The relationship between religion and economic activity has attracted generations of scholars working in myriad settings. In recent years, many have turned to questions...

The relationship between religion and economic activity has attracted generations of scholars working in myriad settings. In recent years, many have turned to questions of how Islamic ideas are generative of economic activity, to Islamic finance and capital, and to the relationship between contemporary Islam and capitalism more broadly. In Corporate Islam: Sharia and the Modern Workplace (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Patricia Sloane-White builds on this work by asking “not only how the spread of global capitalism transforms the lives of Muslims… but how capitalism empowers the spread of Islam.” Drawing from interviews and ethnographic fieldwork over a seven-year period, and a wealth of knowledge from over two decades of research in Malaysia, Sloane-White argues that the “sharia space” of the today’s corporate Islamic workplace is a third domain between the public and the private in which employees must submit to the guidance of their professional and personal lives by men who insist that their businesses can and must be both profitable and pious.

Patricia Sloane-White joins New Books in Southeast Asian Studies to talk about Malaysia’s self-styled men of the mosque and the market; the new nexus between Islamic scholars and CEOs; the decline of the bumiputera generation; sexuality, gendered divisions of labour, and the problem of patriarchy in the capitalist workplace everywhere.

Listeners of this episode may also be interested in:

Iza Hussin, The Politics of Islamic Law: Local Elites, Colonial Authority and the Making of the Muslim State

Meredith Weiss, Student Activism in Malaysia: Crucible, Mirror, Sideshow


Nick Cheesman is a fellow in the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. He can be reached at [email protected]

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