About

Columbia University Press Pinterest

Twitter

Facebook

CUP Web site

RSS Feed

New Books

Author Interviews

Author Events

Keep track of new CUP book releases:
e-newsletters

For media inquiries, please contact our
publicity department

CUP Authors Blogs and Sites

American Society of Magazine Editors

Leonard Cassuto

Mike Chasar / Poetry and Popular Culture

Erica Chenoweth / "Rational Insurgent"

Juan Cole

Jenny Davidson / "Light Reading"

Faisal Devji

William Duggan

James Fleming / Atmosphere: Air, Weather, and Climate History Blog

David Harvey

Paul Harvey / "Religion in American History"

Bruce Hoffman

Alexander Huang

David K. Hurst / The New Ecology of Leadership

Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh

Geoffrey Kabat / "Hyping Health Risks"

Grzegorz W. Kolodko / "Truth, Errors, and Lies"

Jerelle Kraus

Julia Kristeva

Michael LaSala / Gay and Lesbian Well-Being (Psychology Today)

David Leibow / The College Shrink

Marc Lynch / "Abu Aardvark"

S. J. Marshall

Michael Mauboussin

Noelle McAfee

The Measure of America

Philip Napoli / Audience Evolution

Paul Offit

Frederick Douglass Opie / Food as a Lens

Jeffrey Perry

Mari Ruti / The Juicy Bits

Marian Ronan

Michael Sledge

Jacqueline Stevens / States without Nations

Ted Striphas / The Late Age of Print

Charles Strozier / 9/11 after Ten Years

Hervé This

Alan Wallace

James Igoe Walsh / Back Channels

Xiaoming Wang

Santiago Zabala

Press Blogs

AAUP

University of Akron

University of Alberta

American Management Association

Baylor University

Beacon Broadside

University of California

Cambridge University Press

University of Chicago

Cork University

Duke University

University of Florida

Fordham University Press

Georgetown University

University of Georgia

Harvard University

Harvard Educational Publishing Group

University of Hawaii

Hyperbole Books

University of Illinois

Island Press

Indiana University

Johns Hopkins University

University of Kentucky

Louisiana State University

McGill-Queens University Press

Mercer University

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

Minnesota Historical Society

University of Mississippi

University of Missouri

MIT

University of Nebraska

University Press of New England

University of North Carolina

University Press of North Georgia

NYU / From the Square

University of Oklahoma

Oregon State University

University of Ottawa

Oxford University

Penn State University

University of Pennsylvania

Princeton University

Stanford University

University of Sydney

University of Syracuse

Temple University

University of Texas

Texas A&M University

University of Toronto

University of Virginia

Wilfrid Laurier University

Yale University

February 25th, 2010 at 7:01 am

Arab responses to Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab’s Contemporary Arab Thought

Elizabeth KassabElizabeth Kassab

How have Arab readers and critics responded to Kassab’s new book Contemporary Arab Thought: Cultural Critique in Comparative Perspective?

The book was recently reviewed in in the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat (review is in Arabic). For those who cannot read Arabic, the review, written by a leading Arab literary critic, Faisal Darraj, highlights the author’s balance between a sober assessment of contemporary Arab critical thought and an engaged commitment to it.

Darraj also notes on how Kassab measures the difficult tension between the intellectual efforts of critical thinkers and the pressures of most challenging realities, let alone on her appreciation of those efforts precisely in light of the challenges themselves. Finally, Darraj refers to the comparative perspective of the book which, for the first time, situates contemporary Arab thought in wider African and Latin American perspectives, and in so doing breaks the claims of exceptionalism and the confines of self-referentiality.

Kassab was also recently interviewed by the Lebanon-based Web site Now Lebanon. Here is an excerpt from that interview:

Q: What is the cause of “Arab malaise” according to these [critical Arab] thinkers?

Elizabeth Kassab: For a long time, people tried to give a cultural explanation for the [Arab] cultural malaise: There is something flawed in our culture, so we need to fix our culture to fix our situation. But throughout 150 years, there have always been voices saying that the problem is political rather than cultural. From the very beginning, if you start from the Nahda, for people like [scholar Rifaa] al-Tahtawi, the cause of the malaise was [lack of] political justice – as long as you had despotism, repression of human rights, then you’re not going to have a healthy country or society. In the 1930s, and also in the 60s and 70s, there were [the seeds of a] political reading of the malaise… I think that from the 90s onward, in the writings of many political prisoners… you have that political critique really being articulated… The big challenge is: How do you channel that critical spirit into politics as individuals? That, I think, is the one million dollar question.

Finally, read the introduction to the book, Cultural Malaise and Cultural Identity in Twentieth-Century Western, Postcolonial, and Arab Debates.

2 Comments

  1. Ana says:

    The link above to the introduction does not work – please fix!

  2. Columbia University Press says:

    The link should now go through correctly to the introduction. Thanks for pointing out the problem!

Post a comment