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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Summer Reading

1) Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500–1800. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

2) Allan Megill, Historical Knowledge, Historical Error: A Contemporary Guide to Practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

3) Anne Broadbridge, Kingship and Ideology in the Islamic and Mongol Worlds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

4) Ann Lambton, State and Government in Medieval Islam: an Introduction to the Study of Islamic Political Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.

5) Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, Second Edition. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009.    (more…)

“Feminist Edges of the Qur’an”: A Summary Outline

Aysha Hidayatullah’s Feminist Edges of the Qur’an is a compelling read. It engages sincerely and deeply with the increasingly-significant field of feminist Qur’an scholarship. Heavily grounded in both the classical Islamic exegetical tradition and modern feminist theory, Dr. Hidayatullah does an excellent job in laying out her arguments. The prose is engaging and the book is generally well-organized. At its core, the work is a radical critique of not only of various aspects of modernist/feminist exegesis of the Qur’an, but also a critique of how modern Muslims have approached the Qur’an in general. It is nothing less than a systematic deconstruction of Muslim feminist approaches to the Qur’an over the past three decades. The book does not shy away from asking the tough questions nor from questioning many of the fundamental assumptions that have guided feminist Qur’an scholarship. However, a close and careful reading of the book will show that Dr. Hidayatullah’s  intent is not to denigrate, but rather to genuinely spark an important and serious conversation about the current state of feminist tafsir. Although she heavily criticizes many of leading Muslim feminists on several fundamental methodological points, she also praises them as pioneers of a new and important field of Qur’anic scholarship. Admittedly, I felt that, due to my lack of expertise on the subject, I had very little to offer in engaging closely with the book. Therefore, I have opted to provide, in this not-so-short summary review, a basic outline of the major arguments in Feminist Edges. I do so in the hope that those far more theoretically-grounded and eloquent than myself may be encouraged to purchase the book and engage closely with the ideas it presents and provide a constructive critique that will enable us to better understand the place of such a critique within the broader field of modern Qur’anic studies.  There is absolutely no way that I could do justice to every argument and thought presented within the work, so I have highlighted those issues which I found to be the most significant and provocative.  (more…)