by ELLIOTT BAZZANO for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on MAY 4, 2016:

Asma Afsaruddin
Asma Afsaruddin

Unknown-1As the title of the monograph suggests, Contemporary Issues in Islam (Edinburgh University Press, 2015) by Asma Afsaruddin, guides the reader through an organized and compelling narrative of reflections on hot-button topics in the modern world. The monograph offers a provocative balance of historical contextualization, close reading of texts, review of key scholars, and political analysis. Given its treatment of topics such as Islamic law, gender, international relations, and interfaith dialogue, the book should prove useful in a graduate or undergraduate context–either as a whole or as individual chapters–particularly as a conversation starter, given the depths to which each chapter points. Although the scope of the book may appear ambitious, Professor Afsaruddin is well-equipped to manage the breadth of her study into a concise, lucid, and well written text. Given her research background in jihad and violence as well as Quranic hermeneutics, moreover, Contemporary Issues in Islam is a mature work that reflects decades of careful research and intellectual synthesis with ample attention to both primary and secondary literature. The monograph will likely appeal not only to scholars and students in religious studies and Islamic studies, but also political science and history as well as journalists.

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH AFSARUDDIN

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 ROXANNE PANCHASI for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on JANUARY 5, 2016:

Mayanthi Fernando
Mayanthi Fernando

Mayanthi Fernando‘s The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism (Duke University Press, 2014) is an important and provocative book. Drawing on years of field work, the book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the complex interactions between religion and politics in contemporary France. Considering the Islamic revival and public debates provoked initially by the “headscarf crisis” of the late 1980s, the book examines the ethical, social, and political lives of the Muslim French men and women whose religiosity is so often regarded as “incommensurable” with the democratic culture and politics of the nation. Continue reading

by ELLIOTT BAZZANO for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on NOVEMBER 12, 2015: 

Karen Bauer
Karen Bauer

414lwY7iWSL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_In Gender Hierarchy in the Qur’an: Medieval Interpretations, Modern Responses (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Dr. Karen Bauer tackles one of the foremost hot-button questions of the day: What is the role of gender in the Qur’an?

Dr. Bauer’s adroit study will leave the reader informed but perhaps also disrupted, given the vast spectrum of competing, sometimes contradictory, interpretive paradigms that she explores. A key strength of the text, moreover, is that in addition to its meticulous investigation of primary texts from medieval and modern traditions of Qur’anic exegesis, Dr. Bauer also conducts numerous in-person interviews with prominent scholars across the Muslim world, including Iran and Syria. Thus, from a literary perspective, the text presents the reader with a compelling style seldom found in Qur’anic studies publications, seamlessly weaving together close textual analysis and ethnographic fieldwork. Notably, Bauer also gives attention to Sunni as well as Shi’i perspectives on her study, thus offering provocative comparison and breadth of analysis. Continue reading

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

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.

via SOCIOLOGY OF ISLAM LISTSERV on SEPTEMBER 19, 2014: 

ISLAMOPHOBIA: GENDER, SEXUALITY AND RACISM

Special Issue of the Islamophobia Studies Journal 

Islamophobia Studies Journal

Abstracts due:           October 10, 2014

Full Articles due:       March 2, 2015

This special issue of Islamophobia Studies Journal (ISJ) aims to generate and circulate new knowledge about the relationship between Islamophobia, gender, sexuality and racism.

It has been over a decade since the mediatization of events on 9-11-2001 created new forms and techniques of Islamophobia and brought along intensified scrutiny of politicized forms of Islam. Across the globe we note interactions between context-specific Islamophobia and its powerful transnational flows from elsewhere. We live in a world of increasing inter-connectedness, such that news, policies, images and practices can travel instantaneously between different sites. And in the current deepening economic crisis, we are witnessing an escalation of migration from postcolonial sites including Muslim-majority countries.

In this context gender, sexuality and race are enlisted in a variety of ways to legitimize and bolster Islamophobic discourses and practices. For instance, under the guise of saving women and queers from Arab and Muslim communities, Islamophobic colonial feminism and more recently imperialist concerns about “the status of homosexuality” has been used to legitimize invasions, occupations, war and destruction. Scholars have addressed some highly publicized examples, such as the occupation of Afghanistan that then U.S. President George W. Bush claimed, with the active support of colonial feminists, as a plan to “free” Afghan women from Afghan men. Islamophobia and Orientalism also guided the manipulation and deployment of queer sexualities in Abu Ghraib. While a plethora of examples abound, the analyses are very few. This project will shift that disconnect by providing a means to understand site-specific as well as transnational phenomena. Continue reading