Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Open Access Book: Libraries in the Manuscript Age

Title: Libraries in the Manuscript Age

Contributors: Luciano Bossina, Nuria de Castilla, Gérard Colas, Jean-Pierre Drège, François Déroche, Michael Friedrich, Vanina Kopp, Donatella Nebbiai 
ISBN: 9783110779653

"The case studies presented in this volume help illuminate the rationale for the founding of libraries in an age when books were handwritten, thus contributing to the comparative history of libraries. They focus on examples ranging from the seventh to the seventeenth century emanating from the Muslim World, East Asia, Byzantium and Western Europe. Accumulation and preservation are the key motivations for the development of libraries. Rulers, scholars and men of religion were clearly dedicated to collecting books and sought to protect these fragile objects against the various hazards that threatened their survival. Many of these treasured books are long gone, but there remain hosts of evidence enabling one to reconstruct the collections to which they belonged, found in ancient buildings, literary accounts, archival documentation and, most crucially, catalogues. With such material at hand or, in some cases, the manuscripts of a certain library which have come down to us, it is possible to reflect on the nature of these libraries of the past, the interests of their owners, and their role in the intellectual history of the manuscript age..."

Open Access Book: Muslim Cultures of the Indian Ocean


Author: Pradines, Stéphane
Title: Muslim Cultures of the Indian Ocean : Diversity and Pluralism Past and Present.
Published: Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press; 2023.
ISBN:  9781474486521


"Scholars are increasingly recognising the centrality of the Indian Ocean in the study of Muslim cultures.
This volume explores the expanding and changing roles of these Muslim communities across the Indian Ocean World from the seventh century to the mediaeval period to the present day. The book goes beyond the usual focus on geographical sub-regions to highlight different aspects of interconnectivity in relation to Islam. By analysing textual and material evidence, the fifteen papers in this volume examine identities and diasporas, manuscripts and literature, as well as vernacular and religious architecture. It explores the networks and movements of peoples, ideas and ideologies, as well as art, culture, religion and heritage."

Friday, March 3, 2023

Zaidan Foundation

"The mission of the Zaidan Foundation is to enhance intercultural understanding starting with the international dissemination of the Arab cultural heritage."

The Foundation, established in 2010, made the following available online :

al-Hilal issues (1892-2007), Major Articles, Complete Novels.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Turkey

 The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Turkey

Investigates the relationship between culture, politics and power in present-day Turkey, from headscarves to heavy metal

  • Provides an overview of the politics of culture in Turkey under the rule of the AKP
  • Analyses the success of authoritarian populism and the decline of democracy in Turkey from a cultural studies perspective
  • Brings together 16 empirical studies that explore cultural aspects from heavy metal music to arthouse films, and from headscarf politics to national memory

Since coming to power, President Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) have focused on narrating their vision of a ‘New Turkey’ – an ideal that has resulted in the politicisation of popular culture and people’s everyday lives. Exposing the strategy of Turkey’s ruling elite to obtain cultural hegemony, this book examines the AKP’s efforts to rewrite Turkish public memory by promoting its ideas through TV series, movies, propaganda videos, school curricula and material culture in urban public spaces. It also explores the tactics of cultural resistance developed by the politically weak to counter the ruling elite’s dominant culture of pious conservatism.

Martin Stokes, King’s College London

1. The Politics of Culture in ‘New Turkey’
Pierre Hecker, Ivo Furman, Kaya Akyıldız

Part I: Subcultures and the Politics of Lifestyles

2. Battling Over the Spirit of a Nation: Attitudes Towards Alcohol in ‘New Turkey’
Ivo Furman, Istanbul Bilgi University

3. Spreading VX-Gas over Kaaba: Islamic Semiotics in Turkish Black Metal
Douglas Mattsson, Södertörn University Stockholm

4. Tired of Religion: Atheism and Non-Belief in ‘New Turkey’
Pierre Hecker, Philipps University Marburg

Part II: Satire and Agitprop in ‘New Turkey’

5. Democra-Z: Election Ads, a Failed Coup and Zombie Politics in ‘New Turkey’
Josh Carney, American University of Beirut

6. United against the Referee: Competitive Authoritarianism, Soccer and the Remaking of Nationalism in Erdoğanist Turkey
Can Evren, Duke University

7. Between Resistance and Surrender: Counter-hegemonic Discourses in Turkish Satirical Magazines
Valentina Marcella, University of Naples

Part III: Civil Society and the Politics of Gender

8. The Boundaries of Womanhood in ‘New Turkey’: The Case of KADEM
Gülşen Çakıl-Dinçer, Adıyaman University

9. Never Walk Alone: The Politics of Unveiling in ‘New Turkey’
Ayşe Çavdar, Philipps University Marburg

10. Welcome to Dystopia. A View into the Counter-hegemonic Discourse(s) of Ecological Activism in Istanbul
Julia Lazarus, Berlin

PART IV: Mediating Neo-Ottomanism in Popular Culture

11. New Histories for a New Turkey: The First Battle of Kut (1916) and the Reshaping of the Ottoman Past
Burak Onaran, Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar University

12. Between Invention and Authenticity: Representations of Abdülhamid II in the TV Series ‘Payitaht’
Caner Tekin, Ruhr University Bochum

13. Writing a Visual History of Turkey: ‘Glorious History’ in Mainstream Cinema vs ‘Complicated History’ in Arthouse Films
Diliara Brileva A. Krymsky, Institute of Oriental Studies, Ukraine

14. The Politics of Nostalgia: The New Urban Culture in Ankara’s Historic Neighbourhoods
Petek Onur, University of Copenhagen

PART V: ‘New Turkey’s’ Ethno-Religious Others

15. The Affirmation of Sunni Supremacism in Erdoğan’s ‘New Turkey’
Kaya Akyıldız, Istanbul Bahçeşehir University

16. ‘Because They Would Misunderstand’: Romeyka Heritage and the Masculine Reconfigurations of Public Culture in Contemporary Turkey
Erol Sağlam, Istanbul Medeniyet University

17. A Politics of Presence: Public Performances of Roma Belonging in Istanbul
Danielle V. Schoon, Ohio State University

Notes on Contributors




Kurdish Diaspora Mobilisation in Denmark: Supporting the Struggle in Syria

Kurdish Diaspora Mobilisation in Denmark

Examines how the Kurdish diaspora in Denmark supported the Kurdish struggle in Syria from the battle of Kobane (2014) to the defeat in Afrin (2018)

  • Investigates how the Kurdish diaspora mobilised in support of Syrian Kurds, stressing the role of transnational actors in war
  • Introduces strategic interactionism into the study of diaspora mobilisation, showing new paths for research
  • Coins the term ‘alter-territorial’ identification to clarify how some Kurds identify with the political entity in a part of Kurdistan other than their place of origin

Anne Sofie Schøtt contributes to our understanding of mobilisation and identity formation in the periphery of the Kurdish diaspora by examining the small but well-established community in Denmark. Arguing that the Danish authorities treat the diaspora differently in comparison to neighbouring Sweden and Germany, Schøtt examines the political lobbyism, the courtroom activism and the humanitarian action of the various Kurdish diaspora groups. She examines the position of the Syrian Kurds within the diaspora who, like the Kurds in Syria, have been largely ignored until recently.

Schøtt also provides new knowledge on diaspora engagement in war in the homeland by analysing the strategic interaction between the Danish authorities and the Kurdish diaspora community – both engaged in the war against Islamic State, but on different terms.

Part I: Kurdish Diaspora Mobilisation and Identity Formation
1. Introduction
2. Conceptual and Theoretical Framework
3. Methodology and Fieldwork
Part II: The Emergence of Kurdish Activists in Syria and In Denmark
4. The Kurds of Syria: From the Forgotten People to World-Stage Actors
5. The Becoming of A Diaspora: The Kurds and Kurdish Activists In Denmark
Part III: Ambiguous Interplays
6. The Castle and the Square: Political Lobbyism
7. The Courtroom: Legal Struggle for Military Support
8. The Suburb and the Field: Charity Work
Part IV: Findings and Conclusions
9. Ambiguous Interplays and Reformulations of Kurdish Identities



Monday, February 27, 2023

Transcendent God, Rational World: A Maturidi Theology

 Transcendent God, Rational World

Constructs a contemporary philosophical theology from the Māturīdī tradition of kalām

  • Reconstructs the theological system of Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī
  • Explores the development of the early and classical Māturīdī tradition
  • Engages with contemporary philosophy and theology
  • Provides a systematic treatment of the divine nature and attributes
  • Advances the fields of Islamic philosophy of religion and kalām jadīd

Ramon Harvey revisits the Muslim theologian Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī (d. 333/944) from Samarqand and puts his system, and that of the Māturīdī school, into lively dialogue with modern thought.

Combining rigorous study of Arabic Māturīdī texts with insights from Husserl’s phenomenology and analytic theology, Harvey explores themes from epistemology and metaphysics to the nature of God and specific divine attributes (omniscience and wisdom, creative action, divine speech and the Qur’an). His systematic treatment of these topics shows that a contemporary Islamic philosophical theology, or kalām jadīd, can be true to the past, yet dynamic in the present, and can provide original and constructive answers to perennial theological questions.

1. Tradition and Reason
2. Rational Reality
3. Natural Theology
4. Divine Nature
5. Omniscience and Wisdom
6. Creative Action
7. Divine Speech and the Qur’an
Glossary of Arabic Terminology

The Awakening of Islamic Pop Music

 The Awakening of Islamic Pop Music

Published in Association with the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and the Aga Khan Music Programme

Examines how the making, marketing and performance of new Islamic music genres relate to Islamic discourse and thought

Listen to the Spotify playlist ‘The Awakening of Islamic Pop Music’, featuring 103 of the songs mentioned in the book

  • Analyses the contribution of popular music to the development of contemporary interpretations of Islam
  • Uses Awakening as a case study to explore the relationship between Islamic popular music genres and wider Islamic discourse
  • Supported by fieldwork (following tours), content analyses (of songs, videos, promotion material and social media) and interviews (with artists, business people and musicians)
  • Includes new perspectives on celebrity culture among Muslims and its connection with ethical Muslim masculinity

Awakening – an Islamic media company formed in London – has created the soundtrack to many Muslim lives during the last two decades. It has produced three superstars (Sami Yusuf, Maher Zain and Harris J.) among a host of other artists. As the company celebrates their first 20 years in the industry, Jonas Otterbeck examines their remarkable rise to success and their established reputation as one of the most important global enterprises producing pop music inspired by Islam.

  1. Hi and Welcome to the Field
  2. Awakening to the Music
  3. Awakening Takes to the Stage
  4. Setting the Stage, Ideas in Progress
  5. The Message and Its Media
  6. Performing an Ethical Islamic Masculinity
  7. The Politics of Entertainment
  8. Carefully Pushing Ahead
  9. Islamic Discourses on Popular Music: A Historical Footnote