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China and Islam: The Prophet, the Party, and Law
Published by Cambridge University Press
This book is the first ethnographic study of Muslim minorities' practice of Islamic law in contemporary China.
China and Islam examines the intersection of two critical issues of the contemporary world: Islamic revival and an assertive China, questioning the assumption that Islamic law is incompatible with state law. It finds that both Hui and the Party-State invoke, interpret, and make arguments based on Islamic law, a minjian (unofficial) law in China, to pursue their respective visions of 'the good'. Based on fieldwork in Linxia, 'China's Little Mecca', this study follows Hui clerics, youthful translators on the 'New Silk Road', female educators who reform traditional madrasas, and Party cadres as they reconcile Islamic and socialist laws in the course of the everyday. The first study of Islamic law in China and one of the first ethnographic accounts of law in postsocialist China, China and Islam unsettles unidimensional perceptions of extremist Islam and authoritarian China through Hui minjian practices of law.
Introduction: the Party-State enters the mosque; 1. History, the Chinese state, and Islamic law; 2. Linxia at the crossroads; 3. Ritual lawfare; 4. Learning the law; 5. Wedding laws; 6. Moral economies; 7. Procedural justice; Conclusion: law, minjian, and the ends of anthropology.
Matthew S. Erie, an anthropologist and a lawyer, is an associate professor of Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford. His earlier works on law and society have appeared in publications such as Law and Social Inquiry, the Hong Kong Law Journal, and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islamic Law. He has lived and studied in China and the Middle East, and has practiced law in New York City and Beijing.
Reviewer: Nicolas Levi
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