The Hajj and Europe in the Age of Empire


The present volume focuses on the political perceptions of the Hajj, its global religious appeal to Muslims, and the European struggle for influence and supremacy in the Muslim world in the age of pre-colonial and colonial empires. In the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century, a pivotal change in seafaring occurred, through which western Europeans played important roles in politics, trade, and culture. Viewing this age of empires through the lens of the Hajj puts it into a different perspective, by focusing on how increasing European dominance of the globe in pre-colonial and colonial times was entangled with Muslim religious action, mobility, and agency. The study of Europe’s connections with the Hajj therefore tests the hypothesis that the concept of agency is not limited to isolated parts of the globe. By adopting the “tools of empires,” the Hajj, in itself a global activity, would become part of global and trans-cultural history.

With contributions by: Aldo D’Agostini; Josep Lluís Mateo Dieste; Ulrike Freitag; Mahmood Kooria; Michael Christopher Low; Adam Mestyan; Umar Ryad; John Slight and Bogusław R. Zagórski.

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Umar Ryad, Ph.D. (2008), University of Leiden, is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Utrecht University. He has published on Muslim-Christian relations and on Islam in the modern world. He leads an ERC Starting Grant project on the history of Muslims in interwar Europe (2014–2019).
"[The Hajj and Europe in the Age of Empire] offers fresh insights about European political perceptions of and policies regarding the ḥajj between the sixteenth and late-twentieth centuries. Embracing such a long historical span and wide geographical range in nine chapters makes this an ambitious book, but case studies are given for the countries and empires of Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain." - Jamie Gilham, in: Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 30/3 (2019)
Chapter 1 Mahmood Kooria, “Killed the pilgrims and persecuted them with all kinds of cruelties”: Portuguese Estado da India’s encounters with the Hajj in the sixteenth century.

Chapter 2 Michael Christopher Low, “The Infidel Piloting the True Believer”: Thomas Cook and the business of the colonial Hajj.

Chapter 3 John Slight, British colonial knowledge and the Hajj in the Age of Empire.

Chapter 4 Aldo D’Agostini, French Policy and the Hajj in late-nineteenth-century Algeria: Governor Cambon’s reform attempts and Jules Gervais-Courtellemont’s pilgrimage to Mecca.

Chapter 5 Ulrike Freitag, Heinrich Freiherr von Maltzan’s “My Pilgrimage to Mecca”: A critical investigation.

Chapter 6 Bogusław R. Zagórski, Polish connections to the Hajj in the nineteenth century: Mystical and imaginary travels to Mecca and the Polish cultural tradition.

Chapter 7 Umar Ryad, On his donkey to the Mountain of ʿArafāt: Dr. Van der Hoog and his Hajj journey to Mecca.

Chapter 7 Adam Mestyan, “I Have To Disguise Myself”: Orientalism, Gyula Germanus, and pilgrimage as cultural capital, 1935–1965.

Chapter 9 Josep Lluís Mateo Dieste, Franco’s North African pilgrims after WWII: The Hajj through the Eyes of a Spanish colonial officer (1949).
All interested in the connections of Europe with the Muslim world in the colonial age, and anyone interested in the transnational and global history of Europe and the Muslim world.
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