- Hostage Spaces of the Contemporary Islamicate World: Phantom Territoriality by Dejan Lukić
Part of a series aimed at communicating the abstract ideals and aesthetics of the Middle East and the Islamicate world, Hostage Spaces explores the physical space in which violent conflict occurs. As the title suggests, the book discusses spaces of violent conflict in a diversity of areas, such as Chechnya, Albania, Bosnia, and the Middle East; what ties these regions together is the historical presence of Muslims in each of these areas, as well as – in some cases – the role of political Islamism in the conflicts. There is also a substantial vignette on the Ka‘bah. The book itself is arranged thematically, rather than in a region-by-region analysis, and this gives the book a sort of avant garde rather than journalistic flair; the book might be most accessible to a philosopher of art. The spaces are discussed primarily with respect to their symbolism – for instance, the symbolism behind their architecture (such as a transparent dome representing democracy), their use (such as the implications of a bunker versus an elementary school as a site of violent conflict), and the mythos that these spaces invoke. Lengthy discussions of ideas which the author feels are connected with these spaces, such as love, sacrificing, veiling, life, death, and martyrdom, are also interspersed, along with a number of quotations of fiction and non-fiction works, as well as poetry. One notable absence is photographs or diagrams of the spaces being discussed, and while visual aids are not necessary to achieve the goals of the work, they might have been useful in communicating the aesthetics of these spaces to the layperson, particularly one not familiar with these regions.
The Islamic College, London, UK [End Page 510]