Faculty Workshop: Amira Mittermaier—Book Talk, "Giving to God"

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Institute of Islamic Studies

170 St. George Street, Suite 530

Toronto

Canada

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An anthropologist and religious studies scholar, Amira Mittermaier will speak about her recent book "Giving to God: Islamic Charity in Revolutionary Times (University of California Press, 2019). She will offer reflections on what it means to do fieldwork in the wake of a revolution, introduce some of her key interlocutors, and present the key arguments of her book.

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Giving to God: Islamic Charity in Revolutionary Times (University of California Press, 2019) examines everyday practices of giving in post-revolutionary Egypt. From food prepared in Sufi kitchens, to meals distributed by pious volunteers in slums, to almsgiving, these acts are ultimately about giving to God by giving to the poor. Surprisingly, many who practice such giving say that they do not care about the poor, instead framing their actions within a unique non-compassionate ethics of giving. At first, this form of giving may appear deeply selfish, but further consideration reveals that it avoids many of the problems associate with the idea of "charity." Using the Egyptian uprising in 2011 and its call for social justice as a backdrop, this ethnography suggests that "giving a man a fish" might ultimately be more revolutionary than "teaching a man a fish."

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Institute of Islamic Studies

170 St. George Street, Suite 530

Toronto

Canada

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