MESA Book Awards
University of Delhi
2016 Albert Hourani Book Award Honorable Mention
Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire
Published by Harvard University Press
Seema Alavi’s rich and engrossing study of Muslim cosmopolitanism reconstructs what she calls “a pan-Islamic global cultural sphere.” Tracing the peripatetic careers of five Indian Muslim scholars in the wake of the 1857 rebellion, she shows how their geographical trajectories and political and religious networks were unexpectedly shaped and promoted by intersecting imperial structures. Challenging binaries such as traditional versus modern, nationalist versus pan-Islamist, and religious versus secular, she reconstructs a global community and world view rarely recognized in the existing literature. Using a wide range of archival and published primary source materials in close to half a dozen languages, this engagingly written book recasts the end of the nineteenth century and brings Middle East Studies into wider conversations about empire and global history.