The Transnational Mosque
Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East
University of North Carolina Press 2015
New Books in ArchitectureNew Books in ArtNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Islamic StudiesNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network February 8, 2016 SherAli Tareen
In her excellent new book The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East (UNC Press, 2015), Kishwar Rizvi, Associate Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, interrogates the interaction of history, memory, and architecture by exploring arguably the most important sacred space in Islam: the mosque. By combining the study of religion, history, and architecture in the most compelling of ways, Rizvi highlights the material and political significance of the mosque as a transnational symbol. While focused on the contexts of Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, the theoretical insights of this richly textured book extend much beyond the contemporary Middle East. In our conversation, we talked about the concept of the transnational mosque, the historicist desires and assumptions that often undergird projects of mosque construction in Muslim societies, the transnational mosque, religious identity and international politics, and ways in which mobile networks of architects and corporations reorient our understanding of what we mean by the Middle East. This stunningly well-written book is also aesthetically pleasing, populated with wonderful visuals and images. It will also make an excellent reading for both undergraduate and graduate courses on sacred space, the modern Middle East, Islam and architecture, and religion, mobility, and globalization.