Laura Shannon Prize Winner

Bowen On British Islam

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Publication Year: 2016

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On British Islam: Religion, Law, and Everyday Practice in Shariʿa Councils

by John R. Bowen

2019 Honorable Mention in History and Social Sciences

Jury Statement (Honorable Mention)

On British Islam is a meticulous and erudite analysis of British Islam and its institutional manifestations. Blending ethnography, political science, and history, Bowen demonstrates how place of origin and kin networks, location, sect, gender, generation, interpretive traditions, and a host of other factors can influence the way key issues like divorce are adjudicated by Shariʿa councils. In so doing, he demonstrates conclusively that local Islamic institutions function not as foreign, corrosive bodies undermining Britishness, but as important sites for the nurturing and preservation of Islamic identity and tradition that at the same time foster dynamic convergence to British legal norms and principles. The research is impeccable, and the broader conclusions speak to contemporary questions of great import and consequence in Britain and elsewhere.

Final Jury

Ruth Abbey
Professor of Political Science
University of Notre Dame

Jeffrey J. Anderson
Graf Goltz Professor and Director of the BMW Center for German and European Studies
Georgetown University

Alexander Martin
Professor of History
University of Notre Dame

John Merriman
Charles Seymour Professor of History
Yale University

Susan G. Pedersen
Gouverneur Morris Professor of History
Columbia University