After newspapers, online open access is unsurprisingly the second quickest medium in which reviews of my book appear. And since I am these days so embroiled in writing the first big draft of my research on Lucknow, this blog is poised to turn into a tool of quick and dirty self-promotion (though a post on Lucknow's real estate boom is in the pipeline, keep watching!). This is Jack David Eller, writing for the Anthropology Review Database:

We can only hope that the message of Muslim diversity and ambivalence reaches the ears of the public and of policy-makers and that more anthropologists will be inspired to explore and describe how religion actually moves, or does not move, particular Islamic - and other religions' - individual members, groups, and parties. (read the whole review online)

And here comes Kalathmika Natarajan, writing for the impressive new LSE Review of books (do subscribe to their RSS feeds or follow @LSEReviewBooks if you haven't already), with a more critical note:

Almost half a year after my book on Muslim peace activists in Gujarat hit the shelves, a first review appeared. This is what Moinuddin Ahmad had to say in The Statesman, one of India's oldest English newspapers particularly read in West Bengal:

This book is a rare collection of brave accounts of the people, asserting different identities, marked by the author. It may inspire people in various capacity to engage with the society and work for peace. The author tries to elucidate a thin line between the "religious" and the "secular" in many aspects of daily life, and how it gets blurred when people with different confessions work for same cause, as was done in Gujarat. This work by Raphael Susewind definitely opens a window through which Muslim society and peace-builders can be seen with a nuanced perspective.

I find it quite interesting to see how he focusses on my blurring the line between the faith-based and the secular, a way in which I haven't thought about my work so far (perhaps because that line for me was always kind of obviously fake), but which makes obvious sense, particularly in the context of the Indian debate. Read the whole review online...

Later today, I will give a talk on my Gujarat project at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University Lucknow. While preparing my notes for this lecture, I realized that I somehow missed to put any extensive english summary of this project online til today. To fill this gap: here come today's notes (which in turn build on earlier talks and conference papers); please refer, however, to my published work, especially my monograph, if you want to cite my findings -- these notes are rough and not meant for further distribution.1. In the meantime, however, I am curious for your comments below, as always...

  • 1. Is publishing them on this blog a contradiction, then? Mabye, yes...