October 2020

CSSH congratulates David Henig (“Crossing the Bosphorus: Connected Histories of “Other” Muslims in the Post-Imperial Borderlands of Southeast Europe” (CSSH 58-4, 2016)) on the publication of his new book, Remaking Muslim Lives: Everyday Islam in Postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina (University of Illinois Press, 2020). The publisher has the following to say about the text:

The violent disintegration of Yugoslavia and the cultural and economic dispossession caused by the collapse of socialism continue to force Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reconfigure their religious lives and societal values. David Henig draws on a decade of fieldwork to examine the historical, social, and emotional labor undertaken by people to live in an unfinished past–and how doing so shapes the present. In particular, Henig questions how contemporary religious imagination, experience, and practice infuse and interact with social forms like family and neighborhood and with the legacies of past ruptures and critical events. His observations and analysis go to the heart of how societal and historical entanglements shape, fracture, and reconfigure religious convictions and conduct.

Provocative and laden with eyewitness detail, Remaking Muslim Lives offers a rare sustained look at what it means to be Muslim and live a Muslim life in contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Congratulations as well to CSSH author Tony Ballantyne (“Paper, Pen, and Print: The Transformation of the Kai Tahu Knowledge Order” (CSSH 53-2, 2011)), whose co-edited volume Indigenous Textual Cultures: Reading and Writing in the Age of Global Empire, was published last month by Duke University Press. The book is described thusly:

As modern European empires expanded, written language was critical to articulations of imperial authority and justifications of conquest. For imperial administrators and thinkers, the non-literacy of “native” societies demonstrated their primitiveness and inability to change. Yet as the contributors to Indigenous Textual Cultures make clear through cases from the Pacific Islands, Australasia, North America, and Africa, indigenous communities were highly adaptive and created novel, dynamic literary practices that preserved indigenous knowledge traditions. The contributors illustrate how modern literacy operated alongside orality rather than replacing it. Reconstructing multiple traditions of indigenous literacy and textual production, the contributors focus attention on the often hidden, forgotten, neglected, and marginalized cultural innovators who read, wrote, and used texts in endlessly creative ways. This volume demonstrates how the work of these innovators played pivotal roles in reimagining indigenous epistemologies, challenging colonial domination, and envisioning radical new futures.

Finally, CSSH congratulates Radhika Singha (“Finding Labor from India for the War in Iraq: The Jail Porter and Labor Corps, 1916–1920” (CSSH 49-2, 2007)) on the publication of The Coolie’s Great War: Indian Labour in a Global Conflict, 1914-1921 (Hurst Publishers, 2020). Hurst describes the book as follows:

Though largely invisible in histories of the First World War, over  550,000 men in the ranks of the Indian army were non-combatants. From the porters, stevedores and construction workers in the Coolie Corps to those who maintained supply lines and removed the wounded from the battlefield, Radhika Singha recovers the story of this unacknowledged service.

The labour regimes built on the backs of these ‘coolies’ sustained the military infrastructure of empire; their deployment in interregional arenas bent to the demands of global war. Viewed as racially subordinate and subject to ‘non-martial’ caste designations, they fought back against their status, using the warring powers’ need for manpower as leverage to challenge traditional service hierarchies and wage differentials.

The Coolie’s Great War views that global conflict through the lens of Indian labour, constructing a distinct geography of the war—from tribal settlements and colonial jails, beyond India’s frontiers, to the battlefronts of France and Mesopotamia.