• Between Cultural and National Nahda: Jewish Intellectuals in Baghdad and the Nation-Building Process in Iraq

    This article focuses on the role of Jewish intellectuals in defining a national and cultural identity for their coreligionists in Iraq during the establishment of the state by the British in the years 1921 until 1932. Based primarily on their contributions in the press, their poetry and memoirs, this article discusses the responsibility that Iraqi Jewish thinkers and writers took on themselves in order to participate in the national and literary revival, the Nahda, from which they hoped the entire Jewish community would benefit. Their responses to anti-imperialist debates in Iraqi intellectual circles and stance on sectarianism and secularism is examined through analysis of the themes and terminologies used by three Baghdadi Jewish intellectuals: Nissim Susa (1900-1982) Anwar Sha’ul (1904-1984), and Mir Basri (1911-2006). Is there a common trend among these three regarding their perception of the nation? How is writing employed to foster national consciousness?

    $5.00
  • Sune Haugbolle, War and Memory in Lebanon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 260 pp.

    Sune Haugbolle, War and Memory in Lebanon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 260 pp.

    $5.00 Free!
  • Being Muslim and European Without Contradiction—Myth or Reality?

    The article reviews a critique of European modernity through the eyes of Bassam Tibi, a European Muslim sociologist. Tibi’s discursive analysis presents a detailed description of how an Islamic pluralism addresses the conceptual, philosophical, cultural, social, and political interpretations of Islam in a European context. His Islamic pluralism suggests the ways in which a secular interpretation of Islam can influence religion-state relations in Europe. Exploring the tensions resulting from being both Muslim and European, Tibi proposes that Muslims in Europe avidly maintain some basis of Islam within their identity, even if they adapt that interpretation to make it compatible with European norms and values. His perspectives are juxtaposed with Muslim intellectual opposition to a European Islamic pluralism that offers a basis for Islamic diversity in Europe. The article concludes that even Tibi’s moderate interpretation of Islam does not fully eliminate the inherent contradiction involved in being both Muslim and European, although he does suggest a means of bridging cross-cultural tensions.

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  • The Armenian Genocide in Interwar Hungarian Political Discourse

    This article demonstrates how the Armenian Question and the interpretations of the Armenian Genocide—both justifying and opposing it—shaped political discourse during and after the First World War in Hungary, particularly with regard to the years preceding the Holocaust. The first part briefly presents the evolution of the Armenian Question in the Hungarian public and political discourse from the late nineteenth century up to the First World War. Next the article outlines the diverse nature of Hungarian sources on the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath, corroborating that interwar Hungarian governments had detailed knowledge of the past plight and current situation of Armenians in Turkey. The third part depicts the different manifestations of the discourse on the Armenian Genocide between the two world wars in connection with refugees, anti-Semitism, and Turkish-Hungarian economic and political relations. Finally, some preliminary conclusions are drawn and some possible consequences are examined.

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  • The Long Shadow of Max Weber: The Notion of Transcendence and the Spirit of Mystical Islam

    In this article I argue that Max Weber’s analysis of the reasons behind Islam’s failure to convert its sophisticated notion of transcendence into the order of rationalization that was initiated, according to him, in Protestantism, is based on a flawed conception of the implications of this notion for the Islamic mystical tradition, whose greatest representative is Muhyddin Ibn al-ʿArabi (d.1240). I discuss three distinguished scholars’ visions of Islam: Muhammad al-Jabiri, Ahmet Davutoğlu, and Richard Khuri on the background of Max Weber’s analysis of the sociopolitical history of Islamic civilization. I attempt to show that Jabiri’s negative view and Davutoğlu’s indifferent view of Ibn al-ʿArabi’s mystical philosophy precluded them from overcoming Weber’s implicit influence on their thought. Despite their limitations, Khuri’s highly appreciative view of the Islamic mystical tradition in general and Ibn al-Arabi’s unique notion of transcendence in particular, are major steps beyond Jabiri’s and Davutoğlu’s conceptions of Islam, which may be considered Weber’s mirror images, and towards an appreciation of the spirit of its intellectual history.

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  • Rediscovering the Mediterranean: Political Critique and Mediterraneanism in Mohammed Arkoun’s Thought

    The article explores the works and the thought of Muhammed Arkoun, one of the most prominent Muslim intellectuals in the West, and a representative of liberal Islam. Since the 1970s, Arkoun’s major intellectual critique was directed at “Islamic reason.” He endeavored to deconstruct the “regimes of truth” of Islamic medievalist dogmas, which still function as orthodoxies among contemporary Muslims (Sunni, Shiʿi and Khariji). According to his analysis, this medievalist perception of Islam fulfills a function in the modern era of political ideology. His works not only deconstruct and reassess Islamic traditional epistemology but also posit a counterpoint to the common perception of Islam among both Muslim believers and western scholars.

    The article contextualizes Arkoun’s works in the intellectual and political history of the Arab-Muslim countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean. The first section presents a general overview of Arkoun’s oeuvre since the 1960s, with special emphasis on the foundation of his political critique. The second section sheds light on the role of the Mediterranean as a concept of mental and geo-cultural space in Arkoun’s thought.

    $5.00