Book: Islam and the Tyranny of Authenticity
Chapter: Prisoners of Said
Chapter 2 begins with a debate between two scholars of Buddhism, Donald Lopez and Robert Thurman, on the proper representation of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. Whereas Lopez accuses Thurman of romanticizing Tibet, the latter suggests that no scholarship on the traditions of that country can ignore Chinese aggression and Tibetan suffering. This becomes my point of departure for thinking more generally about how many in Islamic religious studies believe ardently that the role of scholarship should be to defend a particular version of Islam that is of their own making rather than engage in anything that resembles critical scholarship as conceived in cognate disciplines.