Marzouki, “Islam: An American Religion”

In April, Columbia University Press will release “Islam: An American Religion,” by Nadia Marzouki (Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)). The publisher’s description follows:

Islam: An American Religion demonstrates how Islam as formed in the United States has become an American religion in a double sense—first through the strategies of 9780231176804recognition adopted by Muslims and second through the performance of Islam as a faith.

Nadia Marzouki investigates how Islam has become so contentious in American politics. Focusing on the period from 2008 to 2013, she revisits the uproar over the construction of mosques, legal disputes around the prohibition of Islamic law, and the overseas promotion of religious freedom. She argues that public controversies over Islam in the United States primarily reflect the American public’s profound divisions and ambivalence toward freedom of speech and the legitimacy of liberal secular democracy.

Panel Discussion: “Muslims and the Making of America” (March 14)

On March 14, the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, in conjunction with Baylor University Press, is co-sponsoring a panel discussion of Amir Hussain’s new book Muslims and the Making of America at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. A description of the event follows:

muslims-and-the-making-of-americaAmerican Muslim identity presently hangs under a dark cloud of suspicion. Ironically, as Amir Hussain demonstrates, there has never been an America without Muslims. The American tapestry is woven, in part, with Muslim threads.
Amir Hussain, professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University, will appear on a panel to discuss his recent book, Muslims and the Making of America (2016). He will be joined by Melissa Rogers, most recently known for her work as special assistant to the president and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships during the Obama administration, and Rebecca Samuel Shah, research professor at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University and associate director of the Religious Freedom Institute’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team. The panelists will discuss Muslim American identity, Muslim contributions to America, religious freedom and other First Amendment issues, and the social and political impact of cultural stereotypes of Muslim identity. The forum will be open to questions from the audience.
Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6:00 p.m. in the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge before the panel commences at 6:45 p.m. Immediately following the panel, Hussain will host a book signing where copies of his book will be available.
The panel is co-sponsored by Baylor University Press and the Religious Freedom Research Project of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.
More information on the event can be found here.

Hasan, “Public Islam in Indonesia”

In April, University of Chicago Press will release “Public Islam in Indonesia: Piety, Politics, and Identity,” by Noorhaidi Hasan (Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University).  The publisher’s description follows:

9789462983205In recent years, ongoing democratization in Indonesia has enabled the rise of a form of Islam that is more sympathetic to the basic democratic principle of individual freedom. As a result, many Islamic symbols have lost their strictly religious meanings in favor of new pragmatic and political undertones. Combining approaches from political science and anthropology, Noorhaidi Hasan explores this phenomenon and the extent to which public Islam could represent a new future for the nation, one that moves beyond the simple opposition of state versus religion.

Joly & Wadia, “Muslim Women and Power”

In March, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Muslim Women and Power: Political and Civic Engagement in West European Societies,” by Danièle Joly (University of Warwick) and Khursheed Wadia (University of Warwick).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book provides an account of Muslim women’s political and civic engagement in Britain and France. It examines their interaction with civil society and state 9781137480613institutions to provide an understanding of their development as political actors. The authors argue that Muslim women’s participation is expressed at the intersections of the groups and society to which they belong. In Britain and France, their political attitudes and behaviour are influenced by their national/ethnic origins, religion and specific features of British and French societies. Thus three main spheres of action are identified: the ethnic group, religious group and majority society. Unequal, gendered power relations characterise the interconnection(s) between these spheres of action. Muslim women are positioned within these complex relations and find obstacles and/or facilitators governing their capacity to act politically. The authors suggest that Muslim women’s interest in politics, knowledge of it and participation in both institutional and informal politics is higher than expected. This book will appeal to students and scholars of politics, sociology, gender studies and social anthropology, and will also be of use to policy makers and practitioners in the field of gender and ethno-religious/ethno-cultural policy.

Mirsepassi, “Transnationalism in Iranian Political Thought”

In March, Cambridge University Press will release Transnationalism in Iranian Political Thought: The Life and Times of Ahmad Fardid by Ali Mirsepassi (New York University). The publisher’s description follows:

Transnationalism.jpgDuring the Iranian Revolution of 1978/9, the influence of public intellectuals was widespread. Many espoused a vision of Iran freed from the influences of ‘Westtoxification’, inspired by Heideggerian concepts of anti-Western nativism. By following the intellectual journey of the Iranian philosopher Ahmad Fardid, Ali Mirsepassi offers in this book an account of the rise of political Islam in modern Iran. Through his controversial persona and numerous public and private appearances before, during and particularly after the Revolution, Fardid popularised an Islamist vision militantly hostile to the modern world that remains a fundamental part of the political philosophy of the Islamic Republic to this day. By also bringing elements of Fardid’s post-revolutionary thought, as well as a critical analysis of Foucault’s writings on ‘the politics of spirituality’, Mirsepassi offers an essential read for all those studying the evolution of political thought and philosophy in modern Iran and beyond.

Aydin, “The Idea of the Muslim World”

In March, Harvard University Press will release The Idea of the Muslim World: A Global Intellectual History by Cemil Aydin (University of North Carolina). The publisher’s description follows:

the-muslim-worldWhen President Barack Obama visited Cairo in 2009 to deliver an address to Muslims worldwide, he followed in the footsteps of countless politicians who have taken the existence of a unified global Muslim community for granted. But 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 belief arise, and why is it so widespread? The Idea of the Muslim World searches for the intellectual origins of a mistaken notion and explains its enduring allure for non-Muslims and Muslims alike.

Conceived as the antithesis of Western Christian civilization, the idea of the Muslim world emerged in the late nineteenth century, when European empires ruled the majority of Muslims. It was inflected from the start by theories of white supremacy, but Muslims had a hand in shaping the idea as well. Aydin reveals the role of Muslim intellectuals in envisioning and essentializing an idealized pan-Islamic society that refuted claims of Muslims’ racial and civilizational inferiority.

After playing a key role in the politics of the Ottoman Caliphate, the idea of the Muslim world survived decolonization and the Cold War, and took on new force in the late twentieth century. Standing at the center of both Islamophobic and pan-Islamic ideologies, the idea of the Muslim world continues to hold the global imagination in a grip that will need to be loosened in order to begin a more fruitful discussion about politics in Muslim societies today.

“Islamisation” (Peacock, ed.)

In March, Edinburgh University Press will release Islamisation: Comparative Perspectives from History edited by A. C. S. Peacock (University of St. Andrews). The publisher’s description follows:

islamisationThe spread of Islam and the process of Islamisation (meaning both conversion to Islam and the adoption of Muslim culture) is explored in the 25 chapters of this volume. Taking a comparative perspective, both the historical trajectory of Islamisation and the methodological problems in its study are addressed, with coverage moving from Africa to China and from the 7th century to the start of the colonial period in 1800.

Key questions are addressed including what is meant by Islamisation? How far was the spread of Islam as a religion bound up with the spread of Muslim culture? To what extent are Islamisation and conversion parallel processes? How is Islamisation connected to Arabisation? What role do vernacular Muslim languages play in the promotion of Muslim culture?

The broad, comparative perspective allows readers to develop a thorough understanding of the process of Islamisation over 11 centuries of its history.

Emre, “Ibrahim-i Gulshani and the Khalwati-Gulshani Order”

In March, Brill Publishers will release Ibrahim-i Gulshani and the Khalwati-Gulshani Order: Power Brokers in Ottoman Egypt by Side Emre (University of Chicago). The publisher’s description follows:

Ibrahim.jpgIn Power Brokers in Ottoman Egypt, Side Emre documents the biography of Ibrahim-i Gulshani and the history of the Khalwati-Gulshani order of dervishes (c. 1440-1600). Set mainly in Mamluk-Egypt, and in the century following the region’s conquest by the Ottomans, this book analyzes sociopolitical dialogues at the geographic peripheries of an empire through the actions of and official responses to the Gulshaniyya network.

Emre argues that the members of this Sufi order exerted social and political leverage and contributed significantly to the political culture of the empire and Egypt. The Gulshanis are uncovered as unexpected figures among the roster of influential players, in contrast with empire-centered historiographies that depict Ottoman ruling and learned elites as the primary shapers and narrators of the fates of conquered provinces and peoples. The Gulshanis’ political and cultural legacy is situated within an analysis of perceptions of Sufism in the early modern Ottoman world.

Bowersock, “The Crucible of Islam”

In March, Harvard University Press will release The Crucible of Islam by G.W. Bowersock (Princeton). The publisher’s description follows:

crucible-of-islamLittle is known about Arabia in the sixth century CE. Yet from this distant time and place emerged a faith and an empire that stretched from the Iberian peninsula to India. Today, Muslims account for nearly a quarter of the global population. G. W. Bowersock seeks to illuminate this most obscure and yet most dynamic period in the history of Islam—from the mid-sixth to mid-seventh century—exploring why arid Arabia proved to be such fertile ground for Muhammad’s prophetic message, and why that message spread so quickly to the wider world.

In Muhammad’s time Arabia stood at the crossroads of great empires, a place where Christianity, Judaism, and local polytheistic traditions vied for adherents. Mecca, Muhammad’s birthplace, belonged to the part of Arabia recently conquered by the Ethiopian Christian king Abraha. But Ethiopia lost western Arabia to Persia following Abraha’s death, while the death of the Byzantine emperor in 602 further destabilized the region. Within this chaotic environment, where lands and populations were traded frequently among competing powers and belief systems, Muhammad began winning converts to his revelations. In a troubled age, his followers coalesced into a powerful force, conquering Palestine, Syria, and Egypt and laying the groundwork of the Umayyad Caliphate.

The crucible of Islam remains an elusive vessel. Although we may never grasp it firmly, Bowersock offers the most detailed description of its contours and the most compelling explanation of how one of the world’s great religions took shape.

Parvez, “Politicizing Islam”

In February, Oxford University Press will release Politicizing Islam: The Islamic Revival in France and India by Z. Fareen Parvez (University of Massachusetts). The publisher’s description follows:

politicizing-islamHome to the largest Muslim minorities in Western Europe and Asia, France and India are both grappling with crises of secularism. In Politicizing Islam, Fareen Parvez offers an in-depth look at how Muslims have responded to these crises, focusing on Islamic revival movements in the French city of Lyon and the Indian city of Hyderabad. Presenting a novel comparative view of middle-class and poor Muslims in both cities, Parvez illuminates how Muslims from every social class are denigrated but struggle in different ways to improve their lives and make claims on the state. In Hyderabad’s slums, Muslims have created vibrant political communities, while in Lyon’s banlieues they have retreated into the private sphere. Politicizing Islam elegantly explains how these divergent reactions originated in India’s flexible secularism and France’s militant secularism and in specific patterns of Muslim class relations in both cities. This fine-grained ethnography pushes beyond stereotypes and has consequences for burning public debates over Islam, feminism, and secular democracy.

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