Shariah, the Islamic canonical law based on the teachings of the Koran, is a complex concept that has been interpreted in many ways over time and around the world. It plays a vital role in the lives of Muslims around the world, offering guidance on everything from personal morality to ritual practices, family life, and finance. But for many outside the Islamic world, Shariah is a misunderstood concept susceptible to media manipulation. In their new book, Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2018), Natana J. DeLong-Bas of Boston College and John Esposito of Georgetown University provide clear and even-handed answers to a wide range of questions, covering the history, development, content, and practice of Shariah. According to Publishers Weekly, “the clear writing and solid scholarship make [Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know] a valuable reference work.” DeLong-Bas is an assistant professor of the practice in the Theology Department & Islamic Civilization and Societies program. She is also the author of Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad.

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Beyond Katrina

Award-winning poet Natasha Trethewey will discuss her nonfiction book, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, on March 14 at 7:00 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. A Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate, Trethewey spent her childhood in Gulfport, where her mother’s family extended family lived. In Beyond Katrina, Trethewey melds her memories of the Mississippi Gulf Coast — complete with letters, poems, and photographs — with the experiences of family, friends, and neighbors to trace the erosion of local culture, the rising economic dependence on tourism and casinos, and to unveil a life on the margins for Gulf Coast whose citizens—particularly African Americans—well before the storm hit. Trethewey is the author of four collections of poetry: ThrallNative Guard Bellocq’s Ophelia; and Domestic Work. She is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.  Sponsors: Park Street Corporation Speaker Series and Lowell Humanities Series.

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The story of Yak Girl

At age seven, Dorje Dolma was living in one of the most remote places in the world, protecting her family’s goats and sheep from wolves and snow leopards. By age 10, she was facing a life-threatening condition and would encounter an American woman, with Boston College ties, who would change the course of her life. Dolma recounts her amazing childhood and journey to America in her new memoir, Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal (Sentient Publications, 2018). The book’s foreword is written by former Boston College soccer player Jennifer Cleary, whose writes that her life was changed “in the most profound of ways” after she met Dorje. Read more from BC News.

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Love and marriage in today’s India

In India today, tradition is colliding with Western culture, creating an uneasy fusion whose impact is most evident in the institution of marriage. In her new book, The Heart Is a Shifting Sea: Love and Marriage in Mumbai (Harper, 2018), journalist Elizabeth Flock takes a deep dive into the married lives of three couples as they navigate issues such as infertility, women’s roles, religious tradition, and infidelity. Flock  spent close to a decade getting to know these couples—listening to their stories and living in their homes, where she was privy to countless moments of marital joy, inevitable frustration, dramatic upheaval, and whispered confessions and secrets. The Heart Is a Shifting Sea is both a look at the universal mysteries of love and marriage and a portrait of a nation in the midst of transition. A graduate of Boston College, Flock is a reporter for PBS NewsHour. She began her career at Forbes India Magazine, and has worked for U.S. News & World Report and the Washington Post. She has also written for the New York Times, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, the Hindustan Times and the Hindu. National Public Radio interview.

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Making education abroad more inclusive

While education abroad is increasingly emphasized as a critical factor in preparing undergraduates for a globally interconnected world, many segments of the student population are underrepresented in the pool of students partaking in international education. Students with disabilities, first-generation college students, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors are just a few of the groups that encounter barriers to education abroad. In Promoting Inclusion in Education Abroad: A Handbook of Research and Practice, co editors Nick J. Gozik of Boston College and Heather Barclay Hamir of Butler University gather leading thinkers and practitioners to offer research and case studies that illuminate the personal and institutional issues which may inhibit education abroad participation and present practices to increase the diversity of students engaged in international education. Gozik is director of Boston College’s Office of International Programs and McGillycuddy-Logue Center for Undergraduate Global Studies.

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Book award for Ross

Everyday Renaissances: The Quest for Cultural Legitimacy in Venice (Harvard University Press) by History Professor Sarah Gwyneth Ross has been awarded the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian History by the Society for Italian Historical Studies, an affiliate of the American Historical Association. The award recognizes the best book, published in the previous calendar year, on Italian history in any epoch, Italian cultural history, or Italian-American relations. In Everyday Renaissances, Ross looks beyond Michelangelo and the Medici to the lives of more than 100 artisans, merchants, and others on the middle rung of Venetian society who embraced literature, learning, and humanistic education. For more about the book see the 3/3/16 BC Bookmarks post.

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How Did China Get So Big?

University of Chicago Professor of Modern Chinese History Kenneth Pomeranz will deliver a talk titled “How Did China Get So Big? Redefining the Qing Realm and its Subjects ca. 1750-1900″ on Feb. 28 at 7:00 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. Pomeranz is the author of  The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy and The Making of a Hinterland: State, Society and Economy in Inland North China, 1853–1937, both of which won the John K. Fairbank Prize for the best book in East Asian history awarded by the American Historical Association. His current projects include a history of Chinese political economy from the seventeenth century to the present, and a book called Why Is China So Big? which tries to explain how and why contemporary China’s huge land mass and population have wound up forming a single political unit. Sponsor: Lowell Humanities Series.

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