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

2019 Prize - Honorable Mention

by John R. Bowen
Publisher: Princeton University Press
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On British Islam

Jury Statement 

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.

About the Author

John R. Bowen is Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences and Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. 

2019 Final Jury

Ruth Abbey
Professor of Political Science
University of Notre Dame 

Bowen John R

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