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Some Recent Publications on Islam/Muslims

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Unsettling Colonial Modernity in Islamicate Contexts

By (ed.) Siavash Saffari, Roxana Akhbari,
Kara Abdolmaleki, Evelyn Hamdon, 2017,
Cambridge Scholars Publishing

            By focusing on colonial histories and legacies, this edited volume breaks new ground in studying modernity in Islamicate contexts. From a range of disciplinary perspectives, the authors probe ‘colonial modernity’ as a condition whose introduction into Islamicate contexts was facilitated historically by European encroachment into South Asia, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. They also analyze the various modes through which, in Europe itself, and in North America by extension, people from Islamicate contexts have been, and continue to be, otherized in the constitution and advancement of the project of modernity. The book further brings to light a multiplicity of social, political, cultural, and aesthetic modes of resistance aimed at subverting and unsettling colonial modernity in both Muslim-majority and diasporic contexts.

Keeping It Halal: The everyday lives of Muslim American Teenage Boys

By John O' Brien, 2017,
Princeton University Press

This book provides a uniquely personal look at the social worlds of a group of young male friends as they navigate the complexities of growing up Muslim in America. Drawing on three and a half years of intensive fieldwork in and around a large urban mosque, John O’Brien offers a compelling portrait of typical Muslim American teenage boys concerned with typical teenage issues—girlfriends, school, parents, being cool—yet who are also expected to be good, practicing Muslims who don’t date before marriage, who avoid vulgar popular culture, and who never miss their prayers.
Many Americans unfamiliar with Islam or Muslims see young men like these as potential ISIS recruits. But neither militant Islamism nor Islamophobia is the main concern of these boys, who are focused instead on juggling the competing cultural demands that frame their everyday lives. O’Brien illuminates how they work together to manage their “culturally contested lives” through subtle and innovative strategies—such as listening to profane hip-hop music in acceptably “Islamic” ways, professing individualism to cast their participation in communal religious obligations as more acceptably American, dating young Muslim women in ambiguous ways that intentionally complicate adjudications of Islamic permissibility, and presenting a “low-key Islam” in public in order to project a Muslim identity without drawing unwanted attention.
Closely following these boys as they move through their teen years together, Keeping It Halal sheds light on their strategic efforts to manage their day-to-day cultural dilemmas as they devise novel and dynamic modes of Muslim American identity in a new and changing America.
John O’Brien is assistant professor of sociology at New York University, Abu Dhabi.

Black Banners of ISIS: The Roots of the New Caliphate

By Daivd J. Wasserstein, 2017
Yale university Press

With tremendous speed, the Islamic State has moved from the margins to the center of life in the Middle East. Despite recent setbacks, its ability to conquer and retain huge swaths of territory has demonstrated its skillful tactical maneuvering, ambition, and staying power. Yet we still know too little about ISIS, particularly about its deeper ideology.
In this eye-opening book, David J. Wasserstein offers a penetrating analysis of the movement, looking closely at the thousand-year-old form of Islamic apocalyptic messianism the group draws upon today. He shows how ISIS is not only a military and political movement but also, and primarily, a religious one with a coherent worldview, a patent strategy, and a clear goal: the re-creation of a medieval caliphate. Connecting the group’s day-to-day activities and the writings and sayings of its leaders with the medieval Islamic past, Wasserstein provides an insightful and unprecedented perspective on the origins and aspirations of the Islamic State.

Qur'anic Guidance for Good Governance: A Contemporary Perspective

By Al-Ahsan, & S B Young (Eds.), 2017, 
Palgave Macmillan

  • The book Provides a perspective on the recent rise of academic interest on good governance, particularly in the context of the clash of civilizations thesis in international relations
  • Discusses fundamental questions related to good governance and Islam
  • Sheds light on such diverse issues as women, family, economy, and civilization

This book is a study of religious principles of good governance in our contemporary societies. Historically, religion has provided guidance for organizing societies. In modern times, however, religious ideas have been marginalized in social science literature. Contributors to this work explore what values and practices the Qur’an can contribute to governing our economic, political, and social life today.

Indian Muslim Minorities and the 1857 Rebellion: Religion, Rebels, and Jihad

By IIyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst,
2017, IB Tauris

While jihad has been the subject of countless studies in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, scholarship on the topic has so far paid little attention to South Asian Islam and, more specifically, its place in South Asian history. Seeking to fill some gaps in the historiography, Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst examines the effects of the 1857 Rebellion (long taught in Britain as the 'Indian Mutiny') on debates about the issue of jihad during the British Raj. Morgenstein Fuerst shows that the Rebellion had lasting, pronounced effects on the understanding by their Indian subjects (whether Muslim, Hindu or Sikh) of imperial rule by distant outsiders. For India's Muslims their interpretation of the Rebellion as jihad shaped subsequent discourses, definitions and codifications of Islam in the region. Morgenstein Fuerst concludes by demonstrating how these perceptions of jihad, contextualized within the framework of the 19th century Rebellion, continue to influence contemporary rhetoric about Islam and Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. Drawing on extensive primary source analysis, this unique take on Islamic identities in South Asia will be invaluable to scholars working on British colonial history, India and the Raj, as well as to those studying Islam in the region and beyond.                                       

The Struggle to define a nation: Rethinking Religious Nationalism
In the Contemporary Islamic World 2017
 
By Marco Demichelis 
Paolo Maggiolini, Georgias Press

In the present edited volume, a series of internationally recognised scholars adopt an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of ‘religious nationalism’ and the ‘nationalization’ of religion, through focusing on case studies and the religious affiliations and denominations of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The aim of this book is to reconsider the ongoing debate between different communities of the so-called Islamic World regarding the nature of the nation and state, and the role of religion in a nation-state’s institutional ground, both as a viable integrative or segregating factor. It is through focusing on the state dimension, as the subject of collective action or socio-cultural and political representation, that the book proposes to reconsider the relationship between religion, politics and identity in the perspective of ‘religious nationalism’ and the ‘nationalization’ of religion in the contemporary Islamic World.

Islam and Pious Sociality: The Ethics of Hierarchy in
 The Tablighi Jamaat in Pakistan
By Arslan Khan, 2017,
Berghahn Books

Pakistani Tablighis, practitioners of a transnational Islamic piety movement, the Tablighi Jamaat, insist that only their own form of face-to-face preaching (dawat) is capable of spreading Islamic virtue. Tablighis dismiss the efforts to spread Islam by a diverse array of Islamist actors, including political parties, corporations, NGOs, and popular televangelists. This highlights a central cleavage within the Islamic revival in Pakistan. While Islamists have adopted a modernist conception of religion associated with egalitarian individualism, Tablighis understand dawat to be a religious practice that entails an ethics of hierarchy in which one becomes virtuous by submitting to the authority of pious others. In dawat, Tablighis create a hierarchically structured world of pious sociality against the threat of egalitarian individualism in liberal and Islamist varieties.

Islam, State, and Modernity: Mohammed Abed al-Jabri and the Future of the Arab
World by (eds.) Zaid Eyadat & Francesca Corrao,
Palgrave Macmillan, 2017

This book offers the first comprehensive introduction to one of the most significant Arab thinkers of the late 20th century and the early 21st century: the Moroccan philosopher and social theorist Mohammed Abed al-Jabri. With his intellectual and political engagement, al-Jabri has influenced the development of a modern reading of the Islamic tradition in the broad Arab-Islamic world and has been, in recent years, subject to an increasing interest among Muslims and non-Muslim scholars, social activists and lay men. The contributors to this volume read al-Jabri with reference to prominent past Arab-Muslim scholars, such as Ibn Rushd, al-Ghazali, al-Shatibi, and Ibn Khaldun, as well as contemporary Arab philosophers, like Hassan Hanafi, Abdellah Laroui, George Tarabishi, Taha Abderrahmane; they engage with various aspects of his intellectual project, and trace his influence in non-Arab-Islamic lands, like Indonesia, as well. His analysis of Arab thought since the 1970s as a harbinger analysis of the ongoing “Arab Spring uprising” remains relevant for today's political challenges in the region.

 

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