The third-term policies of the AKP (Justice and Development Party) in Turkey posed new challenges for observers: do top-down Islamization policies and the increasing pan-Islamist tone in Turkish foreign policy signify a return to Islamism or is a new amalgamation in the making? In this case, is ‘post-Islamism’ now dated as an analytical tool to characterize the AKP’s new ideological formation or was it always a misnomer? Drawing on el-Affendi’s (2008) distinction between the Medina and Damascus models and observing the new Islamic opposition to the AKP policies, its post-2011 ideological configuration will be analyzed with reference to an antinomy of Islamism vs. Muslimism. Muslimism, an extension of Damascus model, is a quest for power and seeks Muslim interests worldwide. Islamism, an heir to Medina model, may be characterized by an ethical pursuit of justice that occasionally clashes with Muslim political interests.
This paper explores the repercussions of the apparent failure of Islamist experimentations with democracy during the Arab Spring in terms of the moderation hypotheses with a specific focus on the Egyptian case. I build on the existing arguments that repression may paradoxically moderate mainstream Islamist movements with certain caveats: when Islamists eventually come to power, their ideological vision also matters within the nexus of their strategic commitments and the on-going power struggles with other Islamist contenders. The prospects of democratisation, then, may also depend on the theoretical and political success of an Islamist political theology that accords better with rights and freedoms than a simplistic procedural democracy. Repression may indeed lead to moderation of the well-entrenched mainstream Islamist groups. However, such analyses focus only on those who remain within the fold of the mother organisation, rather than the splinter groups that break away with their more radicalised views. Under the post-Arab Spring conditions and given the Salafi factor, current views on the repression–moderation cycle must also account for the defection among certain Islamist constituencies towards jihadi or vigilante Salafism.
This paper seeks to answer two questions: Has there been a shift in the representation of Muslims by the American media in the wake of increasing number of Muslims living here, and could Muslims speak for themselves through an autonomous Muslim discourse in the post-9/11 period? Using the tools of postcolonial analysis, I analyze the coverage on Muslims in the mainstream media following the 9/11 attacks. I find that there was a shift, in the form of a differentiation between moderates and fundamentalists. Additionally, the same tropes used to represent Muslims in the colonial discourse were now employed to the fundamentalist “Other.” Muslims could speak up; however, this could not avoid reproducing the dominant discourse. Yet, the presence of a significant Muslim minority offers opportunities for broadened boundaries of “American” citizenry that can be realized by growing activism to this end.
This chapter is an attempt based on the emerging field of comparative political theory (CPT) to trace civilization’s trajectory throughout the contemporary era, beginning with Rifa’a Rafi ’ al-Tahtawi (1801–1873) up to and including Hamid Dabashi. Although it analyses the rise and demise of this concept, among my chief concerns is to discuss this concept’s current descriptive and normative value. I argue that for the last two centuries, the term civilization has possessed a primarily rhetorical value, for it functioned as a defensive tool that subjugated Muslims could use against the Western colonial discourse that helped justify and perpetuate colonial domination. Thus, the term Islamic civilization itself emerged as a defensive discourse constructed by Muslim apologists to counteract the project of the ‘West’, which had first constructed ‘the Orient’ as a foil to represent its distinct and inferior ‘other’. Beyond this, I maintain, civilization has had little descriptive and normative value for Muslims’ self-understanding or self-projection. Moreover, I argue that its current deployment as both a descriptive term for various Muslim cultures’ self-understanding, as well as a normative goal for Muslims to pursue a socio-political project in the form of constructing or revitalizing an ‘Islamic civilization’, is obsolete and must be overcome. Toward this end, I will pay particular attention to the work of Dabashi (Dabashi 2001, 2008), who has consistently sought to deliver a coup de grâce to this wellworn concept. Accordingly, I view all attempts to formulate a unique ‘Islamic civilization’ vis-à-vis Western civilization as futile pursuits of an outmoded way of thinking about oneself and the other. By the same token, the concept of dialogue among thinkers who draw upon diff erent ontological sources should not be considered a dialogue among civilizations, a concept that is itself a power-effect. Any truthful and reasonable theoretical endeavour that aims to establish dialogue and peace among groups of people, therefore, must first debunk such essentialist concepts. My stance can better be characterized as ‘post-Western’, a post-Orientalist overcoming of the categories of ‘Western’, ‘Eastern’, or ‘Islamic’ civilizations.
You can also find the full-text on Oxford Scholarship Online database at http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/mobile/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199466887.001.0001/acprof-9780199466887-chapter-8 (institutional subscription required).
The Gezi Park protests have stirred serious controversy both inside and outside Turkey on the JDP’s ruling style and ideology. By drawing on el-Affendi’s distinction between the Medina and Damascus models, I discuss the Islamist opposition to Erdoğan during the Gezi events. I argue that notwithstanding his recent Islamization policies, Erdoğan’s JDP is a conservative party that caters to Muslim nationalism while a new Islamism as an ethico-political ideal has been in the making by the praxis of the new Islamist youth.
By this provocative work – to say the least – Dabashi makes a quite timely intervention in the direction that the new discourse on Islam has recently taken, especially among progressive-liberal Muslim scholars. Unlike many others who are attracted to liberalism of various sorts, Dabashi remains closer to the socialist lineage to formulate a fervent anti-imperialist critique and struggle for justice in the line of liberation theologies of Gustavo Gutierrez and Joseph H. Cone. There have also been a few other Muslims pursuing a similar endeavor, such as Shabbir Akhtar and Farid Esack. Yet Dabashi, while retaining the basic sense of liberation theology, “articulation of the meaning of faith based on commitment to abolish injustice” (p. 254), is rather after a theodicy for our post-civilizational times. In his words, the aim is “to investigate the specifically Islamic manners of opposing the imperial upsurge in the aftermath of the ‘Islam and West binary opposition’” (p. 2).
Fourteen distinguished scholars discuss how the interconnected web of economic globalization, transnational networks in new information technology, and the revival of Islam have opened up new opportunities for, and have in turn been transformed by, Muslim women. An underlying common theme of the contributors is their challenge to the colonially rooted, monolithic representation of Muslim women as voiceless and invisible victims (“behind-the veil”) of the Islamic patriarchy in both traditional and modern eras.
In this new contribution to Derrida studies, Joshua Kates sets out to make up for the lack of a truly global interpretation of Derrida’s
thought. He seeks to develop a comprehensive view of Derrida, who has been lost in the rift between one camp that labels him a radical skeptic subscribing to linguistic determinism and another that sees deconstruction in greater proximity to traditional philosophy.
This book is primarily a history of the early Kurdish movement, from its inception in the late nineteenth century to the 1930s. Yet, its distinctiveness comes not from the Kurdish nationalists’ more publicized products, but from its focus on the margins of their literary attempts. This study of failed nationalism “is concerned less with how and why Kurdish nationalism did or did not ‘catch on’ than with the efforts made by [the] Kurdish elite to construct a viable concept of Kurdish identity” (p. 1). In other words, the author’s
main concern is to identify how images of the Kurds were constructed and represented, and how they evolved, over time, until the late 1930s.
Khayruddin Pasha al-Tunisi (d. 1890) was in many ways a typical nineteenth century Ottoman statesman and reformist thinker, but indisputably unique in many other ways. Serving in the remote principality of Tunisia, he was an adamant advocate for a constitutional regime like his Young Ottoman counterparts in Istanbul. But he stood out in his quest to ground his views on a quite firm Islamic foundation.
His classical political treatise, The Surest Path (Aqwam al-Masalik) was no less than a modern comparative politics manuscript. He would quote an unlikely figure, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d.1350) to justify his reformism: “any path where the road signs of justice are perceptible is the path of the shar’ and religion of God.” This not only opened up an immense space for rational deliberation in Islamic political thinking but placed him among the proto-Islamist political thinkers as well.
Halil Yenigun is a visiting postdoctoral scholar at Stanford’s Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, who left Turkey in 2016 amidst a government crackdown on dissenting academics. In the below interview, Yenigun shares his story of advocating for democracy, human rights, and peace in Turkey, and calls for “global democratic solidarity” across borders to keep invasive governments in check.