Exclusive Sneak Peek at the Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought — Elections

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought is the first reference to Islamic political thought from the birth of Islam to today. Comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible, the Encyclopedia provides much-needed context for understanding contemporary politics in the Islamic world and beyond. In this exclusive excerpt, Bruce K. Rutherford author of Egypt after Mubarak: Liberalism, Islam, and Democracy in the Arab World, explores Islamic ideas and debates about elections and popular sovereignty.


The concept that the public should participate in the selection of its political leaders and legislators became an important feature of Islamic reformist thought in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through the works of Khayr al- Din al-Tunisi (1822— 90), Muhammad ’Abduh (1849— 1905), and Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865— 1935). It was developed more fully by contemporary Islamic thinkers, including Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Muhammad Salim al-’Awwa, Tariq al- Bishri, and Ahmad Kamal Abu al-Majd. Their support for elections derived from the principle that political authority (ጃulᴃa) lies with the community (umma). In their view, the Qur’an, the sunna, and the historical experiences of the Rightly Guided Caliphs (632— 61) all confirm that the people are entitled to select their ruler. According to Qaradawi, this idea lies at the foundation of the faith. It is most clearly captured in the Prophet’s statement that Muslims are empowered to choose who will lead them in prayer. ’Awwa further argues that the public’s right to choose the ruler can be traced back to the selection of Abu Bakr as the first successor to Muhammad. Abu Bakr ascended to power through a process by which two prominent members of the community (’Umar and Abu ’Ubayda) showed their support for him by pledging an oath of loyalty (bay’a); the community in turn showed its support through its own bay’a. ’Awwa, who argues that the first bay’a constituted a nomination and the second a referendum, concludes, ”one of the most signifl-cant results of this event was the decision that a ruler can be chosen only through consultation with the community of Muslims.‘ This principle was upheld by the Rightly Guided Caliphs and serves as the foundation for Islamic government.

View the rest of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought excerpt here: Elections


FACT:  “In 2012, the year 1433 of the Muslim calendar, the Islamic population throughout the world was estimated at approximately a billion and a half, representing about one-fifth of humanity. In geographical terms, Islam occupies the center of the world, stretching like a big belt across the globe from east to west. From Morocco to Mindanao, it encompasses countries of both the consumer North and the disadvantaged South. It sits at the crossroads of America, Europe, and Russia on one side and Africa, India, and China on the other. Historically, Islam is also at a crossroads, destined to play a world role in politics and to become the most prominent world religion during the 21st century. Islam is thus not contained in any national culture; it is a universal force.

“In creating The Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought (EIPT), our goal was to provide a solid and innovative reference work that would trace the historical roots of Islamic political thought and demonstrate its contemporary importance. The editors first met for a workshop in fall of 2007 at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where we agreed on a framework for the encyclopedia and drafted a list of entries. The EIPT was conceived as a combination of broad, comprehensive articles on core concepts and shorter entries on specific ideas, movements, leaders, and related topics. We intended to make the EIPT accessible, informative, and comprehensive with respect to the contemporary political and cultural situation of Islam, while also providing in-depth examination of the historical roots of that situation. The core articles on central themes were designated to provide the framework for the reader to integrate and contextualize the information provided by the plethora of articles on more specific subjects. It is our hope that this organizational structure will enable the EIPT to serve as a reference work of the first order for both beginners and specialists and to support undergraduate and graduate courses on Islamic political thought.”

–Gerhard Bowering, from the introduction of The Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought

We invite you to read the full introduction online: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9446.pdf

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought
Edited by Gerhard Bowering
Patricia Crone, Wadad Kadi, Devin J. Stewart, Muhammad Qasim Zaman, associate editors
Mahan Mirza, assistant editor

The first encyclopedia of Islamic political thought from the birth of Islam to today, this comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible reference provides the context needed for understanding contemporary politics in the Islamic world and beyond. With more than 400 alphabetically arranged entries written by an international team of specialists, the volume focuses on the origins and evolution of Islamic political ideas and related subjects, covering central terms, concepts, personalities, movements, places, and schools of thought across Islamic history. Fifteen major entries provide a synthetic treatment of key topics, such as Muhammad, jihad, authority, gender, culture, minorities, fundamentalism, and pluralism. Incorporating the latest scholarship, this is an indispensable resource for students, researchers, journalists, and anyone else seeking an informed perspective on the complex intersection of Islam and politics.

For more information and sample entries, please visit:

The Story of America is selected in Publishers Weekly list of ‘Best New Books for the week’

Jill Lepore’s The Story of America has caught the attention of Publishers Weekly’s Gabe Habash in his article (posted in the PW Tip Sheet):


“The Story of America: Essays on Origins by Jill Lepore (Princeton University Press) – “I wanted to try to explain how history works, and how it’s different from politics,” states Harvard history professor Lepore (The Mansion of Happiness), introducing her collection of essays, almost all previously published in the New Yorker. History involves making an argument by telling a story “accountable to evidence,” which she marshals ably in discussing personalities real and fictional, from Benjamin Franklin to Charlie Chan. Her argument that Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” was an abolitionist “call to arms,” subsequently “juvenilized” for schoolrooms, is as pointed as a legal brief. Varying her tone—brisk when detailing changes in how Americans cast their votes, poignant when recounting Edgar Allan Poe’s career—Lepore also provides drollery. Nixon’s attempt to give a concise and, he hoped, memorable inaugural address “led him to say things briefly but didn’t save him from saying them badly.” Even the footnotes contain buried treasures; history buffs and general readers alike will savor this collection.


Lepore has also received high praises elsewhere for her American History novel:

“Jill Lepore is one of America’s most interesting scholars–a distinguished historian and a brilliant essayist. This prolific collection of articles and essays is a remarkable body of work that moves from early America to our present, contentious age.”–Alan Brinkley, author of The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century

“Jill Lepore is one of our finest historians of the battle over the story called ‘America,’ which, as she says, is constantly being fought over and over. In this stunning collection of essays, Lepore makes the case that the rise of democracy is bound up with the history of its reading and writing. That history is conflicted, ragged, and contradictory but, in Lepore’s capable hands, as gripping and compelling as a novel.”–Cathy N. Davidson, Duke University

“Tackling a wide variety of subjects–e.g., the Founding Fathers, Charles Dickens, Clarence Darrow, Charlie Chan, voting regulations, the decline of inaugural speeches–the author proves to be a funny, slightly punky literary critic, reading between the lines of American history. . . . As smart, lively, and assured as modern debunker gets.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


Read more about Lepore’s book at the Princeton University Press website:

The Story of America:
Essays on Origins
Jill Lepore



New 2012 Political Science & Law Catalog and #APSA2012 Announcement

We invite you to check out new and forthcoming books in our 2012 political science & law catalog at:

We are sorry to say we will not see you at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Due to Hurricane/Storm Isaac we decided to play it safe and not attend. Is everyone going to Vegas now? Yes, we’re following the #APSA2012 tweets.

Even though you won’t find our booth at APSA, you can still order PUP books using the conference discount. Because we could not make it to the meeting, we are offering 30% off when you order at press.princeton.edu. Please enter code P05129 in the Catalog Code box when you check out. Your discount will be applied when the order is processed. This special offer expires October 31, 2012. You can also order by phone at 1-800-777-4726, just make sure to mention the special offer code P05129.

You can start browsing the catalog, or start browsing these great new and forthcoming titles below (just to name a few):

The Unheavenly Chorus:
Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy

Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba & Henry E. Brady
Read chapter one online.

The Spirit of Compromise:
Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It

Amy Gutmann & Dennis Thompson
Read the introduction online.

How to Win an Election:
An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians

Quintus Tullius Cicero
Translated and with an introduction by Philip Freeman
Read the introduction online.

Creating a New Racial Order:
How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America

Jennifer L. Hochschild, Vesla M. Weaver & Traci R. Burch
Read the introduction online.

Solomon’s Knot:
How Law Can End the Poverty of Nations

Robert D. Cooter & Hans-Bernd Schäfer
Read chapter one online.

And of special interest – two chapters available for free download:
The Gamble
by John Sides & Lynn Vavreck

The Hand You’re Dealt and Random, or Romney?

We hope everyone stays safe. We’ll see you next year at APSA!

To learn more about new political science and law books, you can sign up for our new book e-mail announcements at:

David Vine on the proliferation of “lily pad” military bases

According to TomDispatch, David has undertaken a tour of military bases around the world and his findings so far are that the number of bases “isn’t shrinking at all, and that ‘dismantling’ isn’t yet on the American horizon.” He reveals that while large bases may be on the decline, the Pentagon has built numerous “lily pad” bases. What does this mean for American foreign policy and security? Vine cautions:


While relying on smaller bases may sound smarter and more cost effective than maintaining huge bases that have often caused anger in places like Okinawa and South Korea, lily pads threaten U.S. and global security in several ways:

First, the “lily pad” language can be misleading, since by design or otherwise, such installations are capable of quickly growing into bloated behemoths.

Second, despite the rhetoric about spreading democracy that still lingers in Washington, building more lily pads actually guarantees collaboration with an increasing number of despotic, corrupt, and murderous regimes.

Third, there is a well-documented pattern of damage that military facilities of various sizes inflict on local communities. Although lily pads seem to promise insulation from local opposition, over time even small bases have often led to anger and protest movements.

Finally, a proliferation of lily pads means the creeping militarization of large swaths of the globe. Like real lily pads — which are actually aquatic weeds — bases have a way of growing and reproducing uncontrollably. Indeed, bases tend to beget bases, creating “base races” with other nations, heightening military tensions, and discouraging diplomatic solutions to conflicts. After all, how would the United States respond if China, Russia, or Iran were to build even a single lily-pad base of its own in Mexico or the Caribbean?

For more from David Vine, check out his book Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia.

Upcoming lecture by Diane Coyle at the LSE

Economics of Enough


Diane Coyle, whose book ‘The Economics of Enough’ was published last year, will be lecturing at the London School of Economics on Thursday .

Please follow the links above for further details if you would like to attend.

David Vogel at the LSE

David Vogel was in London earlier this month and gave a public lecture at the London School of Economics where he discussed the issues he raises in his new book The Politics of Precaution.  A podcast of the event is now available to listen to.


Michael Ross interviews

Michael Ross, author of the recently published ‘The Oil Curse’ visited the UK in March and recorded a Guardian video and a podcast with VoxEU. Please follow the links to listen to either of these.

Princeton in Europe Lecture

Paul Seabright gave a fascinating and typically wide ranging talk “On Lying, Risk Taking and the Euro” for our second annual Princeton University Press
in Europe lecture on 18th April.  The talk, which is open to the public, honours our European Advisory Board.  In the lecture, Seabright argued that many of the factors which led to the Euro crisis were in plain sight from its launch.  The challenge is that in many different ways we are hard wired not to notice.  We tend for example to like to tell a morality tale with good guys and bad guys; we tend not to notice slow creeping crises; and we succumb to the very human desire not to rock the boat. Drawing on a wealth of economic data and the insights of neuroscience and behavioural economics, Seabright’s analysis is both compelling – and chilling.

Please click here to watch the lecture in full. You can also read more about this topic in an article in The Guardian, prompted by the Princeton in Europe Lecture.

David Scheffer in the UK

David Scheffer author of ‘All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals’ was in London this week and spoke at Chatham House. An audio recording of his talk is now available on their website. His trip coincided with the conviction on Wednesday 14th March of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo in what was the first verdict delivered by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. In an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (please scroll down to 0824 for the clip) he was interviewed about this and the relationship of the United States to the court.

Michael Ross in the UK

Michael Ross whose new book, ‘The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations’, is published on 19 March will be visiting London later this month. He will be delivering one of the King’s Lectures in Ethics, organised jointly by The School of Law and the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS). The talk will be on 19 March from 6 – 8pm at the Safra Lecture Theatre, Kings College London, Strand Campus, London WC2R 2LS . The talk is unticketed and open to all.

David Scheffer in Europe

David Scheffer, author of the recently published ‘All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals’ will be touring Europe from 12 – 24 March, speaking in London, The Hague, Berlin, Cologne, Vienna, Budapest, Sarajevo and Brussels.  While in London he will be talking at the Society for Oriental and African Studies on 12th March and at Chatham House on 13 March.  Both these events are free and open to the public so please follow the links if you would like to sign up. For more detailed information on any of the other events in Europe please contact Caroline Priday cpriday@pupress.co.uk or @crpriday