Abstract

Rudolph Ware's fascinating book, The Walking Qur'an, does not address the broader challenges of scripturalization—that is, the process by which a text becomes “scripture” and the powerful interests that this authorizing of text reflects and secures. Why, for example, does Ware's book appeal to a discussion of the classical tradition without addressing the ideologies that such a framing presupposes? Even as it claims a focus on an embodied engagement of Islamic scriptures in West Africa, Ware's book nonetheless fetishizes the text. It is an apologetic that does not address how, through the mimetic (scripturalizing) practices that are managed by the regime of scripturalization, people in West Africa and peoples throughout the world have manipulated their own and others’ imaginations and have been manipulated in turn. This critique is a challenge to a different type of critical orientation—to social formation and human-making.

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