Irfan Ahmad: Beyond Trump’s Notion of the “Pathetic Critic”

Today we welcome a guest post from Irfan Ahmad, author of Religion as Critique:  Islamic Critical Thinking from Mecca to the Marketplace.  Professor Ahmad is an anthropologist and senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Studies in Göttingen, Germany. In Religion as Critique, Irfan Ahmad makes the far-reaching… Continue Reading Irfan Ahmad: Beyond Trump’s Notion of the “Pathetic Critic”

Excerpt: Us Versus Them, by Douglas Little

Although the source of the 9/11 attacks was quite novel and although both the scale and the location of the harm “they” inflicted on “us” were unprecedented, the notion of a virtuous America endangered by wicked and violent enemies was not new at all. Indeed, from the moment that John Winthrop and the Puritans dropped anchor in Massachusetts Bay in 1630 and vowed to build a “City Upon a Hill,” Americans have tended to view the world in terms of “us versus them.” Continue Reading Excerpt: Us Versus Them, by Douglas Little

Video: Kishwar Rizvi on Islamic Architecture and Historical Memory

In the following video, Rizvi talks with Marilyn Wilkes about The Transnational Mosque in an episode of The MacMillan Report, produced by the MacMillan Center at Yale University. Continue Reading Video: Kishwar Rizvi on Islamic Architecture and Historical Memory

Alex Lubin: Malcolm X’s Afro-Arab Political Imaginary

Malcolm’s transition would include rejecting the homegrown and Ahmadiyya-based, heterodox Islam practiced by the Nation of Islam and embracing the intellectual, moral, and political currents of orthodox Sunni Islam, African decolonization, and Arab nationalism. In this way, Malcolm’s political and moral commitments combined sometimes-contradictory political ideologies, including those of Muslim Brothers, secular pan-Africanists, and Nasserist pan-Arabists. Continue Reading Alex Lubin: Malcolm X’s Afro-Arab Political Imaginary

Shane J. Maddock: Obama’s Course Correction on Iran

Much of the evidence now available suggests the Bush administration threats reinvigorated a moribund program. A Central Intelligence Agency report contended that Iran had abandoned its weapons program. But after the Bush administration scuttled diplomatic agreements regarding the Iranian program, hardliners took control and argued that Iran needed a nuclear weapon to deter a potential U.S. or Israeli military attack. They argued that Iraq had abandoned its nuclear ambitions under pressure from the West and reaped a brutal invasion for its efforts. North Korea, on the other hand, thwarted Western efforts to end its nuclear weapons program and avoided Baghdad’s fate. Arguments that at least the threat of a nuclear weapon was necessary took on greater persuasiveness given that U.S. military deployments sandwiched Iranian territory. Continue Reading Shane J. Maddock: Obama’s Course Correction on Iran

Alex Lubin: Exhuming Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat has meant many things to many people over the course of his life. To some he is a freedom fighter, and throughout the world he is often depicted in posters alongside Che Guevara. To others he is a terrorist. To the Nobel Prize Committee he is a peace-maker. Arafat has had many lives, and his reputation has been exhumed numerous times over his life and now, after his death.

What often gets overlooked about Arafat and the PLO is the impact he and his movement had on a global third-world movement in general, and on the Black freedom movement in particular. Continue Reading Alex Lubin: Exhuming Yasser Arafat

Michael H. Hunt: The American Project in the Middle East: The End Is Nigh!

If you think the past week or so has not gone well for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, then what to say about the U.S. position in the Middle East? Washington’s attempt to remake or at least manage the region has suffered a string of blows that suggests the end is nigh. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: The American Project in the Middle East: The End Is Nigh!

Sa’diyya Shaikh: Finding Voices of Dissent within Islamic Tradition

For Muslims committed to social justice and feminism it is vital to highlight and expand on voices of dissent to patriarchy that exist in the plethora that is Islamic tradition. Continue Reading Sa’diyya Shaikh: Finding Voices of Dissent within Islamic Tradition

Excerpt: Sufi Narratives of Intimacy, by Saʿdiyya Shaikh

It is Cairo on a sweltering afternoon, and the faithful are streaming into a beautiful, simple mosque. The Friday (jumu‘a) prayers are about to begin. In the courtyard, people take their ablutions in the cool fountain water that provides welcome relief from the heat of the Cairene afternoon. A group of women sitting close together is silently reciting the Qur’ān. An old man, his face kissed gently by time, is sitting easily upright with eyes closed, meditating on the beautiful names of God. Two old friends, both returning to the city after years of travel, trade, and learning, are greeting each other with a tender embrace. A young man, hands raised in supplication, is softly murmuring his deepest yearnings into the hearing of the omniscient One. As the call to prayer is given, a hush falls over the crowd, with each person repairing to his or her private supplications before the sermon begins. Continue Reading Excerpt: Sufi Narratives of Intimacy, by Saʿdiyya Shaikh

Excerpt: Arc of Empire, by Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine

The history of American empire building and warfare in one region speaks to the current imbroglio across the Middle East and Central Asia in a striking variety of ways. U.S. policymakers have ignored or have deliberately forgotten the lessons from the conflicts in eastern Asia. Continue Reading Excerpt: Arc of Empire, by Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine

Excerpt: How to Read the Qur’an, by Carl W. Ernst

A historical and literary approach at least offers the prospect of a fair-minded and reasonable approach to other people’s religions, which is why such a method seems both attractive and necessary today. Continue Reading Excerpt: How to Read the Qur’an, by Carl W. Ernst

Michael H. Hunt: Afghanistan and an unkind God

Turning our backs on the grim prospects for Afghanistan is part of a long tradition. We drew a veil over the struggle against insurgents in the Philippines. A combination of amnesia and speculative might-have-beens disposed of the Korean stalemate and the Vietnam defeat, and it seems likely the Iraq invasion and occupation will suffer the same fate. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: Afghanistan and an unkind God

Matthew F. Jacobs: Imagining the Middle East – An Excerpt

From Matthew F. Jacobs’ book ‘Imagining the Middle East: Building American Foreign Policy, 1918-1967,’ how consumer culture influenced U.S. foreign policy. Continue Reading Matthew F. Jacobs: Imagining the Middle East – An Excerpt

Michael H. Hunt: Obama on the Middle East: Let’s Pretend

Obama’s presentation lacks the first element of good policy. It fails to honestly confront the main trends and defining features of the problem confronting us. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: Obama on the Middle East: Let’s Pretend

Michael Hunt: Questions that the Libya Intervention Begs

It’s ok to feel conflicted over the Libyan intervention. You’re not alone — and you have good reason. The U.S. response to the uprising against the Gaddafi regime raises a welter of issues. Is oil driving decisions? Why the inconsistency if not hypocrisy of acting in Libya but not Gaza? Is Libya just another case… Continue Reading Michael Hunt: Questions that the Libya Intervention Begs

Andrew P. Haley: Hummus and Bugles

As someone who has experienced the melting pot first hand, and who has seen the worst that Americanization can do to hummus, I beg you join me in saying to corporate America: Hands off my hummus. Continue Reading Andrew P. Haley: Hummus and Bugles

EPIC SALE TIME!!

It’s EPIC SALE TIME! Over 700 UNC Press books are on sale! Read more about the huge deals here. Continue Reading EPIC SALE TIME!!

Michael H. Hunt: Caught in Contradictions: The United States and the Middle East

The popular uprisings of the sort now spreading across North Africa to the Persian Gulf were hard to anticipate—but the American response wasn’t. U.S. history is filled with moments like the present one when upheavals abroad generated great hopes for the advance of freedom. Those moments have also evoked deep anxieties rooted in a suspicion… Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: Caught in Contradictions: The United States and the Middle East

A Middle East Policy in Deep Denial

Denial is a well known defense mechanism that keeps unpleasant realities at bay. U.S. policymakers seem well practiced in this common coping device. Heaven knows they have good reason, no matter which direction of the Middle East they turn. Afghanistan seems right now to occasion the deepest denials because the realities are the grimmest. Two… Continue Reading A Middle East Policy in Deep Denial

No, Really! There’s an app for that!

Time for the obvious statement of the day: technology is difficult to keep up with because it changes so much. Let’s take an iPod for example: I bought my most recent player three years ago, and while it continues to faithfully entertain me with tunes, it has become outrageously outdated by newer iPods. New models… Continue Reading No, Really! There’s an app for that!