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Islamic Ethos and the Specter of Modernity

Farzin Vahdat

Islamic Ethos and the Specter of Modernity

A close textual analysis of nine key Muslim thinkers on the modern world.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9781783084364
June 2015 | 306 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6
PRICE:  £60.00  /  $99.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com

About This Book

“Vahdat introduces a broad range of carefully selected source material for English readers and contributes to current debates in the social sciences, specifically the nature and scope of modernizing change, as well as its intellectual and institutional contributions and impediments. This book will be of interest to those studying these issues at a more specific level in the Muslim world, as well as those who work more generally on theoretical debates in comparative politics and democratization.” —Ali Gheissari, University of San Diego

"The author examines the political views of nine 20th/21st Muslim ideologues; Sir Muhammad Iqbal, SayyidAbul ‘Ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, Fatima Mernissi, Mehdi Haeri Yazdi, Mohamad Mojtahed Shabestari, Mohammad Khatami, Seyyed Hossein and Mohammed Arkoun. Each one is the subject of an independent essay but, ... all essays are by the same author. This provides refreshing continuity and eliminates the “curate’s egg” problem when reviewing such a work. On the other hand, it provides the opportunity for the author to insert his own views throughout – which temptation Mr. Vahdat admirably eschews.... this is an extremely informative, well-researched, well-organised and well-presented book. " —The Islamic Quarterly: Vol 60, No. 1-133

Drawing on the work of Hegel, this book proposes a framework for understanding modernity in the Muslim world and analyzes the discourse of prominent Muslim thinkers and political leaders with reference to some of the most significant markers of modernity.

This study closely examines the works of nine major Islamic thinkers in twentieth and twenty-first centuries: Mohammad Iqbal, Abul Ala Maududi , Sayyid Qutb , Fatima Mernissi, Mehdi Haeri Yazdi, Mohammad Mojtaehd Shabestari, Mohammad Khatami, Seyyed Hussein Nasr and Mohamad Arkoun.

By discussing these thinkers, the book traces the genealogy of major strands of consciousness in some crucial parts of the contemporary Islamic world and their relations to significant features of the modernity, such as human and individual subjectivity and agency, freedom, domination, culture of mass democracy, human rights, women’s rights, political activism and participation, economic ethos and views on forms of property ownership, as well as social and cultural pluralism.

Readership: This book will be of interest to scholars and students, particularly those within Islamic and Middle Eastern studies; this book will also appeal generally to those interested in intellectual history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology and cultural studies.

Author Information

Farzin Vahdat is a sociologist working on conditions and notions of modernity and their applications to Iran, Islam and the Muslim world. Vahdat has taught at Tufts, Harvard and Yale Universities, as well as Vassar College.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Sir Muhammad Iqbal: The Dialectician of Muslim Authenticity; 2. Sayyid Abul ‘Ala Maududi: A Theorist of Disciplinary Patriarchal State; 3. An Islamic Totality in the Ideology of Sayyid Qutb; 4. Fatima Mernissi: Women, Islam, Modernity and Democracy; 5. Mehdi Haeri Yazdi and the Discourse of Modernity; 6. Postrevolutionary Islamic Modernity in Iran: The Intersubjective Hermeneutics of Mohamad Mojtahed Shabestari; 7. Religious Modernity in Iran: Dilemmas of Islamic Democracy in the Discourse of Mohammad Khatami; 8. Seyyed Hossein Nasr: An Islamic Romantic?; 9. Mohammed Arkoun and the Idea of Liberal Democracy in Muslim Lands; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index

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