Multidisciplinary examination of the public sphere in “traditional” Muslim society.
Challenging conventional assumptions, the contributors to this interdisciplinary volume argue that premodern Muslim societies had diverse and changing varieties of public spheres, constructed according to premises different from those of Western societies. The public sphere, conceptualized as a separate and autonomous sphere between the official and private, is used to shed new light on familiar topics in Islamic history, such as the role of the shari`a (Islamic religious law), the `ulama' (Islamic scholars), schools of law, Sufi brotherhoods, the Islamic endowment institution, and the relationship between power and culture, rulers and community, from the ninth to twentieth centuries.
Miriam Hoexter is Associate Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the author of Endowments, Rulers, and Community: Waqf al-Haramayn in Ottoman Algiers. Shmuel N. Eisenstadt is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Senior Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. He has published many books, including most recently, Fundamentalism, Sectarianism, and Revolution: The Jacobin Dimension of Modernity. Nehemia Levtzion is Fuld and Bamberger Professor of History of the Muslim Peoples at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His most recent book, coedited with Randall L. Pouwels, is The History of Islam in Africa.
"This book provides a fresh interpretation of well-known Muslim socio-religious institutions, stressing their autonomy from states and the protection they offered to Muslim communities. " — Ira M. Lapidus, author of A History of Islamic Societies
"The authors to this volume perform a valuable service, since there have been few, if any, collaborative studies of public sphere and civil society in the field of premodern Muslim/Middle Eastern history. " — Michael Bonner, author of Aristocratic Violence and Holy War: Studies in the Jihad and the Arab-Byzantine Frontier
Contributors include Dale F. Eickelman, Shmuel N. Eisenstadt, Daphna Ephrat, Haim Gerber, Miriam Hoexter, Nimrod Hurvitz, Aharon Layish, Nehemia Levtzion, and Daniella Talmon-Heller.