Voice, Media, and Sonic Atmospheres in an Indian Ocean World
University of California Press 2018
New Books in African StudiesNew Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Islamic StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books in Sound StudiesNew Books in South Asian StudiesNew Books Network January 2, 2019 Shobhana Xavier
Sounding Islam: Voice, Media, and Sonic Atmospheres in an Indian Ocean World (University of California Press, 2018) by Patrick Eisenlohr is an exciting ethnographic study of Mauritian Muslims’ soundscapes. Through the exploration of na‘t, or devotional poetic recitations that honor the prophet Muhammad, Eisenlohr captures the sensory dimension of Islam, particularly through a linguistic anthropological analysis of performance, poetry, and acoustics. The book situates Mauritian Muslim’ practices and devotions within the context of Islamic piety both across the Indian Ocean but also through a transnational and diasporic lens. In doing so, it highlights the sectarian differences that follow the performance of na‘t within the Muslim world, signaling to the intersubjectivity of Islamic piety. The study challenges scholars of Islam to take sonic atmospheres seriously, especially as it provides key insights into Islamic identity formation, piety, and ritual practices.
Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Queen’s University. Her research areas are on contemporary Sufism in North America and South Asia. She is the author of Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks in American Sufism (Bloombsury Press, 2018) and a co-author of Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2017). More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.