This chapter introduces the question of Saudi “religious expansion” — that is, the various processes by which Saudi actors are said to have exerted increasing religious influence beyond the kingdom’s borders in the course of the twentieth century — and it situates the Islamic University of Medina as a key institution in relation to such dynamics. It establishes the contours of the Salafi and Wahhabi traditions, before setting out the historiographical framework employed throughout the remainder of the book. The latter is grounded in a particular conception of a transnational religious economy, comprising flows — both within and across borders — of material capital, spiritual capital, religious migrants and social technologies. The chapter ends with a brief overview of the historical narrative and arguments that run through the book.
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