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Arabic Thought against the Authoritarian Age
Towards an Intellectual History of the Present


Max Weiss, Jens Hanssen, Yoav Di-Capua, Orit Bashkin, Abdel Razzaq Takriti, Robyn Creswell, Hosam Aboul-Ela, Fadi Bardawil, Natalya Vince, Joel Beinin, Ellen McLarney, Yasmeen Daifallah, Suzanne Kassab, Negar Azimi, Elias Khoury, Rosa Yasin Hasan, Yasin al-Hajj Salih
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  • Date Published: August 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316644195

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About the Authors
  • In the wake of the Arab uprisings, the Middle East descended into a frenzy of political turmoil and unprecedented human tragedy which reinforced regrettable stereotypes about the moribund state of Arab intellectual and cultural life. This volume sheds important light on diverse facets of the post-war Arab world and its vibrant intellectual, literary and political history. Cutting-edge research is presented on such wide-ranging topics as poetry, intellectual history, political philosophy, and religious reform and cultural resilience all across the length and breadth of the Arab world, from Morocco to the Gulf States. This is an important statement of new directions in Middle East studies that challenges conventional thinking and has added relevance to the study of global intellectual history more broadly.

    • Showcases new approaches to the study of post-war Arab intellectual history
    • Reconsiders liberalism, radicalism and authoritarianism in the modern Middle East
    • Historically contextualizes the Arab uprisings
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A much needed addition to our understanding of the Arab uprisings, their causes, and their meaning. While the political, social, economic, and cultural dimensions of the uprisings have been well explored, this book is unique inasmuch as it probes the overlooked role played by intellectuals in interpreting the Arab condition and articulating the complaints and demands of activists.' James L. Gelvin, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of The New Middle East: What Everyone Needs to Know.

    'Spanning a wide range of thinkers, writers and struggles across the Arab world and from the 1940s to the present, this collection of essays by a stellar cast of scholars illustrates both the diversity and the continuities of postwar Arab intellectual history. Whether tracing the complex legacies of the nahda or the travails of the Arab left, Hanssen and Weiss's follow-up to their Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age scuttles popular fallacies about the sterility or atavism of Arab intellectual life, illuminates the deeper roots of the 2011–12 Arab uprisings, and makes available to English-language readers important voices that are too rarely heard outside the Middle East.' James McDougall, University of Oxford

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316644195
    • length: 455 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: towards a postwar intellectual history of the Arab world Max Weiss and Jens Hanssen
    Part I. Arab Intellectuals in an Age of Decolonization:
    2. Changing the Arab intellectual guard: on the fall of the udabaʾ, 1940–60 Yoav Di-Capua
    3. Arabic thought in the radical age: Emile Habibi, the Israeli communist party and the production of Arab Jewish radicalism, 1946–61 Orit Bashkin
    4. Political praxis in the Gulf: Ahmad al-Khatib and the movement of Arab nationalists, 1948–69 Abdel Razzaq Takriti
    5. Modernism in translation: poetry and intellectual history in Beirut Robyn Creswell
    Part II. Culture and Ideology in the Shadow of Authoritarianism:
    6. Regional specificities of modern Arab thought: Morocco since the liberal age Hosam Aboul-Ela
    7. Sidelining ideology: Arab theory in the metropole and periphery, circa 1977 Fadi Bardawil
    8. Mosaic, melting pot, pressure cooker: the religious, the secular, and the sectarian in twentieth-century Syrian social thought Max Weiss
    9. Looking for 'the women question' in Algeria and Tunisia: ideas, political language and female actors before and after independence Natalya Vince
    Part III. From (Neo)Liberalism to the 'Arab Spring' and Beyond:
    10. Egyptian workers in the 'liberal age' and beyond Joel Beinin
    11. The redemption of women's liberation: reviving Qasim Amin in contemporary Egypt Ellen McLarney
    12. Turath as critique: Hassan Hanafi and the political subject in modern Arabic thought Yasmeen Daifallah
    13. Summoning the spirit of Taha Husayn's enlightenment project: the Nahda revival of Qadaya wa-shahadat in the 1990s Suzanne Kassab
    14. Revolution as ready-made: art, aesthetics, Arab uprisings Negar Azimi
    15. For a third Nahda Elias Khoury
    16. Where are the intellectuals in the Syrian revolution? Rosa Yasin Hasan
    17. The intellectuals and the revolution in Syria Yasin al-Hajj Salih.

  • Editors

    Jens Hanssen, University of Toronto
    Jens Hanssen is Associate Professor of Arab Civilization, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean history at the University of Toronto and has held visiting professorships at the universities of Marburg and Göttingen. His book publications include Fin de Siècle Beirut (2005), and his translation of Nafir Suriyya (with Hicham Safieddine) is forthcoming. He is currently co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Middle Eastern and North African History with Amal Ghazal. His present Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) research project, which focuses on the intersections between German, Jewish and Arab intellectual histories, has yielded two articles, 'Kafka and Arabs' (Critical Inquiry, 2012), and 'Translating Revolution: Hannah Arendt and Arab Political Culture'.

    Max Weiss, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Max Weiss is Associate Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, New Jersey. He is the author of In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Law, Shi`ism, and the Making of Modern Lebanon (2010), co-editor (with Jens Hanssen) of Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda (Cambridge, 2016), and translator, most recently, of Nihad Sirees, States of Passion (2018). He earned a Ph.D. in Modern Middle East History from Stanford University, held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton University and the Harvard Society of Fellows, and his research has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Commission, the Social Science Research Council, and the Carnegie Corporation. Currently, he is writing about the intellectual and cultural history of modern Syria, and translating several works of modern and contemporary Arabic literature.


    Max Weiss, Jens Hanssen, Yoav Di-Capua, Orit Bashkin, Abdel Razzaq Takriti, Robyn Creswell, Hosam Aboul-Ela, Fadi Bardawil, Natalya Vince, Joel Beinin, Ellen McLarney, Yasmeen Daifallah, Suzanne Kassab, Negar Azimi, Elias Khoury, Rosa Yasin Hasan, Yasin al-Hajj Salih

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