Kishwar RizviThe Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East

University of North Carolina Press, 2015

by SherAli Tareen on February 8, 2016

Kishwar Rizvi

View on Amazon

In her excellent new book The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East (UNC Press, 2015), Kishwar Rizvi, Associate Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, interrogates the interaction of history, memory, and architecture by exploring arguably the most important sacred space in Islam: the mosque. By combining the study of religion, history, and architecture in the most compelling of ways, Rizvi highlights the material and political significance of the mosque as a transnational symbol. While focused on the contexts of Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, the theoretical insights of this richly textured book extend much beyond the contemporary Middle East. In our conversation, we talked about the concept of the transnational mosque, the historicist desires and assumptions that often undergird projects of mosque construction in Muslim societies, the transnational mosque, religious identity and international politics, and ways in which mobile networks of architects and corporations reorient our understanding of what we mean by the Middle East. This stunningly well-written book is also aesthetically pleasing, populated with wonderful visuals and images. It will also make an excellent reading for both undergraduate and graduate courses on sacred space, the modern Middle East, Islam and architecture, and religion, mobility, and globalization.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Deepa IyerWe Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future

January 26, 2016

Deepa Iyer is the author of We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future (The New Press, 2015). Iyer is Senior Fellow at Center for Social Inclusion and was Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) for a decade prior. Drawing on professional experiences in the […]

Read the full article →

Anita WeissInterpreting Islam, Modernity, and Women’s Rights in Pakistan

January 26, 2016

Pakistan is often caricatured and stereotyped as a volatile nuclear country on the precipice of disaster. Such depictions are often especially acerbic when comes to the issue of Women's rights in the country. In her important new book, Interpreting Islam, Modernity, and Women's Rights in Pakistan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Anita Weiss, Professor of International Studies […]

Read the full article →

Patrick D. BowenA History of Conversion to Islam in the United States, Volume 1: White American Muslims before 1975

January 12, 2016

In the current political moment there is widespread anti-Muslim rhetoric and it would be easy to conclude that a large portion of white Americans see Islam at odds with American values. But a longer view of history reveals a long-standing appreciation for Islam and even conversion to the tradition among white Americans. Patrick D. Bowen, […]

Read the full article →

Mayanthi FernandoThe Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism

January 5, 2016

Mayanthi Fernando's The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism (Duke University Press, 2014) is an important and provocative book. Drawing on years of field work, the book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the complex interactions between religion and politics in contemporary France. Considering the Islamic revival and public debates […]

Read the full article →

Afsaneh NajmabadiProfessing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran

December 30, 2015

In her fascinating new book Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran (Duke University Press, 2015), Afsaneh Najmabadi, Professor of History and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University, explores shifting meanings of transsexuality in contemporary Iran. By brilliantly combining historical and ethnographic inquiry, Najmabadi highlights the complex ways in which biomedical, […]

Read the full article →

Zeki SaritoprakIslam’s Jesus

December 17, 2015

In Islam's Jesus (University of Florida Press, 2015), Zeki Saritoprak explores an old topic from a fresh perspective. The status of Jesus in Islam has been of interest for centuries, and relates to both Christianity and Islam, but the level of synthesis that Professor Saritoprak's monograph offers is remarkable. He draws on a variety of […]

Read the full article →

Alice J. KangBargaining for Women’s Rights: Activism in an Aspiring Muslim Democracy

December 16, 2015

Alice J. Kang has written Bargaining for Women's Rights: Activism in an Aspiring Muslim Democracy (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). Kang is assistant professor of political science and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Much attention is paid to Muslim-majority countries across the Middle East, especially the contentious role of women's rights in those […]

Read the full article →

Maud S. MandelMuslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict

December 11, 2015

In Muslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict (Princeton University Press, 2014), Maud S. Mandel, Dean of the College at Brown University, challenges the view that rising anti-Semitism in France is rooted solely in the Israel-Palestine conflict.  Instead, Mandel argues that the Muslim-Jewish conflict in France has been shaped by local, national, and […]

Read the full article →

Saba MahmoodReligious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report

December 7, 2015

It is commonly thought that violence, injustice, and discrimination against religious minorities, especially in the Middle East, are a product of religious fundamentalism and myopia. Concomitantly, it is often argued, that more of secularism and less of religion represents the solution to this problem. In her stunning new book Religious Difference in a Secular Age: […]

Read the full article →