Islamic Ecumene: Comparing Muslim Societies

Publication Year



Co-editor Davis S. Powers, Ph.D. 1979

The essays in Islamic Ecumene address the ways in which Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia and from sub-Saharan Africa to the steppes of Uzbekistan are members of a broad cultural unit. Although the Muslim inhabitants of these lands speak dozens of languages, represent numerous ethnic groups, and practice diverse forms of Islam, they are united by shared practices and worldviews shaped by religious identity. To highlight these commonalities, the co-editors invited a team of scholars from a wide range of disciplines to examine Muslim societies in comparative and interconnected ways. The result is a book that showcases ethics, education, architecture, the arts, modernization, political resistance, marriage, divorce, and death rituals.

Using the insights and methods of historians, anthropologists, literary critics, art historians, political scientists, and sociologists, Islamic Ecumene seeks to understand Islamic identity as a dynamic phenomenon that is reflected in the multivalent practices of the more than one billion people across the planet who identify as Muslims.

Table of contents

  • Urdu ethics literature in colonial India: Akhlāq in the vernacular
  • Educating Muslim intellectuals: was there a "Persianate" madrasa in nineteenth-century
  • Central Asia?
  • Algerian Personal Names and the Colonial Etat Civil, 1850-1900
  • British rule and Omani marriage in colonial Zanzibar
  • Kenyan Muslims and the political imagination of space on the Indian Ocean rim
  • Sovereignty, slavery, and diplomacy in late eighteenth-century Sulu
  • The French Revolution comes to the Indian Ocean: deportation, slavery, and empire in Anjouan
  • The politics of identity and religion: Izmir in 1797
  • Religious routes to racial progress in West Africa: Edward Blyden, Islam, and the Gold Coast press
  • The Lhasa uprisings of 1959 and 2008: Muslims in a Buddhist land
  • Muslims and politics in the Southern Philippines: the 2017 war of Marawi
  • Walls, wonder, and the edges of the Muslim world
  • Alevi Cemevis and "mosque culture" in Turkey
  • Visual depictions of Muslim heroines: Byron's Beauties and American houris
  • A Russian Columbus: from Victorian England to Bombay cinema
  • Media coverage of Islam in contemporary Germany and the United States
  • Muslim devotional singing in two Bengals: a bold experiment
  • Reflections on art and nation building: the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar
  • Ottoman modernization and the translation bureau
  • Reading cultural translation in two "new arrival" Arab American novels
  • Transliminal comparisons in the tombstone inscriptions of Muslim and Christian rulers in the Maghrib and Iberia
  • The tomb of al-Shadhili in Mocha, Yemen: construction, reconstruction, and destruction.

Reviews and endorsements

Islamic Ecumene is clear, striking, and original. Within its pages, readers will find a wealth of highly detailed studies that question political hierarchy and domination, sovereignty and loyalty, and enslavement and colonial projects. -- John Bowen, Washington University in St. Louis, author of On British Islam

Cornell University Press
Ithaca, NY
Cloth: 9781501772382; paper: 9781501772399