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Contemporary Anthropology of Religion

Islam Obscured

The Rhetoric of Anthropological Representation

Authors: Varisco, D.

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About this book

Ethnographers have observed Muslims nearly everywhere Islam is practiced. This study analyzes four seminal texts that have been read widely outside anthropology. Two are by distinguished anthropologists on either side of the Atlantic, Islam Observed (by Clifford Geertz in 1968) and Muslim Society (by Ernest Gellner in 1981). Two other texts are by Muslim scholars, Beyond the Veil (Fatima Mernissi in 1975) and Discovering Islam (by Akbar Ahmed in 1988). Varisco argues that each of these four authors approaches Islam as an essentialized organic unity rather than letting 'Islams' found in the field speak to the diversity of practice. The textual truths engendered, and far too often engineered, in these idealized representations of Islam have found their way unscrutinized into an endless stream of scholarly works and textbooks. Varisco's analysis goes beyond the rhetoric over what Islam is to the information from ethnographic research about what Muslims say they do and actually are observed to do. The issues covered include Islam as a cultural phenomenon, representation of 'the other', Muslim gender roles, politics of ethnographic authority, and Orientalist discourse.

About the authors

DANIEL MARTIN VARISCO is chair of the Department of Anthropology, Hofstra University, USA.

Reviews

"In Islam Obscured Daniel M. Varisco offers a brilliant and nuanced analysis of four influential anthropologists against the background of older, less field-based ethnographies of Muslim societies. His penetrating critiques of the influential works of Clifford Geertz, Ernest Gellner, Fatima Mernissi, and Akbar Ahmed lead to a probing discussion of the challenges facing the anthropology of Islam in the twenty-first century." - Richard C. Martin, Professor of Islamic Studies and History of Religions, Emory University

"This short but potent exploration of anthopological representations of Islam makes an important contribution to ethonographic studies, cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, and religious studies." - Timothy P. Daniels, The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences


Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Varisco, Daniel Martin

    Pages 1-20

  • Clifford Geertz: Islam Observed Again

    Varisco, Daniel Martin

    Pages 21-51

  • Ernest Gellner: Idealized to a Fault

    Varisco, Daniel Martin

    Pages 53-80

  • Beyond the Veil: At Play in the Bed of the Prophet

    Varisco, Daniel Martin

    Pages 81-113

  • Akbar Ahmed: Discovering Islam Inside Out

    Varisco, Daniel Martin

    Pages 115-134

Buy this book

eBook $59.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4039-7342-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4039-6772-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $74.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4039-6773-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Islam Obscured
Book Subtitle
The Rhetoric of Anthropological Representation
Authors
Series Title
Contemporary Anthropology of Religion
Copyright
2005
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
Daniel Varisco
eBook ISBN
978-1-4039-7342-9
DOI
10.1057/9781403973429
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4039-6772-5
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4039-6773-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 226
Topics