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Products for grant FEL-273733-21

Thinking Past Islam and the West: Theorizing Politics in Contemporary Arab Thought
Yasmeen Daifallah, Regents of the University of California, Santa Cruz

Grant details:

Chapter 2: The Moment of Pedagogy: Cultivating Decolonized Subjectivity in Post-Revolutionary Time (Book Section)
Title: Chapter 2: The Moment of Pedagogy: Cultivating Decolonized Subjectivity in Post-Revolutionary Time
Author: Yasmeen Daifallah
Abstract: How can one fashion anticolonial subjects in post (or neo) colonial time? How could projects of intellectual and cultural decolonization persist when anticolonial struggles in their armed and unarmed varieties had all but faded, and the revolutionary projects that formed in their wake have been eclipsed by internal strife, oppressive regimes, civil war, cooptation by former colonizers, and/or reactionary actors and discourses? What kind of theoretical and narratological arsenal does this moment demand to actualize its dual vision of a political future that is decolonized and of-its-time? This chapter reconstructs Laroui’s Concepts Series as an expansive, multi-faceted and multi-layered response to a political-intellectual predicament encountered by Arab (and more generally, Global Southern) intellectuals in the 1980s and 1990s. Published in five volumes over the course of sixteen years (1980-1996), the Concepts Series features five texts on Ideology (1980), Freedom (1981), The State (1981), History (1992) and Reason (1996). Diverse in their structure, narrative style, and prospective audience, these texts are retrospectively construed by Laroui as an extended examination of the central precepts of modern social and political thought ([1996] 2012, 14”. Beyond their internal variety, and their author’s posited unity, I read these texts as featuring two thrusts: the first is to analytically and firmly distinguish between pre-modern Islamic and modern European notions and practices of each of these concepts, and the second to emphasize (and where possible, argue for) the philosophical depth of classical Islamic conceptions of these concepts and the integrity of modern Arab adaptations of post-Enlightenment European traditions of political thinking.
Year: 2022
Book Title: Thinking Past Islam and the West: Theorizing the Political Subject in Contemporary Arab Thought

Chapter 1: The Moment of Critique: (Re)forming the Revolutionary Subject in Postcolonial Time (Book Section)
Title: Chapter 1: The Moment of Critique: (Re)forming the Revolutionary Subject in Postcolonial Time
Author: Yasmeen Daifallah
Abstract: This chapter examines Laroui’s ground-breaking philosophical oeuvre in the 1960s and 1970s. While commentaries on Laroui’s early work (and on his work more generally) often read it as an extended critique of modern Arab social and political thought, then celebrate or dismiss it for its unequivocal commitment to what Laroui terms “modernity,” my use of the lens of “reforming reformers and preparing revolutionaries” to interpret Laroui’s early work unearths the political drive of his intervention and explores the way he actualizes that drive through conceptual and narratological devices. In deploying this prism, I attempt to read anticolonial texts as political interventions, not only in that they pitch a critique or chart a different political future, but in that they aim to undo the subjectivity they critique and produce that which they envision. I do this by dwelling on both what Laroui says and how he says it.Accordingly, my examination uses two registers. The first attends to the specifics of Laroui’s argument, tracing its flow, defining, and situating its terms, and synthesizing its various parts into a narrative and theoretical arc. This register is significant not only because it is lacking in the existing literature, which tends to rehash CAI’s arguments with a broad brush, but also, and more importantly, because it renders legible and theoretically justifiable Laroui’s diction, whose erudition and density often makes it obscure. In all, this register tries to get as close as possible, and stay as faithful as possible, to the substance of Laroui’s argument and its overarching objectives (both explicit and implicit). If the first register tracks the twists, turns, and broad arches of Laroui’s argument, the second register features my interpretation of what Laroui is doing. Here, I reconstruct the theoretical toolkit that Laroui uses but rarely announces, and carefully trace its workings and effects. It is also here that I closely follow Laroui’s
Year: 2021