491 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Islam about their New Books
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New Books in Islamic Studies New Books Network

    • Religion & Spirituality

Interviews with Scholars of Islam about their New Books
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    Nicole Nguyen, "Suspect Communities: Anti-Muslim Racism and the Domestic War on Terror" (U Minnesota Press, 2019)

    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 kpeterse@odu.edu.
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    • 51 min
    Jeffrey Guhin, "Agents of God: Boundaries and Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    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.
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    • 1 hr 16 min
    Christopher Coker, "The Rise of the Civilizational State" (Polity Press, 2019)

    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.
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    • 31 min
    Rose Wellman, "Feeding Iran: Shi`i Families and the Making of the Islamic Republic" (U California Press, 2021)

    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.
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    • 43 min
    Sana Haroon, "Mosques of Colonial South Asia: A Social and Legal History of Muslim Worship" (I. B. Tauris, 2021)

    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 sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome.
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    • 1 hr 17 min
    Yair Wallach, "A City in Fragments: Urban Texts in Modern Jerusalem" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    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 averyweinman@ucla.edu.
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    • 1 hr 26 min

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