The recent revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East represent a rare historic opening for scholars, offering us nothing short of the opportunity to rethink the possibilities of history and our conceptions of “the political” itself. In so doing, we might be more open to the ways in which the empirical continually challenges us to rethink our conceptual models. Thus, while some immediately sought to categorize and co-opt the revolutions for their own purposes (Žižek's impassioned, albeit simplistic, “freedom is universal”), others listened closely to the voices on the ground in Tahrir and elsewhere. Now, if ever, is the time to critically reevaluate some of our theoretical models, our tenacious binaries (chiefly among them secularism versus Islamism) and our catch-all monolithic frameworks, such as “the military dictatorship,” “authoritarianism,” and even “neoliberalism.”
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