Islam Obscured / Edition 1

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Overview

Islam Obscured analyzes four seminal anthropology texts on Muslims that have been read widely outside the discipline. Two are by distinguished anthropologists: Islam Observed (Clifford Geertz, 1968) and Muslim Society (Ernest Gellner, 1981). Two other texts are by Muslim scholars: Beyond the Veil (Fatima Mernissi, 1975) and Discovering Islam (Akbar Ahmed, 1988). Varisco argues that each of these approaches Islam as an essentialized organic unity rather than letting "islams" found in the field speak to the diversity of practice. He sheds light on Islam as a cultural phenomenon, representation of the other, Muslim gender roles, politics of ethnographic authority, and Orientalist discourse. Varisco's analysis goes beyond the rhetoric over what Islam is, focusing instead on ethnographic research about what Muslims say they do and actually are observed doing.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403967732
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Series: Contemporary Anthropology of Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Martin Varisco is chair of the Department of Anthropology, Hofstra University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Anthropology and Islam
• Clifford Geertz: Islam Observed Again
• Ernest Gellner: Idealized to a Fault
Beyond the Veil: At Play in the Bed of the Prophet
• Akbar Ahmed: Discovering Islam Inside Out
• Epilogue: Muslims Observed: The Lessons from Anthropology

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Recipe

"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
Read More Show Less

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