New Books In Islamic Studies


Interviews with Scholars of Islam about their New Books


  • Sara Smith, Intimate Geopolitics: Love, Territory and the Future on India’s Northern Threshold (Rutgers UP, 2020)

    Sara Smith, "Intimate Geopolitics: Love, Territory and the Future on India’s Northern Threshold" (Rutgers UP, 2020)

    15/07/2020 Duração: 01h15min

    What’s love got to do with it? Intimate Geopolitics: Love, Territory and the Future on India’s Northern Threshold (Rutgers University Press, 2020) by feminist political geographer Sara Smith tell us - everything! Smith’s book centers intimacy in the consideration of geopolitics which is otherwise only seen as a game between nation states. The accounts of realized and failed inter-faith love across generations of Ladakhi Buddhists and Ladakhi Muslims in Smith’s book become the ground for the contesting of demographic fantasies, territorial futures and generation vertigo. Written with a careful consideration of the complexities of territorial politics in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and their intersections, Smith’s book also provides insights into the vulnerabilities of a minority identity--Shia Muslims and Buddhists, as well as its entanglements with the scalar politics of majoritarianism. By ‘populating territory’, Intimate Geopolitics is able to make clear the interweaving of reprosexuality, aspirations and int

  • Aliyah Khan, Far From Mecca: Globalizing the Muslim Caribbean (Rutgers UP, 2020)

    Aliyah Khan, "Far From Mecca: Globalizing the Muslim Caribbean" (Rutgers UP, 2020)

    13/07/2020 Duração: 45min

    Muslims have lived in the Caribbean for centuries. Far From Mecca: Globalizing the Muslim Caribbean (Rutgers University Press, 2020) examines the archive of autobiography, literature, music and public celebrations in Guyana and Trinidad, offering an analysis of the ways Islam became integral to the Caribbean, and the ways the Caribbean shaped Islamic practices. Aliyah Khan recovers stories that have been there all along, though they have received little scholarly attention. The interdisciplinary approach takes on big questions about creolization, gender, politics and cultural change, but it does so with precision and attention to detail. Aliyah Khan is an assistant professor of English and Afroamerican and African studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

  • Pernilla Myrne, Female Sexuality in the Early Medieval Islamic World: Gender and Sex in Arabic Literature (I. B. Tauris, 2020)

    Pernilla Myrne, "Female Sexuality in the Early Medieval Islamic World: Gender and Sex in Arabic Literature" (I. B. Tauris, 2020)

    10/07/2020 Duração: 53min

    In this episode, I talk with Pernilla Myrne about her exciting and excellently researched book Female Sexuality in the Early Medieval Islamic World: Gender and Sex in Arabic Literature, published with I. B. Tauris in 2020. Pernilla Myrne is an Associate Professor of Arabic Literature and History at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, where she also earned her PhD in 2008. Her research interests include the representation of women in pre-modern Arabic literature, attitudes to sexuality in medieval Islam, and women as creative subjects. In today’s discussion, Myrne shares with us the origins of her book, some of its findings, and the process of collecting the many, many sources she used to make this book an essential resource of many a thing female sexuality, including pleasure, sexual comedy, and women’s bodies. Among Myrne’s impressive range of sources are medical, Islamic legal, literary, and entertainment sources. Contrary to popular and even scholarly expectations, medieval erotic literature emphasized

  • Hafsa Lodi, Modesty: A Fashion Paradox (Neem Tree Press, 2020)

    Hafsa Lodi, "Modesty: A Fashion Paradox" (Neem Tree Press, 2020)

    09/07/2020 Duração: 46min

    Modest fashion is a growing, global multi-billion-dollar market. As a fashion trend, it has increasingly made its way into high-profile runways, has been endorsed by celebrities, and profiled in major fashion publications and news outlets.   Hafsa Lodi’s Modesty: A Fashion Paradox (Neem Tree Press, 2020) investigates how and why modest fashion became a mainstream global retail trend. It looks at the causes and key players behind the global modest fashion trend, while also exploring the controversies that surround the concept. Lodi interviewed over 40 important actors in the modest fashion movement, including designers, models, influencers, and entrepreneurs but also drew on personal experiences from her childhood in the United States and career as a fashion journalist in the Middle East to understand its history, evolution, and contradictions.  Hafsa Lodi is an American journalist who has been covering fashion for a decade. She has a BA from the Ryerson School of Journalism in Toronto and an MA in Islamic Law

  • Ahmed El-Shamsy, Rediscovering the Islamic Classics (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Ahmed El-Shamsy, "Rediscovering the Islamic Classics" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    03/07/2020 Duração: 01h19min

    Ahmed El-Shamsy’s Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2020) is an astonishing scholarly feat that presents a detailed, sophisticated, and thoroughly enjoyable intellectual and social history of the modern publishing industry on what we today consider canonical books of Islamic thought. “Painstakingly researched” would be a description too mild for the depth and breadth of sources and analysis that El-Shamsy mobilizes in this book. Over the course of its 8 delightfully written chapters, readers meet some known and many less known book collectors, editors, Muslim reformers, early Salafis, and European Orientalists whose thought, outlook, normative agendas, and wide-ranging efforts produced a distinct corpus of classical Islamic texts. The canonization of what counted as “classical” was itself a markedly modern move and gesture, El-Shamsy argues. Populated with fascinating narratives of manuscript hunting, editorial

  • Kevin W. Fogg, Indonesia’s Islamic Revolution (Cambridge UP, 2019)

    Kevin W. Fogg, "Indonesia’s Islamic Revolution" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

    30/06/2020 Duração: 49min

    As Indonesia nears the 75th anniversary of its proclamation of independence this year, the socio-political debates surrounding her birth as a nation-state take on contemporary salience. In Indonesia’s Islamic Revolution (Cambridge UP, 2019), Kevin W. Fogg analyzes the religious aspirations that motivated many Muslim revolutionaries to fight the return of Dutch after the Second World War and envision a new nation-state. The book tackles this topic on both military and political fronts; paying attention not only to how Islam energized the Indonesian Revolution but also to how revolution refreshes the practice and social organization of Islam. While much of the present historiography on the Indonesian Revolution has centered on the secular nationalist leaders as primary historical actors, this book refocuses attention on how the revolutionary movement drew additional vitality from a diverse group of pious Muslims. Integrating the experiences of relatively obscure military veterans with well-known Muslim politici

  • Ayesha Siddiqi, In the Wake of Disaster: Islamists, the State and a Social Contract in Pakistan (Cambridge UP, 2019)

    Ayesha Siddiqi, "In the Wake of Disaster: Islamists, the State and a Social Contract in Pakistan" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

    26/06/2020 Duração: 55min

    Over the last couple of decades, a number of books written both by the academics and journalists  have appeared on many dysfunctions of the Pakistani state, a few of them even predicting why and how and when it is going to collapse. Against this grain, Ayesha Siddiqi’s new book, In the Wake of Disaster Islamists, the State and a Social Contract in Pakistan (Cambridge University Press, 2019) is a forceful meditation on a number of key issues around the social contract, citizenship, and state provisions such as disaster relief and social protection. The book helps understand why, despite its many limitations, Pakistani state remains central to the lives of those it seeks to govern. Through an intensive ethnography conducted in the three of the worst hit districts – in the wake of the flooding disasters of 2010-2011 – in the Southern-most region of Pakistan’s Sindh province, Siddiqi demonstrates that the state and citizenship, even when expressed in vernacular idiom which doesn’t lend itself neatly to predominan

  • Johanna Pink, “Muslim Qurʾānic Interpretation Today: Media, Genealogies and Interpretive Communities” (Equinox, 2018)

    Johanna Pink, “Muslim Qurʾānic Interpretation Today: Media, Genealogies and Interpretive Communities” (Equinox, 2018)

    26/06/2020 Duração: 54min

    Qurʾanic interpretation in contemporary societies is shaped in a multitude of ways. There are educational institutions that inform how one understands the text, linguistic hurdles for readers and commentators, publicly accessible forms of media, editors and translators that shape what audiences have access to, and global interpretive positions among various Muslim denominations. In Muslim Qurʾānic Interpretation Today: Media, Genealogies and Interpretive Communities (Equinox Publishing, 2018), Johanna Pink, Professor at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, explores the rich and varied expressions of Qur’anic materials and places them within these frameworks. The volume takes a genealogical approach to numerous contemporary cases studies to see where they come together and where they diverge in their assumptions, hermeneutics, and conclusions. Pink demonstrates that tensions around the Qur’an today extend from questions of who has the authority to interpreted, what is the best method to do so, and the new expa

  • Lara Harb, Arabic Poetics: Aesthetic Experience in Classical Arabic Literature (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Lara Harb, "Arabic Poetics: Aesthetic Experience in Classical Arabic Literature" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    12/06/2020 Duração: 01h05min

    Lara Harb’s Arabic Poetics: Aesthetic Experience in Classical Arabic Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2020) is a delightful and formidable study on the details and development of poetics and aesthetics in medieval Arabic literature. The central theme of this splendid book centers on the emergence of the evocation of wonder as a key aesthetic experience and criterion connected to the beauty and eloquence of speech in medieval Muslim intellectual thought. With breathtaking clarity and painstaking elaboration, Harb charts the key literary tropes, categories, and strategies, as well as the broader intellectual and theological stakes, such as the question of the Qur’an’s inimitability, invested in how poetry was imagined, experienced, and evaluated in this context. The strength of this book lies in the meticulous care with which it walks readers through a complex yet deeply fascinating discursive arcade of thinkers, texts, and poetic registers. While focused on the thought of the preeminent eleventh century

  • Garrett Felber, Those Who Know Dont Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State (UNC Press, 2020)

    Garrett Felber, "Those Who Know Don't Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State" (UNC Press, 2020)

    12/06/2020 Duração: 57min

    Challenging incarceration and policing was central to the post-war Black Freedom Movement. In his new book Those Who Know Don't Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State (UNC Press, 2020), Garrett Felber centers the Nation in the Civil Rights Era and the making of the modern carceral state. In doing so, he reveals a multifaceted freedom struggle that focused as much on policing and prisons as on school desegregation and voting rights. The book examines efforts to build broad-based grassroots coalitions among liberals, radicals, and nationalist to oppose the carceral state and struggle for local Black self-determination. It captures the ambiguous place of the Nation of Islam specifically, and Black nationalist organizing more broadly, during an era which has come to redefined by non-violent resistance, desegregation campaigns, and racial liberalism. By provocatively documenting the interplay between law enforcement and Muslim communities, Felber decisively shows state repress

  • Mauro Nobili, Sultan, Caliph, and the Renewer of the Faith (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Mauro Nobili, "Sultan, Caliph, and the Renewer of the Faith" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    09/06/2020 Duração: 58min

    In the early 19th century, on the floodplain of the Niger river’s inland delta in West Africa (present-day Mali), the Caliphate of Ḥamdallāhi emerged. The new State, locally known as the Maasina Diina, sought to consolidate its dominance over Fulani, Bamanan, and Arma military and political elites, as well as Jenne and Timbuktu’s scholarly establishment. It also attempted to reach a balance of power with neighboring Sokoto. The arsenal of tools the Caliphate deployed to achieve these goals included war, economic expansion, diplomacy, and the crafting of a historical chronicle known as the Tārīkh al-Fattāsh. In two separate strands of historiography, scholars have tackled the genesis and literary construction of the chronicle on the one hand, and the history of the Caliphate on the other. The new book Sultan, Caliph, and the Renewer of the Faith: Ahmad Lobbo, the Tārīkh al-fattāsh and the Making of an Islamic State in West Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2020), brings both together. Mauro Nobili argues tha

  • Gabriel Said Reynolds, Allah: God in the Qur’an (Yale UP, 2020)

    Gabriel Said Reynolds, "Allah: God in the Qur’an" (Yale UP, 2020)

    05/06/2020 Duração: 52min

    In Allah: God in the Qur’an (Yale University Press, 2020), Gabriel Said Reynolds argues that contrary to many scholarly and popular claims about the God of the Qur’an as either merciful or vengeful, God is in fact both. He suggests that God’s nature is a mystery and the descriptions of God, as both merciful and vengeful, are intended to have an impact on the audience of the Qur’an. Through productive comparisons between the Qur’an and the Bible, Reynolds also discusses the common themes and descriptions of God shared by these scriptures, such as the – of course, vengeance and mercy of God, but also divine scheming, God’s derision of unbelievers, and ideas of God as the Father, the Ruler, the Judge, and/or similar characteristics. Other themes covered in the book include heaven and hell, and the fate of sinners and unbelievers in the Qur’an and the exegetical tradition, the idea of humans as having been created in God’s image, and the idea of the Qur’an as a literary truth versus a historical truth, the latter

  • Brian Greene, Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020)

    Brian Greene, "Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe" (Random House, 2020)

    02/06/2020 Duração: 02h37s

    Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including the Elegant Universe, which tied in with his best-selling 2000 book of the same name. In this episode, we talk about his latest popular book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020) Until the End of Time gives the reader a theory of everything, both in the sense of a “state of the academic union”, covering cosmology and evolution, consciousness and computation, and art and religion, and in the sense of showing us a way to apprehend the often existentially challenging subject matter. Greene uses evocative autobiographical vignettes in the book to personalize his famously lucid and accessible explanati

  • Chiara Formichi, Islam and Asia: A History (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Chiara Formichi, "Islam and Asia: A History" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    30/05/2020 Duração: 01h09min

    Challenging the geographical narrative of the history of Islam, Chiara Formichi’s new book Islam and Asia: A History (Cambridge University Press, 2020), helps us to rethink how we tell the story of Islam and the lived expressions of Muslims without privileging certain linguistic, cultural, and geographic realities. Focusing on themes of reform, political Islamism, Sufism, gender, as well as a rich array of material culture (such as sacred spaces and art), the book maps the development of Islam in Asia, such as in Kashmir, Indonesia, Malaysia, and China. It considers both transnational and transregional ebbs and flows that have defined the expansion and institutionalization of Islam in Asia, while attending to factors such as ethnicity, linguistic identity and even food cultures as important realities that have informed the translation of Islam into new regions. It is the “convergence and conversation” between the “local” and “foreign” or better yet between the theoretical notions of “centre” and “periphery” o

  • M’hamed Oualdi, A Slave between Empires: A Transimperial History of North Africa (Columbia UP, 2020)

    M’hamed Oualdi, "A Slave between Empires: A Transimperial History of North Africa" (Columbia UP, 2020)

    25/05/2020 Duração: 41min

    In light of the profound physical and mental traumas of colonization endured by North Africans, historians of recent decades have primarily concentrated their studies of North Africa on colonial violence, domination, and shock. The choice is an understandable one. But in his new monograph, A Slave between Empires: A Transimperial History of North Africa (Columbia University Press, 2020), M’hamed Oualdi asks how a history of the modern Maghreb might look if we did not perceive it solely through the prism of European colonization, and argues that widening our gaze might force us to redefine our understanding of colonialism — and its limits. As a sequel of sorts to his first book, Oualdi explores the life and afterlife of one figure, the manumitted slave and Tunisian dignitary Husayn Ibn ‘Abdallah, as an aperture through which to understand the financial, intellectual, and kinship networks that mingled with processes of colonialism and Ottoman governance in unexpected ways to produce the modern Maghreb. A master

  • Yassir Morsi, “Radical Skin, Moderate Masks: De-radicalising the Muslim and Racism in Post-racial Societies” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017)

    Yassir Morsi, “Radical Skin, Moderate Masks: De-radicalising the Muslim and Racism in Post-racial Societies” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017)

    22/05/2020 Duração: 01h17min

    Muslims living in locations like Australia, Europe, or North America exist within a context dominated by white racial norms and are forced to grapple with those conventions on a daily basis. If they succeed in meeting the presiding criterion of secular liberalism they can be dubbed a “moderate” Muslim by mainstream society. In Radical Skin, Moderate Masks: De-radicalising the Muslim and Racism in Post-racial Societies (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), Yassir Morsi, Lecturer at La Trobe University, explores these contemporary social dynamics and considers the various ways Muslims don a mask in order to navigate the expectations of the dominant society. Here he offers three paradigms, what he calls the “Fabulous Mask,” the “Militant Mask,” and the “Triumphant Mask,” that represent changing tensions for the “moderate” Muslim. Morsi deconstructs the “radical” vs. “moderate” binary through the forces of racialized structures that shape everyday life and the historical circumstances of Muslims in the “West.” This is ac

  • Jacqueline H. Fewkes, Locating Maldivian Womens Mosques in Global Discourses (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

    Jacqueline H. Fewkes, "Locating Maldivian Women's Mosques in Global Discourses" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

    15/05/2020 Duração: 01h06min

    What is a mosque? What are women's mosques specifically? What historical values do women's mosques offer, and what is the relationship between mosque spaces and women's religious work? How do women leaders themselves identify with and conceptualize their leadership roles? Why are women's mosques around the world, both historical and contemporary, omitted from both popular and scholarly discourses on women's mosques? Jacqueline Fewkes' excellent and theoretically sophisticated book, Locating Maldivian Women's Mosques in Global Discourses (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), offers answers to these questions and more. Complete with images from Fewkes' research, the book is an ethnography of women's mosques in the Maldives, an almost unheard-of phenomenon. It situates women's prayer places, the Nisha Miskiis, the physical buildings in which women lead prayers for other women, as complex sites of sociohistorical and cultural significance. Ultimately, Fewkes explores the ways in which these spaces relate to, contribute to,

  • Caleb Simmons, Devotional Sovereignty: Kingship and Religion in India (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Caleb Simmons, "Devotional Sovereignty: Kingship and Religion in India" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    15/05/2020 Duração: 01h01min

    In his book Devotional Sovereignty: Kingship and Religion in India (Oxford University Press, 2020), Caleb Simmons examines the reigns of Tipu Sultan (r. 1782-1799) and Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (r. 1799-1868) in the South Indian kingdom of Mysore to demonstrate the extent to which both rulers--one Muslim and one Hindu--turned to religion to fortify the royal identity of kings during precarious political times.  Both courts revived pre-modern notions of Indian kingship in reaction to the British, drawing on devotion to Hindu gods, goddesses, and gurus to conceptualize and fortify their reigns. We made mention of images in the interview, and they can be found here. For information on your host Raj Balkaran’s background, see Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

  • Maria Rashid, Dying to Serve: Militarism, Affect, and the Politics of Sacrifice in the Pakistan Army (Stanford UP, 2020)

    Maria Rashid, "Dying to Serve: Militarism, Affect, and the Politics of Sacrifice in the Pakistan Army" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    08/05/2020 Duração: 01h08min

    In her spellbindingly brilliant new book, Dying to Serve: Militarism, Affect, and the Politics of Sacrifice in the Pakistan Army (Stanford University Press, 2020), Maria Rashid conducts an intimate and layered ethnography of militarism and death in Pakistan, with a focus on the lives, aspirations, and tragedies of soldiers and their families in rural Punjab. How does the Pakistani military’s regulation and management of affect and emotions like grief authorize and sustain the practice of sacrificing the self in service to the nation? Rashid addresses this question through a riveting and at many times hauntingly majestic analysis of a range of themes including carefully choreographed public spectacles of mourning, military regimes of cultivating martial subjects, fissures between official scripts and unofficial unfoldings of grieving, anxieties over the representation of maimed soldiers, and ambiguities surrounding the appropriation of martyrdom (shahādat) for death on the battlefield. Theoretically incisive,

  • Ibrahim Fraihat, Iran and Saudi Arabia: Taming a Chaotic Conflict (Edinburgh UP, 2020)

    Ibrahim Fraihat, "Iran and Saudi Arabia: Taming a Chaotic Conflict" (Edinburgh UP, 2020)

    05/05/2020 Duração: 01h11min

    Ibrahim Fraihat’s latest book, Iran and Saudi Arabia: Taming a Chaotic Conflict (Edinburgh University Press, 2020) is much more than an exploration of the history of animosity between Saudi Arabia and Iran and its debilitating impact on an already volatile Middle East. It is a detailed roadmap for management and resolution of what increasingly looks like an intractable conflict. Based on years of field research, Fraihat builds a framework that initially could help Saudi Arabia and Iran prevent their conflict from spinning out of control, create mechanisms for communication and travel down a road of confidence building that could create building blocks for a resolution. Fraihat’s book could not have been published at a more critical moment. A devastating coronavirus pandemic has hit both Saudi Arabia and Iran hard. So has the associated global economic breakdown and the collapse of oil markets. The double whammies constitute the most existential crisis the kingdom has faced in at least half a century. They hit

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