Presidential Modalities of Modern Muslim Political Thought

AHA Session 115
Friday, January 6, 2017: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 3A (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Dina Khoury, George Washington University
Dina Khoury, George Washington University

Session Abstract

Scholarly and non-Scholarly attention to modern Muslim political thought since the 1980s privilege the topic of Islamism, with overemphasis on the notions of Islamic state, jihad and caliphate. Yet such a Cold War-focused approach overlooks the two centuries long evolution of modern Muslim political thought across Euro-Asia and Africa. In the century of imperial globalization preceding WWI, there were multiple experiences of Muslim jihad in Africa and Asia, but there was no notion of political Islamism that can be comparable to Khomeini’s Iran or Taliban Afghanistan. The Ottoman Caliphate that is much admired by modern Pan-Islamic publics in early 20th century symbolized values of civilizing reforms and imperial cosmopolitanism rather than monolithic visions of shariah rule identified with today’s ISIS in Iraq.

This presidential panel approaches the varieties of major themes of modern Muslim political thought across the vast geographies from West Africa to South and Southeast Asia in the last two centuries to highlight lost histories of experiments and visions of merging Muslim faith tradition and modern political regimes. While de-centering modern Muslim political thought away from contemporary Middle East, however, the panel members will also pay attention to exchange of ideas, discrepancies of political traditions, networks, continues and ruptures across continents and time frames.

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