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Demystifying the Caliphate: Historical Memory and Contemporary Contexts [Hardcover]

Madawi Al-Rasheed , Carool Kersten , Marat Shterin

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Book Description

Dec 25 2012
In Western popular imagination, the Caliphate often conjures up an array of negative images, while rallies organised in support of resurrecting the Caliphate are treated with a mixture of apprehension and disdain, as if they were the first steps towards usurping democracy. Yet these images and perceptions have little to do with reality. While some Muslims may be nostalgic for the Caliphate, only very few today seek to make that dream come true. Yet the Caliphate can be evoked as a powerful rallying call and a symbol that draws on an imagined past and longing for reproducing or emulating it as an ideal Islamic polity. The Caliphate today is a contested concept among many actors in the Muslim world, Europe and beyond, the reinvention and imagining of which may appear puzzling to most of us. Demystifying the Caliphate sheds light on both the historical debates following the demise of the last Ottoman Caliphate and controversies surrounding recent calls to resurrect it, transcending alarmist agendas to answer fundamental questions about why the memory of the Caliphate lingers on among diverse Muslims. From London to the Caucasus, to Jakarta, Istanbul, and Baghdad, the contributors explore the concept of the Caliphate and the re-imagining of the Muslim ummah as a diverse multi-ethnic community.

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"Contemporary publicity about the caliphate conceals both its historical complexity and its regional diversity. How to exhume skeletons of the past while also silencing sirens from the present? With scholarly aplomb, the dispassionate contributors of this extraordinary volume reveal the benefits, but also the limits, of the cultural capital that informs the social imaginary of multiple Muslim audiences when they evoke, or hear others evoke, the caliphate."--Bruce B. Lawrence, Professor of Islamic Studies Emeritus, Duke University


"A book of exceptional scope and erudition that is nevertheless accessible and very timely. By bringing together such a wealth of regional expertise it succeeds admirably in living up to the promise of its title. More than that, these essays throw new light on the many ways in which even a mythical caliphate can exercise a powerful hold on contemporary political imaginations."--Charles Tripp, Professor of Middle East Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London


"A fascinating treatment of the subject of Islamic Caliphate on which much ink has been spent, particularly in the highly charged and politicised environment of recent times in studies of global Islam."-- Dr Zaheer Kazmi, Faculty of History, University of Oxford


About the Author

Madawi Al-Rasheed is Professor of Anthropology of Religion at King's College London. Carool Kersten is Lecturer in Islamic Studies at King's College London. He has a PhD in the Study of Religions from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), an MA in Arabic Language and Culture and a Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies. He worked for many years in the Middle East and has taught Asian history and religions in Thailand. Marat Shterin is Lecturer in Sociology of Religion at King's College London. He has published widely on religion, society and law in Russia.

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