By D. Varisco

Islam Obscured analyzes 4 seminal anthropology texts on Muslims which have been learn broadly outdoors the self-discipline. are through distinct anthropologists: Islam saw (Clifford Geertz, 1968) and Muslim Society (Ernest Gellner, 1981). different texts are through Muslim students: past the Veil (Fatima Mernissi, 1975) and researching Islam (Akbar Ahmed, 1988). Varisco argues that every of those ways Islam as an essentialized natural solidarity instead of letting "islams" present in the sector converse to the variety of perform. He sheds mild on Islam as a cultural phenomenon, illustration of the opposite, Muslim gender roles, politics of ethnographic authority, and Orientalist discourse. Varisco's research is going past the rhetoric over what Islam is, focusing as a substitute on ethnographic examine approximately what Muslims say they do and really are saw doing.

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Additional resources for Islam Obscured: The Rhetoric of Anthropological Representation (Contemporary Anthropology of Religion)

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It is hardly a surprise, then, that Geertzian anthropology steadily gained converts outside his discipline, even as ethnographers continued to observe other Muslims and interpret localized versions of Islam in different ways. I have one overriding rhetorical query to add to the discussion: in leaving the village for the pundit’s authoritative and lecture[ous] perch, where did all the ethnography go? 9 Clifford Geertz In 1967 Clifford Geertz was invited to speak in the Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion and Science at Yale University.

But since the Sistine Chapel is not on the tour, a quickly drawn sketch is assumed to suffice. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with sketching or speculation, exploring new ground or applying ideas from one discipline to another. Science would still be mired in musty museum collections if scientists were as reluctant to speculate to their peers as Darwin was to commit his revolutionary evolutionary ideas to print after his revelation on The Beagle. But Geertz offers more than a sketch, whether he intended to or not.

Geertz attempts to dispel criticism by declaring he has made no attempt to make his “arguments look less controversial, speculative, or inferential than they are by appending to them an extensive list of arcane references . ”44 His bibliographic notes are not designed to “support” his interpretations but as an aid for anyone who might be interested in pursuing further study. We should not fault Geertz for being overtly dishonest, since over and over again he makes no claims for being an expert.

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