(Harvard University Press; 336 pages; Oct 2014).
Partly insulated from the rest of the Islamic world, the Uyghurs constructed a local history that is at once unique and assimilates elements of Semitic, Iranic, Turkic, and Indic traditions—the cultural imports of Silk Road travelers. Through both ethnographic and historical analysis, Thum offers a new understanding of Uyghur historical practices, detailing the remarkable means by which this people reckons with its past and confronts its nationalist aspirations in the present day.
Ashraf into Middle Classes: Muslims in Nineteenth-century Delhi by Margrit Pernau (Oxford University Press; 544 pages; August 2013). Treating identities as inherently dynamic and ever changing, Pernau argues that religious identity became central for Muslims only in the last third of the nineteenth century, and this was closely linked with the creation of a middle class whose members described themselves as ashraf, or “men from a good family.”
NEW Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon by Melani Cammett (Cornell University Press; 336 pages; April 2014). From years of research into welfare distribution strategies of Christian, Shia Muslim, and Sunni Muslim political parties in Lebanon, Cammett shows how and why sectarian groups deploy welfare benefits for goals such as attracting marginal voters, solidifying intraconfessional support, mobilizing mass support, and supporting militia fighters.
Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants by Sunil S. Amrith (Harvard University Press; 368 pages; Oct. 2013). Amrith’s evocative and compelling narrative of the region’s pasts offers insights critical to understanding and confronting the many challenges facing Asia in the decades ahead.
Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam: The Originall & Progress of Mahometanism Edited by Nabil Matar (Columbia University Press; 288 pages; Dec. 2013). Henry Stubbe (1632–1676) was an extraordinary English scholar who challenged his contemporaries by writing about Islam as a monotheistic revelation in continuity with Judaism and Christianity. Audio interview with the author
Lebanese Salafis Between the Gulf and Europe: Development, Fractionalization, and Transnational Networks of Salafism in Lebanon by Zoltan Pall (Amsterdam University Press, distributed by University of Chicago Press; 116 pages; Aug. 2013). Draws on fieldwork in Tripoli in a study of the rise of Salafist networks among Sunni Muslims in Lebanon and their reach to Salafis in the Gulf and Europe.
Liberalism in Twentieth Century Egyptian Thought: The Ideologies of Ahmad Amin and Husayn Amin by Makoto Mizutani (I.B. Tauris, distributed by Palgrave Macmillan; 191 pages; April 2014). Analyzes writings by the Egyptian scholar and public intellectual (1886-1954) and one of his six sons (b. 1932), who has followed in his father’s footsteps.
The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad by Claude Andrew Clegg III (University of North Carolina Press; 400 pages; Sept. 2014). Clegg weaves together speeches and published works by Muhammad, and delves into declassified government documents, insider accounts, audio and video records, and interviews, producing the definitive account of an extraordinary man and his legacy.
Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr (Princeton University Press; 696 pages; Oct. 2013). In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, Starr tells the largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the lives and accomplishments of its greatest minds.
The Maghreb Since 1800 by Knut S. Vikor (Hurst Publications; 356 pages; Oct. 2013). This short history of the Maghreb surveys its development from the coming of Islam to the present day, but with greatest emphasis on the modern period from the early nineteenth century onwards.
Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956 by Ellen J. Amster (University of Texas Press; 350 pages; Aug. 2013). Exploring the colonial encounter between France and Morocco as a process of embodiment, and the Muslim body as the place of resistance to the state, this book provides the first history of medicine, health, disease, and the welfare state in Morocco.
Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco by Aomar Boum (Stanford University Press; 240 pages; Oct. 2013). Boum combines history and ethnography in a study of how four successive generations remember Morocco’s Jewish community, which by the 1980s had lost 240,000 people to emigration.
Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a political idea by Faisal Devji (Harvard University Press; 288 pages; Sept. 2013). Muslim Zion cuts to the core of the geopolitical paradoxes entangling Pakistan to argue that India’s rival has never been a nation-state in the conventional sense.
The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran: Tradition, Memory, and Conversion (Cambridge University Press; 304 pages; Sept. 2013). How do converts to a religion come to feel an attachment to it? The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran answers this important question for Iran by focusing on the role of memory and its revision and erasure in the ninth to eleventh centuries.
The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood by Beth Baron (Stanford University Press; 264 pages; 2014). Links the beginnings of the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups to an anti-missionary movement that swept Egypt after a June 1933 incident in which a Muslim orphan was beaten after she refused to rise as a sign of respect to elders at a Christian missionary school in Port Said.
Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic by Michael Axworthy (Oxford University Press; 528 pages; Sept. 2013). Axworthy guides us through recent Iranian history from shortly before the 1979 Islamic revolution through the summer of 2009, when an outpouring of support for an end to tyranny in Iran paused and then moved on to other areas in the region like Egypt and Libya, leaving Iran’s leadership unchanged.
Saladin by Anne-Marie Eddé (Harvard University Press; 704 pages; May 2014). Unlike biographies that focus on Saladin’s military exploits, Eddé’s narrative draws on an array of contemporary sources to depict a ruler shaped profoundly by the complex Arabian political environment in which he rose to prominence.
Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islam by John Calvert (Oxford University Press; 392 pages; Sept. 2013). This book rescues Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) from the popular media’s misrepresentation, tracing the evolution of his thought within the context of his time, and recounting Qutb’s life from a small village to his execution at the behest of Abd al-Nasser’s regime.
Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders by Denise A. Spellberg (Alfred A. Knopf; 392 pages; Oct. 2013). Documents Jefferson’s extension of religious pluralism to include future Muslim citizens of America.
Turko-Mongol Rulers, Cities and City Life edited by David Durand-Guety (Brill; 452 pages; Sept. 2013). What was the attitude of these dynasties towards the many cities they controlled, some of which were of considerable size? This volume brings together specialists in various disciplines and periods, from pre-Chingissid Eurasia to nineteenth-century Iran.