This is a preprint of a review whose final and definite form has been published in Contemporary South Asia © Taylor & Francis; see publisher's version and entry in my publication list. The book itself is here

Islamic reform in South Asia, edited by Filippo Osella and Caroline Osella, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013, xxviii + 509 pp., ISBN 978-11-0703-175-3

Recently, a friend in Delhi asked me a seemingly simple question: why are you in India? I found it a surprisingly hard question to answer - for once because it goes both deep and shallow, strangely enough. Today, I will try to answer it. Why do I want to devote my professional (and by extension a large bit of my private) life to India? This story has to start, I think, in Pakistan.

It has to start in Pakistan for two quite simple reasons. First of all, anthropologically, South Asia is one. This is beautifully displayed in a famous map by Himal South Asia, which turns the globe upside down (pictured to the right) and gives a compelling visual impression of this unity - rather than singling India out, as usual projections tend to do. This map therefore features in most of my teaching on South Asia to say that the subcontinent rests on solid shared foundations. Obviously the statement that "anthropologically, South Asia is one" can only also mean that "anthropologically, South Asia are many" - but what separates the many from each other is not necessarily a national boundary (though different political systems make a difference, I am not denying this). The diversity within India, within Pakistan, within Bangladesh, and even within the tiny Nepal is arguably wider than the differences between them. Thus reflecting on India from Pakistan is perfectly appropriate...

The following book review first appeared in ASIEN / The German Journal on Contemporary Asia 117 (see entry in my publication list) and is reprinted here with permission. The book itself is here.

R. Michael Feener, Terenjit Sevea (Hg.): Islamic Connections: Muslim societies in South and Southeast Asia

Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2009, 245 S., USD 39,90

Seit einigen Jahren wächst das Interesse an subregionalen Vergleichen zwischen Südasien und Südostasien sowie an transnationalen Netzwerken rund um den indischen Ozean. Der vorliegende Sammelband fasst in diesem Kontext erste Ergebnisse des "Islamic Connections Project" zusammen, das seit 2007 am ISEAS in Singapur angesiedelt ist. Die Herausgeber, beide Historiker und Islamwissenschaftler, wollen dabei nicht nur die vermeintliche Dominanz des Nahen Osten als zentralem normativem Bezugspunkt muslimischer Gesellschaften hinterfragen. In 12 Kapiteln versuchen die verschiedenen Autoren darüber hinaus, das noch grundlegendere Narrativ einer Islamisierung von West nach Ost - also von der arabischen Halbinsel nach Indien nach Südostasien - durch ein dezentrales Netzwerk-Modell zu ersetzen.