Islam Through Objects
Anna Bigelow (editor)
Paperback, 264 pages
Islam through Objects represents the state of the field of Islamic material cultural studies. With contributions from scholars of religion, anthropologists, art historians, folklorists, historians, and other disciplines, Anna Bigelow brings together a wide range of perspectives on Islamic materiality to debunk myths of Islamic aversion to material aspects of religion.
Each chapter focuses on a single object in daily use by Muslims-prayer beads, coins, amulets, a cistern well, clothing, jewellery, bodily and domestic adornments-to consider both generic and particular aspects of the object in question. These narratives will engage the reader by describing and analyzing each object in terms of its provenance, materials, uses, and history, as well as the broader history, variety and uses of the object in Islamic history and cultures. Temporal, regional, and sectarian variations in the styles, uses, and theological perspectives are also considered.
Framed by an introduction that assesses the various approaches to Islamic material culture in recent scholarship, Islam through Objects provides a template for the study of religion and material culture, which engages current theory, subtle and nuanced narratives, and the creative and imaginal capacities of Muslims through history.
1. Tasbih in West African Islamic History
2. The Agency of the Material Taviz (Amulet)
3. The Awakening of the Lamp in Bektashi Tradition
4. Universal Flag: Jewelry in American Islam
5. What Does This Cap Stand for?
6. Clothes of Righteousness: The MGT Uniform in the 20th Century
7. Bibi ka'Alam: An Indian Shi'a Object of Devotion
8. The Masonic Muhammad: Modern Euro-Islamic Encounters in Prophetic Iconography
9. Relic Reproduction: Tracing the Lives of Muhammad's Sandal
10. Zamzam Water: Ritual and the Environment