Faculty Publications

Xinjiang Year Zero

Darren Byler, et al. (eds.), Australian National University Press, 2022

Since 2017, the Chinese authorities have detained hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities in ‘reeducation camps’ in China’s northwestern Xinjiang autonomous region. While the official reason for this mass detention was to prevent terrorism, the campaign has since become a wholesale attempt to remould the ways of life of these peoples—an experiment in social engineering aimed at erasing their cultures and traditions in order to transform them into ‘civilised’ citizens as construed by the Chinese state. Through a collection of essays penned by scholars who have conducted extensive research in the region, this volume sets itself three goals: first, to document the reality of the emerging surveillance state and coercive assimilation unfolding in Xinjiang in recent years and continuing today; second, to describe the workings and analyse the causes of these policies, highlighting how these developments insert themselves not only in domestic Chinese trends, but also in broader global dynamics; and, third, to propose action, to heed the progressive Left’s call since Marx to change the world and not just analyse it.

Tamir Moustafa, Robert Springborg, et al. (eds.), Routledge, 2021

Investigating key features of contemporary Egypt, this volume includes Egypt’s modern history, politics, economics, the legal system, environment, and its media and modes of cultural expression. It examines Egypt’s capacities to meet developmental challenges, ranging from responding to globalization and regional competition to generating sufficient economic growth and political inclusion to accommodate the interests and demands of a rapidly growing population. The macrohistory of Egypt is complemented by the microhistories of specific institutions and processes that constitute separate sections in this handbook. The chapters revolve around political economy: it is shaped by the people and their abilities, political and legal institutions, organization of the economy, natural and built environments, and culture and communication. Politics has been overwhelmingly authoritarian and coercive since the military seized power in 1952; consequently, the contributions address both the causes and consequences of unbalanced civil–military relations, military rule, and persisting authoritarianism in the political society. This multidisciplinary handbook serves a dual purpose of introducing readers to Egypt’s history and contemporary political economy and as a comprehensive key resource for postgraduate students and academics interested in modern Egypt.

The Shari'a: History, Ethics and Law

Amyn B. Sajoo (ed.), Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018

Why is the term sharia — the mention of which conjures up images of a politicised religion in many parts of the world — understood in the ways that it is today? For Muslims and non-Muslims alike, much is read into this term, often with scant regard for its historical, cultural or theological underpinnings. The politics of identity has a profound effect on contemporary life, both secular and religious, and this includes our understandings of the sharia. Yet at the core of this concept, for Muslims, is the quest for a moral compass by which to navigate a path through life (Qur’an, 45:18), informed deeply by revelation and its interpretation by the Prophet Muhammad as well as his closest Companions. Built on this foundation is an ongoing human endeavour to grasp and lend expression to that teaching — elaborately in law, but no less so in devotional, ethical and customary practices in diverse Shi'i and Sunni Muslim communities, including in the West. Popular myths about the sharia — that it is divine law, that it is contained in a single code recognised by all Muslims, that it is about controlling behavior, that it ‘defines’ Islam — are challenged in this volume by leading scholars, with a view to illuminating how we arrived here and where we might be headed. The claims of the modern state as the custodian of the sharia are put into perspective, alongside the vital role of a pluralist civil society. From bioethics, human development, family law and finance to constitutional and human rights issues, this fifth volume in the Muslim Heritage Series offers an accessible account of the ideals and realities of the sharia. As such, it will appeal not only to specialists in the humanities and social sciences, but also to the general reader with an interest in global affairs and informed citizenship.

The Shi'i World: Pathways in Tradition and Modernity

Amyn B. Sajoo, et al. (eds.), Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015

The world's 200 million Shi'i Muslims express their faith in a multiplicity of ways, united by reverence for the ahl al-bayt, the family of the Prophet. In embracing a pluralistic ethic, fourteen centuries of Shi'i Islam have given rise to diverse traditions and practices across varied geographic and cultural landscapes. The Shi'i World is a comprehensive work authored by leading scholars from assorted disciplines, to provide a better understanding of how Shi'i communities view themselves and articulate their teachings. The topics range from Shi'i Islam's historical and conceptual foundations, formative figures and intellectual, legal and moral traditions, to its devotional practices, art and architecture, literature, music and cinema, as well as expressions and experiences of modernity. The book thus provides a panoramic perspective of the richly textured narratives that have shaped the social and moral universe of Shi'i Muslims around the globe.This fourth volume in the Muslim Heritage Series will appeal to specialists and general readers alike, as a timely resource on the prevailing complexities not only of the 'Muslim world', but also of the dynamic Shi'i diasporas of Europe and North America.

Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring

Adel Iskandar, et al. (eds.),  Palgrave Macmillan, 2014

Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring brings together some of the most celebrated and respected names in Arab media research to reflect on the communication conditions that preceded and made the Arab uprisings possible.


Global Economic Crisis and the Politics of Diversity

Yıldız Atasoy (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, 2014

An interdisciplinary group of scholars from the global North and South critically explore the global deepening of market economy models. In case studies including Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, they examine the associated tensions of livelihood and ecology in the current context of global economic crisis, considering issues of natural ecology, water use, health, childcare, technology and work, migration, and economic growth. The analysis of the complex connections between domestic and global dynamics across diverse cases and issues helps reveal that state-centric approaches are still hovering over the politics of restructuring through which conformity to economic growth is addressed.


Mediating the Arab Uprisings

Adel Iskandar and Bassam Haddad (eds.), Tadween Publishing, 2013

From “Facebook revolutions” to “Al Jazeera uprisings,” the outburst of popular activism across the Arab world has either been attributed to the media, drawn up by the media, observed through the media, or decontextualized by the media. Bloggers become icons, self-proclaimed experts becoming interpreters of unfolding events, stereotypes are cultivated, and autocratic regimes continue to subdue freedom of the press. The uprisings have become the most compelling media stories in recent memory. With much at stake, the burden of relaying human narratives accurately and responsibly is a burden on all journalistic establishments worldwide. In a unique collection of essays that covers the expanse of the Arab popular protest movements, Mediating the Arab Uprisings leaves no stone unturned by offering spirited contributions that elucidate the remarkable variation and context behind the fourth estate’s engagement with these mass protests. So while the public debate about the coverage of the Arab uprisings remain effervescent and polarizing, the essays in this volume go beyond the cursory discussion to historicize media practice, unsettle pre-existing suppositions about the uprisings, puncture the pomposity of self-righteous expertise on the region, and shatter the naiveté that underlies the reporting of the uprisings. The volume includes essays on the tribulations of covering Syria, the contextualization and demythologizing of Facebook activism, the New York Times’ reporting rituals on Palestine, the tumult of Egypt’s media post-Mubarak, the ominous omnipresence of perennial media darling Fouad Ajami, the faltering of Al Jazeera Arabic in the wake of the uprisings, the gendered sexuality of reporting Egypt, and journalism’s damning failure on Iraq. The first volume of its kind on this pressing topic, Mediating the Arab Uprisings is a primer for the curious reader, a pedagogical tool for media studies and communication, and a provocative collection for the seasoned scholar.

Cosmopolitanism in Muslim Contexts: Perspectives from the Past

Derryl N. MacLean and Sikeena Karmali Ahmed (eds.), Edinburgh University Press, 2012

This collection of 9 essays focuses on instances in world history when cosmopolitan ideas and actions pervaded specific Muslim societies and cultures. The contributors explore the tensions between regional cultures, isolated enclaves and modern nation-states. Cosmopolitanism is a key concept in social and political thought, standing in opposition to closed human group ideologies such as tribalism, nationalism and fundamentalism. Recent discussions of it have been situated within Western self-perceptions. Now, this volume explores it from Muslim perspectives.

A Companion to Muslim Cultures

Amyn B. Sajoo (ed.), Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011

Culture shapes every aspect of the relationship between God and the believer in Islam -- as well as between believers, and with those beyond the fold.  Fasts, prayers, and pilgrimages are attuned to social rhythms old and new, no less than the designs of mosques and public gardens, the making of 'religious' music, and ways of thinking about technology and wellbeing.  Ancient deserts and modern urban landscapes may echo with the same call for transcendence, but in voices that emerge from very different everyday realities.  The cosmopolitanism that runs through Muslim history from the outset recalls T.S. Eliot's remark that culture is 'that which makes life worth living.'

Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation

Adel Iskandar and Kakem Rustom (eds.), University of California Press, 2010

Edward W. Said (1935–2003) ranks as one of the most preeminent public intellectuals of our time. Through his literary criticism, his advocacy for the Palestinian cause, and his groundbreaking book Orientalism, Said elegantly enriched public discourse by unsettling the status quo. This indispensable volume, the most comprehensive and wide-ranging resource on Edward Said’s life and work, spans his broad legacy both within and beyond the academy. The book brings together contributions from thirty-one luminaries—leading scholars, critics, writers, and activists—to engage Said’s provocative ideas. Their essays and interviews explore the key themes of emancipation and representation through the prisms of postcolonial theory, literature, music, philosophy, and cultural studies.

A Companion to Muslim Ethics

Amyn B. Sajoo (ed.), Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010

Socrates famously said that the unexamined life is not worth living. In keeping with this dictum, taking ethics seriously means engaging with the real world where the human sense of right and wrong is daily tested. At their best, all faith traditions are challenged by such testing; and if faith-inspired ethics are thought to goven the whole of life, their guiding values need constantly to be interpreted by the believer to achieve a practical result. In the Muslim tradition, this is what the Qur'an really amounts to: a call to strive for belief with a social conscience. For fourteen centuries Muslim scholars have grappled with the implications of that call in matters of law, social practice and theology. And in our own time, the quests for civil society and the rule of law have much to do with the response given to these ethical questions. 'A Companion to Muslim Ethics' explores Islam's core conception of the good, shared with other great traditions. Leading experts examine issues such as gender equality, nonviolence, dispute resolution, the environment, health and finance. The volume will appeal to all those interested in how reason, faith and circumstance shape difficult moral choices in an increasingly globalised world.