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Title: Knowing Islam: The Entangled History of Western Academia and Modern Islamic Thought
Authors: Abbas, Megan Brankley
Advisors: Laffan, Michael F
Contributors: History Department
Subjects: History
Islamic culture
Asian studies
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation challenges the implicit scholarly consensus that Islamic education occurs primarily in Muslim madrasas or other religious schools. In contrast, I argue that the Western university has emerged as a significant site for Muslim education and the production of Islamic religious authority over the course of the last century – a development that has far-reaching repercussions for Muslim communities across the globe as well as for the future of Islamic studies as an academic discipline. In order to understand this new manifestation of Islamic education and its consequences, the dissertation traces two generations of Indonesian Muslim scholars who received their higher Islamic education in Western universities and then returned to Indonesia to become prominent Muslim professors, politicians, and activists. Through their intellectual and political endeavors, they sought to make Western academic and Islamic epistemologies commensurable. I argue that these transgressive Indonesian scholars disrupted established modes of authority within both the Indonesian public sphere and Western academia. In Indonesia, the rise of Western-educated Islamic thinkers led to the institutionalization of new interpretations of Islam in the national bureaucracy but also produced hostile resistance from Muslim opponents who derided academic credentials as inauthentic at best and harbingers of neo-colonialism at worst. For Western universities, the increasing presence of Muslim activists challenged but never entirely replaced norms of academic objectivity. Ultimately, this project interrogates the contested and evolving boundary between Western academic vs. Muslim religious knowledge and academic vs. Islamic authority. I conclude that, despite persistent efforts to police the border between the two, academic and religious ways of knowing Islam have become intimately intertwined in the post-colonial world.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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