Review Essay: Viewing Uzbek Islam from the Field
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Islam in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan: The Morality of Experience. By Johan Rasanayagam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, xiv, 281pp. ISBN 978-1-107-00029-2
Why do Uzbeks Have to be Muslims? Exploring Religiosity in the Ferghana Valley. By Irene Hilgers. Edited by Chris Hann. Halle Studies in the Anthropology of Eurasia. Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2009, xi, 177pp. SBN 978-3-643-10176-1
In the first decade or so after the breaking up of the Soviet Union and the independence of the Central Asian states there was an explosion in literature dealing with Islam in the region. Very little of it, however, was based on extensive fieldwork. Furthermore, most of these studies tended to be guided by security and geopolitical concerns and mainly focused on the question of whether there was a risk that militant or radical Islam might gain a foothold in the region. People’s everyday religious practice and experiences and their ideas about Islam, on the other hand, were very much neglected.