compiled by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary on MAY 15, 2015: 

Cemil Aydin is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Aydin presented on the “Impossibility of the Millet System in the Age of Active Publics: Ottoman Tanzimat, Imperial Citizenship, and Cosmopolitan Pluralism, 1839-1915″ at the March 19, 2015 workshop “Turkish Reasonable Accommodations: From Multiculturalism to Secular Nationalism and Back.”

Aydin explored in his talk, how the Ottoman millet system “was not very unique but in many ways was a peculiar way of managing diversity in one of the most diverse empires in world history for about 600 years,” and why it ultimately failed. Continue reading

compiled by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary/TIRN on MAY 13, 2015: 

Michael Reynolds, an Associate Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, presented on “Global Norms, Geopolitics, and the Evolution of Minority Politics in Turkey” at the March 19, 2015 workshop “Turkish Reasonable Accommodations: From Multiculturalism to Secular Nationalism and Back.”

“Often in analyses of Turkey’s policies towards minorities… there’s this  assumption that there’s something peculiarly wrong, some kind of defect with Turkish culture, and I want to push back a bit on that,” Reynolds led off his talk. “What I want to show is there are clearly identifiable, historical reasons that explain this sort of troubled relationship with minorities. The Turkish Republic as I see it is nothing if it is not a response to the problem of Ottoman decline.” Continue reading

by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary  — Q & A with REBECCA STEIN — for ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN on MAY 18, 2015:

DigitalMilitarismDigital Militarism: Israel’s Occupation in the Social Media Age (Stanford University Press, April 2015), by scholars Adi Kunstman and Rebecca Stein, has been called “a pioneering book, showing how information and communication technologies have turned into wartime arsenals, and the Internet and social networks into digital battlefields” and described as “a riveting guide to contemporary media strategies, improvisations, and accidents in the theatre of Israeli militarism.”

Kuntsman is a lecturer in information and communications at Manchester Metropolitan University whose work lies at the intersection of cybercultures/digital and social media; anti-colonial and feminist scholarship; queer theory; and social research on war, nationalism and colonialism.

Stein is an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Duke University who studies linkages between cultural and political processes in Israel in relation to its military occupation and the history of Palestinian dispossession.

ISLAMiCommentary connected with Stein for this Q & A about their new book.

What is digital militarism and who named the trend?

This phrase — our own coinage — refers to the ways that social media tools, technologies, and practices can be employed in the service of militant projects by both state and everyday civilian users. Of course, digital militarism is a broad and flexible concept, with wide global applicability.

In this book, we consider the ways it has emerged in the context of Israel’s occupation. We are chiefly interested in everyday Jewish Israeli users, and the ways that social media functions as a toolbox for militarized politics – this within a society that has moved progressively rightward over the course of the last two decades. Digital militarism takes shape at the intersection of militant nationalism — now widespread in Israel — and very conventional, globalized modes of networked engagement: like liking and sharing, participating in meme culture, and posting a selfie. This interplay between nationalist violence and the social media everyday is at the core of our study.

When we began this study, digital militarism existed on the margins of social media — both in the Israeli and global contexts. Today, of course, it has become commonplace. We have become are accustomed to the integration of social networking into military arsenals, to calls for war issued en masse on social media platforms, to the presence of smartphones in military zones and battlefields, to social networking from scenes of atrocity.

In the Israeli context, we are now accustomed to damning Instagram images from soldiers, or to YouTube videos of violent confrontation between Israelis soldiers and Palestinians in the territories. Once, such events and media exposure surprised Israeli and international publics. Today, we have come to expect them. Digital Militarism is a chronicle of the emergence and naturalization of digital militarism as a social form. Continue reading

by ELLIOTT BAZZANO for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on MAY 6, 2015: 

Michael Birkel
Michael Birkel

Unknown-1Michael Birkel‘s Qur’an in Conversation (Baylor University Press, 2014) challenges its readers to think deeply about the Qur’an. The book will likely leave the reader with many answers but also many questions. By drawing on academic scholars, imams, lawyers, and activists this edited volume presents a series of compelling, masterfully written, digestible, and personal accounts of the Qur’an.

It addresses tough questions about violence, gender, interfaith relations, and authority, but not in an apologetic manner. The authors make clear that the Qur’an is not merely an old text, but also a living text, teeming with evolving interpretations and debates. Because all of the writers are based in the United States, moreover, the Qur’an in Conversation seamlessly incorporates discussions of the Qur’an with contemporary issues in American culture.

It thus becomes clear that the Qur’an is an American text as well as an Arabic text and a Muslim text. The chapters are arranged thematically, and one could reasonably read them sequentially or not, depending on the purpose. The text, therefore, offers a range of pedagogical functions and is sure to benefit classroom use, especially because of its readable and erudite prose. Birkel has set a high bar for future edited volumes that follow models anything like Qur’an in Conversation.

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH BIRKEL

 

In September 2014 the Duke Islamic Studies Center (which manages the Transcultural Islam Project of which TIRN is a part), announced its official institutional affiliation with New Books in Islamic Studies — a bi-weekly audio podcast featuring hour long conversations with authors of exciting new research. For an archive see HERE.

by KELLY MCFALL for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on MAY 11, 2015: 

Fatma Muge Gocek
Fatma Muge Gocek

UnknownAdolf Hitler famously (and probably) said in a speech to his military leaders “Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?” This remark is generally taken to suggest that future generations won’t remember current atrocities, so there’s no reason not to commit them. The implication is that memory has something like an expiration date, that it fades, somewhat inevitably, of its own accord.

At the heart of Fatma Muge Gocek‘s book is the claim that forgetting doesn’t just happen. Rather, forgetting (and remembering) happens in a context, with profound political and personal stakes for those involved. And this forgetting has consequences.

Denial of Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present, and Collective Violence against the Armenians 1789-2009 (Oxford University Press, 2015) looks at how this process played out in Turkey in the past 200 years. Gocek looks at both the mechanisms and the logic of forgetting. In doing so she sets the Turkish decisions to reinterpret the Armenian genocide into a longer tale of modernization and collective violence. And she illustrates the complicated ways in which remembering and forgetting collide.

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH MUGE GOCEK

 

In September 2014 the Duke Islamic Studies Center (which manages the Transcultural Islam Project of which TIRN is a part), announced its official institutional affiliation with New Books in Islamic Studies — a bi-weekly audio podcast featuring hour long conversations with authors of exciting new research. For an archive see HERE.