Thursday, December 2, 2010


Talal Asad's Blurbs

Praise for Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things by Ann Laura Stoler (Duke UP, 1995)

"Race and the Education of Desire is a tour de force. Stoler has engaged in a productive dialogue with Foucault’s seminal text, and interwoven that dialogue with an illuminating analysis of the concepts and policies of imperial racism. This book should have a major impact on scholarly discussions of modern imperialism and racism." [JHU]


Praise for Egypt: The Moment of Change, edited by Rabab El-Mahdi and Philip Marfleet (Zed Books, 2009)

'Egypt is often referred to in the Western media as "a moderate Arab state" solely on the grounds of its friendly relations with the United States and Israel. But there is nothing moderate about its poverty, corruption, and political repression, as this book so ably demonstrates. Egypt: The Moment of Change is a valuable contribution to understanding the uncertain predicament of this important country.' [CUNY]


Praise for A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion edited by Michael Lambek (Blackwell, 2002)

"This is an excellent collection, with a comprehensive range of readings from classical as well as recent authors, and very useful introductions to each section that are also accessibly written. In my view this fine Reader should be adopted as a standard text for teaching the anthropology of religion." [CUNY]


Praise for Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society by Nadia Abu El-Haj (Chicago UP, 2002)

"A fascinating and importnat study. Factually detailed and theoretically informed by the latest thinking in the anthropology and sociology of science, Nadia Abu El-Haj provided us with an understanding of precisely how archeology has contributed so crucially to the formation of nationalist sensibilities in a settler-colonial society." [CUNY]


Praise for Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire by Wendy Brown (Princeton UP, 2008)

''This is a brilliant book. Wendy Brown has made the reader understand 'tolerance' in a new and more provocative way. Alerting us to its genealogy, she demonstrates the ambiguity of any politics that seeks to found itself on this much-touted liberal virtue. Regulating Aversion is a remarkable--and remarkably rigorous--contribution to the considerable literature on tolerance and the limits of the tolerable. Anyone wanting to think seriously about multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, and democratic pluralism in our time must read it.'' [CUNY]


Praise for Islamic Liberation Theology: Resisting the Empire by Hamid Dabashi (Routledge, 2008) 

''This is a wide-ranging and trenchant critique of the ideological thinking behind American imperialism in the Middle East. But beyond that, it makes the intriguing argument that the world has already entered a phase of revolutionary resistance transcending the old ‘Islam vs. the West’ cliché. Anyone interested in the current debates about the future of America’s global hegemony will profit from reading this original and passionately written book.'' [CUNY]


Praise for Desiring Arabs by Joseph A. Massad (Chicago UP, 2007)

“This is a remarkable book, at once a fascinating history of ideas and a brilliantly analyzed case study of cultural imperialism. There are many excellent studies of Western representations of Arab and Muslim peoples, but there is nothing comparable on the way the latter have responded to the former. With impressive learning and sharp wit Massad describes the internalization of European conceptions of the human among Arab intellectuals, both nationalist and Islamist, since the nineteenth century. His account of their concern to re-orient sexual and civilizational desires (both being closely intertwined in the European imagination) is quite stunning. Anyone interested in the modernization of Middle Eastern culture cannot afford to miss this book—nor, for that matter can scholars seriously engaged in postcolonial research or in lesbian and gay studies.” [CUNY]


Praise for Semites: Race, Religion, Literature by Gil Anidjar (Stanford UP, 2007)

“In this fascinating collection of essays, Gil Anidjar traces the Western conception of the outsider, the enemy, through the once-familiar notion of the Semite. He invites his readers to ponder the remarkable fact that although the category of ‘Semite’ is now scarcely used in its original sense (Arabs and Jews as Europe’s joint Other), its negative, ‘anti-Semite’ (meaning anti-Jews), is very much alive in religious and political discourses in Euro-America. Anidjar is a master of Derridean deconstruction, a provocative analyst of the role of Western Christianity in the formation of contemporary hostilities. This elegant book will upset many complacencies.”

Praise for The State of the University: Academic Knowledges and the Knowledge of God by Stanley Hauerwas (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007)

‘‘This book by an eminent Christian theologian is provocative for think- ing fruitfully about our troubled times. Hauerwas has a subtle, learned, and compassionate mind, which he brings to bear on the secular state in which we live and on the secular knowledge produced in our universities to serve it. Non-Christians like myself will find reading this book a mind-widening experience.’’


Praise for The Great Social Laboratory: Subjects of Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Egypt by Omnia El Shakry (Stanford UP, 2007)

“This excellent and well-researched book recounts the formation and application of colonial knowledge—especially of ethnography, human geography, and demography—in the attempts to modernize and govern Egypt. It makes a significant contribution to the important debate about colonial modernity that has so far been largely confined to India.”


Praise for The Crisis of Secularism in India edited by A.D. Needham and R.S. Rajan (DUKE UP, 2006)

“Indian public debates on the question of secularism have been among the most thought-provoking in the contemporary world. This rich collection of essays by Indian intellectuals (including historians, political scientists, and philosophers) reflects the sophisticated character of many of the arguments being deployed. I strongly recommend it to anyone who has been seriously thinking about this problem.”


Praise for Islam in Europe: The Lure of Fundamentalism and the Allure of Cosmopolitanism by Nilüfer Göle (Markus Wiener 2011)

''Nilüfer Göle is a leading sociologist who is as familiar with France as she is with Turkey, and therefore with the sensibilities of their respective citizens. In this book, the fruit of many years reading and observation, she traces the civilizational challenges posed by the contemporary encounter between Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe. A central question that she asks is whether Europe is an identity or a project, and it is clear that she hopes it is first and foremost the latter. Written with rare insight and generosity of spirit, Göle's book offers readers a meditation on one way in which people from very different traditions can live together without animus in an interconnected modern world.''


Praise for Imperial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain by Peter van der Veer (Princeton UP, 2001)

"This is a splendid book. Peter van der Veer has drawn on a wide range of fascinating readings to elaborate the post-colonial thesis that the modern histories of Britain and India have been mutually constitutive. I believe he is absolutely right in insisting on the fact--and demonstrating it so ably--that modern ideas like nation, religion, and race must be understood, if they are to be understood fully, through an interactional approach. Anyone interested in recent thinking about the joint history of colonialism and modernity should not miss this work."

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