In his majestic and encyclopedic new book Slavery and Islam
(Oneworld Academic, 2019), Jonathan A. C. Brown
presents a sweeping analysis of Muslim intellectual, political, and social entanglements with slavery, and some of the thorniest conceptual and ethical problems involved in defining and writing about slavery. Self-reflective and bold, Slavery and Islam
also offers a remarkable combination of intellectual and social history, anchored in layers of complex yet eminently accessible textual analysis. What makes talking about slavery so difficult? What are the dominant discourses on and attitudes about slavery that have dominated Muslim history? What are some of the major points of overlap and fissure between Western and Muslim understandings of slavery? And how must one confront the ethical and interpretive challenges brought by the presence of slavery in Islam? These are among the questions Brown explores and addresses in this monumental work of scholarship that is sure to spark many conversations and debates, within and outside Islamic Studies.
SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listener feedback is most welcome.