence on Islam (Oxford UP, 2022) edited by Peter Mandaville constitutes one of the few, if not the first comprehensive, impassionate interrogations of the impact on the faith of Saudi financial and other support for the global spread of what Mandaville calls Saudi religious transnationalism and is more colloquially referred to with catchall phrases such as Saudi funding or support for ultra-conservatism. Mandaville’s volume with chapters that provide fresh insights into the Saudi export drive and a set of case studies illustrates that the reality of the campaign is far more complex and layered. Interest in Saudi religious influence goes far beyond Middle East and Islam scholars and policymakers, journalists, and analysts, particularly given the dramatic social change in Saudi Arabia since King Salam ascended to the throne in 2015, and his son, Mohammed bin Salman, became the country’s effective ruler. However, social liberalization, including enhanced professional and personal opportunity for women and the creation of a Western-influenced entertainment sector has much to do with socio-political factors and little, if anything, to do with religious reform. As a result, understanding Saudi Islam and the impact of its export that outlives the Salmans’ steep cutbacks in the funding of its global propagation coupled with their effort to alter its austere and puritan image and give it a more moderate, tolerant and outward-looking makeover remains key to understanding the geopolitics of the Middle East and the broader Muslim world. Mandaville’s volume makes a ground-breaking contribution to that understanding. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/25/20221 hour, 7 minutes
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Maha Hilal, "Innocent Until Proven Muslim: Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and the Muslim Experience Since 9/11" (Broadleaf Books, 2022)

In Innocent Until Proven Muslim: Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and the Muslim Experience Since 9/11 published in 2022 with Broadleaf Books, Maha Hilal describes how narratives of 9/11 and the war on terror have been constructed over the last twenty years and the various ways in which they have justified state violence against Muslims. Hilal offers answers to many questions, including and especially how the war on terror started, what its impact on American Muslims and Muslims abroad has been, and how to work to dismantle it. Hilal holds a PhD in Justice, Law, and Society from American University and has received many awards, including the Department of State's Critical Language Scholarship, the Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace, and a Reebok Human Rights Fellowship. The book is written accessibly, making difficult concepts and themes easy to follow and understand. It is easily assignable in undergraduate and graduate courses and makes for an essential read for policymakers and for anyone interested in the Muslim American experience post-9/11, and perhaps anyone who denies the existence of institutional Islamophobia and naively thinks the U.S. is the beacon of light and justice in the world—because this book shows with ample evidence that it’s not. In our conversation today, Hilal tells us the story of the origins of the book, what its contributions are, what makes it different from other books on Islamophobia, the roles that U.S. presidents since 9/11 have played in reinforcing and exacerbating Islamophobic rhetoric in the U.S. We also talk about the many U.S. policies, domestic as well as international, that legitimate the existence of Islamophobic state violence, the ways in which the FBI uses informants to entrap Muslims, the legal and narrative strategies that allow for the U.S. to commit extreme forms of torture against Muslims. We end with a discussion on internalized Islamophobia and, among other things, its harmful impact on Muslim Americans. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/13/20221 hour, 13 minutes, 37 seconds
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Mahmood Kooria, "Islamic Law in Circulation: Shafi'i Texts Across the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

Analyzing the spread and survival of Islamic legal ideas and commentaries in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean littorals, Islamic Law in Circulation: Shafi'i Texts across the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean (Cambridge University Press, 2022) focuses on Shāfiʿīsm, one of the four Sunnī schools of Islamic law. It explores how certain texts shaped, transformed and influenced the juridical thoughts and lives of a significant community over a millennium in and between Asia, Africa and Europe. By examining the processes of the spread of legal texts and their roles in society, as well as thinking about how Afrasian Muslims responded to these new arrivals of thoughts and texts, Mahmood Kooria weaves together a narrative with the textual descendants from places such as Damascus, Mecca, Cairo, Malabar, Java, Aceh and Zanzibar to tell a compelling story of how Islam contributed to the global history of law from the thirteenth to the twentieth century. Mahmood Kooria is a researcher at Leiden University (the Netherlands) and a visiting faculty of history at Ashoka University (India). Earlier, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Dutch Institute in Morocco (NIMAR); International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS); and African Studies Centre, Leiden (ASCL). He received his PhD in Global History from Leiden University in 2016. Before this, he studied at the Centre for Historical Studies of Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, India) for his M.A. and M.Phil. in Ancient Indian History, and at Darul Huda Islamic University and the University of Calicut (both in Kerala, India) for Bachelors. In addition to numerous academic journal articles and book chapters, he has co-edited Malabar in the Indian Ocean: Cosmopolitanism in a Maritime Historical Region (2018) and Islamic Law in the Indian Ocean World: Texts, Ideas and Practices (2022). Currently he is writing a book on the matriarchal Muslim communities in East Africa and South and Southeast Asia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/12/20221 hour, 18 minutes, 47 seconds
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Guangtian Ha, "The Sound of Salvation: Voice, Gender, and the Sufi Mediascape in China" (Columbia UP, 2021)

The Jahriyya Sufis—a primarily Sinophone order of Naqshbandiyya Sufism in northwestern China—inhabit a unique religious soundscape. The hallmark of their spiritual practice is the “loud” (jahr) remembrance of God in liturgical rituals featuring distinctive melodic vocal chants. The first ethnography of this order in any language, The Sound of Salvation: Voice, Gender, and the Sufi Mediascape in China (Columbia UP, 2021) draws on nearly a decade of fieldwork to reveal the intricacies and importance of Jahriyya vocal recitation. Guangtian Ha examines how the use of voice in liturgy helps the Jahriyya to sustain their faith and the ways it has enabled them to endure political persecution over the past two and a half centuries. He situates the Jahriyya in a global multilingual network of Sufis and shows how their characteristic soundscapes result from transcultural interactions among Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Chinese Muslim communities. Ha argues that the resilience of Jahriyya Sufism stems from the diversity and multiplicity of liturgical practice, which he shows to be rooted in notions of Sufi sainthood. He considers the movement of Jahriyya vocal recitation to new media forms and foregrounds the gendered opposition of male voices and female silence that structures the group’s rituals. Spanning diverse disciplines—including anthropology, ethnomusicology, Islamic studies, sound studies, and media studies—and using Arabic, Persian, and Chinese sources, The Sound of Salvation offers new perspectives on the importance of sound to religious practice, the role of gender in Chinese Islam, and the links connecting Chinese Muslims to the broader Islamic world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
5/9/202242 minutes, 59 seconds
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Jasmin Zine, "Under Siege: Islamophobia and the 9/11 Generation" (McGill-Queen's UP, 2022)

In her new book Under Siege: Islamophobia and the 9/11 Generation (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022) Jasmin Zine explores the experiences of Canadian Muslim youth as they navigate the landscape of Islamophobia, anti-Muslim racism, global war on terror, and the security industrial complex. By centering the voices of Muslim youth in Canada from the 9/11 generation, the study captures the complex nexus of oppressions experienced by racialized Muslims as they navigate government policies of securitization, university campus culture, news media, and popular culture. Zine also examines how Muslim youth storytellers are creating intentional and resistant counterpublics through artistic and creative productions to disrupt reductive portrayal of Muslims in Canada. The book will be of interest to those who think and write about Islamophobia, Muslim youth, and Islam in Canada, but it will also be of interest to the general reader, particularly those who work in the civic and public sectors, such as educators. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/29/20221 hour, 18 minutes, 53 seconds
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Raffaello Pantucci and Alexandros Petersen, "Sinostan: China's Inadvertent Empire" (Oxford UP, 2022)

I am very pleased to host on the podcast Raffaello Pantucci, one of the authors of Sinostan: China's Inadvertent Empire [Oxford University Press 2022]. This great new book approaches through a very novel lens one of the most talked-about issues in Eurasian Studies: China's role in Central Asia. Pantucci and his co-author, the late Alexandros Pedersen, travel around the vast Chinese territory, Central Asia and Afghanistan to document the intensification and the multiplication of China's political, military, and economic linkages with its western neighbours. The narrative woven by Pantucci and Pedersen focuses on the people they encounter through almost a decade of travelling across this immensely interesting region: conversations with truck drivers, merchants, politicians, diplomats and ordinary people helped the authors of Sinostan to present us with an incredibly intriguing picture of China's growing influence in Central Asia. This book is more than a travelogue, however: Pantucci and Pedersen master different level of analysis--the global, the regional, and the personal--to reflect upon the wider, longer-term implications of a policy framework that is only superficially uncoordinated, yet achieved great success in relatively short time. Raffaello Pantucci is an internationally acclaimed foreign and security policy expert. He is a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore and a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London. He has worked at influential strategic studies think tanks in London, Washington, and Shanghai, providing advice to governments, international organizations, and companies alike. He is a regular contributor to the Financial Times, New York Times, and Foreign Policy. Alexandros Petersen was an academic, writer, and geopolitical energy expert. He published three books and over 120 articles, reports, and chapters in books, and made more than 50 media appearances internationally. Petersen addressed the implications of the West withdrawing its engagement from the Caucasus and Central Asia, the expansion of Chinese influence, and Russia's strategic interests. He taught at the American Universities of Afghanistan and Central Asia, having lived and travelled extensively across Eurasia. He was killed in a Kabul restaurant bombing and shooting attack. Luca Anceschi is Professor of Eurasian Studies at the University of Glasgow, where he is also the editor of Europe-Asia Studies. Follow him on Twitter @anceschistan Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/18/202244 minutes, 5 seconds
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George Warner, "The Words of the Imams: Al-Shaykh Al-Saduq and the Development of Twelver Shi'i Hadith Literature" (I. B. Tauris, 2021)

Ibn Babawayh – also known as al-Shaykh al-Saduq – was a prominent Twelver Shi'i scholar of hadith. Writing within the first century after the vanishing of the twelfth imam, al-Saduq represents a pivotal moment in Twelver hadith literature, as this Shi'i community adjusted to a world without a visible imam and guide, a world wherein the imams could only be accessed through the text of their remembered words and deeds. George Warner's book The Words of the Imams: Al-Shaykh Al-Saduq and the Development of Twelver Shi'i Hadith Literature (I. B. Tauris, 2021) examines the formation of Shi'i hadith literature in light of these unique dynamics, as well as giving a portrait of an important but little-studied early Twelver thinker. Though almost all of al-Saduq's writings are collections of hadith, Warner's approach pays careful attention to how these texts are selected and presented to explore what they can reveal about their compiler, offering insight into al-Saduq's ideas and suggesting new possibilities for the wider study of hadith. Adam Bobeck is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Leipzig. His PhD is entitled “Object-Oriented Azadari: Shi’i Muslim Rituals and Ontology”. For more about his work, see www.adambobeck.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/18/20221 hour, 1 minute, 20 seconds
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Matt Sheedy, "Owning the Secular: Religious Symbols, Culture Wars, Western Fragility " (Routledge, 2021)

In Owning the Secular: Religious Symbols, Culture Wars, Western Fragility (Routledge, 2021), Matt Sheedy, Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Bonn, Germany, examines three case studies dealing with religious symbols and cultural identity. Drawing on theories of discourse analysis and ideology critique, this study calls attention to an evolution in how secularism, nationalism, and multiculturalism in Europe and North America are debated and understood as competing groups contest and rearrange the meaning of these terms. This is especially true in the digital age as online cultures have transformed how information is spread, how we imagine our communities, build alliances, and produce shared meaning.  From recent attempts to prohibit religious symbols in public, to Trump’s so-called Muslim bans, to growing disenchantment with the promises of digital media, Owning the Secular turns the lens how nation-states, organizations, and individuals attempt to "own" the secular to manage cultural differences, shore up group identity, and stake a claim to some version of Western values amidst the growing uncertainties of neoliberal capitalism. In our conversation we discussed the secular, secularization, and secularism, the role of social media in contemporary cultural wars, anxieties about veiling practices in secular societies, the use of law in governing religion, the New Atheist movement, ex-Muslims, and how media shapes public understandings of Muslims. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/15/20221 hour, 3 minutes, 33 seconds
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Darren Byler, "Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City" (Duke UP, 2022)

The continuing crisis in Xinjiang has, thanks to the work of many scholars and reporters, led to greatly increased awareness of the region's history and Uyghur population among publics outside China. But so far less appreciated have been the specific ways in which the targeted regime of Uyghur imprisonment operates, and its creeping emergence over the course of the 2010s. Darren Byler’s Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City (Duke UP, 2022) is therefore a vital addition to our understanding of this emergency. Based on long-term fieldwork in Urumqi and elsewhere, this is a chilling and deeply moving portrait of processes of dispossession and ‘reeducation’ whose advance has intensified since the 2014 onset of what the Chinese government calls the ‘People’s War on Terror’. Combining ethnographic nuance with piercing insight into grand colonial processes, Byler both offers an encompassing theory of the technological, economic and political forces which have brought this situation about, and demonstrates its horrifying effects on ordinary people who face an unassailable edifice of state and corporate violence. Ed Pulford is a Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on friendships and histories between the Chinese, Korean and Russian worlds, and indigeneity in northeast Asia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/13/20221 hour, 8 minutes, 45 seconds
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Richard Brent Turner, "Soundtrack to a Movement: African American Islam, Jazz, and Black Internationalism" (NYU Press, 2021)

In his fascinating and riveting new book Soundtrack to a Movement: African American Islam, Jazz, and Black Internationalism (NYU Press, 2021), historian Richard Brent Turner tells a moving though rarely discussed narrative of the intersection and cross-pollination between Jazz and African American Islam from the 1940s to the 1970s. How did Islam and conversion to Islam inform the lives, careers, and musical productions of prominent jazz musicians in this period? And how did jazz spaces and culture provide the fodder for important African American Muslim movements and figures, such as the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X? Turner addresses these and other questions with profound historical depth and analytical ingenuity. Over the course of this book, the reader learns about such enormously interesting themes as the landscape of African American politics during the interwar period and beyond in major Northeastern cities (especially Boston), the intimate relationship between Jazz and the Ahmadiyya, the relationship between John Coltrane and Malcolm X, and the encounter of Jazz with Black internationalism. This lucidly written book will also animate great discussions in the classroom. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/8/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 53 seconds
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Scott Kugle, "Hajj to the Heart: Sufi Journeys Across the Indian Ocean" (UNC Press, 2021)

In his new book, Hajj to the Heart: Sufi Journeys Across the Indian Ocean (University of North Carolina Press, 2021) and is available as an open-access enhanced edition, Scott Kugle follows the life and legacy of the influential Sufi scholar of Arabic, hadith, and scriptural hermeneutics shaykh ‘Ali Muttaqi. ‘Ali Muttaqi left South Asia for hajj (Mecca) where he eventually settled as an exile. Kugle provides a microscopic history of this figure by engaging a wealth of diverse Arabic and Persian manuscripts, such as his devotional writings or political orientations. This story also maps the legacy of ‘Ali Muttaqi via his disciples or the Muttaqi lineage across the Indian Ocean world into three generations that lead us into political contestations and courtly intrigue, such as with the Mughals in Gujarat, debates of the authoritative roles and legitimacy of saints and the mahdi (messiah) in Sufism, relationship between Sufism and jurisprudence, and scholarship of hadith. The story told here of the journeys by 16th century reformist Muslim scholars and Sufi mystics from India to Arabia will be of interest to anyone who writes and thinks about Sufism and Islam in South Asia and Indian Ocean world, Islamic hermeneutics and reformist thought. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
4/1/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 49 seconds
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K. S. Batmanghelichi, "Revolutionary Bodies: Technologies of Gender, Sex, and Self in Contemporary Iran" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

Gender and sexuality in modern Iran are frequently examined through the prisms of nationalist symbols and religious discourse. In Revolutionary Bodies: Technologies of Gender, Sex, and Self in Contemporary Iran (Bloomsbury, 2020), Kristin Soraya Batmanghelichi, Associate Professor at the University of Oslo, Norway, takes a different approach, by interrogating how normative ideas of women's bodies in state, religious, and public health discourses have resulted in the female body being deemed as immodest and taboo. Through a diverse blend of sources, including a popular women's journal, a red-light district, cases studies of temporary marriages, iconic public statues, and an HIV-AIDS advocacy organization in Tehran, Batmanghelichi argues that conceptions of gender and sexuality have been mediated in public discourse and experienced and modified by women themselves over the past thirty years of the Islamic Republic. In our conversation we discuss the regulation of gender & sexuality through bodily technologies, tensions between state notions of modernization and Islamization, how Iranian women were visualized in the pages of magazines, a micro-history of the Red-light district in Tehran, organizing sex work within Islamic frameworks through temporary marriages, reinforcing “Islamic” public morality through the regulation of public space, the disfiguring of female mannequins, the challenges of ethnographic research and learning to ask new questions, and notions of gendered work in contemporary Iran. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/25/202254 minutes, 48 seconds
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David H. Warren, "Rivals in the Gulf: Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Abdullah Bin Bayyah, and the Qatar-UAE Contest Over the Arab Spring and the Gulf Crisis" (Routledge, 2021)

Rivals in the Gulf: Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Abdullah Bin Bayyah, and the Qatar-UAE Contest Over the Arab Spring and the Gulf Crisis (Routledge, 2021) goes to key questions of governance at the heart of developments in the Muslim world. Warren looks at the issue through the lens of two of the foremost Middle Eastern religious protagonists and their backers: Egyptian-born Qatari national Yusuf a Qaradawi, widely seen as advocating an Islamic concept of democracy, and UAE-backed Abdullah Bin Bayyah who legitimizes in religious terms autocratic rule in the UAE as well as the Muslim world at large. In doing so, Warren traces the history of the relationship between the two Islamic legal scholars and their Gulf state sponsors, their influence in shaping and/or legitimizing polices and systems of governance, and their vision of the proper relationship between the ruler and the ruled. He also highlights the development by Qaradawi and Bin Bayyah of new Islamic jurisprudence to religiously frame their differing approaches towards governance. Warren’s book constitutes a significant contribution to the literature on the positioning of Islam in the 21st century, the regional competition for religious soft power in the Muslim world and beyond, and the struggle between autocratic regimes and social movements that strive to build more open systems of governance. Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar, a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and Adjunct Senior Fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and the author of the syndicated column and blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/21/20221 hour, 3 minutes, 31 seconds
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Kecia Ali, ed., "Half of Faith: American Muslim Marriage and Divorce in the Twenty-First Century" (Open BU, 2021)

In Half of Faith: American Muslim Marriage and Divorce in the Twenty-First Century, readers find a wide range of texts on Muslim Americans’ experiences with questions of marriage and divorce in an effort to do what is deemed Islamically acceptable. This exciting reader, which brings together previously published as well as new content, includes the broad themes of wedding, marriage, and divorce in the Muslim American experience. More specifically, the reader aims to explore the diversity in Islamic legal and theoretical thought, marriage and divorce practices, marriage contracts, wedding customs, and related issues. In today’s very vibrant and engaging conversation, I speak with Kecia Ali, the editor of the reader, in addition to several contributors, who are Zahra Ayubi, Aminah Beverly Al-Deen, and Asifa Quraishi-Landes. Each scholar speaks on her contribution to the volume—Ayubi on divorce, Quraishi-Landes on marriage contracts and Islamic law, and McCloud on African American Muslim women as they transition to Islam, get married, and face issues of male guardianship. Further, we discuss why an Islamic marriage even matters to Muslims, and Kecia and Asifa share their views on fundamental issues with the Islamic marriage contract and whether, as Asifa suggests, it’s possible to re-imagine the Islamic marriage contract as a partnership contract rather than a sales contract. The book, which is available for free, with a searchable PDF, through Boston University’s website, will be of interest to scholars and researchers interested in questions of marriage and divorce generally but more specifically in the context of Islam; individual practicing Muslims who seek resources on nikaah contracts, Islamic law, and divorce; Muslim and other religious leaders who serve Muslim communities; and undergraduate and graduate students in women’s and gender studies as well as religious studies courses. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She is currently working on a book project on Muslim women's marriage to non-Muslims in Islam. Shehnaz runs a YouTube channel called What the Patriarchy?! (WTP?!), where she vlogs about feminism and Islam in an effort to dismantle the patriarchy and uproot it from Islam (ambitious, she knows). She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/18/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 14 seconds
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M. A. Muqtedar Khan, "Islam and Good Governance: A Political Philosophy of Ihsan" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

Within Islam, Ihsan includes doing good deeds that God has ordained in all spheres of life. Islam and Good Governance: A Political Philosophy of Ihsan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) seeks to develop a political philosophy based on Ihsan which emphasizes love, process, and self-restraint. Working at the intersection of political theory, international relations, mysticism, and theology, Dr. Khan interrogates TWO forms of Islamic political theory: Muslim realism and Islamic idealism. He argues that Muslim realism is based on selectively interpreting Islamic texts that emphasizes fear and judgement of others. But this realpolitik version of Islamic political ideals often deployed in 21st century politics by jihadists is only possible if we ignore the Islamic ethical principles that emphasize self-regarding politics. Hiding in plain sight is a prophetic tradition that focuses on privileging perfection, doing better, and doing what is beautiful and/or righteous. Dr. Khan ambitiously hopes to move contemporary politics and policy-making from Muslim realism to Islamic idealism using Ihsan. Dr. Muqtedar Khan is a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. His many previous books focus on Islam and global affairs, specifically Islamic political philosophy, global Islamic movements, jihadism, Islam in America, and Sufism. He is also the creator of a Youtube channel where he hosts Khanversations. Daniella Campos assisted with this podcast. Susan Liebell is Dirk Warren '50 Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/14/202253 minutes, 56 seconds
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Peter Mandaville, "Islam and Politics" (Routledge, 2020)

Peter Mandaville's Islam and Politics (3rd Edition; Routledge, 2020) is a basic and comprehensive account of political Islam in the contemporary world. It provides a broad introduction to all major aspects of the interface of Islam and politics in an accessible style with sufficient depth for the academic classroom. Features include: Exploration of the origins and development of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and various regional affiliates of the global Salafi-Jihadi movement. Coverage of contemporary debates about radicalization and violent extremism. Examination of questions of Islam’s compatibility with democracy; the role of women; and Islamic perspectives on violence and conflict. Discussion of major theoretical debates in the literature on political Islam, the debate on Islamic exceptionalism and whether Islamist politics can be understood using the conventional tools of comparative political science and International Relations. Islam and Politics is followed by Wahhabism and the World: Understanding Saudi Arabia's Global Influence on Islam, a new book edited by Peter Mandaville, that explores the impact of the distinctly rigid and austere form of Islam, propagated worldwide by Saudi Arabia. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at [email protected] Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/11/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 52 seconds
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Jeffery D. Long and Michael G. Long, "Nonviolence in the World's Religions: A Concise Introduction" (Routledge, 2021)

Jeffery D. Long and Michael G. Long's Nonviolence in the World's Religions: A Concise Introduction (Routledge, 2021) introduces the reader to the complex relationship between religion and nonviolence. The meanings of both religion and nonviolence are explored through engagement with nonviolence in Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Sikh, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Jain, and Pacific Island religious traditions. This is the ideal introduction to the relationship between religion and violence for undergraduate students, as well as for those in related fields, such as religious studies, peace and conflict studies, area studies, sociology, political science, and history. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/10/20221 hour, 8 minutes, 36 seconds
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Christopher Clohessy, "Angels Hastening: The Karbalāʾ Dreams" (Gorgias Press, 2021)

Today I talked to Christopher Clohessy about his book Angels Hastening: The Karbalāʾ Dreams (Gorgias Press, 2021), When, on an autumn Medina night in 61/680, the night that saw al-Ḥusayn killed, Umm Salama was torn from her sleep by an apparition of a long-dead Muḥammad, she slipped effortlessly into a progression of her co-religionists who, irrespective of status, gender or standing with God, were the recipients of dark and arresting visions. At the core of those Delphian dreams, peopled by angels or ğinn or esteemed forbears and textured with Iraqi dust and martyrs’ blood, was the Karbalāʾ event. Her dream would be recounted by an array of Muslim scholars, from al-Tirmiḏī, stellar pupil of al-Buḫārī, and Ibn ʿAsākir, untiring chronicler of Syrian history, to bibliophile theologian Ibn Ṭāʾūs and Egyptian polymath al-Suyūṭī. But this was not Umm Salama’s only otherworldly encounter and she was not the only one to have al-Ḥusayn’s fate disturb her nights. This is their story. Adam Bobeck is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Leipzig. His PhD is entitled “Object-Oriented Azadari: Shi’i Muslim Rituals and Ontology”. For more about his work, see www.adambobeck.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/9/202253 minutes, 34 seconds
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Amélie Barras et al., "Producing Islams(s) in Canada: On Knowledge, Positionality, and Politics" (U Toronto Press, 2022)

In Producing Islam(s) in Canada: On Knowledge, Positionality and Politics (University of Toronto, 2021), Amélie Barras, Jennifer Selby, and Melanie Adrian bring together twenty-nine interdisciplinary scholars of all levels to engage and reflect on how Islam and Muslims in Canada has been studied from the 1970s to the present moment. Originating from a workshop, the contributors were asked to reflect on diverse approaches to the study of Islam and Muslims in Canada, especially as it centers gender, race, religion, class, and much more. For instance, the chapters include discussions on politics of research funding, hypervisibility of studies of the hijab, surveillance by the state, and issues integration and assimilation in the Muslim diaspora. The collection also includes wonderful interviews with senior scholars in the field, such as with Jasmin Zine, Karim H. Karim and Katherine Bullock. This edited volume is an important contribution to the field of Islam and Muslim studies in Canada, as it provides a necessary introspective survey of the state of the field, while attending to regional diversities of Muslim communities and spotlighting a range of disciplinary approaches to the study. The scholarship here will be of interest to any scholar and student who is thinking of Muslim presence in the global west, while chapters that attend to methodological reflections, such as on positionality, will be particularly insightful for those who reflect on methods and will be great pedagogical tools to utilize in methods courses. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
3/4/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 21 seconds
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Nebil Husayn, "Opposing the Imam: The Legacy of the Nawasib in Islamic Literature" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

Islam's fourth caliph, Ali, can be considered one of the most revered figures in Islamic history. His nearly universal portrayal in Muslim literature as a pious authority obscures centuries of contestation and the eventual rehabilitation of his character.  In Opposing the Imam: The Legacy of the Nawasib in Islamic Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Nebil Husayn, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Miami, examines the enduring legacy of the nawasib, early Muslims who disliked Ali and his descendants. The nawasib participated in politics and scholarly discussions on religion at least until the ninth century. However, their virtual disappearance in Muslim societies has led many to ignore their existence and the subtle ways in which their views subsequently affected Islamic historiography and theology. By surveying medieval Muslim literature across multiple genres and traditions including the Sunni, Mu'tazili, and Ibadi, Husayn reconstructs the claims and arguments of the nawasib and illuminates the methods that Sunni scholars employed to gradually rehabilitate the image of Ali from a villainous character to a righteous one. In our conversation we discussed approaching early Muslim sources, the spectrum of anti-ʿAlid positions, Ibn Taymiyya’s take, the rehabilitation of 'Ali, and the legacy of anti-ʿAlid sentiment within Sunni theology. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/28/202248 minutes, 46 seconds
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Usaama Al-Azami, "Islam and the Arab Revolutions: The Ulama Between Democracy and Autocracy" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Usaama al-Azami’s Islam and the Arab Revolutions: The Ulama Between Democracy and Autocracy (Oxford UP, 2022) focuses on the responses of several prominent Muslim religious scholars towards the 2011 Arab popular revolts, particularly in Egypt, that toppled long-standing autocratic leaders. It also looks at their reaction to the subsequent military coup in 2013 that overthrw Egypt’s first and only democratically elected leader and led to the brutal and bloody repression of anti-coup protests. However, the book’s significance goes far beyond the events surrounding the Egyptian revolt by discussing the relationship between the Muslim clergy and the state and the theology and jurisprudence that is central not only to the revolts but to the competition between major Middle Eastern and Asian Muslim-majority states in defining what constitutes Islam, and particularly moderate Islam, in an era of geopolitical transition. Al-Azami’s narrative juxtaposes the pro-revolt legal opinions of the Qatar-backed cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, widely viewed as one of Islam’s most prominent living scholars, and those of two Egyptian scholars beholden to the Egyptian state as well as two scholars who are backed by and reflect the United Arab Emirates’ militant advocacy of autocracy. In laying bare the issues that divide the scholars, the book shines a spotlight on two of the foremost fault lines that underlie their differences: the relationship between the ruler and the ruled and how to prevent anarchy and chaos. Qaradawi rejects the principle supported by counterrevolutionary scholars of Muslims owing absolute obedience to their ruler and defends their right to oppose and peacefully resist unjust rule. Similarly, Qaradawi argues that greater transparency and accountability prevents anarchy and chaos while counterrevolutionaries believe that only strengthened autocracy can maintain order. By laying out these different positions in great documented detail, Al-Azami ‘s book makes an important contribution to an understanding of debates among scholars in which in his words counterrevolutionaries have for now the political upper hand whilst more reform-minded clerics retain the discursive high ground. Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar and a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and the author of the syndicated column and blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/23/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 57 seconds
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Love-Jihad and the Politics of Hindu Nationalist Statecraft

What role does the Islamophobic conspiracy theory of “love jihad” play in the politics of Hindu nationalist statecraft—the legal codification of Hindu nationalist ideology—in India today? In this podcast, Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Alf Gunvald Nilsen unpack this question on the basis of a recent article published in the journal Religions. The idea of love jihad, they argue, is both a conservative ideology for the governance of gender relations, and a marker that is being used to draw a line between the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority in contemporary India. Legislation to prevent love jihad is an example of how the current BJP regime in India is engaged in a project of Hindu nationalist statecraft. Alf Gunvald Nilsen is professor of sociology at the University of Pretoria. His research focuses on the political economy of development and democracy in the global South. Kenneth Bo Nielsen is a social anthropologist working on social movements and the political economy of development in India. In addition to working and teaching at the University of Oslo, he also manages the Norwegian Network for Asian Studies. The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, and Asianettverket at the University of Oslo. We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/18/202228 minutes, 41 seconds
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Marc David Baer, "The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars, and Caliphs" (Basic Books, 2021)

The Ottoman Empire has been many things throughout its long history. One of the greatest and gravest threats to Christian Europe. A source of inspiration for Renaissance and Reformation thinkers. An exoticized realm of sultans, slaves and harems. An equal and key partner in the European system of international relations. And, near its end, “the sick man of Europe”. The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars, and Caliphs (Basic Books, 2021) by Professor Marc David Baer charts the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, not just dealing with its sultans and military expansion, but also a wide range of topics like the roles played by women and minorities in Ottoman society. In this interview, Marc and I talk about the Ottoman empire’s rise and “fall”—a term that may actually mischaracterize how the Ottoman Empire transformed after its heights under Selim and Suleiman. We also talk about its legacy, both for Europe and the wider world. Marc David Baer is professor of international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of five books, including Honored by the Glory of Islam: Conversion and Conquest in Ottoman Europe (Oxford University Press: 2011), which won the Albert Hourani Prize, and Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks: Writing Ottoman Jewish History, Denying the Armenian Genocide (Indiana Univeristy Press: 2020), which won the Dr. Sona Aronian Book Prize for Excellence in Armenian Studies. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of The Ottomans. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/17/202246 minutes, 42 seconds
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Nauman Faizi, "God, Science, and Self: Muhammad Iqbal's Reconstruction of Religious Thought" (McGill-Queen's UP, 2021)

In his brilliant and philosophically charged new book God, Science, and Self: Muhammad Iqbal's Reconstruction of Religious Thought (McGill-Queen's UP, 2021), Nauman Faizi conducts a close and often dazzling reading of a towering yet difficult Muslim modernist text. Through a painstakingly intimate analysis of Muhammad Iqbal’s discourse on wide ranging themes including revelation, the self, knowledge, and science, Faizi shows that Iqbal’s thought houses in productive tension representational and pragmatic registers of hermeneutics. Iqbal’s hermeneutic often embodied the very objects of critique and dissatisfaction that he identified in the epistemological norms and patterns of Western colonial modernity. Faizi reads these markings and tensions not as a form of fatal contradiction but rather as the necessary wounds carried by a panoramic thinker wrestling with the significance of religious knowledge and revelation in a world beset with the malaise of modernity. This stunningly erudite book, published in the exciting new series on “Modern Islamic Thought” by McGill-Queen’s University Press, should and will be read widely. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/11/202247 minutes, 39 seconds
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Afe Adogame, "Indigeneity in African Religions: Oza Worldviews, Cosmologies and Religious Cultures" (Bloomsbury, 2021)

Based on religious ethnography, in-depth interviews and archival data, Afe Adogame, Indigeneity in African Religions: Oza Worldviews, Cosmologies and Religious Cultures (Bloomsbury, 2021) explores the historical origins, worldviews, cosmologies, ritual symbolism and praxis of the indigenous Oza people in South West Nigeria. The author's locationality and positionality plugs the book within decolonizing knowledges and indigeneity discourses, thus unpacking the complexity of “indigeneity” and contributing to its conceptual understanding within socioreligious change in contemporary Africa. The future of Oza indigeneity in the face of modernity is illuminated against the backlash of encounters, contestations with multiple hegemonies, transmissions of Christianity and Islam and indigenous (re)appropriations. Thus, any theorizations of such encounters must be cognizant of instantiations of indigeneity politics and identity, culture, tradition and power dynamics. Through decolonizing burdens of history, memory and method, Afe Adogame demonstrates a framework of understanding Oza indigenous religious,sociocultural and political imaginaries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/11/20221 hour, 42 minutes, 23 seconds
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Elora Shehabuddin, "Sisters in the Mirror: A History of Muslim Women and the Global Politics of Feminism" (U California Press, 2021)

Elora Shehabuddin’s new book Sisters in the Mirror: A History of Muslim Women and the Global Politics of Feminism (University of California Press, 2021), traces the genealogy of the representation of Muslim women, and especially Bengali women, from colonial contexts to the contemporary moment. Weaving a rich analysis using diverse historical archives, the study highlights how notions of feminism did not develop in isolation, especially between the Anglo-Western world and South Asia but rather in tandem, as a result of entangled political realities, such as colonialism, partition, post-partition and the war on terror.  Sisters in the Mirror then tells a feminist story about how the changing global and local power disparities-between Europeans and Bengalis, between Muslims and non-Muslims, between Muslim feminists and Western feminists have shaped ideas about change in women's lives and also the resistance and activism that have unfolded as a result. In the postcolonial contemporary reality, which contains further economic and social imbalances, Muslim advocates for women's rights are forced to define their agendas, stories, and voices in the shadow of Western imperial and economic power. The powerful stories highlighted in this book capture that complex terrain in which justice and equality are fought for while emphasizing that no community or culture has a monopoly on how to define these concepts. This book will be of incredible interest and value to those who think and write on South Asia, feminism, and gender, especially Islamic and Muslim feminism. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
2/4/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 15 seconds
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Omar Ashour, "How ISIS Fights: Military Tactics in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt" (Edinburgh UP, 2021)

In How ISIS Fights: Military Tactics in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt (Edinburgh UP, 2021), Omar Ashour has written a detailed and data-rich analysis of ISIS's way of war. He analyzes the tactical and operational levels of war to depict what makes ISIS successful and unique. He reveals that ISIS was tactically and organizationally innovative, redefining not just what a terrorist organization is, but what it does. Not only did SIS pioneer a number of highly innovative tactical and procedural techniques, it also built an extremely cohesive and coherent personnel structure characterized by intense loyalty, delegation and creativity. This book is essential for anyone wanting to understand what ISIS did, exactly, to gain battlefield success and what happened to cause it to lose those gains once made. In our interview, we discuss the origin of this study, how ISIS franchises spread and cohered to the main body, its potential threats as an international terrorist organization and why it grew as quickly as it did. We also consider what the future might hold for ISIS. Jeffrey Bristol holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Boston University, a J.D. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. He practices law, works as an independent scholar and serves as an officer in the US Navy Reserve. He lives with his wife and two children in Tampa, Fl. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/31/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 19 seconds
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Bruce B. Lawrence, "Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit" (Wiley-Blackwell, 2021)

In his new book cum manifesto, Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit (Wiley-Blackwell, 2021), legendary scholar of Islam Bruce Lawrence outlines his politico-conceptual manifesto for the study and place of Islam in the modern world. He does so by expounding, lyrically and brilliantly, on the key category of his book that also forms its title: "Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit.” Much of the book is devoted to elaborating and nuancing what these three categories mean to Lawrence and their significance to the craft of Islamic Studies today. He also delves on some other central themes such as the notion of Persianate Cosmopolis and its importance to the manifesto he details in this book. Analytically piercing and refreshingly unhinged, this manifesto should and will be widely read and debated. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/24/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 58 seconds
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Michael Muhammad Knight, "Metaphysical Africa: Truth and Blackness in the Ansaru Allah Community" (Pennsylvania State UP, 2020)

The Ansaru Allah Community, also known as the Nubian Islamic Hebrews (AAC/NIH) and later the Nuwaubians, is a deeply significant and controversial African American Muslim movement. Founded in Brooklyn in the 1960s, it spread through the prolific production and dissemination of literature and lecture tapes and became famous for continuously reinventing its belief system. In this book, Michael Muhammad Knight studies the development of AAC/NIH discourse over a period of thirty years, tracing a surprising consistency behind a facade of serial reinvention. It is popularly believed that the AAC/NIH community abandoned Islam for Black Israelite religion, UFO religion, and Egyptosophy. However, Knight sees coherence in AAC/NIH media, explaining how, in reality, the community taught that the Prophet Muhammad was a Hebrew who adhered to Israelite law; Muhammad’s heavenly ascension took place on a spaceship; and Abraham enlisted the help of a pharaonic regime to genetically engineer pigs as food for white people. Against narratives that treat the AAC/NIH community as a postmodernist deconstruction of religious categories, Knight demonstrates that AAC/NIH discourse is most productively framed within a broader African American metaphysical history in which boundaries between traditions remain quite permeable. Unexpected and engrossing, Metaphysical Africa: Truth and Blackness in the Ansaru Allah Community (Pennsylvania State UP, 2020) brings to light points of intersection between communities and traditions often regarded as separate and distinct. In doing so, it helps move the field of religious studies beyond conventional categories of ‘orthodoxy’ and ‘heterodoxy’ challenging assumptions that inform not only the study of this particular religious community but also the field at large. Adam Bobeck is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Leipzig. His PhD is entitled “Object-Oriented Azadari: Shi’i Muslim Rituals and Ontology”. For more about his work, see www.adambobeck.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/5/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 24 seconds
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D. Fairchild Ruggles, "Tree of Pearls: The Extraordinary Architectural Patronage of the 13th-Century Egyptian Slave-Queen Shajar Al-Durr" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Shajar al-Durr--known as "Tree of Pearls"--began her remarkable career as a child slave, given as property to Sultan Salih of Egypt. She became his concubine, was manumitted, became his wife, served as governing regent, and ultimately rose to become the legitimately appointed sultan of Egypt in 1250 after her husband's death. Shajar al-Durr used her wealth and power to add a tomb to his urban madrasa; with this innovation, madrasas and many other charitably endowed architectural complexes became commemorative monuments, a practice that remains widespread today. A highly unusual case of a Muslim woman authorized to rule in her own name, her reign ended after only three months when she was forced to share her governance with an army general and for political expediency to marry him. Despite the fact that Shajar al-Durr's story ends tragically with her assassination and hasty burial, her deeds in her lifetime offer a stark alternative to the continued belief that women in the medieval period were unseen, anonymous, and inconsequential in a world that belonged to men. D. Fairchild Ruggles' Tree of Pearls: The Extraordinary Architectural Patronage of the 13th-Century Egyptian Slave-Queen Shajar Al-Durr (Oxford UP, 2020)--the first ever in English--places the rise and fall of the sultan-queen in the wider context of the cultural and architectural development of Cairo, the city that still holds one of the largest and most important collections of Islamic monuments in the world. Tanja Tolar is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
1/5/202257 minutes, 51 seconds
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Farha Bano Ternikar, "Intersectionality in the Muslim South Asian-American Middle Class" (Lexington Books, 2021)

In Intersectionality in the Muslim South Asian-American Middle Class: Lifestyle Consumption beyond Halal and Hijab (Lexington Books, 2021), wherein Ternikar theorizes the everyday consumption of South Asian Muslim American women through case studies of their food, clothing, and social media presence. Through feminist, intersectional, and sociology of consumption theories, she provides excellent insights into the nuanced ways that these women negotiate their gendered, classed, racial, and religious identities. Far from being simply a book about the clothing styles, dietary habits and preferences, and social media presence of Muslim American women of South Asian backgrounds, it is an excellent exploration of the ways that this group of American women maintain, form, and re-invent new identities through consumption while maintaining and re-negotiating inherited ethno-religious traditions. Farha Bano Ternikar is an associate professor of Sociology and director of Gender and Women’s Studies at Le Moyne College. She has an MA in Religious Studies and a PhD in Sociology. Her publications include “Feeding the Muslim South Asian Immigrant Family" in Feminist Food Studies (2019), “Constructing the Halal Kitchen in the American Diaspora” (2020), and “Hijab and the Abrahamic Traditions” in Sociology Compass (2010). Her publications “Ethical consumption and Modest fashion” is forthcoming in Fashion Studies Journal (Spring 2022), and “The Changing Face of Arranged Marriage irl and online in the Muslim Diaspora” in the Politics of Tradition, Resistance and Change (summer 2022). In our interview today, we discuss the main contributions and findings of her book Intersectionality in the Muslim South Asian-American Middle Class: Lifestyle Consumption beyond Halal and Hijab, her choice to focus on upper-middle class South Asian American women, her respondents’ complex ideas of hijab, modesty, and halal consumption of food, and their presence on and consumption of social media. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/24/202149 minutes, 23 seconds
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Anna McSweeney, "From Granada to Berlin: The Alhambra Cupola" (Kettler Verlag, 2020)

Part of the series CAHIM Connecting Art Histories in the Museum, Anna McSweeney's book From Granada to Berlin: The Alhambra Cupola (Kettler Verlag, 2020) is the story of an extraordinary survivor from the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain: the Alhambra cupola, now in the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin. The cupola, a ceiling crafted from carved and painted wood, was made to crown an exquisite mirador in one of the earliest palace buildings of the Alhambra. The book is the cupola's biography from its medieval construction to its imminent redisplay in Berlin. It traces the long history of the Alhambra through the prism of the cupola, from the Muslim craftsmen who built it, to its adaptation by the Christian conquerors after the fall of Granada in 1492, to its creation as a heritage site. The cupola was sketched by artists from across Europe before it was dismantled by a German financier and taken to Berlin in the 19th century. It witnessed the dramatic events of the 20th century in Germany and was eventually bought by the Museum in 1978. In recent decades, the new visibility of the cupola to the wider public has prompted questions about the object and its movement from Granada to Berlin. Its removal from the Alhambra and the complex reasons behind this loss is central to this biography. Setting the cupola within the wider context of Islamic heritage, it considers the role of collecting practices in the transformation of living monuments into heritage sites in the 20th century. This book presents a focused study of this unique object that cuts across academic disciplines and geographic boundaries to reveal a new perspective on the legacy of Islamic art in Europe and its continuing relevance today. Tanja Tolar is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/21/202152 minutes, 25 seconds
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Jocelyn Hendrickson, "Leaving Iberia: Islamic Law and Christian Conquest in North West Africa" (Harvard UP, 2021)

In her landmark new book Leaving Iberia: Islamic Law and Christian Conquest in North West Africa (Harvard UP, 2021), Jocelyn Hendrickson launches a searingly brilliant legal history centered on the question of how medieval and early modern Muslim jurists in Iberia and North Africa wrestled with various thorny questions of living under or migrating away from non-Muslim political sovereignty. This book combines meticulous social and political history with nimble and accessible readings of a vast range of sources from the Maliki School of law. What emerges from this exercise is a picture of the Maliki legal tradition in particular and Islamic law more broadly that is unavailable for predictable readings, enormously interesting, and deliciously complex. This lucid book should also be a delight to teach in various graduate and upper level under graduate courses. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/17/20211 hour, 7 minutes, 53 seconds
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Hassan Abbas, "The Prophet's Heir: The Life of Ali ibn Abi Talib" (Yale UP, 2021)

Ali ibn Abi Talib is arguably the single most important spiritual and intellectual authority in Islam after prophet Mohammad. Through his teachings and leadership as fourth caliph, Ali nourished Islam. But Muslims are divided on whether he was supposed to be Mohammad’s political successor and he continues to be a polarizing figure in Islamic history. In The Prophet's Heir: The Life of Ali ibn Abi Talib (Yale UP, 2021), Hassan Abbas provides a nuanced, compelling portrait of this towering yet divisive figure and the origins of sectarian division within Islam. Abbas reveals how, after Mohammad, Ali assumed the spiritual mantle of Islam to spearhead the movement that the prophet had led. While Ali’s teachings about wisdom, justice, and selflessness continue to be cherished by both Shia and Sunni Muslims, his pluralist ideas have been buried under sectarian agendas and power politics. Today, Abbas argues, Ali’s legacy and message stands against that of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Taliban. Adam Bobeck is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Leipzig. His PhD is entitled “Object-Oriented Azadari: Shi’i Muslim Rituals and Ontology”. For more about his work, see www.adambobeck.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/15/202159 minutes, 43 seconds
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Pouya Alimagham, "Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprisings" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

Most observers of Iran viewed the Green Uprisings of 2009 as a 'failed revolution', with many Iranians and those in neighboring Arab countries agreeing. In Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprisings (Cambridge UP, 2020), however, Pouya Alimagham re-examines this evaluation, deconstructing the conventional win-lose binary interpretations in a way which underscores the subtle but important victories on the ground, and reveals how Iran's modern history imbues those triumphs with consequential meaning. Focusing on the men and women who made this dynamic history, and who exist at the centre of these contentious politics, this 'history from below' brings to the fore the post-Islamist discursive assault on the government's symbols of legitimation. From powerful symbols rooted in Shiʿite Islam, Palestinian liberation, and the Iranian Revolution, Alimagham harnesses the wider history of Iran and the Middle East to highlight how activists contested the Islamic Republic's legitimacy to its very core. Reuben Silverman is a PhD candidate at University of California, San Diego. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/9/20211 hour, 4 minutes, 38 seconds
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Nicole Nguyen, "Suspect Communities: Anti-Muslim Racism and the Domestic War on Terror" (U Minnesota Press, 2019)

Suspect Communities: Anti-Muslim Racism and the Domestic War on Terror (University of Minnesota Press, 2019) is a powerful reassessment of the U.S. government’s “countering violent extremism” (CVE) program that has arisen in major cities across the United States since 2011. Drawing on an interpretive qualitative study, Nicole Nguyen, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, examines how the concept behind CVE—aimed at combating homegrown terrorism by engaging Muslim community members, teachers, and religious leaders in monitoring and reporting on young people—has been operationalized through the everyday work of CVE actors, from high-level national security workers to local community members, with significant penalties for the communities themselves. By undertaking this analysis, Nicole Nguyen offers a vital window into the inner workings of the U.S. security state and the devastating impact of the CVE program on local communities. In our conversation we discussed counterterrorism policy, radicalization theories, national security trainings and conferences, the difference between anti-Muslim racism and Islamophobia, public objections to CVE, activist resistance, how and why Muslims participate in policing communities, targeting Muslim youth, and the role of schools and teachers. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
12/3/202151 minutes, 54 seconds
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Jeffrey Guhin, "Agents of God: Boundaries and Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Jeff Guhin joins us today to talk about his book Agents of God: Boundaries and Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools (Oxford University Press, 2020). Jeff, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA, shares with us how his experiences with religious schooling shaped his interests in education, culture and religion. Agents of God is the culmination of Jeff’s dissertation work while he was a doctoral student in Sociology at Yale University, a thoughtful comparative ethnography of Muslim and Conservative Protestant high schools. In today’s conversation we explore the nuances of religious education, how people negotiate boundaries and the agentification of institutions. We also discuss the politics of national identity and the role of schools in this nationalization. Jeff also touches on his experiences with mental health and how he works to navigate those within academia and in the process of writing this book. This book provides a compelling lens for how to understand the forces of Science, Scripture and Prayer as “external authorities” that shape individual and national behavior. Nafeesa Andrabi is a 4th year Sociology PhD student at UNC-Chapel Hill, a Biosocial Fellow at Carolina Population Center and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/24/20211 hour, 16 minutes, 8 seconds
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Christopher Coker, "The Rise of the Civilizational State" (Polity Press, 2019)

In recent years the resurgence of great power competition has gripped the headlines, with new emerging powers (such as Russia and China) seeking to challenge the American and Western hegemony that has prevailed since the end of the Cold War. While the geopolitics of the Cold War era were based on ideology, the current geopolitics appear to be based more on cultural and civilizational identities. In his pioneering book The Rise of the Civilizational State (Polity Press, 2019), renowned political philosopher Christopher Coker examines in depth how Xi Jinping’s China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia not only seek to challenge Western powers, but also operate under very different conceptions of how the world should be structured. Instead of the standard nation-state and liberal internationalism that Western power operate under, both powers insist more on the civilizational basis of both the state and world order. Christopher Coker is Director of the London School of Economics’ foreign policy think tank LSE Ideas. He was Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics, retiring in 2019. He is a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, a former NATO Fellow and a regular lecturer at Defense Colleges in the United Kingdom, United States, Rome, Singapore, Tokyo, Norway and Sweden. Stephen Satkiewicz is independent scholar whose research areas are related to Civilizational Analysis, Big History, Historical Sociology, War studies, as well as Russian and East European history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/23/202131 minutes, 5 seconds
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Rose Wellman, "Feeding Iran: Shi`i Families and the Making of the Islamic Republic" (U California Press, 2021)

Since Iran's 1979 Revolution, the imperative to create and protect the inner purity of family and nation in the face of outside spiritual corruption has been a driving force in national politics. Through extensive fieldwork, Rose Wellman examines how Basiji families, as members of Iran's voluntary paramilitary organization, are encountering, enacting, and challenging this imperative. Her ethnography reveals how families and state elites are employing blood, food, and prayer in commemorations for martyrs in Islamic national rituals to create citizens who embody familial piety, purity, and closeness to God. Feeding Iran: Shi’i Families and the Making of the Islamic Republic (U California Press, 2021) provides a rare and humanistic account of religion and family life in the post-revolutionary Islamic Republic that examines how home life and everyday piety are linked to state power. Rose Wellman is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She specializes in Iran and the Middle East. Amir Sayadabdi is a lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. He is mainly interested in anthropology of food and its intersection with gender studies, migration studies, and studies of race, ethnicity, and nationalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/22/202143 minutes, 56 seconds
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Sana Haroon, "Mosques of Colonial South Asia: A Social and Legal History of Muslim Worship" (I. B. Tauris, 2021)

In her multilayered and thoroughly researched new book The Mosques of Colonial South Asia: A Social and Legal History of Muslim Worship (I. B. Tauris, 2021), Sana Haroon examines the interaction and intersection of varied legal regimes, devotional practices, and conceptions of sacred space invested in the institution and structure of the mosque in South Asia. This book combinies dense yet markedly accessible archival research with the close reading of a range of texts and legal/political strivings of a range of previously unexplored actors, including prayer leaders, scholars, mosque managers, lawyers, colonial magistrates, and local notables. Through this exercise, Haroon documents in vivid detail the aspirations and ambiguities that drove a variety of claims over the meaning and place of the mosque in South Asian Islam and Muslim identity during the colonial moment fraught with vigorous intra-Muslim and interreligious contestations over this question. Lucidly composed and theoretically invasive, this book is sure to spark important conversations among scholars from a range of academic fields and disciplines. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/19/20211 hour, 17 minutes, 54 seconds
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Yair Wallach, "A City in Fragments: Urban Texts in Modern Jerusalem" (Stanford UP, 2020)

In the mid-nineteenth century, Jerusalem was rich with urban texts inscribed in marble, gold, and cloth, investing holy sites with divine meaning. Ottoman modernization and British colonial rule transformed the city; new texts became a key means to organize society and subjectivity. Stone inscriptions, pilgrims' graffiti, and sacred banners gave way to street markers, shop signs, identity papers, and visiting cards that each sought to define and categorize urban space and people. A City in Fragments: Urban Texts in Modern Jerusalem (Stanford UP, 2020) tells the modern history of a city overwhelmed by its religious and symbolic significance. Yair Wallach walked the streets of Jerusalem to consider the graffiti, logos, inscriptions, official signs, and ephemera that transformed the city over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As these urban texts became a tool in the service of capitalism, nationalism, and colonialism, the affinities of Arabic and Hebrew were forgotten and these sister-languages found themselves locked in a bitter war. Looking at the writing of—and literally on—Jerusalem, Wallach offers a creative and expansive history of the city, a fresh take on modern urban texts, and a new reading of the Israel/Palestine conflict through its material culture. Avery Weinman is a PhD student in History at the University of California, Los Angeles. She researches Jewish history in the modern Middle East and North Africa, with emphasis on Sephardi and Mizrahi radicals in British Mandatory Palestine. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/15/20211 hour, 26 minutes, 25 seconds
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Murray Hogben, "Minarets on the Horizon: Muslim Pioneers in Canada" (Mawenzi House, 2021)

Minarets on the Horizon: Muslim Pioneers in Canada (Mawenzi House 2021) by Murray Hogben is an incredible archive of some of the early Muslim settlers in Canada. The book is a collection of wonderful oral histories of the early Muslims and their descendants from the east to the west coast of Canada. Be they the settlers from Syria/Lebanon or Punjabi men who worked in timber mills of British Columbia, to those who migrated later in the 20th century as a result of the changes to the Canadian immigration law, such as South Asian Muslims, Hogben captures the trials and tribulations of migration, and the challenges of adapting religious and cultural practices as minorities in a new nation state. Central are the voices of Muslim women, such as Hilwie Hamdon, who led the way to building the first mosque in Canada, the al-Rashid masjid, in Edmonton, while stories of inter-religious friendships abound through the early formation of the Muslim communities across Canada. This is an important book that adds deep texture to our understanding of the history of Islam in Canada and will be of interest to anyone who thinks and writes about Muslims in Canada and in the global west, generally. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/5/202156 minutes, 54 seconds
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Simon O'Meara, "The Ka'ba Orientations: Readings in Islam's Ancient House" (Edinburgh UP, 2020)

The Kaʿba is the famous cuboid structure at the center of the Great Mosque in Mecca. In his book The Kaʿba Orientations: Readings in Islam's Ancient House (Edinburgh University Press, 2020), Simon O'Meara (SOAS) looks at the way Muslims from the beginnings of Islam to the 18th century engaged with the existence of such a structure, as a location, as an architectural object, as a direction, as a focus of devotion and prayer. He studies both material and visual as well as literary engagements through which Muslims pilgrims and scholars interpreted their own place in the world in relation to a location held to be the world's axis, and the consequences from a religious and psychological perspective of the often fraught and violent history of the built structure itself, its uses, and the emotional connection that millions of Muslims continue to feel towards it to this day. Miguel Monteiro is a PhD student in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University. Twitter @anphph Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/5/20211 hour, 2 minutes, 14 seconds
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Justin K. Stearns, "Revealed Sciences: The Natural Sciences in Islam in Seventeenth-Century Morocco" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

Islam's contributions to the natural sciences has long been recognized within the Euro-American academy, however, such studies tend to include one of a number of narrative tropes, either emphasizing the "Golden Age" model, focusing on scientific productions in Baghdad and other centers around the first millennium CE; emphasizing Islam's role in transmitting and preserving Greco-Roman learning, and enabling it to be re-translated into Latin around the time of the Renaissance; and the vast majority suggest that the majority of Islamic scientific output came to a halt around toward the end 16th century. In Revealed Sciences: The Natural Sciences in Islam in Seventeenth-Century Morocco (Cambridge UP, 2021), Justin K. Stearns argues that there is ample evidence that scientific production continued apace, if, in fact, we know where to look for it. Demonstrating the vibrancy of seventeenth century Morocco, Revealed Sciences examines how science flourished during this period, albeit in a different manner than that of Europe. Offering an innovative analysis of the relationship between religious thought and the natural sciences, Stearns shows how nineteenth and twentieth century European and Middle Eastern scholars jointly developed a narrative of the decline of post-formative Islamic thought, including the fate of the natural sciences in the Muslim world. Challenging these depictions, Stearns uses numerous close readings of legal, biographical, and classificatory texts - alongside medical, astronomical, and alchemical works - to establish a detailed overview of the place of the natural sciences in the scholarly and educational landscapes of the early modern Maghreb, and considers non-teleological possibilities for understanding a persistent engagement with the natural sciences in Morocco and elsewhere. Justin K. Stearns is Associate Professor of Arab Crossroads Studies at New York University Abu Dhabi, where his research interests focus on the intersection of law, science, and theology in the pre-modern Middle East. He is the author of Infectious Ideas: Contagion in Premodern Islamic and Christian Thought in the Western Mediterranean (2011), and an edition and translation of al-Hasan al-Yusi's The Discourses, Vol. I (2020). Christopher S. Rose is a social historian of medicine focusing on Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean in the 19th and 20th century. He currently teaches History at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas and Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/5/202152 minutes, 31 seconds
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Nada Moumtaz, "God’s Property: Islam, Charity, and the Modern State" (U California Press, 2021)

Nada Moumtaz’s God’s Property: Islam, Charity, and the Modern State (University of California Press, 2021) is an ethnography anchored in deep study of the Muslim scholarly tradition, the urban landscape, and Lebanon across the Ottoman, Mandate, and post-independence periods. At the center of the book is the waqf, often translated as “pious endowment.” An act and a practice exhibiting or embodying both change and stability since the nineteenth century, the waqf allows Moumtaz to reinterpret major categories in anthropology, Islamic legal studies, and history, including charity, family, the economy, the public and private, and the state. This is the second New Books Network interview devoted to this much-anticipated book, a careful, wide-ranging, and ambitious work poised to influence conversations in multiple disciplines. Interviewers: Janna Aladdin and Julian Weideman. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
11/2/20211 hour, 5 minutes, 34 seconds
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Emily Greble, "Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Dr. Emily Greble, Associate Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, is the author of Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe (Oxford University Press, 2021). Focusing on the Muslim inhabitants of the Austro-Hungarian Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and later Yugoslavia, as they repeatedly adjusted to shifting borders and modern state building projects between the 1870s and the 1940s, Dr. Greble shows how Ottoman political, legal, economic, and social legacies shaped post Ottoman successor states, and how ordinary Balkan Muslims understood, negotiated, and reworked the rapidly changing ideological landscapes into which the late nineteenth century had thrown them. The book forcefully argues that modern European constructs of law, national minority, and public education developed in a distinct Christian context. By recovering the Balkan Muslims’ struggle to define the role of Islam in their new, nationalizing states and societies, the book sheds new light on the historical dynamics of modern citizenship and multiculturalism, but also illuminates Muslims’ oft overlooked agency in the making of modern Europe. Vladislav Lilic is a doctoral candidate in Modern European History at Vanderbilt University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/25/202156 minutes, 38 seconds
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Jay Rubenstein, “Apocalypse Then: The First Crusade” (Open Agenda, 2021)

Apocalypse Then: The First Crusade is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Jay Rubenstein, Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Premodern World at the University of Southern California, and provides us with fascinating insights into medieval society. How did the First Crusade happen? What could have suddenly caused tens of thousands of knights, commoners and even nuns at the end of the 11th century to leave their normal lives behind and trek thousands of miles across hostile territory in an unprecedented vicious and bloody quest to wrest Jerusalem from its occupying powers? Jay Rubenstein, historian of the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual worlds of Europe in the Middle Ages, carefully explores those questions based on his extensive research while discussing the Apocalypse: the crusaders’ sincere belief that the end of the world was approaching and their opportunity to participate in the last stage of the divine plan. Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/22/20211 hour, 53 minutes, 1 second
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Nerina Rustomji, "The Beauty of the Houri: Heavenly Virgins and Feminine Ideals" (Oxford UP, 2021)

In her scintillating new book, The Beauty of the Houri: Heavenly Virgins, Feminine Ideals (Oxford UP, 2021), Nerina Rustomji presents a fascinating and multilayered intellectual and cultural history of the category of the “Houri” and the multiple ideological projects in which it has been inserted over time and space. Nimbly moving between a vast range of discursive theaters including Western Islamophobic representations of the Houri in the post 9/11 context, early modern and modern French and English Literature, premodern Muslim intellectual traditions, and popular preachers on the internet, Rustomji shows the complexity of this category and its unavailability for a canonical definition. The Beauty of the Houri is intellectual history at its best that combines philological rigor with astute theoretical reflection. And all this Rustomji accomplishes in prose the delightfulness of which competes fiercely with its lucidity. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/22/202150 minutes, 31 seconds
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Cheikh Anta Babou, "The Muridiyya on the Move: Islam, Migration, and Place Making" (Ohio UP, 2021)

The construction of collective identity among the Muridiyya abroad is a communal but contested endeavor. Differing conceptions of what should be the mission of Muridiyya institutions in the diaspora reveal disciples’ conflicting politics and challenge the notion of the order’s homogeneity. While some insist on the universal dimension of Ahmadu Bamba Mbakke’s calling and emphasize dawa (proselytizing), others prioritize preserving Muridiyya identity abroad by consolidating the linkages with the leadership in Senegal. Diasporic reimaginings of the Muridiyya abroad, in turn, inspire cultural reconfigurations at home. Drawing from a wide array of oral and archival sources in multiple languages collected in five countries, The Muridiyya on the Move: Islam, Migration, and Place Making (Ohio UP, 2021) reconstructs over half a century of the order’s history, focusing on mobility and cultural transformations in urban settings. In this groundbreaking work, Babou highlights the importance of the dahira (urban prayer circle) as he charts the continuities and ruptures between Muridiyya migrations. Throughout, he delineates the economic, socio-political, and other forces that powered these population movements, including colonial rule, the economic crises of the postcolonial era, and natural disasters. Sara Katz is a postdoctoral associate in the history department at Duke University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/21/20211 hour, 27 minutes, 3 seconds
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Susanna Fioratta, "Global Nomads: An Ethnography of Migration, Islam, and Politics" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Countering the traditional narrative of "migration as crisis," Global Nomads tells the story of a group of people for whom migration is not a symptom of a disordered world, but rather an ordinary practice full of social and personal meaning. Decentering migration from North America and Europe, this ethnography explores how ethnic Fulbe people in the West African Republic of Guinea migrate abroad to seek their fortunes and fulfill their responsibilities--and in the process, securing a place at home.  Based on twenty-three months of ethnographic research, Global Nomads: An Ethnography of Migration, Islam, and Politics in West Africa (Oxford UP, 2020) investigates how mobility abroad shapes belonging at home and shows that political and economic motivations to migrate are important in Guinea, as elsewhere--but they are only part of the story. Family and community expectations, cultural ideals of work, notions of gender, and religious piety all come into play when people dream of going abroad and when they contemplate coming home again. Ultimately, Global Nomads shows how understandings of the past and its connections to the present--of what being a respectable person entails, of individual responsibilities to a larger community--all shape how people live in contexts of insecurity. Dr. Sara Katz is a postdoctoral associate in the history department at Duke University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/19/20211 hour, 25 minutes, 42 seconds
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Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, "Elusive Lives: Gender, Autobiography, and the Self in Muslim South Asia" (Stanford UP, 2018)

Muslim South Asia is widely characterized as a culture that idealizes female anonymity: women's bodies are veiled and their voices silenced. Challenging these perceptions, Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, University of Sheffield, highlights an elusive strand of autobiographical writing dating back several centuries that offers a new lens through which to study notions of selfhood. In Elusive Lives: Gender, Autobiography, and the Self in Muslim South Asia (Stanford University Press, 2018), she locates the voices of Muslim women who rejected taboos against women speaking out, by telling their life stories in written autobiography.  To chart patterns across time and space, materials dated from the sixteenth century to the present are drawn from across South Asia – including present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Lambert-Hurley uses many rare autobiographical texts in a wide array of languages to elaborate a theoretical model for gender, autobiography, and the self beyond the usual Euro-American frame. In doing so, she works toward a new, globalized history of the field. Ultimately, Elusive Lives points to the sheer diversity of Muslim women's lives and life stories, offering a unique window into a history of the everyday against a backdrop of imperialism, reformism, nationalism and feminism. In our conversation we discuss autobiographical writing, travelogues, letters, diaries, interviews, low literacy rates, the social and physical geographies of authors, reasons Muslim women narrated their life, the role of editors, translators, on publishers, intended and unintended audiences, the actress Begum Khurshid Mirza, and gender difference across autobiographies. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/15/202156 minutes, 58 seconds
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Gábor Ágoston, "The Last Muslim Conquest: The Ottoman Empire and Its Wars in Europe" (Princeton UP, 2021)

The image of the Ottoman Turks and their interaction with the Christian West, has undergone many changes in the past: from William Gladstone's famous comment that: “[The Turks] one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned.” To the more recent revisionist views of the 'cultural exchange' school, who de-emphasize the military conquest, endemic violence and proto-ethnic cleansing that were in fact part and parcel of Ottoman rule in the Balkans and elsewhere. And, instead emphasize cultural interaction between the Christian West and the Muslim East.  In his new book The Last Muslim Conquest: The Ottoman Empire and Its Wars in Europe (Princeton UP, 2021), Ottoman specialist, Professor Gabor Agoston, of Georgetown University, goes beyond both of the above schools, in a post-revisionist treatment which while not ignoring some aspects of the 'cultural exchange' school, retains the correct emphasize on Ottoman Turk policies of military conquest, violence and expansionism in the Balkans and elsewhere. In a treatment which depends upon rich stream of research in Ottoman Turkish archives as well as elsewhere, Professor Agoston provides the reader with an in depth analysis of the military structure that made the Ottoman Turks one of the great, military and imperial powers of the 16th and 17th centuries. And why that power's failure to adapt, eventually resulted in its long decline and eventual fall. In short, Professor Agoston's treatment is a splendid work, aimed at both the academic and the lay educated audience. A sheet delight to read. Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/13/20212 hours, 29 minutes, 30 seconds
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Ethnicity and Gender: What It’s Like to be a Gay Muslim

Social and political conditions, in association with the self, can hardly be explained by one factor. Instead, they are shaped by several factors in diverse, mutually influencing ways. This is the essence of intersectionality, a concept that helps us understand the complexity of the human experience. In the third episode of our new themed series Across the Rainbow, catch us in discussion with Dr. Shanon Shah, Visiting Research Fellow in Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College, London, and author of the article “Ethnicity, Gender and Class in the Experiences of Gay Muslims”. Drawing from the well of personal experience, Dr. Shah delves into the ways in which multiple axes of social division, such as religion, ethnicity, gender, and class, interact differently in Malaysia, where Islam is the majority and official religion, and in Britain, where it is a minority religion, to produce varied outcomes for gay Muslim men and women in both countries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/11/202136 minutes, 18 seconds
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Richard J. A. McGregor, "Islam and the Devotional Object" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

In Islam and the Devotional Object: Seeing Religion in Egypt and Syria (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Richard J. A. McGregor, Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University, offers a history of Islamic practice through the aesthetic reception of medieval religious objects. Elaborate parades in Cairo and Damascus included decorated objects of great value, destined for Mecca and Medina. Among these were the precious dress sewn yearly for the Ka'ba, and large colorful sedans mounted on camels, which mysteriously completed the Hajj without carrying a single passenger. Along with the brisk trade in Islamic relics, these objects and the variety of contested meanings attached to them, constituted material practices of religion that persisted into the colonial era, but were suppressed in the twentieth century. McGregor here recovers the biographies of religious objects, including relics, banners, public texts, and coverings for the Ka'ba. Reconstructing the premodern visual culture of Islamic Egypt and Syria, he follows the shifting meanings attached to objects of devotion, as well as the contingent nature of religious practice and experience. In our conversation we discuss aesthetic theory, material culture, processional objects, museum exhibition, relic typologies, devotional objects and religious landscapes, public celebrations, visual text and its illegibility, and the function of banners. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/8/20211 hour, 9 minutes, 53 seconds
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Mirjam Lücking, "Indonesians and Their Arab World: Guided Mobility Among Labor Migrants and Mecca Pilgrims" (SAPP, 2021)

Mirjam Lücking's Indonesians and Their Arab World: Guided Mobility Among Labor Migrants and Mecca Pilgrims (Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2021) explores the ways contemporary Indonesians understand their relationship to the Arab world. Despite being home to the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia exists on the periphery of an Islamic world centered around the Arabian Peninsula. Mirjam Lücking approaches the problem of interpreting the current conservative turn in Indonesian Islam by considering the ways personal relationships, public discourse, and matters of religious self-understanding guide two groups of Indonesians who actually travel to the Arabian Peninsula--labor migrants and Mecca pilgrims--in becoming physically mobile and making their mobility meaningful. This concept, which Lücking calls guided mobility, reveals that changes in Indonesian Islamic traditions are grounded in domestic social constellations and calls claims of outward Arab influence in Indonesia into question. With three levels of comparison (urban and rural areas, Madura and Central Java, and migrants and pilgrims), this ethnographic case study foregrounds how different regional and socioeconomic contexts determine Indonesians' various engagements with the Arab world. Irene Promodh is a PhD student in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a Graduate Fellow at the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies in Michigan. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/4/20211 hour, 4 minutes, 12 seconds
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Pamela J. Prickett, "Believing in South Central: Everyday Islam in the City of Angels" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

Believing in South Central: Everyday Islam in the City of Angels (University of Chicago Press, 2021) by Pamela J. Prickett is an ethnographic study of an African American Muslim community in South Central Los Angeles. The accessible study follows the believers of Masjid al-Quran (MAQ) as they live their Islam in and around the mosque community, such as during prayers or Ramadan, but also while conducting business or interacting with one another. Masjid al-Quran’s institutional history dates back to the Nation of Islam, which then later transitioned to Sunni Islam through the leadership of W. D. Mohammad. MAQ is also located in South Central, a community that has changed demographically and socio-economically overtime. Embedded in this complex urban geography, Prickett's study masterfully illuminates the deep entanglements of class, race, and gender in the defining of faith and ritual for members of MAQ. The study interrogates tenuous realities of giving and receiving charity, the intricate agentic Muslim expressions of African American femininity and womanhood, and the positionality of African American Muslims and diasporic Muslim Americans. This book is also a stunning ethnography. It is attentive to many methodological concerns of positionality, access, and immersive fieldwork, but it is also a story of friendship, love, and loss. This book will be of interest to those who think and reflect on Islam in America, African American Islam, and race, gender, class, and lived religion, but it will also be a productive text to incorporate into methods courses, especially on ethnography. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
10/1/20211 hour, 14 minutes, 39 seconds
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Nada Moumtaz, "God's Property: Islam, Charity, and the Modern State" (U California Press, 2021)

In her phenomenal new book God’s Property: Islam, Charity, and the Modern State (U California Press, 2021), Nada Moumtaz charts the historical continuities and disjunctures as well contemporary paradoxes shadowing the intellectual and sociological career of waqf or Islamic charity/endowment in modern Lebanon. Nimbly moving between layered textual analysis, riveting ethnography, and formidable historical inquiry, Moumtaz demonstrates the secularization and sectarianization of waqf in Lebanon premised on the attempted state separation between the spheres of the public/private and religion/economy. While exploring the workings of waqf historically, intellectually, and as part of everyday life with meticulous detail, Moumtaz constantly connects the details of her study to its broader argument centered on critiquing the secular promise of separating religion and economy as distinct domains of life. This beautifully written book will be widely read and taught in multiple disciplines including anthropology, Religion, Islamic Studies, and History. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/27/20211 hour, 1 minute, 38 seconds
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Muhammad Umar Faruque, "Sculpting the Self: Islam, Selfhood, and Human Flourishing" (U Michigan Press, 2021)

In his painstakingly researched and splendid new book Sculpting the Self: Islam, Selfhood, and Human Flourishing (U Michigan Press, 2021), Muhammad Faruque charts and examines the multiplicity of ways in which the self and its moral flourishing have been discussed, debated, and examined in the Muslim intellectual tradition. The remarkable aspect of this book though is that he does so in close and extensive conversation with understandings of the self in Western philosophy, Indic thought, and even neuroscience. Philosophically dense but yet eminently accessible, this book is a landmark publication in the fields of Islamic Studies and the study of religion more broadly. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/24/20211 hour, 12 minutes, 47 seconds
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Ousmane Oumar Kane, "Islamic Scholarship in Africa: New Directions and Global Contexts" (James Currey, 2021)

In 1937, Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, travelling to Mecca to make his first hajj, encountered Egyptian scholars who couldn’t fathom that Niasse’s erudition was a product of his fully Senegalese education. For those learned Egyptians of the 1930s and, Kane argues, modern-day Europhone academics, Islamic erudition among Black Africans remains a major blind spot. Islamic Scholarship in Africa: New Directions and Global Contexts, edited by Ousmane Oumar Kane, presents a state-of-the-art volume that seeks to pulverize that blind spot. Authors underscore the contributions of Black Muslim scholars to Islamic knowledge, the global connections that have long tied sub-Saharan Africa to the global Islamic world, the ways that orality and textuality interact with each other historically and up through to the social media age, in addition to exploring debates around education, spirituality, and Ajami. In the interview, we discuss Kane’s scholarly journey and the greater intellectual project of bridging the knowledge divide separating “Europhone” and “non-Europhone” scholars in the study of Islam in Africa. Elisa Prosperetti is a Visiting Assistant Professor in African history at Mount Holyoke College. Her research focuses on the connected histories of education and development in postcolonial West Africa. Contact her at:www.elisaprosperetti.net. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/24/202151 minutes, 1 second
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Ebenezer Obadare, "Pentecostal Republic: Religion and the Struggle for State Power in Nigeria" (Zed Books, 2018)

Throughout its history, Nigeria has been plagued by religious divisions. Tensions have only intensified since the restoration of democracy in 1999, with the divide between Christian south and Muslim north playing a central role in the country's electoral politics, as well as manifesting itself in the religious warfare waged by Boko Haram. Through the lens of Christian–Muslim struggles for supremacy, Ebenezer Obadare charts the turbulent course of democracy in the Nigerian Fourth Republic, exploring the key role religion has played in ordering society. In Pentecostal Republic: Religion and the Struggle for State Power in Nigeria (Zed Books, 2018), he argues the rise of Pentecostalism is a force focused on appropriating state power, transforming the dynamics of the country and acting to demobilize civil society, further providing a trigger for Muslim revivalism. Covering events of recent decades to the election of Buhari, Pentecostal Republic shows that religio-political contestations have become integral to Nigeria's democratic process, and are fundamental to understanding its future. Dr. Sara Katz is a postdoctoral associate in the history department at Duke University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/22/20211 hour, 10 minutes, 29 seconds
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Jytte Klausen, "Western Jihadism: A Thirty Year History" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Western Jihadism: A Thirty Year History (Oxford University Press, 2021) tells the story of how Al Qaeda grew in the West. In forensic and compelling detail, Jytte Klausen traces how Islamist revolutionaries exiled in Europe and North America in the 1990s helped create and control one of the world's most impactful terrorist movements--and how, after the near-obliteration of the organization during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, they helped build it again. She shows how the diffusion of Islamist terrorism to Europe and North America has been driven, not by local grievances of Western Muslims, but by the strategic priorities of the international Salafi-jihadist revolutionary movement. That movement has adapted to Western repertoires of protest: agitating for armed insurrection and religious revivalism in the name of a warped version of Islam. The jihadists-Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and their many affiliates and associates--also proved to be amazingly resilient. Again and again, the movement recovered from major setbacks. Appealing to disaffected Muslims of immigrant origin and alienated converts to Islam, Jihadist groups continue to recruit new adherents in Europe and North America, street-side in neighborhoods, in jails, and online through increasingly clandestine platforms. Taking a comparative and historical approach, deploying cutting-edge analytical tools, and drawing on her unparalleled database of up to 6,500 Western jihadist extremists and their networks, Klausen has produced the most comprehensive account yet of the origins of Western jihadism and its role in the global movement. Jytte Klausen is the Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation at Brandeis University and an Affiliate at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. Kirk Meighoo is Public Relations Officer for the United National Congress, the Official Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago. His career has spanned media, academia, and politics for three decades. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/22/20211 hour, 4 minutes, 23 seconds
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Chris Chaplin, "Salafism and the State: Islamic Activism and National Identity in Contemporary Indonesia" (NIAS Press, 2021)

How important is Islam to Indonesia’s identity? How different is Salafism from a more mainstream Sunni Islam? Why is it popular with mostly young Indonesian Muslims? And what effect does it have on Indonesian identity and democracy? In this episode, Chris Chaplin joins Petra Desatova to discuss his new book Salafism and the State: Islamic Activism and National Identity in Contemporary Indonesia (NIAS Press 2021). Focusing on the nexus between religion, the nation, citizenship and political identity, the book is the first comprehensive ethnographic study of the Salafi Islamic movement in Indonesia. It explores the role of Islamic activism among Indonesian youth and how it has transformed the country’s religious and political discourse. To learn more about Chris’ upcoming book launch on 23 September 2021, visit the official event page. Chris Chaplin is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Religion and Global Society Research Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University. The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University. We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia. Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/17/202131 minutes, 2 seconds
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Kristian Petersen, "Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology" (Ilex Foundation, 2021)

Kristian Petersen’s new edited volume Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology (Ilex Foundation and Harvard University Press, 2021), introduces the subject of Muslims and film. The volume contains nineteen chapters that engage a range of film industries, including Hollywood and Bollywood, but also movies from the Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, Italy, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and much more. This collection challenges its readers to taking seriously the complex ways in Muslims are represented in films throughout the globe, be it through a close analysis of a film, such as Wajda, or films about North American Muslims, such as Malcolm X or Muhammad Ali. In other instances, authors guide the readers through accessible analysis of particular Muslims in movies and cinematography, which lead to discussions of islamophobia, diaspora politics, issues of gender and sexuality, identity politics and much more. The overall study then welcomes viewers to rethink the ways in which films can be studied as a critical text and opens up possibilities for multidimensional engagement with Muslims in diverse film genres, such as sci-fi, romantic comedies, and biopics. This accessibly written volume will be a great text to incorporate into courses on Islam in film or popular culture, and will be of interest to students of Islam, gender and sexuality studies, media and cultural studies, diaspora and immigration studies and much more. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/17/20211 hour, 6 minutes, 4 seconds
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Charles Tieszen, "The Christian Encounter with Muhammad: How Theologians Have Interpreted the Prophet" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

Muhammad has not only been at the center of Muslims discussions of prophethood but he has also been the focus for many Christians as well. In The Christian Encounter with Muhammad: How Theologians have Interpreted the Prophet (Bloomsbury, 2020), Charles Tieszen, Ph.d., University of Birmingham, introduces a wide variety of depictions throughout history and assesses how Muhammad is used in the context of differing Christian doctrinal and social issues. His examples range from medieval Christian communities writing Syriac, to those living in Al-Andalus, to west Africa, and more. Across these case studies Tieszen seeks to understand how the Prophet was used to support, justify, or contest various positions both within Christian debates and broader inter-religious exchanges. In our conversation we discuss Christian writings about Muhammad from late antiquity to the modern times, narratives about the Christian Monk Bahira, John of Damascus, early Syriac Texts, the martyr movement of Cordoba, Latin depictions of the Prophet, Christian letters addressed to Muslims, Mary Fisher the English Quaker who traveled to Ottoman Turkey, Samuel Ajayi Crowther the Yoruba convert and west African Christian missionary, Professor of World Christianity Lamin Sanneh, and what these discussions tell us about Christian-Muslim relations. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
9/10/20211 hour, 11 minutes, 44 seconds
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Simonetta Calderini, "Women as Imams: Classical Islamic Sources and Modern Debates on Leading Prayer" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

What does Islam say about women’s leadership of prayer? What sources have Muslim scholars used historically to answer this question, and what do those sources say exactly? What are the conditions under which women can lead prayers, and which types of prayers can they lead, if at all? Do Sunnis and Shi’is differ on the matter? How do contemporary Muslims respond to and deal with the issue? These are some of the questions that Simonetta Calderini explores in her new book, Women as Imams: Classical Islamic Sources and Modern Debates on Leading Prayer (I. B. Tauris, 2021). Simonetta Calderini is Reader in Islamic Studies at the University of Roehampton in London. She has been a post-doctoral research fellow at the Oriental Institute, University of Naples, Italy. She is the co-author of a ground-breaking book on women in pre-modern Islam, Women and the Fatimids in the world of Islam (Edinburgh University Press, 2006). For Calderini, contemporary discussions of woman-led prayers reveal a lot about Islam generally, including questions of religious authority, conceptions of tradition and the the past. But it especially brings to light the role that the past plays in contemporary Muslim attitudes, about the ways that the “normative past” is imagined – even when textual, scriptural evidence is contrary to the dominant or mainstream attitude. Through this discussion, the author also highlights the discrepancy between scriptural evidence and social mores, the latter of which especially in this case has been instrumental to our understanding of woman-led prayers in Islam. In today’s conversation, Calderini walks us through the many possible answers to the question, can women lead prayers in Islam? These answers range, as with pretty much all other topics in Islam, from yes, women can lead all kinds of prayers unconditionally to no, they absolutely cannot lead anyone in prayer ever. We discuss the ways that female prayer leadership is connected to broader issues, such as of religious authority and an imagined past or consensus. We also talk about some of the Muslim women who have both historically and in more recent times led prayers, as well as scholars and other authoritative figures who endorse female-led prayers. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies