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Capital Cities of Arab Islam

Philip Hitti

Professor Hitti, the distinguished authority on the Islamic world, views the highlights of Arab history through the windows of the capital cities where those events occurred. The account focuses on six cities -- Mecca, the religious capital; Medina, the caliphal capital; Damascus, the imperial capital; Baghdad, the intellectual capital; Cairo, the dissident capital; and Cordova, the European capital. The approach is historical rather than geographical, and the book is addressed to the student and the cultured layman rather than the specialist. Tourists to the Middle East and Spain also will find the book especially interesting. The author describes the physical settings of the cities, the primary occupations of the people, and the significant monumental structures. He discusses such modern history of a city as is relevant to the story, but the emphasis is on the period of Arab ascendancy -- roughly, the seventh to the thirteenth century. In addition to Arabic sources, he quotes Europeans’ descriptions where appropriate (such descriptions are rare because Europeans were not allowed in such cities as Mecca and Medina). As he makes clear, the six cities were more than capitals; they left their indelible imprint not only on the subsequent history of the Arabs and other Moslems but on the development of civilization at large.

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Charismatic Community, The

Shi'ite Identity in Early Islam

The Charismatic Community examines the rise and development of Shi>ite religious identity in early Islamic history, analyzing the complex historical and intellectual processes that shaped the sense of individual and communal religious vocation. The book reveals the profound and continually evolving connection between the spiritual ideals of the Shi>ite movement and the practical processes of community formation. Author Maria Massi Dakake traces the Qurite Imam, >Ali b. Abi Talib. Dakake argues that walaµyah pertains not only to the charisma of the Shi>ite leadership and devotion to them, but also to solidarity and loyalty among the members of the community itself. She also looks at the ways in which doctrinal developments reflected and served the practical needs of the Shi>ite community, the establishment of identifiable boundaries and minimum requirements of communal membership, the meaning of women’s affiliation and identification with the Shi>ite movement, and Shi>ite efforts to engender a more normative and less confrontational attitude toward the non-Shi>ite Muslim community.

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China's Dilemma

The Taiwan Issue

Sheng Lijun

This book is a study of the Taiwan issue after the Cold War. It focuses on the changes in Mainland China's Taiwan policy in the period between Lee Teng-hui's 1995 U.S. tour and his "two states" theory in 1999. It discusses why the tension across the Taiwan Strait flared up in 1995 and 1999, and how Mainland China handled, and is going to handle, its relations with Taiwan and the United States in the 21st century.

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Christian Lives Given to the Study of Islam

Christian W. Troll

This book captures the autobiographical reflections of twenty-eight Christian men and women who, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, committed their lives to the study of Islam and to practical Christian-Muslim relations in new and irenic ways. Their contributions come from across the spectrum of the Western church and record what drew them into the study of Islam. Their accounts take us to twenty-five countries and into all the branches of Islamic studies: Qur'an, Hadith, Shari'a, Sufism, philology, theology, and philosophy. They give fascinating insights into personal encounters with Islam and Muslims, speak of the ways in which their Christian traditions of spiritual training formed and nourished them, and deal with some of the misunderstandings and opposition they have faced along the way.

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Citizenship and Crisis

Arab Detroit After 9/11

Is citizenship simply a legal status or does it describe a sense of belonging to a national community? For Arab Americans, these questions took on new urgency after 9/11, as the cultural prejudices that have often marginalized their community came to a head. Citizenship and Crisis reveals that, despite an ever-shifting definition of citizenship and the ease with which it can be questioned in times of national crisis, the Arab communities of metropolitan Detroit continue to thrive. A groundbreaking study of social life, religious practice, cultural values, and political views among Detroit Arabs after 9/11, Citizenship and Crisis argues that contemporary Arab American citizenship and identity have been shaped by the chronic tension between social inclusion and exclusion that has been central to this population’s experience in America. According to the landmark Detroit Arab American Study, which surveyed more than 1,000 Arab Americans and is the focus of this book, Arabs express pride in being American at rates higher than the general population. In nine wide-ranging essays, the authors of Citizenship and Crisis argue that the 9/11 backlash did not substantially transform the Arab community in Detroit, nor did it alter the identities that prevail there. The city’s Arabs are now receiving more mainstream institutional, educational, and political support than ever before, but they remain a constituency defined as essentially foreign. The authors explore the role of religion in cultural integration and identity formation, showing that Arab Muslims feel more alienated from the mainstream than Arab Christians do. Arab Americans adhere more strongly to traditional values than do other Detroit residents, regardless of religion. Active participants in the religious and cultural life of the Arab American community attain higher levels of education and income, yet assimilation to the American mainstream remains important for achieving enduring social and political gains. The contradictions and dangers of being Arab and American are keenly felt in Detroit, but even when Arab Americans oppose U.S. policies, they express more confidence in U.S. institutions than do non-Arabs in the general population. The Arabs of greater Detroit, whether native-born, naturalized, or permanent residents, are part of a political and historical landscape that limits how, when, and to what extent they can call themselves American. When analyzed against this complex backdrop, the results of The Detroit Arab American Study demonstrate that the pervasive notion in American society that Arabs are not like “us” is simply inaccurate. Citizenship and Crisis makes a rigorous and impassioned argument for putting to rest this exhausted cultural and political stereotype.

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The Closing of the Frontier

A History of the Marine Fisheries of Southeast Asia, c.1850-2000

John G Butcher

This book is the first on the history of the marine fisheries of Southeast Asia. It takes as its central theme the movement of fisheries into new fishing grounds, particularly the diverse ecosystems that make up the seas of Southeast Asia. This process accelerated between the 1950s and 1970s in what the author calls “the great fish race”. Catches soared as the population of the region grew, demand from Japan and North America for shrimps and tuna increased, and fishers adopted more efficient ways of locating, catching, and preserving fish. But the great fish race soon brought about the severe depletion of one fish population after another, while pollution and the destruction of mangroves and coral reefs degraded fish habitats. Today the relentless movement into new fishing grounds has come to an end, for there are no new fishing grounds to exploit. The frontier of fisheries has closed. The challenge now is to exploit the seas in ways that preserve the diversity of marine life while providing the people of the region with a source of food long into the future.

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Conceiving Identities

Maternity in Medieval Muslim Discourse and Practice

Explores how medieval Muslim theologians constructed a female gender identity based on an ideal of maternity and how women contested it.

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Contemporary Developments in Indonesian Islam

Explaining the "Conservative Turn"

edited by Martin van Bruinessen

"Once celebrated in the Western media as a shining example of a 'liberal' and 'tolerant' Islam, Indonesia since the end of the Soeharto regime (May 1998) has witnessed a variety of developments that bespeak a conservative turn in the country’s Muslim politics. In this timely collection of original essays, Martin van Bruinessen, our most distinguished senior Western scholar of Indonesian Islam, and four leading Indonesian Muslim scholars explore and explain these developments. Each chapter examines recent trends from a strategic institutional perch: the Council of Indonesian Muslim scholars, the reformist Muhammadiyah, South Sulawesi's Committee for the Implementation of Islamic Shari'a, and radical Islamism in Solo. With van Bruinessen's brilliantly synthetic introduction and conclusion, these essays shed a bright light on what Indonesian Muslim politics was and where it seems to be going. The analysis is complex and by no means uniformly dire. For readers interested in Indonesian Muslim politics, and for analysts interested in the dialectical interplay of progressive and conservative Islam, this book is fascinating and essential reading."—Robert Hefner, Director, Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs, Boston University

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Contested Terrain

Reflections with Afghan Women Leaders

Sally L. Kitch

Sally L. Kitch explores the crisis in contemporary Afghan women's lives by focusing on two remarkable Afghan professional women working on behalf of their Afghan sisters. Kitch's compelling narrative follows the stories of Judge Marzia Basel and Jamila Afghani from 2005 through 2013, providing an oft-ignored perspective on the personal and professional lives of Afghanistan's women. Contending with the complex dynamics of a society both undergoing and resisting change, Basel and Afghani speak candidly--and critically--of matters like international intervention and patriarchal Afghan culture, capturing the ways in which immense possibility alternates and vies with utter hopelessness. Strongly rooted in feminist theory and interdisciplinary historical and geopolitical analysis, Contested Terrain sheds new light on the struggle against the powerful forces that affect Afghan women's education, health, political participation, livelihoods, and quality of life. The book also suggests how a new dialogue might be started--in which women from across geopolitical boundaries might find common cause for change and rewrite their collective stories.

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Cosmology and Architecture in Premodern Islam

An Architectural Reading of Mystical Ideas

This fascinating interdisciplinary study reveals connections between architecture, cosmology, and mysticism. Samer Akkach demonstrates how space ordering in premodern Islamic architecture reflects the transcendental and the sublime. The book features many new translations, a number from unpublished sources, and several illustrations. Referencing a wide range of mystical texts, and with a special focus on the works of the great Sufi master Ibn >Arabiµ, Akkach introduces a notion of spatial sensibility that is shaped by religious conceptions of time and space. Religious beliefs about the cosmos, geography, the human body, and constructed forms are all underpinned by a consistent spatial sensibility anchored in medieval geocentrism. Within this geometrically defined and ordered universe, nothing stands in isolation or ambiguity; everything is interrelated and carefully positioned in an intricate hierarchy. Through detailed mapping of this intricate order, the book shows the significance of this mode of seeing the world for those who lived in the premodern Islamic era and how cosmological ideas became manifest in the buildings and spaces of their everyday lives. This is a highly original work that provides important insights on Islamic aesthetics and culture, on the history of architecture, and on the relationship of art and religion, creativity and spirituality.

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