bookcoverColumn » By the Book

by JOSEPH RICHARD PREVILLE for ISLAMiCommentary on MAY 12, 2014:

How much do we know about Turkey’s minority community of Alevi Muslims? What are their struggles and aspirations – past and present? And, how do they figure in Turkey’s vigorous debates about history, identity, citizenship, and pluralism? Kabir Tambar takes a close look at the Turkish Alevis in his impressive new book, The Reckoning of Pluralism: Political Belonging and the Demands of History in Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2014).

Kabir Tambar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. After earning his Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Chicago, Tambar taught in the Department of Religion at the University of Vermont. He also served as a member in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey from 2011-2012. His scholarly work has appeared in History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History, American Ethnologist, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and Public Culture.

Kabir Tambar discusses his new book in this exclusive interview.

Who are the Turkish Alevis and why are they struggling to get government recognition?

Kabir Tambar
Kabir Tambar

Alevis are a sizable religious minority in Turkey (reportedly about 15%), with deep historical connections to Shi‘i Islamic communities and the Bektaşi Sufi order. Since the 1990s, Alevi groups have collectively asserted themselves in Turkey’s urban centers, performing their communal rituals in public and making demands on the state for access to governmental resources from which they have long been systematically excluded. In my book, I suggest that the question is not whether Alevis should be recognized, but how they have been recognized. What are the categories that the state uses to classify different populations and render them intelligible to governmental rationalities? What sorts of aesthetic contexts are supported by the state, and how does this official support work to privilege certain expressions of collective belonging at the expense of others? In short, how do state authorities mobilize forms of knowledge, aesthetics, and emotion to define and cultivate acceptable expressions of religious difference? Continue reading


It’s no surprise that we here at ProfHacker like Twitter. We’ve covered how to start tweeting (and why you might want to) and practical advice for teaching with Twitter. I’ve found Twitter to be a tremendous boon to developing my professional networks and helping me stay on top of what’s happening in my fields of scholarship. But there’s one place where where Twitter perhaps ends up being more valuable for me than other place: at conferences. Continue reading


arabic_alchemy03Editor’s note (Bulletin for the Study of Religion): This post is part of the Reflections on Islamic Studies series.

By any measure, Islamic studies is a vibrant field. In the last several decades, the number of tenure-track positions dedicated to the study of Islam as a religion and to Muslim politics and societies has expanded. New journals have appeared; book sales are good; and interest in Islamic studies has led to important public humanities projects such as the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Muslim Journeys Bookshelf.

What makes Islamic studies so dynamic? For one, its ever-expanding body of participants, who come from a number of disciplinary perspectives. The field is populated by intellectual networks rather than one identifiable set of intellectual authorities. Islamic studies finds institutional homes not only in religious studies and Near Eastern languages departments, but also in history, anthropology, sociology, political science, ethnomusicology, and art and architecture, among other academic units. Continue reading

compiled by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, TIRN on APRIL 29, 2014:  

The following are the intros to Joseph Richard Preville’s seven latest “By the Book” Q & As; published from January 2014  through April 2014 on ISLAMiCommentary. Happy Reading! 

Column » ‘By the Book’ with Joseph Preville

bookcover.religionoutloudQ & A With Isaac Weiner on “Religion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism” (NYU Press, 2014)

The free exercise of religion is enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But, what happens when religion becomes noisy or offensive to the ear? What happens when religion sounds “out of place”? Isaac Weiner explores these issues in his splendid new book, Religion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism (NYU Press, 2014). Weiner’s objective is to analyze “the politics of religious pluralism in the United States by attending to disputes about religious sound in the public realm.” He states that his book “listens to Americans complain about religion as noise.”

Isaac Weiner is Assistant Professor of Religion and Culture in the Department of Comparative Studies at the Ohio State University. He was educated at Yale University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Religion Out Loud is Weiner’s first book. His scholarly work has appeared in Anthropological Quarterly, Religion Compass and Material Religion.

In Religion Out Loud, Weiner takes a detailed look at three major disputes regarding religious sound and noise: 1) Harrison v. St. Mark’s Church, Philadelphia (1877), involving the ringing of church bells at a Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 2) Saia v. New York (1948) on the use of loudspeakers by Jehovah’s Witnesses to broadcast religious lectures in Lockport, New York, and 3) the petition of al-Islah Islamic Center to the city council of Hamtramck, Michigan (2004) for permission to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer. Weiner states that these three case studies “make evident how central sound has been to the ongoing project of demarcating religion’s proper place in American society.”

Isaac Weiner discusses his new book in this exclusive interview. READ INTERVIEW Continue reading

via UC BERKELEY on APRIL 3, 2014: 

2014 Theme: Latent and Manifest Islamophobia: Multimodal Engagements with the Production of Knowledge (WATCH LIVE HERE; APRIL 18 session begins at  9am PACIFIC TIME)


Join us free of charge for the Fifth Annual International Islamophobia Conference April 17-19, 2014 on the legendary Berkeley campus, the location with a reputation for activism and for challenging ideas and authority. The focus of the conference will be Islamophobia: a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure which rationalizes the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve “civilizational rehab” of the target communities (Muslim or otherwise). The concept of Islamophobia reintroduces and reaffirms a global racial structure through which resource distribution disparities are maintained and extended. Continue reading