In October, Oxford University Press will release Inside the Muslim Brotherhood: Religion, Identity, and Politics by Khalil al-Anani (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar). The publisher’s description follows:
Over the past three decades, through rises and falls in power, regime repression and exclusion, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has endured, proving more resilient than any other Islamist movement in the world. In this book Khalil al-Anani explores the factors that have enabled the Brotherhood to survive so long within an ever-changing political landscape.
Inside the Muslim Brotherhood unpacks the principal factors that shape the movement’s identity, organization, and activism. Investigating the processes of socialization, indoctrination, recruitment, identification, networking, and mobilization that characterize the movement, al-Anani argues that the Brotherhood is not merely a political actor seeking power but an identity-maker that aims to change societal values, norms, and morals to line up with its ideology and worldview. The Brotherhood is involved in an intensive process of meaning construction and symbolic production that shapes individuals’ identity and gives sense to their lives. The result is a distinctive code of identity that binds members together, maintains their activism, and guides their behavior in everyday life. Al-Anani attributes the Brotherhood’s longevity to its tight-knit structure coupled with a complex membership system that has helped them resist regime penetration. The book also explores the divisions and differences within the movement and how these affect its strategy and decisions.
The culmination of over a decade of research and interviews with leaders and members of the movement, this book challenges the dominant narratives about Islamists and Islamism as a whole.
In October, Columbia University Press will release A Dharma Reader: Classical Indian Law, translated and edited by Patrick Olivelle (University of Texas at Austin). The publisher’s description follows:
Whether defined by family, lineage, caste, professional or religious association, village, or region, India’s diverse groups did settle on an abstract concept of law in classical times. How did they reach this consensus? Was it based on religious grounds or a transcendent source of knowledge? Did it depend on time and place? And what apparatus did communities develop to ensure justice was done, verdicts were fair, and the guilty were punished?
Addressing these questions and more, A Dharma Reader traces the definition, epistemology, procedure, and process of Indian law from the third century B.C.E. to the middle ages. Its breadth captures the centuries-long struggle by Indian thinkers to theorize law in a multiethnic and pluralist society. The volume includes new and accessible translations of key texts, notes that explain the significance and chronology of selections, and a comprehensive introduction that summarizes the development of various disciplines in intellectual-historical terms. It reconstructs the principal disputes of a given discipline, which not only clarifies the arguments but also relays the dynamism of the fight. For those seeking a richer understanding of the political and intellectual origins of a major twenty-first-century power, along with unique insight into the legal interactions among its many groups, this book offers conceptual detail, historical precision, and expository illumination unlike any other volume.
On July 28, Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project is hosting a conference entitled “Threats to Religious and Ethnic Minorities under the Islamic State.” Panelists at the conference include Knox Thames (State Department Office of International Religious Freedom), Breen Tahseen (Iraqi Diplomat), David Saperstein (U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom), and Saad Salloum (Masarat Religious Freedom Organization). The Religious Freedom Project’s description of the event follows:
In March 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives and Secretary of State John Kerry declared that the Islamic State (ISIS) is committing genocide against Christians, Yazidis, Shi’a Muslims, and other religious and ethnic minority groups in Syria and Iraq. In addition to these and other crimes against humanity, ISIS is also engaging in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Kurds and even Sunni Muslims. Unfortunately, months later, ISIS and other violent extremist groups continue to target and terrorize their victims through rape, enslavement, and murder, while religious and cultural sites are systematically looted and destroyed.
To inform policymakers about the continuing travail of religious and ethnic minorities threatened by ISIS, and to galvanize long-term thinking about addressing this crisis, the Religious Freedom Project is hosting a daylong conference at Georgetown University.
During the conference, representatives of the targeted communities will share their personal experiences of religious persecution and their recommendations for policymakers. Among the questions they will engage are: What are the immediate security challenges posed by ISIS? What can we do now to ensure the viability of vulnerable religious and ethnic communities in Iraq and Syria? What steps need to be taken to ensure religious freedom, and how is religious freedom a possible antidote to future violence? Community representatives will be joined by distinguished policymakers, activists, and scholars.
In September, the University of Edinburgh Press will release Regime Change in Contemporary Turkey: Politics, Rights, Mimesis by Necati Polat (Middle East Technical University, Ankara). The publisher’s description follows:
Turkey has undergone a series of upheavals in its political regime from the mid-19th century. This book details the most recent change, locating it in its broader historical setting. Beginning with the Justice and Development Party’s rule from late 2002, supported by a broad informal coalition that included liberals, the book shows how the former Islamists gradually acquired full power between 2007 and 2011. It then describes the subsequent phase, looking at politics and rights under the amorphous new order.
This is the first scholarly yet accessible assessment of this historic change, placing it in the larger context of political modernisation in the country over the past 150 or so years.
This month, Routledge releases “Nation, Ethnicity and the Conflict in Afghanistan: Political Islam and the rise of ethno-politics 1992–1996,” by Raghav Sharma (O.P. Jindal Global University). The publisher’s description follows:
Ethnic and tribal loyalties in Afghanistan provided the lethal cocktail for the violent conflict that engulfed the country following the collapse of the Soviet backed government in 1992. The ensuing fighting between mujahideen groups paved the way for the tectonic social and political shifts, which continue to shape events today. What accounts for the emergence of ethnicity, as the main cause of conflict in Afghanistan? What moved people to respond with such fervour and intensity to calls for ethnic solidarity? This book attempts to make sense of ethnicity’s decisive role in Afghanistan through a comprehensive exploration of its nature and perception. Based on new data, generated through interviews, field notes and participant observations, Sharma maps the increased role of ethnicity in Afghan national politics. Key social, political and historical processes that facilitated its emergence as the pre-dominant fault-line of conflict are explored, moving away from grand political and military narrative to instead engage with zones of conflict as social spaces. This book will be of interest to students and scholars working in politics, ethnic studies and security studies.
In September, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Islamophobia and Securitization: Religion, Ethnicity and the Female Voice,” by Tania Saeed (Lahore University of Management Sciences). The publisher’s description follows:
This book explores everyday realities of young Muslim women in Britain, who are portrayed as antithetical to the British way of life in media and political discourse. The book captures how geo-political events, and national tragedies continue to implicate individuals and communities at the domestic and local level, communities that have no connection to such tragedies and events, other than being associated with a religio-ethnic identity. The author shows how Muslim women are caught within the spectrum of the vulnerable-fanatic, always perceived to be ‘at risk’ of being ‘radicalized’. Focusing on educated Muslim females, the book explores experiences of Islamophobia and securitization inside and outside educational institutions, and highlights individual and group acts of resistance through dialogue, with Muslim women challenging the metanarrative of insecurity and suspicion that plagues their everyday existence in Britain. Islamophobia and Securitization will be of interest to scholars and students researching Muslims in the West, in particular sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists. It will also appeal to analysts and academics researching security and terrorism, race and racialization, as well as gender, immigration, and diaspora.
In September, Edinburgh University Press will release Islamic Reform In Twentieth-Century Africa by Roman Loimeier (University of Göttingen). The publisher’s description follows:
Based on twelve case studies (Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar and the Comoros), this book looks at patterns and peculiarities of different traditions of Islamic reform. Considering both Sufi- and Salafi-oriented movements in their respective historical contexts, it stresses the importance of the local context to explain the different trajectories of development.
The book studies the social, religious and political impact of these reform movements in both historical and contemporary times and asks why some have become successful as popular mass movements, while others failed to attract substantial audiences. It also considers jihad-minded movements in contemporary Mali, northern Nigeria and Somalia and looks at modes of transnational entanglement of movements of reform. Against the background of a general inquiry into what constitutes ‘reform’, the text responds to the question of what ‘reform’ actually means for Muslims in contemporary Africa.
In May, Yale University Press released Eastern Orthodox Christianity: The Essential Texts by Bryn Geffert (Amherst College) and Theofanis Stavrou (University of Minnesota). The publisher’s description follows:
Two leading academic scholars offer the first comprehensive source reader on the Eastern Orthodox church for the English-speaking world. Designed specifically for students and accessible to readers with little or no previous knowledge of theology or religious history, this essential, one-of-a-kind work frames, explores, and interprets Eastern Orthodoxy through the use of primary sources and documents. Lively introductions and short narratives that touch on anthropology, art, law, literature, music, politics, women’s studies, and a host of other areas are woven together to provide a coherent and fascinating history of the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition.