The modern Middle East was forged in the crucible of the First World War, but few know the full story of how war actually came to the region. As Sean McMeekin reveals in this startling reinterpretation of the war, it was neither the British nor the French but rather a small clique of Germans and Turks who thrust the Islamic world into the conflict for their own political, economic, and military ends.
The Berlin–Baghdad Express tells the fascinating story of how Germany exploited Ottoman pan-Islamism in order to destroy the British Empire, then the largest Islamic power in the world. Meanwhile the Young Turks harnessed themselves to German military might to avenge Turkey’s hereditary enemy, Russia. Told from the perspective of the key decision-makers on the Turco-German side, many of the most consequential events of World War I—Turkey’s entry into the war, Gallipoli, the Armenian massacres, the Arab revolt, and the Russian Revolution—are illuminated as never before.
Drawing on a wealth of new sources, McMeekin forces us to re-examine Western interference in the Middle East and its lamentable results. It is an epic tragicomedy of unintended consequences, as Turkish nationalists give Russia the war it desperately wants, jihad begets an Islamic insurrection in Mecca, German sabotage plots upend the Tsar delivering Turkey from Russia’s yoke, and German Zionism midwifes the Balfour Declaration. All along, the story is interwoven with the drama surrounding German efforts to complete the Berlin to Baghdad railway, the weapon designed to win the war and assure German hegemony over the Middle East.
Recent economic crises have made the centrality of debt, and the instability it creates, increasingly apparent. This realization has led to cries for change—yet there is little popular awareness of possible alternatives.
Beyond Debt describes efforts to create a transnational economy free of debt. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Malaysia, Daromir Rudnyckyj illustrates how the state, led by the central bank, seeks to make the country’s capital Kuala Lumpur “the New York of the Muslim world”—the central node of global financial activity conducted in accordance with Islam. Rudnyckyj shows how Islamic financial experts have undertaken ambitious experiments to create more stable economies and stronger social solidarities by facilitating risk- and profit-sharing, enhanced entrepreneurial skills, and more collaborative economic action. Building on scholarship that reveals the impact of financial devices on human activity, he illustrates how Islamic finance is deployed to fashion subjects who are at once more pious Muslims and more ambitious entrepreneurs. In so doing, Rudnyckyj shows how experts seek to create a new “geoeconomics”—a global Islamic alternative to the conventional financial network centered on New York, London, and Tokyo. A groundbreaking analysis of a timely subject, Beyond Debt tells the captivating story of efforts to re-center international finance in an emergent Islamic global city and, ultimately, to challenge the very foundations of conventional finance.
Islamist thinkers used to debate the doctrine of the caliphate of man, which holds that God is sovereign but has appointed the multitude of believers as His vicegerent. Andrew March argues that the doctrine underpins a democratic vision of popular rule over governments and clerics. But is this an ideal regime destined to survive only in theory?
Islam’s Intellectual Suicide—and the Threat to Us All
People are shocked and frightened by the behavior coming out the Islamic world—not only because it is violent, but also because it is seemingly inexplicable. While there are many answers to the question of “what went wrong” in the Muslim world, no one has decisively answered why it went wrong. Until now.
In this eye-opening new book, foreign policy expert Robert R. Reilly uncovers the root of our contemporary crisis: a pivotal struggle waged within the Muslim world nearly a millennium ago. In a heated battle over the role of reason, the side of irrationality won. The deformed theology that resulted, Reilly reveals, produced the spiritual pathology of Islamism, and a deeply dysfunctional culture.
Terrorism—from 9/11, to London, Madrid, and Mumbai, to the Christmas 2009 attempted airline bombing—is the most obvious manifestation of this crisis. But Reilly shows that the pathology extends much further. The Closing of the Muslim Mindsolves such puzzles as:
· why peace is so elusive in the Middle East
· why the Arab world stands near the bottom of every measure of human development
· why scientific inquiry is nearly dead in the Islamic world
· why Spain translates more books in a single year than the entire Arab world has in the past thousand years
· why some people in Saudi Arabia still refuse to believe man has been to the moon
· why Muslim media frequently present natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina as God’s direct retribution
Delving deeper than previous polemics and simplistic analyses, The Closing of the Muslim Mindprovides the answers the West has so desperately needed in confronting the Islamist crisis.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
"The lack of liberty within Islam is a huge problem. Robert Reilly’s The Closing of the Muslim Mind shows that a millennium ago Muslims debated whether minds should be free to explore the world—and freedom lost. The intellectual history he offers helps to explain why Muslim countries fell behind Christian-based ones in scientific inquiry, economic development, and technology. Reilly provides astonishing statistics . . . [and] also points out how theology prefigures politics." —World Magazine
"As Robert R. Reilly points out in The Closing of the Muslim Mind . . . the Islamic conception of God as pure will, unbound by reason and unknowable through the visible world, rendered any search for cause and effect in nature irrelevant to Muslim societies over centuries, resulting in slipshod, dependent cultures. Reilly notes, for example, that Pakistan, a nation which views science as automatically impious given its view that an arbitrary God did not imprint upon nature a rational order worth investigating, produces almost no patents." —American Spectator
"What happened to moderate Islam and what sort of hope we may have for it in the future is the subject of Robert Reilly’s brilliant and groundbreaking new book. The Closing of the Muslim Mind is a page-turner that reads almost like an intellectual detective novel...One thing Reilly’s account makes clear: Only when we move beyond the common platitudes of our contemporary political discussion and begin to deal with Islam as it really is — rather than the fiction that it is the equivalent of our Western culture dressed up in a burqa — will we be able to help make progress in that direction." —National Review Online
This comprehensive collection examines a broad spectrum of Islamic governance during colonial and postcolonial eras. The book pays special attention to the ongoing battles over the codification of Islamic education, religious authority, law and practice while outlining the similarities and differences in British, French and Portuguese colonial rule in Islamic regions. Using a shared conceptual framework the contributors to this volume analyze the nature of regulation in different historical periods and geographical areas. From Africa and the Middle East to Asia and Europe, Colonial and Post-Colonial Governance of Islam opens up new vistas for research in Islamic studies
This book departs from stereotypes that often dominate Western discourse about Muslim societies. The Muslim world encompasses a wide range of countries—among them Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco—each with a varying degree of religious stricture. Generalizations, therefore, can be erroneous and misleading. The contributors to this book—prominent scholars in anthropology, history, sociology, and political science—examine such issues as the ideology and political practices of Iran's ruling Shi'ite clerics, the impact of state policies on the status of women, the controversy over parliamentary government in the Arab world, the role of modern intellectuals, and charisma and leadership in tribal societies. The arguments the authors put forward often overturn conventional opinion about the Muslim world. This original and important book reminds us that Muslim society is not a monolith, but that it encompasses a rich variety of cultures.
After 9/11, many Americans took the view that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were the leading edge of a new war: Islam versus the West. Yet the attacks were also part of the current struggle within Islam between fundamentalist and moderate approaches and were staged for maximum effect in the Muslim world.
This book is based on a special-topic issue of the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (Fall 2005), and brings together prominent Muslim voices from the policy and academic communities to debate the nature of moderate Islam and what moderation means in both a theological and a geopolitical sense. Participants reflect on the future of political Islam, its role in Muslim politics, western policies in the Muslim world, and the future of American-Muslim relations. This book and the debate it presents are vital to understanding these complex issues.
Do Muslim Women Need Saving? is an indictment of a mindset that has justified all manner of foreign interference, including military invasion, in the name of rescuing women from Islam. It offers a detailed, moving portrait of the actual experiences of ordinary Muslim women, and of the contingencies with which they live.
The relationship between Western democracies and Islam, rarely entirely comfortable, has in recent years become increasingly tense. A growing immigrant population and worries about cultural and political assimilation—exacerbated by terrorist attacks in the United States, Europe, and around the world—have provoked reams of commentary from all parts of the political spectrum, a frustrating majority of it hyperbolic or even hysterical.
In The Fear of Barbarians, the celebrated intellectual Tzvetan Todorov offers a corrective: a reasoned and often highly personal analysis of the problem, rooted in Enlightenment values yet open to the claims of cultural difference. Drawing on history, anthropology, and politics, and bringing to bear examples ranging from the murder of Theo van Gogh to the French ban on headscarves, Todorov argues that the West must overcome its fear of Islam if it is to avoid betraying the values it claims to protect. True freedom, Todorov explains, requires us to strike a delicate balance between protecting and imposing cultural values, acknowledging the primacy of the law, and yet strenuously protecting minority views that do not interfere with its aims. Adding force to Todorov's arguments is his own experience as a native of communist Bulgaria: his admiration of French civic identity—and Western freedom—is vigorous but non-nativist, an inclusive vision whose very flexibility is its core strength.
The record of a penetrating mind grappling with a complicated, multifaceted problem, The Fear of Barbarians is a powerful, important book—a call, not to arms, but to thought.
Gender, Politics, and Islam
Edited by Therese Saliba, Carolyn Allen, and Judith A. Howard University of Chicago Press, 2002 Library of Congress HQ1170.G43 2002 | Dewey Decimal 305.486971017671
This collection extends the boundaries of global feminism to include Islamic women. Challenging Orientalist assumptions of Muslim women as victims of Islam, these essays focus on women's negotiations for identity, power, and agency as participants in religious, cultural and nationalist movements. This book gathers Signs essays on women in the Middle East, South Asia, and the Diaspora to explore how women negotiate identities and attempt to gain political, economic, and legal rights.
This collection shows Islam to be a diverse set of variable practices and beliefs shaped by region, nation, ethnicity, sect, and class, as well as by responses to many cultural and economic processes. In examining women's participation in religious and nationalist projects, these critics debate controversial issues: Does Islamic feminism provide an alternative, revolutionary paradigm to Eurocentric liberal humanism and western feminism? Is Islam more oppressive to women than the modern secular state? How are the lives and texts of Arab and Muslim women constructed for local or western consumption? These essays expose the shortcomings of the secularist assumptions of many recent feminist analyses, which continue to treat religion in general and fundamentalism in particular as a tool of oppression used against women, rather than as a viable form of feminist agency producing contradictory effects for its participants.
The essays in this book first appeared in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.
S. M. Shamsul Alam
Mary Elaine Heglund
Gabriele vom Bruck.
The first book of volume 2 of the monumental History of Cartography focuses on mapping in non-Western cultures, an area of study traditionally overlooked by Western scholars. Extensive original research makes this the foremost source for defining, describing, and analyzing this vast and unexplored theater of cartographic history. Book 1 offers a critical synthesis of maps, mapmaking, and mapmakers in the Islamic world and South Asia.
"[The six-volume set] is certain to be the standard reference for all subsequent scholarship. The editors . . . have assembled and analyzed a vast collection of knowledge. . . . If the first volume is an indication, the complete set will be comprehensive and judicious." —John Noble Wilford, New York Times Book Review
"As well as enlarging the mind and lifting the spirits through the sheer magnitude of its endeavor, the collection delights the senses. The illustrations are exquisite: browsing fingers will instinctively alight on the sheaf of maps reproduced on stock slightly thicker than that of the text. The maps are so beguiling in the tantalizing glimpses they offer of other, seemingly incomprehensible, worlds, that the sight of them will stir the connoisseur in even the most-guarded scholar." —Ronald Rees, Geographical Review
"The corpus it brings to light, along with the extensive references, bibliography, and exhaustive appendices containing valuable comments about many of the pieces discussed, together make this book an important resource for the scholar."—Robert Provin, Professional Geographer
"This volume is a landmark of new research and will certainly contribute to further discoveries, translations, interpretations, inventories, more precise dating and the construction of stemmata." —Christian Jacob, Cartographica
"In seeking to characterize the cartography of premodern Islamic and south Asian societies, the editors offer the image of an archipelago of cartographically conscious islands in a silent sea. The research potential which they have revealed is clearly vast and underappreciated, with many islands still to be discovered or enlarged. This important book, does more, therefore, than plug a huge gap in cartographic historiography. It provides the foundation for crosscultural cartographic research in two major world regions."-Jeffrey Stone, Ecumene
Writing in the beginning of the 1980s, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe explored possibilities for a new socialist strategy to capitalize on the period’s fragmented political and social conditions. Two and a half decades later, Ferruh Yilmaz acknowledges that the populist Far Right—not the socialist movement—has demonstrated greater facility in adopting successful hegemonic strategies along new structural lines Laclau and Mouffe imagined. Right-wing hegemonic strategy, Yilmaz argues, has led to the reconfiguration of internal fault lines in European societies.
Yilmaz’s primary case study is Danish immigration discourse, but his argument contextualizes his study in terms of questions of current concern across Europe, where right-wing groups that were long on the fringes of “legitimate” politics have managed to make significant gains with populations traditionally aligned with the Left. Specifically, Yilmaz argues that sociopolitical space has been transformed in the last three decades such that group classification has been destabilized to emphasize cultural rather than economic attributes.
According to this point-of-view, traditional European social and political splits are jettisoned for new “cultural” alliances pulling the political spectrum to the right, against the “corrosive” presence of Muslim immigrants, whose own social and political variety is flattened into an illusion of alien sameness.
As Cemil Aydin explains in this provocative history, it is a misconception to think that the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims constitute a single religio-political entity. How did this mistaken belief arise, why is it so widespread, and how can its grip be loosened so that a more fruitful discussion about politics in Muslim societies can begin?
Islam and Popular Culture
Edited by Karin van Nieuwkerk, Mark LeVine, and Martin Stokes University of Texas Press, 2016 Library of Congress BP161.3.I727 2016 | Dewey Decimal 297.27
Popular culture serves as a fresh and revealing window on contemporary developments in the Muslim world because it is a site where many important and controversial issues are explored and debated. Aesthetic expression has become intertwined with politics and religion due to the uprisings of the “Arab Spring,” while, at the same time, Islamist authorities are showing increasingly accommodating and populist attitudes toward popular culture. Not simply a “westernizing” or “secularizing” force, as some have asserted, popular culture now plays a growing role in defining what it means to be Muslim. With well-structured chapters that explain key concepts clearly, Islam and Popular Culture addresses new trends and developments that merge popular arts and Islam. Its eighteen case studies by eminent scholars cover a wide range of topics, such as lifestyle, dress, revolutionary street theater, graffiti, popular music, poetry, television drama, visual culture, and dance throughout the Muslim world from Indonesia, Africa, and the Middle East to Europe. The first comprehensive overview of this important subject, Islam and Popular Culture offers essential new ways of understanding the diverse religious discourses and pious ethics expressed in popular art productions, the cultural politics of states and movements, and the global flows of popular culture in the Muslim world.
This book compares Islamic and Western political formulations, highlighting areas of agreement and disparity. Building on this analysis, the author goes on to show that political Islam offers a serious alternative to the dominant political system and ideology of the West.
Sabet argues that rather than leading to a "Clash of Civlizations" or the assimilation of Islam into the Western system, a positive process of interactive self-reflection between Islam and liberal democracy is the best way forward.
Beginning this process, Sabet highlights key concepts of Islamic political thought and brings them into dialogue with Western modernity. The resulting synthesis is essential reading for advanced undergraduate and graduate students of Islamic and Middle Eastern politics, political theory, comparative politics and international relations.
Published in 1974, Marshall Hodgson’s The Venture of Islam was a watershed moment in the study of Islam. By locating the history of Islamic societies in a global perspective, Hodgson challenged the orientalist paradigms that had stunted the development of Islamic studies and provided an alternative approach to world history. Edited by Edmund Burke III and Robert Mankin, Islam and World History explores the complexity of Hodgson’s thought, the daring of his ideas, and the global context of his world historical insights into, among other themes, Islam and world history, gender in Islam, and the problem of Muslim universality.
In our post-9/11 world, Hodgson’s historical vision and moral engagement have never been more relevant. A towering achievement, Islam and World History will prove to be the definitive statement on Hodgson’s relevance in the twenty-first century and will introduce his influential work to a new generation of readers.
The resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism in the 1980s influenced many in the Islamic world to reject Western norms of liberal rationality and to return, instead, to their own tradition for political and cultural inspiration. This rejection of foreign thought threatens to end the centuries-long dialogue between Islam and the West, a dialogue that has produced a nascent Middle Eastern liberalism, along with many less desirable forms of discourse. With Islamic Liberalism, Leonard Binder hopes to reinvigorate that dialogue, asking whether political liberalism can take root in the Middle East without a vigorous Islamic liberalism. But, Binder asks, is an Islamic liberalism possible?
The Islamic political community presents special problems to the development of an indigenous liberalism. That community is conceived of as divinely ordained, and its notions of the good are to be derived from scriptural revelation, not arrived at through rational discourse. Liberal politics would seem to stand little chance of surviving in such an atmosphere, let alone thriving.
Binder responds to the challenge of Edward Said's critique of Orientalism, of a range of neo-Marxian development theorists, of Sayyid Qutb's fundamentalist vision, of Samir Amin's vision of Egypt's role in the Arab awakening, of Tariq al-Bishri's new populism, of Zaki Najib Mahmud's pragmatism, and the structuralism of Arkoun and Laroui. The deconstruction of these varied texts produces a number of persuasive hermeneutical conclusions that are sequentially woven together in a critical argument that refocuses our attention on the central question of political freedom and democracy. In the course of constructing this argument, Binder reopens the dialogue between Western modernity and Islamic authenticity and reveals the surprising extent to which there is a convergent interest in liberal, democratic, civil society. Finally, in a concluding chapter, he addresses the prospects for liberalism in the three major bourgeois states of Islam—Egypt, Turkey, and Iran.
Yossef Rapoport Bodleian Library Publishing, 2019 Library of Congress GA203.R37 2020 | Dewey Decimal 526.088297
Spanning the Islamic world, from ninth-century Baghdad to nineteenth-century Iran, this book tells the story of Islamic cartography and the key Muslim map-makers who shaped the art over the centuries. Muslim geographers like al-Khwārazmī and al-Idrīsī developed distinctive styles, often based on geometrical patterns and calligraphy, and their maps covered all the known world, from the sources of the Nile to the European lands of the north and the Wall of Gog and Magog in the east. These map-makers combined novel cartographical techniques with art, science, and geographical knowledge to produce maps that could be both aesthetically stunning and mathematically sophisticated.
Islamic Maps examines Islamic visual interpretations of the world in their historical context through the map-makers themselves. What was the purpose of their maps, what choices did they make, and what arguments about the world were they trying to convey? Lavishly illustrated with stunning manuscripts, beautiful instruments, and Qibla charts, this book shows how maps constructed by Muslim map-makers capture the many dimensions of Islamic civilization across the centuries.
The Islamic world has experienced extensive social changes in modern times—the rise of new social classes, the formation of massive bureaucratic and military states, and the incorporation of its economies into the world capitalist structure. Yet despite these changes, a national consensus on even the most important principles of social organization—the form of government, the status of women, national identity, and rule making—has yet to emerge.
An ambitious comparative historical analysis of ideological production in the Islamic world from the mid-1800s to the present, Mansoor Moaddel's Islamic Modernism, Nationalism, and Fundamentalism provides a unique perspective for understanding the social conditions of these discourses. Moaddel characterizes these movements in terms of a sequence of cultural episodes characterized by ideological debates and religious disputations, each ending with a revolution or military coup. Understanding how the leaders of these movements formulated their discourses is, for Moaddel, the key to understanding Middle Eastern history. This premise allows him to unlock for readers the historical process that started with Islamic modernism and ended with fundamentalism.
An accessible point of entry into the rich medieval religious landscape of Jewish biblical exegesis s
Medieval Judeo-Arabic translations of the Hebrew Bible and their commentaries provide a rich source for understanding a formative period in the intellectual, literary, and cultural history and heritage of Jews in Islamic lands. The carefully selected texts in this volume offer intriguing insight into Arabic translations and commentaries by Rabbanite and Karaite Jewish exegetes from the tenth to the twelfth centuries CE, arranged according to the three divisions of the Torah, the Former and Latter Prophets, and the Writings. Each text is embedded within an essay discussing its exegetical context, reception, and contribution.
Focus on underrepresented medieval Jewish commentators of the Eastern world
A list of additional resources, including major Judeo-Arabic commentators in the medieval period
Previously unpublished texts from the Cairo Geniza
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. Mohammed Ayoob's The Many Faces of Political Islam thoroughly describes the myriad manifestations of this rising ideology and analyzes its impact on global relations.
"In this beautifully crafted and utterly compelling book, Mohammed Ayoob accomplishes admirably the difficult task of offering a readily accessible yet nuanced and comprehensive analysis of an issue of enormous political importance. Both students and specialists will learn a great deal from this absolutely first-rate book."
---Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow, Cornell University
"Dr. Ayoob addresses the nuances and complexities of political Islam---be it mainstream, radical, or militant---and offers a road map of the pivotal players and issues that define the movement. There is no one as qualified as Mohammed Ayoob to write a synthesis of various manifestations of political Islam. His complex narrative highlights the changes and shifts that have taken place within the Islamist universe and their implications for internal Muslim politics and relations between the world of Islam and the Christian world."
---Fawaz A. Gerges, Carnegie Scholar, and holds the Christian A. Johnson Chair in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies, Sarah Lawrence College
"Let's hope that many readers---not only academics but policymakers as well---will use this invaluable book."
---François Burgat, Director, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Institute for Research and Study on the Arab and Muslim World (IREMAM), Aix-en-Provence, France
"This is a wonderful, concise book by an accomplished and sophisticated political scientist who nonetheless manages to convey his interpretation of complex issues and movements to even those who have little background on the subject. It is impressive in its clarity, providing a badly needed text on political Islam that's accessible to college students and the general public alike."
---Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland, and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Mohammed Ayoob is University Distinguished Professor of International Relations with a joint appointment in James Madison College and the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University. He is also Coordinator of the Muslim Studies Program at Michigan State University.
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, The Many Faces of Political Islam thoroughly analyzes the many facets of this political ideology and shows its impact on global relations.
Hundreds of exceptional cartographic images are scattered throughout medieval and early modern Arabic, Persian, and Turkish manuscript collections. The plethora of copies created around the Islamic world over the course of eight centuries testifies to the enduring importance of these medieval visions for the Muslim cartographic imagination. With Medieval Islamic Maps, historian Karen C. Pinto brings us the first in-depth exploration of medieval Islamic cartography from the mid-tenth to the nineteenth century.
Pinto focuses on the distinct tradition of maps known collectively as the Book of Roads and Kingdoms (Kitab al-Masalik wa al-Mamalik, or KMMS), examining them from three distinct angles—iconography, context, and patronage. She untangles the history of the KMMS maps, traces their inception and evolution, and analyzes them to reveal the identities of their creators, painters, and patrons, as well as the vivid realities of the social and physical world they depicted. In doing so, Pinto develops innovative techniques for approaching the visual record of Islamic history, explores how medieval Muslims perceived themselves and their world, and brings Middle Eastern maps into the forefront of the study of the history of cartography.
Tracing the connections between music making and built space in both historical and contemporary times, Music, Sound, and Architecture in Islam brings together domains of intellectual reflection that have rarely been in dialogue to promote a greater understanding of the centrality of sound production in constructed environments in Muslim religious and cultural expression. Representing the fields of ethnomusicology, anthropology, art history, architecture, history of architecture, religious studies, and Islamic studies, the volume’s contributors consider sonic performances ranging from poetry recitation to art, folk, popular, and ritual musics—as well as religious expressions that are not usually labeled as “music” from an Islamic perspective—in relation to monumental, vernacular, ephemeral, and landscape architectures; interior design; decoration and furniture; urban planning; and geography. Underscoring the intimate relationship between traditional Muslim sonic performances, such as the recitation of the Qur’an or devotional songs, and conventional Muslim architectural spaces, from mosques and Sufi shrines to historic aristocratic villas, gardens, and gymnasiums, the book reveals Islam as an ideal site for investigating the relationship between sound and architecture, which in turn proves to be an innovative and significant angle from which to explore Muslim cultures.
Seema Alavi challenges the idea that all pan-Islamic configurations are anti-Western or pro-Caliphate. A pan-Islamic intellectual network at the cusp of the British and Ottoman empires became the basis of a global Muslim sensibility—a political and cultural affiliation that competes with ideas of nationhood today as it did in the last century.
From “green” pop and “clean” cinema to halal songs, Islamic soaps, Muslim rap, Islamist fantasy serials, and Suficized music, the performing arts have become popular and potent avenues for Islamic piety movements, politically engaged Islamists, Islamic states, and moderate believers to propagate their religio-ethical beliefs. Muslim Rap, Halal Soaps, and Revolutionary Theater is the first book that explores this vital intersection between artistic production and Islamic discourse in the Muslim world. The contributors to this volume investigate the historical and structural conditions that impede or facilitate the emergence of a “post-Islamist” cultural sphere. They discuss the development of religious sensibilities among audiences, which increasingly include the well-to-do and the educated young, as well as the emergence of a local and global religious market. At the heart of these essays is an examination of the intersection between cultural politics, performing art, and religion, addressing such questions as where, how, and why pop culture and performing arts have been turned into a religious mission, and whether it is possible to develop a new Islamic aesthetic that is balanced with religious sensibilities. As we read about young Muslims and their quest for a “cool Islam” in music, their struggle to quell their stigmatized status, or the collision of morals and the marketplace in the arts, a vivid, varied new perspective on Muslim culture emerges.
In Rethinking Islam, Katajun Amirpur argues that the West’s impression of Islam as a backward-looking faith, resistant to post-Enlightenment thinking, is misleading and—due to its effects on political discourse—damaging. Introducing readers to key thinkers and activists—such as Abu Zaid, a free-thinking Egyptian Qur’an scholar; Abdolkarim Soroush, an academic and former member of Khomeini’s Cultural Revolution Committee; and Amina Wadud, an American feminist who was the first woman to lead the faithful in Friday Prayer—Amirpur reveals a powerful yet lesser-known tradition of inquiry and dissent within Islam, one that is committed to democracy and human rights. By examining these and many other similar figures’ ideas, she reveals the many ways they reject fundamentalist assertions and instead call for a diversity of opinion, greater freedom, and equality of the sexes.
Mahbub Rashid embarks on a fascinating journey through urban space in all of its physical and social aspects, using the theories of Foucault, Bourdieu, Lefebvre, and others to explore how consumer capitalism, colonialism, and power disparity consciously shape cities. Using two Muslim cities as case studies, Algiers (Ottoman/French) and Zanzibar (Ottoman/British), Rashid shows how Western perceptions can only view Muslim cities through the lens of colonization—a lens that distorts both physical and social space. Is it possible, he asks, to find a useable urban past in a timeline broken by colonization? He concludes that political economy may be less relevant in premodern cities, that local variation is central to the understanding of power, that cities engage more actively in social reproduction than in production, that the manipulation of space is the exercise of power, that all urban space is a conscious construct and is therefore not inevitable, and that consumer capitalism is taking over everyday life. Ultimately, we reconstruct a present from a fragmented past through local struggles against the homogenizing power of abstract space.
What makes a city an economic, political, and cultural center? In The Places Where Men Pray Together, Paul Wheatley draws on two decades of astonishingly wide-ranging research to demonstrate that Islamic cities are defined by function rather than form—by what they do rather than what they are. Focusing on the roles of cities during the first four centuries of Islamic expansion, Wheatley explores interconnected cultural, historical, economic, political, and religious factors to provide the clearest and most extensively documented portrait of early Islamic urban centers available to date.
Building on the tenth-century geographer al-Maqdisi's writings on urban centers of the Islamic world, buttressed by extensive comparative material from roadbooks, topographies, histories, adab literatures, and gazetteers of the time, Wheatley identifies the main functions of different Islamic urban centers. Chapters on each of the thirteen centers that al-Maqdisi identified, ranging from the Atlantic to the Indus and from the Caspian to the Sudan, form the heart of this book. In each case Wheatley shows how specific agglomeration and accessibility factors combined to make every city functionally distinct as a creator of effective space. He also demonstrates that, far from revolutionizing every aspect of life in these cities, the adoption of Islam often affected the development of these cities less than previously existing local traditions.
The Places Where Men Pray Together is a monumental work that will speak to scholars and readers across a broad variety of disciplines, from historians, anthropologists, and sociologists to religious historians, archaeologists, and geographers.
What does jihad really mean? What is the Muslim conception of law? What is Islam's stance toward unbelievers? Probing literary and historical sources, Bernard Lewis traces the development of Islamic political language from the time of the Prophet to the present. His analysis of documents written in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish illuminates differences between Muslim political thinking and Western political theory, and clarifies the perception, discussion, and practices of politics in the Islamic world.
"Lewis's own style, combining erudition with a simple elegance and subtle humor, continues to inspire. In an era of specialization and narrowing academic vision, he stands alone as one who deserves, without qualification, the title of historian of Islam."—Martin Kramer, Middle East Review
"A superb effort at synthesis that presents all the relevant facts of Middle Eastern history in an eminently lucid form. . . . It is a book that should prove both rewarding and congenial to the Muslim reader."—S. Parvez Manzor, Muslim World Book Review
"By bringing his thoughts together in this clear, concise and readable account, [Lewis] has placed in his debt scholars and all who seek to understand the Muslim world."—Ann K. S. Lambton, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
"[Lewis] constructs a fascinating account of the ways in which Muslims have conceived of the relations between ruler and ruled, rights and duties, legitimacy and illegitimacy, obedience and rebellion, justice and oppression. And he shows how changes in political attitudes and concepts can be traced through changes in the political vocabulary."—Shaul Bakhash, New York Review of Books
There exists today a tragic rift between Americans and the world’s Muslims. Yet in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was widespread sympathy for the U.S. throughout the Muslim world. This book explores what happened. It examines the disconnect that leads Americans and Muslims to view the same words and images in fundamentally different ways. Partly a result of a centuries-old 'us' against 'them' dichotomy, the problem is exacerbated by an increasingly polarised media and by leaders on both sides who either don't understand or don't care what impact their words and policies have in the world at large.
Journalist-scholar Lawrence Pintak, a former CBS News Middle East correspondent, argues that the Arab media revolution and the rise of 'patriot-journalists' in the US marginalized voices of moderation, distorting perceptions on both sides of the divide with potentially disastrous results.
Built on the author's extensive journalistic experience, the book will appeal to policymakers, students of media studies, Middle East studies and Islamic studies, and general current affairs readers.
During the Golden Age of Islam (seventh through seventeenth centuries A.D.), Muslim philosophers and poets, artists and scientists, princes and laborers created a unique culture that has influenced societies on every continent. This book offers a fully illustrated, highly accessible introduction to an important aspect of that culture—the scientific achievements of medieval Islam. Howard Turner opens with a historical overview of the spread of Islamic civilization from the Arabian peninsula eastward to India and westward across northern Africa into Spain. He describes how a passion for knowledge led the Muslims during their centuries of empire-building to assimilate and expand the scientific knowledge of older cultures, including those of Greece, India, and China. He explores medieval Islamic accomplishments in cosmology, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, geography, medicine, natural sciences, alchemy, and optics. He also indicates the ways in which Muslim scientific achievement influenced the advance of science in the Western world from the Renaissance to the modern era. This survey of historic Muslim scientific achievements offers students and general readers a window into one of the world’s great cultures, one which is experiencing a remarkable resurgence as a religious, political, and social force in our own time.
During the Middle Ages, a thriving center for learning and research was Muslim Spain, where students gathered to consult Arabic manuscripts of earlier scientific works and study with famous teachers. One of these teachers was Sa'id al-Andalusi, who in 1068 wrote Kitab Tabaqat al-'Umam, or "Book of the Categories of Nations," which recorded the contributions to science of all known nations. Today, it is one of few surviving medieval Spanish Muslim texts, and this is its first English translation.
Science ('ulum), as used by Sa'id and other scholars of that period, is a broad term covering virtually all aspects of human knowledge. After initial discussions of the categories of nations that did or did not cultivate science, Sa'id details the specific contribution of nine nations or peoples-India, Persia, Chaldea, Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Arab Orient, al-Andalus, and the Hebrews. He includes the names of many individual scientists and scholars and describes their various contributions to knowledge, making his book a significant work of reference as well as history.
Secular Power Europe and Islam argues that secularism is not the central principle of international relations but should be considered as one belief system that influences international politics. Through an exploration of Europe’s secular identity, an identity that is seen erroneously as normative, author Sarah Wolff shows how Islam confronts the EU’s existential anxieties about its security and its secular identity. Islam disrupts Eurocentric assumptions about democracy and revolution and human rights. Through three case studies, Wolff encourages the reader to unpack secularism as a bedrock principle of IR and diplomacy. This book argues that the EU’s interest and diplomacy activities in relation to religion, and to Islam specifically, are shaped by the insistence on a European secular identity that should be reconsidered.
Contradicting the views commonly held by westerners, many Muslim countries in fact engage in a wide spectrum of reform, with the status of women as a central dimension. This anthology counters the myth that Islam and feminism are always or necessarily in opposition. A multidisciplinary group of scholars examine ideology, practice, and reform efforts in the areas of marriage, divorce, abortion, violence against women, inheritance, and female circumcision across the Islamic world, illuminating how religious and cultural prescriptions interact with legal norms, affecting change in sometimes surprising ways.
In Unveiling Traditions Anouar Majid issues a challenge to the West to reimagine Islam as a progressive world culture and a participant in the building of a multicultural and more egalitarian world civilization. From within the highly secularized space it inhabits, a space endemically suspicious of religion, the West must find a way, writes Majid, to embrace Islamic societies as partners in building a more inclusive and culturally diverse global community. Majid moves beyond Edward Said’s unmasking of orientalism in the West to examine the intellectual assumptions that have prevented a more nuanced understanding of Islam’s legacies. In addition to questioning the pervasive logic that assumes the “naturalness” of European social and political organizations, he argues that it is capitalism that has intensified cultural misunderstanding and created global tensions. Besides examining the resiliency of orientalism, the author critically examines the ideologies of nationalism and colonialist categories that have redefined the identity of Muslims (especially Arabs and Africans) in the modern age and totally remapped their cultural geographies. Majid is aware of the need for Muslims to rethink their own assumptions. Addressing the crisis in Arab-Muslim thought caused by a desire to simultaneously “catch up” with the West and also preserve Muslim cultural authenticity, he challenges Arab and Muslim intellectuals to imagine a post-capitalist, post-Eurocentric future. Critical of Islamic patriarchal practices and capitalist hegemony, Majid contends that Muslim feminists have come closest to theorizing a notion of emancipation that rescues Islam from patriarchal domination and resists Eurocentric prejudices. Majid’s timely appeal for a progressive, multicultural dialogue that would pave the way to a polycentric world will interest students and scholars of postcolonial, cultural, Islamic, and Marxist studies.
Women, Islam and Cinema
Gönül Dönmez-Colin Reaktion Books, 2004 Library of Congress PN1995.9.W6D648 2004 | Dewey Decimal 791.43082091767
This is the first book to examine the troubled relationships between women, Islam and cinema. Film critic and author Gönül Dönmez-Colin explores the role of women as spectators, images and image constructors in the cinemas of the countries where Islam is the predominant religion, focusing on Iran and Turkey from the Middle East, drawing parallels from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the two Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union, and Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia, the prominently Muslim Asian countries with a challenging film industry. Some of the relevant films made in India by and for Muslim Indians are also explored.
Dönmez-Colin examines prevalent cinematic archetypes, including the naïve country girl who is deceived and dishonored, or the devious seductress who destroys the sanctity of marriage, and looks well at controversial elements such as screen rape, which, feminist film critics claim, caters to male voyeurism. She also discusses recurring themes, such as the myths of femininity, the endorsement of polygamy and the obsession with male children, as well as the most common stereotypes, depicting women as mothers, wives and daughters.
Given the diversity of cultures, rather than viewing national cinemas as aspects of a single development, the author focuses on individual histories, traditions and social and economic circumstances as points of reference, which are examined in the context of social and political evolution and the status of women within Islam.
Women, Islam and Cinema is a much-needed and timely work that will appeal to the curious reader as well as to the student of film.