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A case study in the textual architecture of the venerable legal and ethical tradition at the center of the Islamic experience, Sharīʿa Scripts is a work of historical anthropology focused on Yemen in the early twentieth century. There—while colonial regimes, late Ottoman reformers, and early nationalists wrought decisive changes to the legal status of the sharīʿa, significantly narrowing its sphere of relevance—the Zaydī school of jurisprudence, rooted in highland Yemen for a millennium, still held sway.

A special edition of our series, hear the full event featuring Cory Doctorow from September 2018. Cory Doctorow and Dennis Tenen, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, have a conversation about science fiction, the changing material conditions of contemporary authorship, copyright, and surveillance.

What does it mean to be a Muslim philosopher, or to philosophize in Islam? In Open to Reason, Souleymane Bachir Diagne traces Muslims’ intellectual and spiritual history of examining and questioning beliefs and arguments to show how Islamic philosophy has always engaged critically with texts and ideas both inside and outside its tradition. Through a rich reading of classical and modern Muslim philosophers, Diagne explains the long history of philosophy in the Islamic world and its relevance to crucial issues of our own time.

Long a source for quotations, fragments, and factoids, the Noctes Atticae of Aulus Gellius offers hundreds of brief but vivid glimpses of Roman intellectual life. In this book Joseph Howley demonstrates how the work may be read as a literary text in its own right, and discusses the rich evidence it provides for the ancient history of reading, thought, and intellectual culture. He argues that Gellius is in close conversation with predecessors both Greek and Latin, such as Plutarch and Pliny the Elder, and also offers new ways of making sense of the text's 'miscellaneous' qualities, like its disorder and its table of contents. Dealing with topics ranging from the framing of literary quotations to the treatment of contemporary celebrities who appear in its pages, this book offers a new way to learn from the Noctes about the world of Roman reading and thought.

Essays are central to students’ and teachers’ development as thinkers in their fields. In Crafting Presence, Nicole B. Wallack develops an approach to teaching writing with the literary essay that holds promise for writing students, as well as for achieving a sense of common purpose currently lacking among professionals in composition, creative writing, and literature. Wallack analyzes examples drawn primarily from volumes of The Best American Essays to illuminate the most important quality of the essay as a literary form: the writer’s “presence.” She demonstrates how accounting for presence provides a flexible and rigorous heuristic for reading the contexts, formal elements, and purposes of essays. Such readings can help students learn writing principles, practices, and skills for crafting myriad presences rather than a single voice.

Since Edward Said’s foundational work, Orientalism has been singled out for critique as the quintessential example of Western intellectuals’ collaboration with oppression. Controversies over the imbrications of knowledge and power and the complicity of Orientalism in the larger project of colonialism have been waged among generations of scholars. But has Orientalism come to stand in for all of the sins of European modernity, at the cost of neglecting the complicity of the rest of the academic disciplines?

The first volume to offer an integral theory of love poetry that explores why poetry is consistently associated with romantic love.

In AD 60/61, Rome almost lost the province of Britain to a woman. Boudica, wife of the client king Prasutagus, fomented a rebellion that proved catastrophic for Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London), and Verulamium (St Albans), destroyed part of a Roman legion, and caused the deaths of an untold number of veterans, families, soldiers, and Britons. Yet with one decisive defeat, her vision of freedom was destroyed, and the Iceni never rose again. Boudica: Warrior Woman of Roman Britain introduces readers to the life and literary importance of Boudica through juxtaposing her different literary characterizations with those of other women and rebel leaders.