KU News: Book examines scope of political and social attitudes among devout Muslims

Today's News from the University of Kansas

0
147

From the Office of Public Affairs | http://www.news.ku.edu

Headlines

Book examines scope of political and social attitudes among devout Muslims
LAWRENCE — Public concerns about the influence of religion on politics have garnered much attention in recent years. These concerns have been particularly evident in regard to the intertwining of religion and politics for devout Muslims. But whether that’s a fair assessment when compared to other religions — or even when measured against fellow Muslims — remains one of the many questions tackled by a new book from a University of Kansas professor of political science titled “Beyond Piety and Politics: Religion, Social Relations, and Public Preferences in the Middle East and North Africa.”

Picture power: How early French humanists exploited imagery in books
LAWRENCE – Anne Hedeman, Judith Harris Murphy Distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of Kansas, includes 183 color illustrations in her new book, “Visual Translation: Illuminated Manuscripts and the First French Humanists.” The gorgeous art serves to illustrate the author’s groundbreaking scholarship, which details the power these images once had in propounding a humanistic – as opposed to strictly religious or royal — worldview.

KU Libraries announce winners of 64th annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest
LAWRENCE — The University of Libraries announced the winners of the 64th annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest at an awards presentation last month. The contest, established by libraries donor Elizabeth Snyder in 1957, is designed to recognize students’ passion for collecting books. Honorees include Kansans from Gardner, Lawrence and Shawnee.

13 students receive research awards from Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research
LAWRENCE — The Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research at the University of Kansas has awarded $12,000 in funding this spring for graduate and undergraduate research to be conducted this year. Student work covers subjects such as factors affecting recovery of post-agricultural land, the use of satellite imagery to monitor species invasion and the effect of fire on lake phytoplankton in grasslands. Recipients include Kansans from Leawood, Lewis, Manhattan and Shawnee.

Full stories below.

————————————————————————

Contact: Jon Niccum, KU News Service, 785-864-7633, [email protected]
Book examines scope of political and social attitudes among devout Muslims
LAWRENCE — Public concerns about the influence of religion on politics have garnered much attention in recent years. These concerns have been particularly evident in regard to the intertwining of religion and politics for devout Muslims. But whether that’s a fair assessment when compared to other religions — or even when measured against fellow Muslims — remains one of the many questions tackled by a new book.

“From the standpoint of research and studies of Muslims, the misunderstandings of these individuals comes from essentializing the role that religion plays in their lives,” said Michael Wuthrich, associate professor of political science at the University of Kansas.
“The idea that this identity explains so much of what a person does often presents the biggest misinterpretation. There are many cases where it can be important, but it also doesn’t necessarily influence the day-to-day life of a person any more than it would to be a Christian or Hindu.”

His latest book, titled “Beyond Piety and Politics: Religion, Social Relations, and Public Preferences in the Middle East and North Africa,” attempts to understand the depth and variety of political attitudes held by people who consider themselves pious Muslims. Co-written with Sabri Ciftci of Kansas State University and Ammar Shamaileh of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, it uses survey data on religious preferences and behavior to scrutinize the attitudes of devout Muslims toward a variety of political/social issues. It’s published by Indiana University Press.

“Muslim-majority societies are going to include different views, yet the assumption when it came to religion was that those views would operate on a binary line from being not very religious to being very religious,” Wuthrich said. “But we wondered if it’s possible even among the people who consider themselves religious that there’s also that same pluralism and diversity.”

He cited an example from the book analyzing the distinct impact of what it means to be a Southern Baptist in Georgia compared to a Southern Baptist in New York.

“I guarantee they’re going to have different political views. I also guarantee their doctrine will be similar, but the interpretation of what that means within their context is going to be different,” said Wuthrich, who is also associate director of the Center for Global & International Studies at KU.

While contemporary Baptists are now inextricably linked to political views, Muslims are linked even more so. Is it possible to separate Islam from politics?

“It’s possible to separate politics in the Muslim religion if it’s possible to separate any other faith with politics within their cultural context,” Wuthrich said. “So actually, my secret answer would be ‘no’ because I don’t think anybody’s beliefs can be completely disentangled from their political perspectives — even an atheist. But the way those ideas play into their political perspectives can be very different.”

“Beyond Piety” argues for the relevance and importance of four outlook categories: religious individualist, social communitarian, religious communitarian and post-Islamist. In an effort to explore complex and nuanced attitudes of devout Muslims, Wuthrich and his co-authors aimed for assembling empirical evidence rather than anecdotal stories of individuals.

“An individual survey, just like a snapshot, doesn’t tell you everything,” he said.
“If I look at my photograph from my first book, which was only a few years ago, I’m like, ‘Wow, I look a lot older now.’ That was only a moment in time. And what we can see from these surveys over time is pretty good evidence that religious outlooks change and shift as context changes and shifts. Religion’s influence on broad political attitudes often comes from communal associations far more than concrete doctrine and is affected far more by a person’s religious community and its position in relation to the state and society around them.”

The idea for this book came when the three professors shared coffee during a break from an academic conference and lamented the “lack of nuance” within the dominant empirical approaches to Islam and politics in the field of comparative politics.

“We were grappling with understanding the way religion affects individuals in Muslim-majority societies. Like, what’s the relationship between Islam and democracy? The empirical approaches were overly simplistic. The existing empirical scholarship had often been using oven mitts to study a fine, detailed problem,” Wuthrich said.

A native of Whitewater, Wuthrich earned an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in education from KU. He then lived in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara for nine years while completing his doctorate in political science. He is the author of “National Elections in Turkey: People, Politics, and the Party System” (2015, Syracuse University Press). A KU faculty member since 2012, he researches campaigns and elections, religion and nationalism in politics and party systems.

“We lay out a convincing argument for a fresh approach to the whole field of public opinion and survey in Muslim-majority countries,” Wuthrich said. “The book offers a fresh approach to asking the kinds of questions about religion and politics that would help us understand new things in greater complexity than what’s been done in the past.”
-30-
————————————————————————
The official university Twitter account has changed to @UnivOfKansas.
Refollow @KUNews for KU News Service stories, discoveries and experts.


————————————————————————

Contact: Rick Hellman, KU News Service, 785-864-8852, [email protected], @RickHellman
Picture power: How early French humanists exploited imagery in books

LAWRENCE – Befitting a work about 15th-century illuminated manuscripts, Anne Hedeman includes 183 color illustrations in her new book. The gorgeous art serves to illustrate the author’s groundbreaking scholarship, which details the power these images once had in propounding a humanistic – as opposed to strictly religious or royal — worldview.

Hedeman, Judith Harris Murphy Distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of Kansas, has just published “Visual Translation: Illuminated Manuscripts and the First French Humanists” (University of Notre Dame Press).

Hedeman’s book follows the outline of her 2013 Conway Lectures at Notre Dame, where she explored the idea of visual translation in both Latin and French texts. Conway Lecturers are senior scholars of international distinction presenting on medieval topics across a variety of disciplines. Hedeman’s academic focus has been on the way that art, literature, history, culture and politics influenced the production and reception of manuscripts and books in the Middle Ages.

Her new book is the result of 20-plus years of research on manuscripts housed in collections across Europe and the United States. Hedeman traveled from the Vatican to Paris and from Milan to Brussels, searching for painted, handwritten books that contained texts produced by two early 15th-century Parisian humanists, Laurent de Premierfait and Jean Lebègue. When these two men decided to collaborate with libraires (bookmakers or booksellers) to supervise production of an elite, illustrated subset of humanist manuscripts, they learned how powerful visual imagery could be in facilitating understanding of new texts.

In the days before the printing press, Hedeman said, the goal of humanists like Laurent and Lebègue was to strengthen their linguistic connection to the Latin rhetoricians of classical antiquity – Cicero, Terence and the like – in the service of the French nobility. Hedeman cited many of the surviving documents about books, including instructions for making them, exchanged among the dramatis personae of her story.

“Laurent and Lebègue realized that the people whose attention they wanted to attract were used to densely illuminated history books, romances and religious books,” Hedeman said. “They recognized they had to create a clear and understandable relationship between the images and the text to appeal to an audience that included men like the Duke of Berry, brother of the king, who is primarily remembered as a collector of important illuminated manuscripts.”

Additionally, Hedeman detailed how “the pictures not only illustrate their texts, but they are also translating the past into the present via costume. Artists do not paint Roman togas, but they use 15th-century dress. They carefully situate the images in a contemporary context. Sometimes the text is radically rewritten in translation. For example, Laurent adds a long speech about kingship to a tale in the ‘Decameron.’ Boccaccio wrote for the mercantile class in Florence, whereas Laurent de Premierfait translates Boccaccio for the nobility of the court of France, and the illustrations and textual additions and amplifications of his translation make French manuscripts of Boccaccio understandable to the nobility — and significantly longer.”

If Laurent and Lebègue’s patrons could afford illuminated manuscripts, there were compromises when the texts were reproduced without their supervision, Hedeman said. Whereas she cited some noblemen’s copies of Boccaccio’s “Decameron” that contain more than 100 illustrations, many later copies had just 10 illustrations – one for every 10 stories. Parisian libraires adapted books for an expanded clientele, who sometimes wanted the densest visual cycles, and other times as little as a single image. In the book’s last section, then, Hedeman explored a fundamental question pertaining to such revisions: “What gets sacrificed or is no longer necessary?”

The answers Hedeman discovered and analyzed in the book offer insight into aspects of humanist thought and of translation that were specific to the early 15th century and other aspects that are timeless.
-30-
————————————————————————
Subscribe to KU Today, the campus newsletter,
for additional news about the University of Kansas.

http://www.news.ku.edu
————————————————————————

Contact: Alicia Marksberry, KU Libraries, [email protected], @kulibraries
KU Libraries announce winners of 64th annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest

LAWRENCE — The University of Libraries announced the winners of the 64th annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest at an awards presentation last month. The contest, established by libraries donor Elizabeth Snyder in 1957, is designed to recognize students’ passion for collecting books.

“It was great to be back in person and hear from the finalists about their collections,” said Beth Whittaker, associate dean of distinctive collections. “This is always one of the best events of the year, and this year did not disappoint.”

Christian Due, an undergraduate student from Gardner, received first place in the undergraduate division for his collection, “Rosello: An Exploration of Identity and Heritage.” Due’s collection highlighted the history and culture of the village of Rosello and the surrounding region of Abruzzo, Italy, the land of his ancestors.

Robert Ward, Lawrence, won second place in the undergraduate division for his collection “A Herculean Labor of Love,” including numerous editions of Greco-Roman literature in the original language and works of scholarship and criticism on them from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

An undergraduate division honorable mention was awarded to Joan Downey, Shawnee, for her collection, “Discworld: A Fantastical Social Commentary,” containing a selection of the “Discworld” novels by Sir Terry Pratchett.

Eleni Leventopoulos, a graduate student from Chicago, received first place in the graduate division for her collection, “The Little Grey Cells of Hercule Poirot.” This collection of 46 books represents the near complete works of Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. All books are used, bringing their own history and value as objects in addition to stories.

“It’s impossible to pick a favorite collection,” said Kristin Sederstrom, acquisitions and resource sharing library manager. “They were all fantastic, and each finalist highlighted a very personal experience of learning about themselves and developing their knowledge and interests through collecting books.”

The event featured keynote speaker Danny Caine, owner of Raven Book Store, who presented on the pleasures of being surrounded by book collections.

“If I wake up every day in a house filled with books, many of which I’ve never read, I can more easily be inspired to keep learning,” Caine said. “And so the fact that I can never read my entire collection is not a problem but a feature. The minute I’ve read every book in my house is the minute I become educated, not learned. It would mark the end of something I hope never ends. The process of collecting mirrors the process of learning – it is never finished, and that is a blessing.”

Each winner received a cash prize and a gift card from contest co-sponsor Jayhawk Ink. Cash awards are made possible by an endowment fund created by Snyder. First-place winners in each division are eligible to compete in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, which awards a top prize of $2,500.

-30-
————————————————————————
Don’t miss new episodes of “When Experts Attack!,”
a KU News Service podcast hosted by Kansas Public Radio.

https://kansaspublicradio.org/when-experts-attack
————————————————————————

Contact: Kirsten Bosnak, KU Field Station, 785-864-6267, [email protected], @KUFieldStation
13 students receive research awards from Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research
LAWRENCE — The Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research at the University of Kansas has awarded $12,000 in funding this spring for student research to be conducted this year. The research center’s 2022 Student Research Awards are providing 13 students, including four undergraduates, with funding ranging from $500 to $1,500 each in support of their ecological research.

Their work covers subjects such as factors affecting recovery of post-agricultural land, the use of satellite imagery to monitor species invasion and the effect of fire on lake phytoplankton in grasslands. During the 2022-2023 academic year, each student will present their research during one of the center’s Friday Ecology Seminars, which went online in 2020.

The research center houses a diverse group of ecological research and remote sensing/GIS programs, and it also manages the 3,700-acre KU Field Station, a resource for study across the university.

“We’re excited about the range and depth of research being done by students at all levels, and we’re glad to be able to provide an increasing amount of support for them,” said Bryan Foster, KU Field Station director, who chairs the awards committee. Foster is a KU professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and a senior scientist at the research center.

Each of the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research student awards is funded through KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU.

The Director’s Award provides support for research conducted by a graduate student. Kayla Clouse, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology from Farmington Hills, Michigan, was awarded $1,500 in funding for her project, “Experimental evolution of Azospirillum brasilense to maize under two fertilization regimes.” Her adviser is Maggie Wagner, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and assistant scientist at the research center.

The Nancy Hale-Martinko Memorial Award provides support for research conducted by an undergraduate or graduate student. Adeline Kelly, a junior in ecology, evolutionary & organismal biology and environmental studies from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, was awarded $1,500 for her project, “The effects of fire on lake phytoplankton community composition in grassland ecosystems.” Her advisers are Ted Harris, assistant research professor at the research center, and Ben Sikes, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and associate scientist at the research center.

The Kenneth B. Armitage Award provides support for research conducted by an undergraduate or graduate student at the KU Field Station. Audrey Nelson, junior in ecology & evolutionary biology from Shawnee, was awarded $1,000 in funding for her project, “Confirming that differences in disease incidence in response to manipulations of plant species richness, phylogenetic relatedness, and precipitation are driven by host-specific pathogens.” Her adviser is Jim Bever, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the research center.

The Baldwin Woods Award provides support for research conducted by an undergraduate or graduate student at the KU Field Station’s Baldwin Woods Forest Preserve. Alexander Andresen, junior in ecology & evolutionary biology from Manhattan, received $1,000 in funding for his project, “Macro shifts in fungal diversity between Baldwin and Rice regions.” His adviser is Ben Sikes, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and associate scientist at the research center.

The W. Dean Kettle Conservation Award provides support for research conducted by an undergraduate or graduate student at the KU Field Station in the area of natural resource conservation. Reb Bryant, graduate student in ecology & evolutionary biology from Shreveport, Louisiana, was awarded $1,000 in funding for their project, “The impact of prairie monolith transplants on successional recovery in different post-agricultural land uses.” Their adviser is Jim Bever, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the research center.

The Mari F. Pesek Award provides support for research conducted by a graduate student at the KU Field Station. Chen Liang, doctoral student in geography from Tianjin, China, was awarded $1,000 in funding for her project, “Detecting Eastern Redcedar encroachment from 2017 to 2021 using satellite images.” Her advisers are Xingong Li, professor of geography & atmospheric science, and Jude Kastens, associate research professor at the research center.
The Nason Awards provide support for research conducted by either undergraduate or graduate students. In 2022, three students were awarded $1,000 each in funding:
1. Adeola Adeboje, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology from Ibadan, Nigeria, for her project, “Cross-variable synchrony and climatic change.” Her adviser is Dan Reuman, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and senior scientist at the research center.
2. Nat Coombs, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology from Sterling, Virginia, for their project, “Synchrony of movement of anadromous fish along a network of imperfect detectors.” Their adviser is Dan Reuman, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and senior scientist at the research center.
3. Micah Unruh, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology from Lewis, for his project, “Mutually transformative interactions between microbes and soil structure mediate long-term soil organic carbon stabilization.” His adviser is Sharon Billings, Dean’s Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the research center.
In addition, four students received $500 each in supplemental awards through the Nason Fund:
1. Haley Burrill, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology from Irvine, California, for her project, “Confirming disease incidence pathogens to enhance evidence for mycorrhizal-induced resistance to pathogens, as detected in common prairie plants.” Her adviser is Jim Bever, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the research center.
2. Alexandria Hoffpauir, National Science Foundation postbaccalaureate student from Leawood, for her project, “The role of soil microbial community, plant species richness and phylogenetic diversity, on the suppression of weeds.” Her adviser is Jim Bever, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the research center.
3. Lola Klamm, master’s student in ecology & evolutionary biology from Boise, Idaho, for her project, “Understanding soil aggregate turnover to predict soil-climate feedbacks.” Her adviser is Sharon Billings, Dean’s Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist for the research center.
4. Luke Ungerer, a junior from St. Louis, for his project, “Analyzing how temperature and phytoplankton community composition influence zooplankton community composition and size distribution.” His adviser is Ted Harris, assistant research professor at the research center.

-30-
————————————————————————

KU News Service
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence KS 66045
Phone: 785-864-3256
Fax: 785-864-3339
[email protected]
http://www.news.ku.edu

Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations, [email protected]

Today’s News is a free service from the Office of Public Affairs

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here