An Enchanted Modern
Gender and Public Piety in Shi'i Lebanon
Based on two years of ethnographic research in the southern suburbs of Beirut, An Enchanted Modern demonstrates that Islam and modernity are not merely compatible, but actually go hand-in-hand. This eloquent ethnographic portrayal of an Islamic community articulates how an alternative modernity, and specifically an enchanted modernity, may be constructed by Shi'I Muslims who consider themselves simultaneously deeply modern, cosmopolitan, and pious.
In this depiction of a Shi'I Muslim community in Beirut, Deeb examines the ways that individual and collective expressions and understandings of piety have been debated, contested, and reformulated.
Women take center stage in this process, a result of their visibility both within the community, and in relation to Western ideas that link the status of women to modernity. By emphasizing the ways notions of modernity and piety are lived, debated, and shaped by "everyday Islamists," this book underscores the inseparability of piety and politics in the lives of pious Muslims.
Lara Deeb is a cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at the University of California, Irvine.