At Freedom's Limit: Islam and the Postcolonial Predicament (Hardback)Sadia Abbas (author)
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The subject of this book is a new "Islam." This Islam began to take shape in 1988 around the Rushdie affair, the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the first Gulf War of 1991. It was consolidated in the period following September 11, 2001. It is a name, a discursive site, a signifier at once flexible and constrained-indeed, it
is a geopolitical agon, in and around which some of the most pressing aporias of modernity, enlightenment, liberalism, and reformation are worked out.
At this discursive site are many metonyms for Islam: the veiled or "pious" Muslim woman, the militant, the minority Muslim injured by Western free speech. Each of these figures functions as a cipher enabling repeated encounters with the question "How do we free ourselves from freedom?" Again and again, freedom is imagined as Western, modern, imperial-a dark imposition of Enlightenment. The pious and injured Muslim who desires his or her own enslavement is imagined as freedom's other.
At Freedom's Limit is an intervention into current debates regarding religion, secularism, and Islam and provides a deep critique of the anthropology and sociology of Islam that have consolidated this formation. It shows that, even as this Islam gains increasing traction in cultural production from television shows to movies to novels, the most intricate contestations of Islam so construed are to be found in the work of Muslim writers and painters.
This book includes extended readings of jihadist proclamations; postcolonial law; responses to law from minorities in Muslim-majority societies; Islamophobic films; the novels of Leila Aboulela, Mohammed Hanif, and Nadeem Aslam; and the paintings of Komail Aijazuddin.
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 511 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
Once in a while, a book comes along with the force of a gale and shakes the carefully laid foundations of an academic field or discourse. This is such a book. A compelling and erudite tour-de-force that relentlessly examines the historical amnesias and political erasures at the center of contemporary popular culture and critical theory constructions of the Muslim subject, At Freedom's Limit powerfully reminds us that radical critique is rooted in complex histories of identity and struggle, both local and global. Incisive, passionate and peppered with scintillating humor, Abbas's book will surely change the face of postcolonial studies. -- -Samah Selim * Rutgers University *
Sadia Abbas is a virtuosa of cultural and literary criticism. She has a remarkable ability to expose essentialist and exclusivist prejudices that hide in discourses repudiating the essentialism and exclusivism of others. Uncompromising in the vindication of all the oppressed, including the victims of victims, this book sharpens both our critical faculty and our sense of justice. -- -Gilbert Achcar * Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London *
This is a thoughtful and provocative book which illuminates some of the central questions of our times . It is a book to be carefully read as with an astute intelligence it challenges many conventional ideas about what might constitute freedom . -- -Anthony Bogues * Brown University *
"Sadia Abbas has produced a watershed study that promises to be a landmark in the critical analysis of the nexes between empire, Islam, gender, and culture. This book provides a roadmap for a new generation of scholarship that matches the spirit and urgencies of the time." -- -Paul Amar * University of California, Santa Barbara *
What possibilities exist in and as a function of the new Islam that Sadia Abbas boldly, rigorously announces and describes? What new understandings of freedom emerge from the delineation and disruption of political theology's limits that she accomplishes? In vivid analyses of the new global iconographies through which the varieties of Muslim experience would be represented and regulated, Abbas offers a poetics supple enough to attend to the painful complexities of the postcolonial condition and subtle enough to discern, in those complexities, what remains of anticolonial aspiration. At Freedom's Limit is unique, powerful and necessary. -- -Frederick C. Moten * University of California, Riverside *
At Freedom's Limit is an important work that adds much-needed depth to debates on Islam, Islamophobia and the artistic representations coming out of Muslim countries such as Pakistan. The author's arguments are both fresh for their insight and original for their ability to provide a sound framework for further research and inquiry. It is a book that needs to be read and taught within Pakistani academia. * -The Friday Times *