The World Is My Home: A Hamid Dabashi Reader

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As recent events indicate, Iranian, Middle Eastern, and Islamic politics more broadly have been deeply influential in world affairs. Hamid Dabashi has been a highly visible and prominent commentator on these affairs, explaining, interpreting, and providing a critical perspective. This volume gathers together his most influential and insightful writings.

As one of the foremost contemporary public intellectuals and scholars of our time, Dabashi's interests and writings span subjects ranging from Islamic philosophy and political ideology to Iranian art and Persian literature, from Sufism and Orientalism to Iranian and world cinema and contemporary Arab and Muslim visual arts; and from postcolonial theory and globalization to imperialism and public affairs. There is a direct connection between his theoretical innovations and the angle of his public interventions on the urgent global issues of the day. This book brings together some of his most important writings, especially those that offer new ways of understanding Islam, Iran, Islamist ideology, global art, and the condition of global modernity. The book shows the underlying conceptual themes that unify Dabashi's wide-ranging and brilliantly insightful corpus.

Dabashi combines deep knowledge of the subject matter about which he writes, and highly refined sociological, hermeneutical, and cultural interpretive skills, moving far beyond the limiting, distorted, and intellectually stifling character of reigning absolutist conventions. He places existing authoritative frameworks under close scrutiny in order to produce novel and penetrating insights. These essays reflect historical and geographical worlds that are best viewed when Hamid Dabashi's work is read as a whole, which this one- volume work makes possible for the first time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“If anyone can lay claim to Nima Yushij’s statement that this world is his home, it is Hamid Dabashi. His book of that name is learned, poetic, ranging from philosophy to film, every word written with a commitment to the possibility of a just world. I have worked with him in the past and will work with him again in the future. I want a very broad readership to know the quality of his writing and thinking, of his immense epistemic and historical scholarship. This book serves that purpose.” —Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University “Hamid Dabashi is one of the foremost exponents today of postcolonial critical theory, whose work deserves to be called post-colonial with all the multivalence of this description. In his work, post-coloniality does not mean a denial or denunciation of the modern European tradition of philosophy and social theory, but their effortless absorption into a larger, more complex reflection. This collection shows the strong, inimitable particularity of his voice, which articulates a thinking with a wide universalist appeal. Dabashi has an astonishing ability to range over some of the most complex issues of modern intellectual life—the strange, unpredictable transformations of religious thought in the peculiar crucible of modernity, the complex interaction between the authority of religion and the power of the modern state, and the new strands of aesthetics that some peculiarly modern forms like cinema have produced. Equally fluent in philosophical reasoning, literary interpretation, visual hermeneutics and writing with a rare combination of penetration and lyricism, Dabashi’s work continues values of both modern criticial theory and the highly sophisticated and subtle intellectual traditions of Iranian Islamic reflection—for both of which he is a wonderfully sympathetic reader. From the deep interrogation of the intrinsic paradoxicality of the tradition of Shi’i Islam to the formation of the state, to the constitution of the national subject—this collection covers an immense range of subjects. Additionally, as a writer, Dabashi has a gift of language which is adequate for the demands that all these dissimilar subjects place on his thinking. This is an excellent collection which places before its readers a truly wide-ranging and astonishing body of work.” —Sudipta Kaviraj, professor of Indian Politics and Intellectual History, Columbia University “Hamid Dabashi’s writings on Iranian culture and politics brilliantly re-imagine the rich heritage of a shared past and a conflicted present. His reflections on revolution and nationhood, poetry and cinema, philosophy and the sacred, are urgent, provocative, complex, and highly original.” —Timothy Mitchell, Columbia University “Hamid Dabashi belongs to a marvelous tradition of poetic thinkers, whose deep insights are crafted in magnificent poetic prose, thus providing his readers with the wine of literary pleasure along with rich food for thought. This nicely introduced and judiciously selected anthology of his writings is a very welcome addition to the literature on Iran, Islam, cinema studies and cultural studies.” —Gilbert Achcar, professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412813440
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/30/2010
  • Pages: 331
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Himadeep Muppidi is a colleague in the Political Science Department at Vassar College.

Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of, among other works, the acclaimed Authority in Islam: From the Rise of Muhammad to the Establishment of the Umayyads.

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Table of Contents


Introduction 1

Part 1 Counter-Imagining Islam and Iran


1 In the Absence of the Face 19

2 Shi'ism as Paradox 57

3 Counter-Imagining the Sacred 67

Islamic Ideology

4 The Power of Interpretation 87

5 Blindness and Insight: The Predicament of a Muslim Intellectual 101


6 On Nations Without Borders 121

7 Khomeini's Revolution 139

Part 2 Emancipatory Aesthetics

Poetic Revolutions

8 Nima Yushij and the Constitution of a National Subject 147

9 Forugh Farrokhzad and the Formative Forces of Iranian Culture 187

Cinematic Palpitations

10 Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf 215

11 On Signs and Signation 239

New Global Visual Arts

12 Whither Iranian Cinema? The Perils and Promises of Globalization 251

13 It was in China, Late One Moonless Night 281

A Select Bibliography Hamid Dabashi Dabashi, Hamid 311

Index 319

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