Vernon James Schubel, "Teaching Humanity:  An Alternative Introduction to Islam" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023)


In his splendid new book, Teaching Humanity: An Alternative Introduction to Islam (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023), Vernon Schubel makes a compelling case for taking seriously the foundational importance of humanity and moral pedagogy to the venture of Islam, especially in relation to introductory books on this topic. Through a finely layered yet always engaging and accessible examination of a panoply of Muslim intellectual traditions and lived practice, Schubel offers an alternative to introductory textbooks on Islam limited in their conceptual purview to Islamic law, theology, and the textual sources of the tradition. One of the hallmarks of this book is that it focuses substantively on Shi‘i Islam and Sufism, especially in contexts like the Alevi-Bektashi tradition that might be relegated to the margins of Islam in dominant introductory surveys of Islam. Indeed, among the major achievements of this beautifully written book is that it fundamentally reorients our understanding of the center and the margins of Islam.

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SherAli Tareen

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 book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His second book is called Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship after Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023). His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at Listener feedback is most welcome.

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