In this theoretically rich exploration of ethnic and religious tensions, Janet McIntosh demonstrates how the relationship between two ethnic groups in the bustling Kenyan town of Malindi is reflected in and shaped by the different ways the two groups relate to Islam. While Swahili and Giriama peoples are historically interdependent, today Giriama find themselves literally and metaphorically on the margins, peering in at a Swahili life of greater social and economic privilege. Giriama are frustrated to find their ethnic identity disparaged and their versions of Islam sometimes rejected by Swahili. The Edge of Islam explores themes as wide-ranging as spirit possession, divination, healing rituals, madness, symbolic pollution, ideologies of money, linguistic code-switching, and syncretism and its alternatives. McIntosh shows how the differing versions of Islam practiced by Swahili and Giriama, and their differing understandings of personhood, have figured in the growing divisions between the two groups. Her ethnographic analysis helps to explain why Giriama view Islam, a supposedly universal religion, as belonging more deeply to certain ethnic groups than to others; why Giriama use Islam in their rituals despite the fact that so many do not consider the religion their own; and how Giriama appropriations of Islam subtly reinforce a distance between the religion and themselves. The Edge of Islam advances understanding of ethnic essentialism, religious plurality, spirit possession, local conceptions of personhood, and the many meanings of “Islam” across cultures.
This deeply informed book provides the only sustained political history of independent Kyrgyzstan, explaining events in the context of its society and the broader international order. Eugene Huskey draws on his unique access to major political figures to carefully weave the changes in Kyrgyzstan into his own firsthand account of life in the country.
For Ibn Batuttah of Tangier, being medieval didn't mean sitting at home waiting for renaissances, enlightenments and easyJet. It meant travelling the known world to its limits. Seven centuries on, Tim Mackintosh-Smith's passionate pursuit of the fourteenth-century traveller takes him to landfalls in remote tropical islands, torrid Indian Ocean ports and dusty towns on the shores of the Saharan sand-sea. His zigzag itinerary across time and space leads from Zanzibar to the Alhambra (via the Maldives, Sri Lanka, China, Mauritania and Guinea) and to a climactic conclusion to his quest for the man he calls 'IB' - a man who out-travelled Marco Polo by a factor of three, who spent his days with saints and sultans and his nights with an intercontinental string of slave-concubines. Tim's journey is a search for survivals from IB's world - material, human, spiritual, edible - however, when your fellow traveller has a 700-year head start, familiar notions don't always work.
What would tempt a young woman to run off to a country she knew almost nothing about? I was that young woman. Fleeing a bitter divorce and my safe, but mundane, life I accepted a job in Saudi Arabia, a country that by all reports was the most austere on earth. I ran headlong into an unexpected adventure that would change my life forever. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - mysterious, beautiful and dangerous. A land of stunning desert landscapes where modern ways co-exist uneasily with ancient traditions. An enigma of a place where the state executioner is revered, where beautiful women shroud themselves in black, and ferocious desert sandstorms turn high noon into darkest night. Somewhere along the way I fell in love with the Middle East and its people, their proud history, and their gracious hospitality. This is my story.
Assesses US experience with terrorism within the wider context of political-military problems, and argues that terrorism is representative of a kind of political violence that differs from war not in degree alone but in kind as well. Offers a brief history of US experience with terrorism, an analysi
With an uncommon blend of spiritual insight and scientific logic, The Bible and the Qur'an at the Edge of Renaissance encourages and guides the reader toward a broader understanding of the Scriptures. All three Books of Abrahamic Scriptures -- the Tanakh, the New Testament, and the Qur'an -- are all explored in a fresh and and inspiring perspective. Linda iLham Barto finds beauty, grace, and guidance in all the Scriptures, and her desire for harmony and unity sparkles on every thought-provoking page. The author beckons readers to focus on the constant values of all religions of light to wonderfully and vigorously affect the world for a global, spiritual renaissance.
These essays were written by colleagues and former students of Richard Bulliet, the preeminent Middle East scholar whose "most important contribution remains his extraordinary imagination in the service of history." The hallmark of the book, then, is innovative scholarship in all periods of Islamic history. Its authors share a commitment to asking original historiographical questions, with an overall orientation toward issues in social history.
Richard Bulliet's timely account provides the essential background for understanding the contemporary resurgence of Muslim activism around the globe. Why, asks Bulliet, did Islam become so rooted in the social structure of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in those parts of Asia and Africa to which it spread after the tenth century? In assessing the historical evolution of Islamic society, Bulliet abandons the historian's typical habit of viewing Islamic history "from the center", that is, focusing on the rise and fall of imperial dynasties. Instead, he examines the question of how and why Islam became - and continues to be - so rooted in the social structure of the vast majority of people who lived far from the political center and did not see the caliphate as essential in their lives. Focusing on Iran, and especially the cities of Isfahan, Gorgan, and Nishapur, Bulliet examines a wide range of issues, including religious conversion; migration and demographic trends; the changing functions and fortunes of cities and urban life; and the roots and meaning of religious authority. The origins of today's resurgence, notes Bulliet, are located in the eleventh century. "The nature of Islamic religious authority and the source of its profound impact upon the lives of Muslims - the Muslims of yesterday, of today, and of tomorrow - cannot be grasped without comprehending the historical evolution of Islamic society", he writes. "Nor can such a comprehension be gained from a cursory perusal of the central narrative of Islam. The view from the edge is needed, because, in truth the edge ultimately creates the center".
The story of Jason and the Argonauts and Homer's tales of Ulysses' wanderings are among the greatest of the ancient epics, but they are not merely fiction. Following the clues in the classical texts, Mauricio Obregón here maps the likely routes of these adventurers and reveals the remaining traces of the things and places they describe, re-creating the geographical discovery of the ancient world. Obregón takes us with him on his reenactments of the hazardous adventures of Jason, sailing east along the coast of the Black Sea, and of Ulysses, sailing clockwise around the Mediterranean. These voyages map the two major seas of the ancient era and help us understand how the Greeks viewed their world — including the many startling deductions they were able to make about it (such as the circumference of the earth) from what today seems like limited knowledge. Obregón has also traced the voyages depicted in the Norse legends, followed adventurous Muslims on southern journeys, and emulated the Polynesians who managed to traverse the seemingly limitless Pacific. He scrutinizes every detail of sailing in ancient times, such as the mechanics of navigation: The stars, for example, which the mariners took as their guides, were not in the positions that we see them in today, a crucial fact in re-creating past voyages. This wonderful book contains more than forty drawings and photographs, including depictions of the explorers' ships based on the descriptions in the literature that has come down to us, the facts hidden in the fiction, from ancient times.