A special project of The Immanent Frame to mark its tenth anniversary. Co-curated by Courtney Bender and Nancy Levene.
Rumee Ahmed’s Sharia Compliant: A User’s Guide to Hacking Islamic Law is a unique book in that it tackles some of the most difficult questions in the clearest and most accessible language. In doing so, it pushes us out of the comfort of our specialized research and jargon, and forces us to engage with matters of immediate importance. To my mind, the book’s central message can be summarized as follows: The Islamic legal tradition has always contained within it the tools necessary to strike a critical balance between authenticity and practicality. This process of internal adjustment (referred to as “hacking”) has historically been monopolized by a class of scholars, but today can be exercised by many “fiqh-minded” Muslims at various social levels. This proposition is both conservative and subversive. On the one hand, it wishes to preserve the tradition by tapping into the dynamics of evolution necessary for its continuation. On the other hand, it aims to release it from the structures of authority that have historically controlled it and that are no longer adequate.
The Northwestern Department of Religious Studies graduate students invite young scholars to submit paper proposals for “Sovereignty & Strangeness,” a graduate conference to be held October 19-21, 2018 in Evanston, Illinois. Proposals are due May 6, 2018. You can get more details and view the full CFP at our website. This conference aims to explore the constitutive relationship between sovereignty and that which is strange, queer, or illegible. How might the language of sovereignty be useful for thinking about power in religious or secular contexts when spiritual communities, charismatic individuals, and state institutions make claim to and perform supreme authority over populations and territories? And how might the language of strangeness help trace the disruptive potential of places, practices, and bodies that exceed the logic of sovereignty?
On the sad news of the passing of Saba Mahmood, the editorial board of the journal Sociology of Islam has decided to organize a special issue to honor the work and legacy of our distinguished colleague for the study of global politics and religion. Saba Mahmood’s anthropological work shifted debates on secularism and religion, gender and politics, the rights of religious minorities, and the impact of colonialism in the Middle East. Her conceptual engagement with these pertinent social and political issues, however, has opened up broader questions about the politics of religious difference in a secular age beyond the Middle East and Muslim majority countries. This special issue of Sociology of Islam intends to bring to the fore the scope of these contributions in order to assess the cross-disciplinary and trans-regional magnitude of her work.