How do images provoke? And why? This volume aims to inspire thought by examining the relationship between images and Islam in a variety of social, political, and geographic settings.
Perhaps, the cover image of this book provokes you, the reader of this book. Does an image of a mural on the wall of Marcus Books in Oakland, California, represent contemporary images of Islam? Does the iconic image of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, aka Malcolm X, photographed while holding a rifle in defense of his home, contribute to or complicate images in and of Islam? Does the cover unduly sensationalize the image or does it, rather, arouse pride in particular Muslim legacies of knowledge and liberation? To what extent does it confirm normative narratives? To what extent does it disrupt such narratives, allowing new imaginaries to take hold?
Moving beyond a common visual concern within Religious Studies with art, aesthetic value, and perceptions of beauty or coherence, this volume shows how, when, and why images dare, shock, terrorize, confront, challenge, mock, shame, taunt, or offend, either intentionally or unintentionally, and as such lead to both confrontation and affective religious engagement. Exploring and experimenting with the relationship between text and image, the contributions draw attention simultaneously to the messiness of everyday life and to highly targeted, disruptive interventions that mark religious contestation in an era of escalating mobility and digital multiplicity. The volume thus illuminates an insight that has received little attention so far: provocation is among religion’s most significant mediations.