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Faith and Resistance: The Politics of Love and War in Lebanon by Sarah Marusek is a brave, timely, and innovative investigation that not only introduces readers to the historical development of Lebanon and Shi‘i Islam in the modern era but also challenges scholars to question how they study religious activism. The volume is based on over two years of intermittent fieldwork in Lebanon and Iran spread out from 2009 and 2017. The gist of Marusek’s argument is that the religious activism of Lebanon’s Hizbollah, and the wider Islamic resistance movement, can be examined through the lens of liberation theology. This analytical move is grounded in her desire to push the boundaries on how Shi‘i activism is conceptualized and studied by Western scholars—to show us that there are multiple ways of making sense from fieldwork experience and archival research. This openness to experiment with new theoretical frameworks, research methods, and, perhaps most importantly, to engage in comparative studies of the Middle East makes the volume a significant contribution to different fields of study.
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