Review: Islamic Thought in China: Sino-Muslim Intellectual Evolution

A review of Islamic Thought in China: Sino-Muslim Intellectual Evolution in the 17th–21st Centuries just came out in China Review International.

Guangtian Ha, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at SOAS, University of London, who received his PhD in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, concludes that this collection is an “excellent addition” to the growing scholarship on Muslim in China, in both ethic and Islamic studies.

Commenting on my contribution to the volume, “The Multiple Meanings of Pilgrimage in Sino-Islamic Thought,” he says:

“The chapter on pilgrimage by Kristian Peterson, the last one in part 1, both offers a general survey of the different views on this central Islamic obligation in the work of all major Hui Confucians and, in discussing the work and travel of Ma Dexin (1794– 1874), provides us with a detailed account of the actual hajj routes taken by a pious and determined Hui pilgrim in the late imperial period. Moving beyond a discus- sion of “thought” that relies on textual interpretation, this essay opens up the issue of geography and geopolitics, and by the same token points up the no less critical issue of how late imperial and modern Hui intellectuals were fundamentally transformed in their understandings of Islam and politics as a result of the hajj and the long journey it necessitated. As such, Peterson’s essay works superbly to close part one and lead the reader to part 2, which deals with the modern and contemporary periods.”

You can read the entire review here.

My investigation of discourses of pilgrimage and the social context in which they were developed is expanded in chapter 3 “Routes of the Hajj Pilgrimage: Belief, Practice, and Performance” of my book, Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab.

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