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Challenging Cosmopolitanism

Coercion, Mobility and Displacement in Islamic Asia

Edited by R. Michael Feener, Joshua Gedacht

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Contextualizes the refugee crisis through a historical study of Muslim mobility and violence

Cosmopolitanism has emerged as a key category in Islamic Studies, defining models of Muslim mobility, pluralism and tolerance that challenge popular perceptions of religious extremism. Such celebrations and valorisations of mobility and trans-regional consciousness, however, tend to conflate border-crossing with opportunity and social diversity with ethical progress. At the same time, they generally disregard the ways in which such forms of cosmopolitanism have been entwined with structures of domination, economic control and violence. This volume addresses these issues in ways that help to contextualize contemporary issues such as the global refugee crisis in relation to longer histories of Muslim mobility and coercion.

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1.R. Michael Feener & Joshua Gedacht, Hijra, Ḥajj, and Muslim Mobilities: Considering Coercion and Asymmetrical Power Dynamics in Histories of Islamic Cosmopolitanism
2. Bruce B. Lawrence, Islamicate Cosmopolitanism from North Africa to Southeast Asia
3. Andrew Peacock, Sufi Cosmopolitanism in the Seventeenth-Century Indian Ocean: Shariʿa, Lineage, and Royal Power in Southeast Asia and the Maldives
4. Simon Carlos Kemper, Shrines, Sufis, and Warlords in Early Modern Java
5.Tatsuya Nakanishi, Variations of ‘Islamic Military Cosmopolitanism’: The Survival Strategies of Hui Muslims during the Modern Period
6. Jessica Chen, Writing Cosmopolitan History in Nineteenth-Century China: Li Huanyi’s Words and Deeds of Islamic Exemplars
7. Joshua Gedacht, The ‘Shaykh al-Islām’ of the Philippines’ and Coercive Cosmopolitanism in an Age of Global Empire
8. Amrita Malhi, Bordering Malaya’s ‘Benighted Lands’: Frontiers of Race and Colonialism on the Malay Peninsula, 1887-1902
Magnus Marsden & Diana Ibañez-Tirado
9. Afghanistan’s Cosmopolitan Trading Networks: A View From Yiwu, China

About the Author

R. Michael Feener is the Sultan of Oman Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and Islamic Centre Lecturer in the History Faculty at the University of Oxford. He was formerly Research Leader of the Religion and Globalisation Cluster at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute. He has published extensively in the fields of Islamic studies and Southeast Asian history, as well as on post-disaster reconstruction, religion and development.

Joshua Gedacht is Visiting Assistant Professor in Islamic World history at Rowan University in New Jersey. Dr. Gedacht received his B.A. in History and Political Science from McGill University in Canada and his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


A remarkable exploration of the meanings and histories of diversity--ethnic, religious, economic and political--in Muslim societies across Asia. Refusing to reduce the complex engagements they describe to merely instrumental relations, the volume's authors describe instead the changing ways in which Muslims have understood what it is to be cosmopolitan.

- Faisal Devji, University of Oxford

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