538 episodes

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

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.7 • 23 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Islam about their New Books
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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)

    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 sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome.
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    • 51 min
    Carla Power, "Home, Land, Security: Deradicalization and the Journey Back from Extremism" (One World, 2021)

    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.
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    • 1 hr 6 min
    Omar Kasmani, "Queer Companions: Religion, Public Intimacy, and Saintly Affects in Pakistan" (Duke UP, 2022)

    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.
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    • 1 hr 21 min
    Matthew Teller, "Nine Quarters of Jerusalem: A New Biography of the Old City" (Other Press/Profile Books, 2022)

    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 robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter and IG: @robbyref
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    Marc David Baer, "German, Jew, Muslim, Gay: The Life and Times of Hugo Marcus" (Columbia UP, 2020)

    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.
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    • 48 min
    Peter Oborne, "The Fate of Abraham: Why the West is Wrong about Islam" (Simon and Schuster, 2022)

    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.
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    • 1 hr 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

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