Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age
Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda


Jens Hanssen, Max Weiss, Roger Owen, Dina Rizk Khoury, Cemil Aydin, Thomas Philipp, Fawwaz Traboulsi, Marilyn Booth, Amal Ghazal, Sherene Seikaly, Israel Gershoni, C. A. Bayly, Leyla Dakhli, Rashid Khalidi
View all contributors
  • Date Published: January 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316501825

£ 23.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • What is the relationship between thought and practice in the domains of language, literature and politics? Is thought the only standard by which to measure intellectual history? How did Arab intellectuals change and affect political, social, cultural and economic developments from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries? This volume offers a fundamental overhaul and revival of modern Arab intellectual history. Using Hourani's Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798–1939 (Cambridge, 1962) as a starting point, it reassesses Arabic cultural production and political thought in the light of current scholarship and extends the analysis beyond Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and the outbreak of World War II. The chapters offer a mixture of broad-stroke history on the construction of 'the Muslim world', and the emergence of the rule of law and constitutionalism in the Ottoman empire, as well as case studies on individual Arab intellectuals that illuminate the transformation of modern Arabic thought.

    • Assesses the impact of the doyen of the field, the late Albert Hourani, fifty years after his seminal book Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798–1939 (Cambridge, 1962)
    • Introduces the paradigmatic Arabic term Nahda for Hourani's liberal age and relates it to the emerging field of global intellectual history
    • Proposes a paradigmatic shift in the study of modern Middle Eastern history and Arabic literature, offering conceptual innovation, greater geographical coverage and deeper historical probing into the origins and transformations of Arab modernity
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The empirically rich, theoretically sophisticated and intellectually innovative perspectives on the nahda and its legacies that this volume offers make it essential reading for students of Arab intellectual history.' Zachary Lockman, New York University

    'This collection of essays is an invaluable historiography and a must read for all graduate students and scholars of the modern Middle East and North Africa and for intellectual historians of all stripes.' Mary C. Wilson, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    '… Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age presents a useful introductory showcase … The bibliography and the first few pages of the editors' introduction, summarizing Arabic-language scholarship on the Nahda, will also be valuable resources for scholars and students …' Peter Hill, Journal of Islamic Studies

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316501825
    • length: 461 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    General introduction
    Time, language, mind and freedom: the Arabic Nahda in four words Jens Hanssen and Max Weiss
    Part I. The Legacies of Albert Hourani:
    1. Albert Hourani and the making of modern Middle East studies in the English-speaking world: a personal memoir Roger Owen
    2. Albert's world: historicism, liberal imperialism and the struggle for Palestine, 1936–48 Jens Hanssen
    Part II. The Expansion of the Political Imagination:
    3. Debating political community in the age of reform, rebellion and empire, 1780–1820 Dina Rizk Khoury
    4. The question of the Ottoman caliphate in global Muslim political thought, 1774–1914 Cemil Aydin
    5. From rule of law to constitutionalism: Arab political thought in its Ottoman context, 1808–1908 Thomas Philipp
    Part III. Means and Ends of the Nahda Experiment:
    6. Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq (1804–87): the quest for another modernity Fawwaz Traboulsi
    7. Liberal thought and the 'problem' of women:
    1890s Cairo Marilyn Booth
    8. 'Illiberal' thought in the liberal age: Yusuf al-Nabhani (1849–1932), dream-stories and the polemics against the modern era Amal Ghazal
    Part IV. The Persistence of the Nahda:
    9. Participation and critique: Arab intellectuals respond to the 'Ottoman revolution' Thomas Philipp
    10. Men of capital: making money, making nation in Palestine Sherene Seikaly
    11. The demise of 'the Liberal age'? 'Abbas Mahmud al-'Aqqad and Egyptian responses to Fascism during World War II Israel Gershoni
    Part V. The Afterlives of the Nahda in Comparative Perspective:
    12. Indian and Arabic thought in the liberal age C. A. Bayly
    13. The autumn of the Nahda in light of the Arab spring: some figures in the carpet Leyla Dakhli
    14. The legacies of Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age Rashid Khalidi.

  • Editors

    Jens Hanssen, University of Toronto
    Jens Hanssen is Associate Professor of Arab Civilization, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean History at the University of Toronto.

    Max Weiss, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Max Weiss is Associate Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies and the Elias Boudinot Bicentennial Preceptor at Princeton University, New Jersey.


    Jens Hanssen, Max Weiss, Roger Owen, Dina Rizk Khoury, Cemil Aydin, Thomas Philipp, Fawwaz Traboulsi, Marilyn Booth, Amal Ghazal, Sherene Seikaly, Israel Gershoni, C. A. Bayly, Leyla Dakhli, Rashid Khalidi

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.