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Islam and the Americas$
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Aisha Khan

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060132

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060132.001.0001

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A Storied Hemisphere

(p.1) 1 Introduction
Islam and the Americas

Aisha Khan

University Press of Florida

Islam not only has numerous forms of expression, but these expressions surpass what is anticipated and obvious. This chapter argues that what is critically important are the unexpected uses and interpretations of Islam, whose practitioners are necessarily in dialogue with a host of immediate and distant, empirical and imagined interlocutors. Globalization, particularly in the form of migration and settlement, has long shaped encounters among immigrant and indigenous or local communities and the social structures that are transformed or that emerge from these processes. Strategies of distancing and belonging characterize these interactions, as representations, ways of knowing, and competing claims to those ways of knowing are marshalled and collide. What does the ummah mean in a deterritorialized world? Will local ways of knowing be subsumed by universalizing canons, or will the vernacular take precedence? And what might that mean for the interpretation and practice of Islam?

Keywords:   Discursive traditions, New World, Western imaginaries, modernity, vernacular religion, comparative ethnography, gender relations, democracy

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