Revolution and Disenchantment: Arab Marxism and the Binds of Emancipation

Revolution and Disenchantment: Arab Marxism and the Binds of Emancipation

by Fadi A. Bardawil

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The Arab Revolutions that began in 2011 reignited interest in the question of theory and practice, imbuing it with a burning political urgency. In Revolution and Disenchantment Fadi A. Bardawil redescribes for our present how an earlier generation of revolutionaries, the 1960s Arab New Left, addressed this question. Bardawil excavates the long-lost archive of the Marxist organization Socialist Lebanon and its main theorist, Waddah Charara, who articulated answers in their political practice to fundamental issues confronting revolutionaries worldwide: intellectuals as vectors of revolutionary theory; political organizations as mediators of theory and praxis; and nonemancipatory attachments as impediments to revolutionary practice. Drawing on historical and ethnographic methods and moving beyond familiar reception narratives of Marxist thought in the postcolony, Bardawil engages in "fieldwork in theory" that analyzes how theory seduces intellectuals, cultivates sensibilities, and authorizes political practice. Throughout, Bardawil underscores the resonances and tensions between Arab intellectual traditions and Western critical theory and postcolonial theory, deftly placing intellectuals from those traditions into a much-needed conversation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478007586
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 04/10/2020
Series: Theory in Forms
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 280
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Fadi A. Bardawil is Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle East Studies at Duke University.

Table of Contents

A Note on Transliteration and Translation  ix
Prologue  xi
Introduction  1
Part I. Time of History
1. O Youth, O Arabs, O Nationalists: Recalling the High Tides of Anticolonial Pan-Arabism  27
2. Dreams of a Dual Birth: Socialist Lebanon's Theoretical Imaginary (1964–1970)  53
3. June 1967 and Its Historiographical Afterlives  82
Part II. Times of the Sociocultural
4. Paradoxes of Emancipation: Revolution and Power in Light of Mao  113
5. Exit Marx/Enter Ibn Khaldun: Wartime Disenchantment and Critique  138
6. Traveling Theory and Political Practice: Orientalism in the Age of the Islamic Revolution  165
Epilogue  187
Acknowledgments  195
Notes  201
Bibliography  241
Index  255

What People are Saying About This

David Scott

“Fadi A. Bardawil's Revolution and Disenchantment is at once a rich redescription and rehistoricization of the rise and fall of the Lebanese New Left, and an exemplary illustration of how to rework the problem of theory in relation to the practices of nonmetropolitan political intellectuals. With a timely attunement to the paradoxical conundrums of his present and an uncommon generosity of spirit, Bardawil challenges us to reconceive the contemporary demand for a dialogue between Arab intellectual traditions and the traditions of Western critical theory.”

The Arabic Freud: Psychoanalysis and Islam in Modern Egypt - Omnia El Shakry

“Conceptually brilliant, prodigiously researched, and appealingly written, Revolution and Disenchantment tracks the theoretical innovations and political stakes of Arab revolutionary Marxism in the postwar era, contributing to timely debates about the necessity of decolonizing critical theory and the relationship between revolutionary militancy and political disenchantment. Fadi A. Bardawil's innovative archival excavation recovers the theoretical labor of Arab intellectuals, theorists, and militants from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Palestine in the midst of a multiplicity of political upheavals.”

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