Picture of the Qur'an

Project: The colonial and post-colonial Qur'an

The project focuses on Muslim translations of the Qur'an into English from 1905 to today. The aim is to explore to what extent tendencies in the translations can be understood and explained as a consequence of colonial and post-colonial conditions and processes of change.

About the project

Project Manager
Jonas Svensson
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University
Jan 2018–31 Dec 2020
Study of religions

More about the project

The project addresses Muslim translations of the Qur'an into the English language. The first such translation was made in 1905, and since then more than 100 additional translations have been published, several of them in more than one edition. The aim of the project is to approach these translations from diverse perspectives and with specifics research question, all, however, within a framework of a query that serves as the basic one: Is it possible to explain particularities and changes in the translations with the help of theories on how coloniality and post-coloniality affects human thinking?

The analysis applies both qualitative and quantitative method. The former include methods of social and ideological contextualisation, from the field of the Study of Religions and History of Ideas, based on the assumption that translations to a certain extent mirror the particular time in which they are done, and the social situation that characterise it, including power relations, intra-group competition and a struggle for authority in relation to what should be considered as the "authentic" religious tradition. The latter involves quantitative methods developed within the field of digital humanities. The include frequency analys that can help test hypothesises and claims in previous research concerning influence and relationship between translations. They also include more advances methods for semantic and sentiment analysis.