Islamization in late medieval Bengal: The relevance of Max Weber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The growth of Islam was one aspect of a larger societal transformation that took place in late medieval Bengal. It is hardly surprising that Max Weber’s scattered references to Islam reflect the Orientalist modes of thought in his own day. Whereas Weber’s specific comments on Islam were in some ways problematic, or simply wrong, it is nonetheless possible to draw fruitful insights on the evolution of Islamic institutions from some of his more general formulations on social dynamics. Within South Asia, the case of Bengal with its population of over a hundred million Muslims, presents itself as an especially striking instance of Islamization. Weber understood Islamic polity as a patrimonial state, that is, an entity in which the army, the ‘ulama’ the bureaucracy, and the merchants were all dependent upon an imperial household, and whose financial and political structures depended upon the conquest and integration of new lands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMax Weber and Islam
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781351289832
ISBN (Print)1560004002, 9781560004004
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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