Joint Book Talk: Nada Moumtaz & Junaid Quadri
At this joint book talk, we put two new and formidable books into conversation: God’s Property: Islam, Charity, and the Modern State (University of California Press, 2021), by Nada Moumtaz, and Transformations of Tradition: Islamic Law in Colonial Modernity (University of Oxford Press, 2021), by Junaid Quadri.
Each of these works tells a story about the gradual, piece-meal shifts in Muslim discourse and practice brought about by the modern condition. Beginning with the Ottoman Empire, through the 20th century French mandate, and into the post-independence period, God’s Property traces a genealogy of the history of the institution of waqf (Islamic endowment), locating both ruptures and continuities in concepts and practice. Transformations of Tradition explores the 19th and 20th century thought-world of Azhari legal theorist Muhammad Bakhit al-Muti‘i to reveal how modern epistemological assumptions came to permeate the trans-regional networks of Hanafism.
What are the convergences and divergences between how each author traces the effects of modernity and secularization? How does each work articulate a particular conception of change in Muslim life and practice, whether the institution of waqf or the Hanafi legal tradition?
Nada Moumtaz is assistant professor for the Department for the Study of Religion and the Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations department. Her research stands at the intersection of Islamic legal studies, the anthropology of Islam, and studies of capitalism: spanning the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries in the Levant. She is one of the core members of the anthropology hub for the Reading Muslims project.
Junaid Quadri is Associate Professor of History, Director of Undergraduate Studies in History, and Director of the Program in Religious Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He teaches courses in Middle Eastern civilizations, Islamic intellectual history, and colonialism and modernity in the Muslim world.
Sadaf Ahmed is a PhD Candidate in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. Her ethnographic research focuses on Muslim parenthood in contemporary Canada in order to think about how Islam and notions of personhood are shaped and re-made in such a context.
Sara Hamed is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto’s Study of Religion department. Her research on Canadian Islam brings together the anthropology of Islam, institutional theory, and rhetorical studies, exploring the intersections between the construction of the “Islamic” in Islamic institutions and Muslim identity formation.