'Situating Islam' argues that knowledge of Islam has never been innocent or about the collection of facts. The specific ways in which Islam has been interpreted have always been subject to broader currents, such as the reform of Judaism, Orientalism, the identity politics of the 1960s, the response to 9/11, and the creation of a liberal Islam. Whereas previous scholarship highlighted the influence of Orientalism and the construction of an essentialized Islam, 'Situating Islam' argues that the opposite approach - the construction of an authentic Islam that fits with Western values - has now become equally problematic. The book demonstrates how Islamic Studies has shaped how Islam is now studied, represented and understood in both scholarship and the media.
Aaron W. Hughes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, he is the author of The Texture of the Divine: Imagination in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Thought (Indiana UP 2004) and Jewish Philosophy A-Z (Edinburgh UP, 2005). He is also the Managing Editor of Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses, the main Canadian journal devoted to the academic study of religion.
Introduction I. Loss of Memory, Loss of Focus: Geiger, Said and the Search for Missing Origins II. The Invention of the Middle East: Religion and the Quest for Understanding the Muslim Mind III. Tensions Past, Tensions Future: Middle Eastern Studies Confronts Religious Studies IV. We Study Muslim Constructions, Not Muslims, Right? V. The Implosion of a Disciple: 9/11 and The Islamic Studies Scholar as Media Expert Conclusion: Towards a Future Imperfect