Islam in Liberalism

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Jan 6, 2015 - History - 390 pages
Joseph Massad’s Desiring Arabs (UCP, 2007) was an intellectual/literary history that sought out links between Orientalism and representations of sex and desire, rebutting in the meantime Western efforts to impose categories of heterosexual/homosexual where (in Islam) no such subjectivities exist. His new book broadens the purview to show us what Islam has become in today’s world, attending fully to the multiplication of meanings of "Islam.” Islam in Liberalism is an intellectual/political history, enabling us to understand that history in terms of how Islam operated as a category within western liberalism; another way to phrase this is to say that Massad underscores how the anxieties about what Europe constituted--despotism, intolerance, misogyny, homophobia--have gotten projected onto Islam. It is, he avers, only through this projection that Europe could emerge as democratic, tolerant, gynophilic, and hemophilic--in short, Islam-free. But in fact Islam has been there since the birth of Europe. Liberalism has been the weapon of choice since the late 18th century against the "internal” and "external” others of Europe. Massad’s brilliant critique of anti-Muslim sexual politics in Desiring Arabs is now broadened provocatively to include NGOs, international organizations, and therapeutic programs. He moves from consideration of the meanings of "democracy” (and the ideological assumption that "Islam” is not compatible with democracy) through chapters on women in Islam, sexuality and/in Islam, psychoanalytic interpretations of Islamic themes, and the more recent development of the idea of "Abrahamic religions” among those valorizing an inter-faith agenda. Overall, Massad sets this book up as a biting critique of the sort of liberalism Euro-American propagated and brought as "good news” to an unenlightened Islam.
 

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Contents

The Choice of Liberalism
1
1 The Democracy Offensive and the Defenses of Islam
14
The Rescue Mission of Western Liberal Feminism
110
Sexuality andin Islam
213
4 Psychoanalysis Islam and the Other of Liberalism
275
5 Forget Semitism
312
Works Cited
343
Index
373
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Joseph Massad is professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. He has written many books, includingDesiring Arabs, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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