Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

8/1/2010 - 7/31/2011

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

Arab Shi'i Political Thought since 1958: A Generation's Politicization

FAIN: FB-54867-10

Michaelle Browers
Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC 27109-6000)

This project focuses on developments in political thinking among a 1960s generation of Arab Shii intellectuals who studied in Najaf, Iraq, and went on to found some of the most important Shii political and social organizations in various Arab countries, particularly Lebanon. I provide a historical analysis of this generations development of a discourse of resistance that became prevalent among Shii communities in Iraq and Lebanon, first in communist and socialist guises, and later through revitalization of Islamic notions of protest and revolution, and reconceptualizations of notions of authority and political agency. I contend that this trend is distinguished from the understanding of Shii Islamism that emerges in Iran, since it was constituted in response to Shii political marginalization vis-??-vis other religious and ethnic groupings in Arab countries and was negotiated against competing discourses (nationalist, Arab nationalist, socialist, and traditionalist).