In popular discourse today, few concepts are more sensationalized and maliciously caricatured than that of the Islamic State. In his fascinating new book For Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan's Islamic State
(Princeton University Press, 2016), Noah Salomon
, Associate Professor of Religion at Carleton College, arrests the concept of the Islamic State away from its contemporary stereotypical life by offering a rich and dazzling account of state power and formation in the Sudan. Contesting recent arguments about the impossibility of an Islamic State, Salomon explores the social life of an attempted Islamic State in multiple and often unexpected locations of everyday life. What emerges from his brilliant and ferociously multilayered analysis is an account of the political irreducible to the structure of the nation-state, permeating varied discursive, institutional, and affective registers. In our conversation we talked about the idea of doing an ethnography of the state, colonial and NIF projects of civilizing religion in Sudan, fundamentalization of knowledge, affective citizenship, and hagiography as political critique. This sure to become a classic should be read by all.
SherAli Tareen is Assistant 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 at https://fandm.academia.edu/SheraliTareen/. He can be reached at email@example.com. Listener feedback is most welcome.