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Questioning Secularism

Author: Hussein Ali Agrama
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226010708
Size: 80.17 MB
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The central question of the Arab Spring—what democracies should look like in the deeply religious countries of the Middle East—has developed into a vigorous debate over these nations’ secular identities. But what, exactly, is secularism? What has the West’s long familiarity with it inevitably obscured? In Questioning Secularism, Hussein Ali Agrama tackles these questions. Focusing on the fatwa councils and family law courts of Egypt just prior to the revolution, he delves deeply into the meaning of secularism itself and the ambiguities that lie at its heart. Drawing on a precedent-setting case arising from the family law courts —the last courts in Egypt to use Shari‘a law—Agrama shows that secularism is a historical phenomenon that works through a series of paradoxes that it creates. Digging beneath the perceived differences between the West and Middle East, he highlights secularism’s dependence on the law and the problems that arise from it: the necessary involvement of state sovereign power in managing the private spiritual lives of citizens and the irreducible set of legal ambiguities such a relationship creates. Navigating a complex landscape between private and public domains, Questioning Secularism lays important groundwork for understanding the real meaning of secularism as it affects the real freedoms of a citizenry, an understanding of the utmost importance for so many countries that are now urgently facing new political possibilities.

The Late Ottoman Empire And Egypt

Author: Elizabeth H Shlala
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351859552
Size: 20.41 MB
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Law and identification transgressed political boundaries in the nineteenth-century Levant. Over the course of the century, Italo-Levantines- elite and common- exercised?a strategy of?resilient hybridity whereby an unintentional form of legal imperialism took root in Egypt.?? This book contributes to a vibrant strand of global legal history that places law and other social structures at the heart of competing imperial projects- British, Ottoman, Egyptian, and Italian among them.?Analysis of the Italian consular?and mixed court cases, and diplomatic records, in Egypt and Istanbul?reveals the complexity of shifting identifications and judicial reform in two parts of the interactive and competitive plural legal regime.?The rich court records?show?that binary relational categories fail to capture the complexity of the daily lives of the residents and courts of the late Ottoman empire.?Over time and acting in their own self-interests, these actors exploited?the plural legal regime.?Case studies in both Egypt and Istanbul explore how identification developed as a legal form of property itself.? Whereas the?classical literature emphasized?external state power politics, this book builds upon new?work in the field that shows the interaction of external and?internal power struggles?throughout the?region?led?to assorted forms of confrontation, collaboration, and negotiation?in the region.?It?will be of interest to students, scholars, and readers of Middle East, Ottoman,?and Mediterranean history.?It will also appeal to anyone wanting to know more about?cultural history in the nineteenth century, and?the historical roots of contemporary global debates on law, migration, and identities.?

The Mana Of Mass Society

Author: William Mazzarella
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022643639X
Size: 78.11 MB
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We often invoke the “magic” of mass media to describe seductive advertising or charismatic politicians. In The Mana of Mass Society, William Mazzarella asks what happens to social theory if we take that idea seriously. How would it change our understanding of publicity, propaganda, love, and power? Mazzarella reconsiders the concept of “mana,” which served in early anthropology as a troubled bridge between “primitive” ritual and the fascination of mass media. Thinking about mana, Mazzarella shows, means rethinking some of our most fundamental questions: What powers authority? What in us responds to it? Is the mana that animates an Aboriginal ritual the same as the mana that energizes a revolutionary crowd, a consumer public, or an art encounter? At the intersection of anthropology and critical theory, The Mana of Mass Society brings recent conversations around affect, sovereignty, and emergence into creative contact with classic debates on religion, charisma, ideology, and aesthetics.

The Sins Of The Fathers

Author: Jeffrey K. Olick
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022638649X
Size: 27.64 MB
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National identity and political legitimacy always involve a delicate balance between remembering and forgetting. All nations have elements in their past that they would prefer to pass over - the catalog of failures, injustices, and horrors committed in the name of nations. Yet denial and forgetting carry costs as well. Nowhere has this precarious balance been more potent, or important, than in the Federal Republic of Germany, where the devastation and atrocities of two world wars have weighed heavily in virtually every moment and aspect of political life. 'The Sins of the Fathers' confronts that difficulty head-on, exploring the variety of ways that Germany's leaders since 1949 have attempted to meet this challenge, with a particular focus on how those approaches have changed over time.

American Value

Author: David Pedersen
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226653390
Size: 14.59 MB
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Over the past half-century, El Salvador has transformed dramatically. Historically reliant on primary exports like coffee and cotton, the country emerged from a brutal civil war in 1992 to find much of its national income now coming from a massive emigrant workforce that earns money in the US and sends it home. In this work, Pedersen examines this new way of life as it extends across two places: Intipucā, a Salvadoran town infamous for its remittance wealth, and the Washington, DC metro area.

What Nostalgia Was

Author: Thomas Dodman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022649294X
Size: 76.95 MB
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In What Nostalgia Was, historian Thomas Dodman traces the history of clinical "nostalgia" from when it was first coined in 1688 to describe deadly homesickness until the late nineteenth century, when it morphed into the benign yearning for a lost past we are all familiar with today. Dodman explores how people, both doctors and sufferers, understood nostalgia in late seventeenth-century Swiss cantons (where the first cases were reported) to the Napoleonic wars and to the French colonization of North Africa in the latter 1800s. A work of transnational scope over the longue duree, the book is an intellectual biography of a "transient mental illness" that was successively reframed according to prevailing notions of medicine, romanticism, and climatic and racial determinism. At the same time, Dodman adopts an ethnographic sensitivity to understand the everyday experience of living with nostalgia. In so doing, he explains why nostalgia was such a compelling diagnosis for war neuroses and generalized socioemotional disembeddedness at the dawn of the capitalist era and how it can be understood as a powerful bellwether of the psychological effects of living in the modern age.

Women The Family And Divorce Laws In Islamic History

Author: Amira El Azhary Sonbol
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
ISBN: 9780815626886
Size: 77.23 MB
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A collection of 18 essays that covers a wide range of material and re-evaluates women's studies and Middle Eastern studies, Muslim women and the Shari'a courts, the Ottoman household, Dhimmi communities, family law, morality and violence.

Becoming Sinners

Author: Joel Robbins
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520238001
Size: 49.45 MB
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Annotation A study of cultural change through the study of the Christianization of the Urapmin, a Melanesian society in Papua New Guinea.

The Republic Unsettled

Author: Mayanthi L. Fernando
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822376288
Size: 71.23 MB
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In 1989 three Muslim schoolgirls from a Paris suburb refused to remove their Islamic headscarves in class. The headscarf crisis signaled an Islamic revival among the children of North African immigrants; it also ignited an ongoing debate about the place of Muslims within the secular nation-state. Based on ten years of ethnographic research, The Republic Unsettled alternates between an analysis of Muslim French religiosity and the contradictions of French secularism that this emergent religiosity precipitated. Mayanthi L. Fernando explores how Muslim French draw on both Islamic and secular-republican traditions to create novel modes of ethical and political life, reconfiguring those traditions to imagine a new future for France. She also examines how the political discourses, institutions, and laws that constitute French secularism regulate Islam, transforming the Islamic tradition and what it means to be Muslim. Fernando traces how long-standing tensions within secularism and republican citizenship are displaced onto France's Muslims, who, as a result, are rendered illegitimate as political citizens and moral subjects. She argues, ultimately, that the Muslim question is as much about secularism as it is about Islam.

The Impossible State

Author: Wael B. Hallaq
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023116257X
Size: 24.32 MB
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Wael B. Hallaq boldly argues that the ÒIslamic state,Ó judged by any standard definition of what the modern state represents, is both impossible and inherently self-contradictory. Comparing the legal, political, moral, and constitutional histories of premodern Islam and Euro-America, he finds the adoption and practice of the modern state to be highly problematic for modern Muslims. He also critiques more expansively modernityÕs moral predicament, which renders impossible any project resting solely on ethical foundations. The modern state not only suffers from serious legal, political, and constitutional issues, Hallaq argues, but also, by its very nature, fashions a subject inconsistent with what it means to be, or to live as, a Muslim. By Islamic standards, the stateÕs technologies of the self are severely lacking in moral substance, and todayÕs Islamic state, as Hallaq shows, has done little to advance an acceptable form of genuine ShariÕa governance. The IslamistsÕ constitutional battles in Egypt and Pakistan, the Islamic legal and political failures of the Iranian Revolution, and similar disappointments underscore this fact. Nevertheless, the state remains the favored template of the Islamists and the ulama (Muslim clergymen). Providing Muslims with a path toward realizing the good life, Hallaq turns to the rich moral resources of Islamic history. Along the way, he proves political and other Òcrises of IslamÓ are not unique to the Islamic world nor to the Muslim religion. These crises are integral to the modern condition of both East and West, and by acknowledging these parallels, Muslims can engage more productively with their Western counterparts.