Cabeiri RobinsonBody of Victim, Body of Warrior: Refugee Families and the Making of Kashmiri Jihadists

University of California Press, 2013

by SHERALI TAREEN on February 19, 2015

Cabeiri Robinson

View on Amazon

[Cross-posted from New Books in Islamic Studies] The idea of jihad is among the most keenly discussed yet one of the least understood concepts in Islam. In her brilliant new book Body of Victim, Body of Warrior: Refugee Families and the Making of Kashmiri Jihadists (University of California Press, 2013), Cabeiri Robinson, Associate Professor of International Studies and South Asian Studies at the University of Washington engages the question of what might an anthropology of jihad look like. By shifting the focus from theological and doctrinal discussions on the normative understandings and boundaries of jihad in Islam, Robinson instead asks the question of how people live with perennial violence in their midst? The focus of this book is on the Jihadists of the Kashmir region in the disputed borderlands between India and Pakistan, especially in relation to their experiences as refugees (muhajirs). By combining a riveting ethnography with meticulous historical analysis, Robinson documents the complex ways in which Kashmiri men and women navigate the interaction of violence, politics, and migration.  Through a careful reading of Kashmiri Jihadist discourses on human rights, the family, and martyrdom, Robinson convincingly shows that the very categories of warrior, victim, and refugee are always fluid and subject to considerable tension and contestation. In our conversation, we talked about the relationship between the categories of Jihad and Hijra as imagined by Kashmiri Jihadists, the ethical and methodological dilemmas of an ethnographer of Jihad, the mobilization of the human rights discourse by Kashmiri militant groups to legitimate violence, and the intersections of family, sexuality, and martyrdom. All students and scholars of Islam, South Asia, and modern politics must read this fascinating book that was also recently awarded the Bernard Cohn book prize for best first book in South Asian Studies by the Association for Asian Studies.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Kutter CallawayScoring Transcendence: Contemporary Film Music as Religious Experience

February 16, 2015

For many people, filmgoing is a moment to submerge themselves in a new world of meaning and experience a different reality. While film is prominently defined by its ‘moving images’ these alone are not usually able to fully move a viewer. Audiovisual cinema is much more compelling and music has a unique ability to produce […]

Read the full article →

Matthew StanleyHuxley’s Church and Maxwell’s Demon: From Theistic Science to Naturalistic Science

February 10, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] “Show me how it doos.” Such were the words of a young James Clerk “Dafty” Maxwell (1831-79), an inquisitive child prone to punning who grew into a renowned physicist known for his work on electromagnetism. After learning to juggle and conducting experiments on falling cats, Maxwell went on to […]

Read the full article →

John RenardIslamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader

February 6, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Islamic Studies] Islamic theology is generally understood or approached in terms of its systematic or speculative forms. In Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader (University of California Press, 2014), John Renard, Professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University, has produced a collection of primary sources that thinks through theological deliberation far beyond […]

Read the full article →

Emma AndersonThe Death and Afterlife of the North American Martyrs

February 2, 2015

Martyrdom, writes Emma Anderson, is anything but random. In beautiful prose and spectacular historical detail, The Death and Afterlife of the North American Martyrs (Harvard University Press, 2013), takes readers on a journey of more than 300 years, exploring how a group of eight Frenchmen were selected from the amongst the thousands of victims of […]

Read the full article →

Isra YaziciogluUnderstanding Qur’anic Miracle Stories in the Modern Age

January 23, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Islamic Studies] In Understanding Qur’anic Miracle Stories in the Modern Age (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013), Isra Yazicioglu draws connections between an array of scholars, from different time periods and cultures, in order to make sense of miracles and miracle stories in the Qur’an. What are miracles? Why do they occur in stories? And how […]

Read the full article →

Carol E. HarrisonRomantic Catholics: France’s Postrevolutionary Generation in Search of a Modern Faith

January 23, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Christian Studies] Since the political left and right first arose during the French Revolution, Catholics have been categorized as either conservatives or liberals, and most Catholics of the French nineteenth century are assumed to have been conservatives. In Romantic Catholics: France’s Postrevolutionary Generation in Search of a Modern Faith (Cornell University Press, 2014), Carol E. […]

Read the full article →

Joseph LaycockThe Seer of Bayside: Veronica Lueken and the Struggle to Define Catholicism

January 19, 2015

In understanding a tradition what is the relationship between the ‘center’ and the ‘periphery’? How do the lived religious lives of practitioners contest or affirm authority? In The Seer of Bayside: Veronica Lueken and the Struggle to Define Catholicism (Oxford University Press, 2014), Joseph Laycock, assistant professor of religious studies at Texas State University, explores […]

Read the full article →

Steven ShaviroThe Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism

January 16, 2015

[Cross-posted from the New Books Network Seminar] Steven Shaviro’s new book is a wonderfully engaging study of speculative realism, new materialism, and the ways in which those fields can speak to and be informed by the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. While The Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) will satisfy even advanced scholars […]

Read the full article →

Erik BraunThe Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw

January 9, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Buddhist Studies] Erik Braun’s recent book, The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw (University of Chicago Press, 2013), examines the spread of Burmese Buddhist meditation practices during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the social, political, and intellectual historical contexts that gave rise to this development.  Braun […]

Read the full article →