In “Dispatches from Cairo to India: Editors, Publishing Houses, and a Republic of Letters” (Journal of Islamic Studies 31, no. 2 (2020)), Ahmed Khan claims to document the existence of a vibrant republic of letters stretching from Cairo to Karachi in the middle of the twentieth century. Using private letters, memoirs, and modern editions of classical texts, Khan claims to recreate the scholarly and personal commitments of a new class of professional editors, or muhaqqiqūn. The author argues that these editors were responsible for the most influential publishing houses in the islamic world, and their contribution to the production and circulation of pre-modern texts has had a profound impact on the intellectual development of Islam in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Khan concludes that this fashioned a virtual community, separated by national and political borders, but united by visions of history and a shared sense of moral and intellectual duty.
In Muslim Piety as Economy: Markets, Meaning, and Morality in Southeast Asia (New York: Routledge, 2019), Johan Fischer and Jeremy Jammes explore the idea of piety as a form of economy while focusing on Southeast Asia as a site of significant and diverse integration of Islam and the economy. This book examines specific forms of production, trade, regulation, consumption, and entrepreneurship that condition and are conditioned by Islamic values, logics, and politics. The book is based on in-depth empirical studies and considers issues such as the Qur’anic prohibition of corruption and anti-corruption reforms, the emergence of the Islamic economy under colonialism, halal, or lawful, production, trade, regulation, and consumption, as well as modesty in Islamic fashion marketing communications, and much more.
Grounded Identities: Territories and Belonging in the Medieval and Early Modern Middle East and Mediterranean (Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2019), edited by Steve Tamari, is a collection of essays on attachments to specific lands, including Kurdistan, Andalusia and the Maghreb, and geographical Syria in the pre-modern Islamicate world. These essays discuss the affective and cultural dimensions of the attachments, fluctuations in the meaning and significance of lands in the face of historical transformations, and, at the same time, the qualities of lands and human attachments to them over long periods of time. This collection includes work by Boris James, Zayde Antrim, Alexander Elinson, and Mary Hoyt Halavais.