"Without taking anything away from interesting insights of the collective effort and the results presented in the book, several weaknesses are worth bringing up. For example, Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East on the whole fails to present a sufficiently clear and coherent longitudinal explanation of the evolution of sectarianization in relation to modernity and the development of nation-states in the region. There are intimations of such a discussion, primarily in the introduction, but these are largely left unexplored in the subsequent chapters."
“But this is also a work that unnerves a disciplined or permitted logos and is a courting of the way the black archive has been formed outside of the enlightenment discourse, and in this way the philosophical history/fantasy of reason appears as Western misology at best. What is introduced are practices that reproduce the racialized, i.e. black body, for its biogenetic destruction. And while there is nothing new or novel in this post-colonial reading of modernity, there is something uniquely problematic in how this doubling of the world and language is predicated on the birth of a new sense, i.e. new aesthetic arrangements predicated simultaneously on outmoded or decaying sensibilities.”
"Perhaps the most reprehensible aspect of The Breadwinner’s plot is the deus ex machina role the US military is given in the film’s conclusion. In the last segment of The Breadwinner, just as Parwana has lost all hope in freeing her father, the military begins its invasion of Kabul. It is only through the chaos of bombs dropping from US fighter jets that Parwana is able to rescue her father from prison. Not a single civilian death is shown in this scene."
“Pierret provides a rich, detailed, thick description of the religious field of Syria from the 1960’s to the present, covering the years from the Baʿth coup to the ongoing Syrian Civil War. In describing the structure of Syria’s religious field, Pierret draws on the theoretical work of Pierre Bourdieu and other sociologists to consider Syria’s Sunni ʿulamaʾ, their institutions, financial basis, opponents, and strategies in engaging the realm of power […] Pierret’s study is an important contribution to the literature on ʿulamaʾ in the 20th century, the state, Islamism, and the nature of contestation and accommodation between these actors.”
“[C]ounter-terrorism efforts are doomed to failure because they do not address the underlying contextual circumstances that facilitate ‘radicalization.’ Faced with tremendous violence and senseless death, it should not be surprising that the jihadist message of salvaging past dignity, power, and self-worth resonates with a Sunni audience caught in a vicious and seemingly intractable civil war."
"Yet both philosophers were also highly cognizant of the need for intellectual rigor. For Ibn al-Arabi, this included a legendary familiarity with the Qurʾan and the hadith corpus, copious references to them in his voluminous writing, a meticulous and critical examination of philosophy (falsafa) and scholastic theology (kalām), and a pious observation of the shariʿa in his personal life. In Derrida's case, he worked closely with renowned French philosophers and writers of the late 20th century including Althusser, Hyppolite, Marion, Barthes, de Mann, and many North American academics."
What cannot be denied, says Foucault, is that a remarkable event took place on the streets of Tehran in 1978, and a community of people staked their lives in commitment to it. In this moment, the massive, impenetrable walls of global capitalism, market imperialism, and Westernizing modernism that surrounded everyday Iranians, tunneling them toward an inevitable future, floated up from the ground to reveal the glimmer of a different future. Was this hallucination, was it hysteria, ideological blindness? Was it Foucault’s hallucination or a collective one?
A Separation focuses on the separation of Simin and Nader, an Iranian middle class couple. Simin wants to leave Iran with her daughter in order to pursue a better future, while Nader, who is a banker, wants to stay in Iran in order to take care of his senile father. It portrays the emotional struggles that arise from this separation as their daughter (played by Asghar Farhadi’s own daughter) and those around them are significantly affected by it. It also centers around a conflict that surfaces between Nader, and his working class caregiver, as the latter accuses Nader of being the cause of her miscarriage. It explores issues of morality and law, as well as class dynamic in modern day Iran.
Drawing on an ethnography of oral traditions and an extensive archive of sacred texts from shrines across the Uyghur homeland, Rian Thum’s work seeks to amplify how Uyghurs themselves imagined their community prior to the state, prior to modernity, perhaps even prior to Islam. In essence, Thum is arguing that the identifications of the Uyghurs are not centered around a national imaginary or ethnic community, but rather it was articulated through the oral recitation and amendment of sacred texts during pilgrimages to the shrines of the “bringers of Islam” (wali).
In particular, Michot intends to demonstrate the ways in which Ibn Taymiyyah’s Mardin fatwa has been misinterpreted by academics, orientalists, and Islamists alike. Over the course of his text, Michot provides an extensive introductory argument - wherein he explicates upon the concept of hijra, the distinction between a domain of peace and of war, and emphasizes the pragmatic and personalist nature of Ibn Taymiyyah’s writing - a translation of the Mardin fatwa with several complementary fatwas, and fragmented interpretations of the Mardin fatwa written by famous Islamists and academics.