The relationship between religion and economic activity has attracted generations of scholars working in myriad settings. In recent years, many have turned to questions of how Islamic ideas are generative of economic activity, to Islamic finance and capital, and to the relationship between contemporary Islam and capitalism more broadly. In Corporate Islam: Sharia and the Modern Workplace (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Patricia Sloane- White builds on this work by asking “not only how the spread of global capitalism transforms the lives of Muslims… but how capitalism empowers the spread of Islam.” Drawing from interviews and ethnographic fieldwork over a seven-year period, and a wealth of knowledge from over two decades of research in Malaysia, Sloane-White argues that the “sharia space” of the today’s corporate Islamic workplace is a third domain between the public and the private in which employees must submit to the guidance of their professional and personal lives by men who insist that their businesses can and must be both profitable and pious.
Brand Islam: The Marketing and Commodification of Piety By FaeghehShirazi, University of Texas Press,2016
Religion is big business nowadays. Within the global context of Muslim consumers Islamic commodities have become increasingly popular over the past few decades. Faegheh Shirazi, Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, explores the industrial and discursive production of halal products in Brand Islam: The Marketing and Commodification of Piety. (University of Texas Press, 2016). In the wake of increased insecurity due to the rise of anti-Muslim sentiments and policy, Islamic-branded products have become an essential means for shaping and expressing social identities. The commodification of a religious orientation has produced a halal consumerism that pervades the branding and marketing logic of several industries. In our conversation we discuss the corporatization of the halal food industry, Islamic products and non-Muslim publics, the politics of slaughtering animals, Islamic branded toys, such as hijabi dolls, cosmetic and toiletry products, and the Muslim fashion industry.
The Promise of Patriarchy: Women and the Nation of Islam By Ula YvetteTaylor, 2017, UNC Press
The Nation of Islam and other black nationalist groups are typically known for their male leaders. Men like the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Malcolm X or Martin Delany and Marcus Garvey are notable examples. But what about the work of black women in these groups? Ula Yvette Taylor’s new book, The Promise of Patriarchy: women and the Nation of Islam (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), expands our knowledge of the role of black women from the Depression-era development of Allah Temple of Islam in Detroit to the formal group known as the Nation of Islam that expanded under the leadership in the 1960s and 1970s of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Women like Clara Muhammad, Burnsteen Sharrieff, and Thelma X Muhammad were essential to the development of the Nation of Islam’s goal of creating a black nation within the American nation. The Promise of Patriarchy shows how black women created notions of black womanhood and black motherhood that best helped them deal with the daily indignities of living in Jim Crow America.
Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Language, And Scripture in the Han Kitab By Kristian Petersen, 2017 Oxford University Press
In his monumental new book, Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Language, and Scripture in the Han Kitab (Oxford University Press, 2017), Kristian Petersen, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, takes his readers on an unforgettable journey through the layers and complexities of Sino-Muslim intellectual and social history. On the way readers meet the major scholars and texts that played a formative role in the development of the Han Kitab tradition, and revel in navigating the terms and stakes of their discourses and debates on critical questions of pilgrimage, scriptural interpretation, and the sanctity of the Arabic language. In addition to constituting a field turning contribution to the study of Islam in China, this book is also among the most dazzling interventions in translation studies. All students and scholars of Islam, Religion, Asian Studies, and Translation Studies will have much to benefit from this brilliant study. It will also make an excellent text in both undergraduate and graduate courses on Muslim intellectual history, Asian Religions, and theories and methods in Religion Studies.
Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement By AlexanderThurston ,2017 ,Princeton University Press
Boko Haram is one of the most well known global terrorist organizations. They have killed thousands of people and displaced millions of West Africans. While widespread journalistic reporting on the group tries to keep up with their activities, few have placed them in a rich historical context to understand how religion and politics intersect. In Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement (PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2017), Alexander Turston, Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, traces the origins of the jihadist group through political events, networks of Islamic learning, and the personal charisma of individual religious leaders. In his previous book, Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Thurston provides background on Salafis in Nigeria that enables us to understand Boko Haram as part of a global Salafi movement.
A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia By Manan Ahmed Asif ,2017 ,Harvard University Press
In contemporary South Asia, the question of Muslim origins emerges in school textbooks, political dialogues, or at tourist or pilgrimage cites. The repeated narrative revolves around the foreign Muslim leader, Muhammad bin Qasim, and his conquest of Sind in the year 712. Manan Ahmed Asif, Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University, provides a critical interrogation of this narrative in A Book of Conquest:The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia (HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2017).
The crux of this origin narrative stems from the Chachnama, a 13th-century Persian text, which purports to be a translation of an eye-witness account written in Arabic. Asif approaches the Chachnama by initially situating it within the spatial and political context of Medieval Sind. He then places it within the textual universe of the early 13th century, thinking about audience, genre, and themes. Through this process of unreading he concludes that the Chachnama is neither translation nor primarily concerned with conquest but rather provides a coherent political theory for its contemporaneous readers. Thinking about the text in this new light, Asif examines the Chachnama though the lens of advice writing, questions of governing difference, and the calibration of gender and power. Finally, he explores the afterlife of the Chachnama and determines the factors that framed the story of the conquest of Sind as the primary narrative of Muslim origins in South Asia. In our conversation we discussed what origin narratives tell us about the contemporary world, the deployment of notions of conquest and foreignness in South Asian discourse, the maritime orientation of early Sind, literary and social context of the Chachnamas production, genres of advice writing, the political organization of religious difference, the roles women played in articulating just forms of rule, the colonial reframing of Muslim origins, and the social consequences of dominant readings of the Chachnama.
The New Pakistani Middle Class By Ammara Maqsood 2017, Harvard University Press
The relationship between class and religious piety represents a theme less explored in the study of modern Islam in general, and in the study of South Asian Islam in particular. In her incredibly nimble and nuanced recent book The New Pakistani Middle Class (Harvard University Press, 2017), Ammara Maqsood, Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester, addresses this lacunae by offering a fascinating narrative of the intersection of religion, class, and piety among the urban Pakistani middle class. With a focus on the history and present of older and the new middle-class communities in Lahore, this book charts with remarkable analytical precision, the interaction of global and local politics, and the choreography of everyday religious life among the urban middle class in Pakistan. Theoretically sophisticated, historically grounded, and ethnographically vivacious, The New Pakistani Middle Class represents a groundbreaking contribution to the study of post-colonial Muslim societies, South Asian Islam, and to the anthropology of religion and Islam. In addition to its intellectual merits, this book also reads lyrically making it eminently usable in undergraduate and graduate seminars on religion and class, Urban Studies, South Asian Studies, Islamic Studies, and Anthropology.
Jihad, Radicalism, and the New Atheism By Mohammad Hassan Khalil, 2017Cambridge University Press
Is Islam fundamentally violent? For influential New Atheists such as Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Richard Dawkins, the answer is an emphatic yes, largely because of the Islamic doctrine of jihad. According to this view, when al-Qaeda plotted 9/11 or ISIS planned any one of its recent terrorist attacks, they were acting in accord with Islamic scripture. Jihad, Radicalism, and the New Atheism scrutinizes this claim by comparing the conflicting interpretations of jihad offered by mainstream Muslim scholars, violent Muslim radicals, and New Atheists. Mohammad Hassan Khalil considers contemporary Muslim terrorism to be a grave problem that we must now confront. He shows, however, that the explanations offered for this phenomenon by the New Atheists are highly problematic, and that their own interpretations of the role of violence in Islam exceed those of even radicals such as Osama bin Laden. In showing all of this, Khalil offers critical insights on a most pressing issue.
Muslim Americans: Debating the notions of American and un-American By Nahid Afrose Kabir, 2017, Rutledge
With Islamophobia on the rise in the US since 9/11, Muslims remain the most misunderstood people in American society. Taking as its point of departure the question of the compatibility of Islam and democracy, this book examines Muslims’ sense of belonging in American society. Based on extensive interview data across seven states in the US, the author explores the question of what it means to be American or un-American amongst Muslims, offering insights into common views of community, culture, and wider society. Through a combination of interviewees’ responses and discourse analysis of print media, Muslim Americans also raises the question of whether media coverage of the issue might itself be considered ‘un-American’.
An empirically grounded study of race and faith-based relations, this book undertakes a rigorous questioning of what it means to be American in the contemporary US. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology and political science with interests in race, ethnicity, religion and national identity.