Kecia Ali
Kecia Ali

Ten thousand people descend on San Diego this weekend for the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature joint Annual Meeting. We will present papers, interview and be interviewed, shop for books, and network busily. Many will feel overwhelmed, lost, and/or hungry – convention center food somehow always manages to be lousy and expensive.

I have attended nearly every AAR Annual Meeting since 1999. I have presented papers, spoken on panels, responded to sessions, led tables at pre-conference workshops, and presided at business meetings. I have served on program unit steering committees and chaired a Section. I have gone to editorial board breakfasts and AAR committee meetings.  I have had coffee with editors with whom I’ve gone on to publish books. I have served as a mentor at the Women’s Mentoring Lunch. Though I never used the Employment Center as a job candidate, I have put in cubicle time as part of two search committees.

In other words, I know something about the Annual Meeting. Continue reading


These articles are freely available until 31 January 2015!*

Islamic Law in the Modern World
Author: Aharon Layish
Islamic Law and Society, (Volume 21, No. 3, pp. 276-307)

An Epistemic Shift in Islamic Law
Author: Aria Nakissa
Islamic Law and Society, (Volume 21, No. 3, pp. 209-251)

Reconstructing Archival Practices in Abbasid Baghdad
Author: Maaike van Berkel
Journal of Abbasid Studies, (Volume 1, No. 1, pp. 7-22)

The Early Ḥanafiyya and Kufa
Author: Christopher Melchert
Journal of Abbasid Studies, (Volume 1, No. 1, pp. 23-45)

The Prayers of Abū Muslim and al-Maʾmūn. An Exercise in Dating Ḥadīth
Author: Stijn Aerts
Journal of Abbasid Studies, (Volume 1, No. 1, pp. 66-83) Continue reading

The Green Call
The Green Call

The Green Call: A Narrative of the Iranian Green Movement
Volume I: Papers, Letters and Declarations (2009-2014)
Nedaye Sabz
Rawayati as Jonbesh-e Sabz-e Mardom-e Iran
Jeld-e Awwal: Neweshtarha (1388-93)
Mohsen Kadivar (1959- )
E-book : November 2014 (preface below) 
478 Pages — Download Full book in Persian 

by MOHSEN KADIVAR (self-published book/on his blog), NOVEMBER 2014: 


The Green Movement has been the most important populist dissident movement in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This movement, which was initiated by the spontaneous protests of millions of people of Tehran against the June 2009 presidential election results, chanting the slogan “where is my vote?” continued for several months. There were further protests in the weeks that followed, and dozens of innocent youths perished in these otherwise peaceful demonstrations at the hands of the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij militia. Thousands were arrested and detained, and hundreds of these were convicted and given medium to long-term prison sentences, or faced other forms of social exclusion. By all appearances, the Green Movement has been suppressed—as indicated by the unlawful house arrest of two prominent figures of the movement, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, along with their wives Zahra Rahnavard and Fatemeh Karroubi, a situation that has endured up until the present (though the fourth person was released after a few months). The conditions of their house arrest include the absolute cessation of their communication with the outside world (since February of 2011). However, according to the confessions of the political, security and military leaders of the regime, this movement—that they have dubbed “The Green Sedition”—remains the single greatest internal threat for the regime of the Islamic Republic. Civilians who had any prior roles in the movement continue to be deprived of their rights and privileges, both politically and socially, due to the regime’s concerns.

Although the movement was triggered by the people’s objection to the fraudulent presidential election results, and the subsequent reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the trajectory of the movement rapidly shifted to challenge the policies of the Supreme Leader, Seyyed Ali Khamenei, whom the protestors began to call “the dictator of Iran.” This was the first open confrontation by middle-class citizens, a wide range of youth, students, women, journalists, and educated people against the restrictive policies of the Islamic Republic. These policies included the restriction of legal freedom by the Guardian Council, the Judiciary, Revolutionary Guard, and Basij Militia—all of whom work under the direct supervision of the Supreme Leader. In other words, a significant part of the society was dissatisfied by the country’s governance, and wanted to express their lack of faith in a regime that had appointed their own president instead of the candidate elected by the people. Continue reading


Amanullah De Sondy
Amanullah De Sondy

[Cross-posted from New Books in Religion] What gets to count as Islam? In the current political climate this question is being repeated in a variety of contexts. The tapestry of various Islamic identities is revealed in an investigation of gender. In The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities (Bloomsbury, 2014), Amanullah De Sondy, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Miami, tackles the construction of Muslim manhood in several interpretive traditions. These forms of masculinity – both ideal & reviled – are taken across a wide spectrum of thought, from Islamist perspectives to those challenging patriarchy. Many of the discussions revolve around similar themes, most importantly family, marriage, sexuality, and veiling. Other constructions of masculinity challenge heteronormativity within Muslim identities. The Qur’an is central to many of the interpretations discussed in the book but De Sondy demonstrates that here too we are not presented with a singular and clear ideal of masculinity. Qur’anic descriptions of male prophets, including Adam, Joseph, Muhammad, and Jesus, each complicate a simple narrative of Muslim manhood. In our conversation we discuss hermeneutical strategies, feminists approaches to the Qur’an, notions of love and sexual boundaries, the Mughal poet Mirza Ghalib, gender fluidity, Sufism in South Asia, prophethood, and same-sex love.


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

ISLAMiCommentary/TIRN editor’s note: There seems to be no end to controversies and misunderstandings surrounding veiling. Here is a Q & A with Islamic studies professor Sahar Amer on her new book “What is Veiling” followed by an op-ed she wrote for the online journal “The Conversation” on debates on veiling in Australia. Amer also did an interview with NPR’s “Here and Now” which you can listen to below as well. 


Sahar Amer, author of What is Veiling? (University of North Carolina Press, Fall 2014), talks with Caroline Rudolph about one of Islam’s most misunderstood and controversial practices.

Caroline Rudolph: What is Veiling? is the first in a series of books from UNC Press that will explain key aspects of Islam. Why might the topic of veiling be an appropriate starting point for such a series?

Sahar Amer
Sahar Amer

Sahar Amer: Veiling is one of the most visible signs of Islam as a religion and likely its most controversial and least understood tradition among non-Muslims, and perhaps surprisingly, among Muslims as well. Many non-Muslim and Muslim readers are often unfamiliar with the religious interpretations and debates over the Islamic prescription to wear the veil, the historical and political background to current anxieties surrounding the veil, or the range of meanings the veil continues to have for Muslim women around the world. In many ways, understanding the complex and often contradictory meanings of veiling is also understanding how Islam has come to mean so many different things to different peoples.

Continue reading