News

New article in Islamic Law and Society

The June 2016 issue of Islamic Law and Society contains an article of mine, titled “The Salafi Mystique: The Rise of Gender Segregation in 1970s Egypt.” In this article, I trace the emergence of gender segregation within contemporary Salafism, focusing on Egypt as a case study to examine the interaction between textual hermeneutics, ideological cross-pollination and political competition. Drawing on two Egyptian Salafi magazines, alongside a variety of pamphlets and lay-oriented works by Salafi and non-Salafi authors alike, I challenge a majority view that claims gender segregation as a long-established religious principle and practice, while historically contextualizing a minority view that gender segregation arose out of contemporary political calculations. Specifically, although the core anxieties of women’s presence in public were not new, the attempt to comprehensively regulate women’s presence in state institutions and on mass transportation was a response to contemporary intellectual trends, particularly the project of State Feminism and leading Muslim Brotherhood thinkers during the Nasser period (1952–1970), and to political competition with the Brotherhood during the 1970s. The article can be found at http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/15685195-00233p03.

New article in The International Journal of Middle East Studies

The April 2016 issue of IJMES included an article of mine, titled “Prayer and the Islamic Revival: A Timely Challenge.”  This article traces the emergence of the early afternoon ẓuhr prayer as a key project of subject formation during the second half of the Anwar al-Sadat period (1976–81). Drawing on three Islamic magazines of differing ideological orientation (Muslim Brotherhood-Islamist, Salafi-Islamist, and state-sponsored), all containing letters to the editor and fatwa requests, it charts contestation among religious elites and the reception of their programmatic visions. Specifically, the article explores the performance of this daily prayer as a hybrid practice that disrupted the temporal and spatial claims of a state-sponsored bureaucratic order to produce national subjects within public schools and bureaucratic institutions, even as it reproduced the state’s emphasis on temporal precision and social order. Based on these texts, this article challenges previous scholarly narratives that place Islamist projects of subject formation on the fringes of secularism and previous studies of Islamist mobilization that posit a separate social universe of Islamist activism.