Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Shahzad Bashir Digital Pub from MIT Press, Library

August 10, 2022

The MIT Press and Brown University Library’s Digital Publications Initiative announce the publication of "A New Vision for Islamic Pasts and Futures" by Shahzad Bashir.

An interactive, open-access born-digital publication, this groundbreaking book’s interface encourages engagement with rich visual material and multimedia evidence.

The book decenters Islam from a geographical identification with the Middle East, an articulation through men’s authority alone, and the assumption that premodern expressions are more authentically Islamic than modern ones. Aimed at a wide international audience, the book consists of engaging stories and audiovisual materials that will enable readers at all levels to appreciate Islam as an aspect of global history for centuries. The book URL is islamic-pasts-futures.org.

In "A New Vision for Islamic Pasts and Futures," Bashir discusses Islam as phenomenon and as discourse—observed in the built environment, material objects, paintings, linguistic traces, narratives, and social situations. He draws on literary genres, including epics, devotional poetry and prayers, and modern novels; art and architecture in varied forms; material culture, from luxury objects to cheap trinkets; and such forms of media as photographs, graffiti, and films.

The publication of "A New Vision for Islamic Pasts and Futures" is supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the MIT Press, and the Brown University Library’s Digital Publications Initiative. 

Read the full announcement, including a link to the publication and the MIT Press news site, which features an interview with Prof. Bashir.

Learn More