This dissertation challenges a prevalent strain of contemporary western thought that reads Islamism as antithetical to modernity and globalization; that Islamism is a site of unabashed traditionalism in the wake of the secularism. I challenge this dominant western reading by asking the question: how might Islamic thinkers' critiques of the West, and more specifically what they have deemed westoxification, foster presentist and modern claims about the nature of Islamism and its relationship to the global?
Addressing the dynamic relationship between Islamic political thought and cultural globalization, I offer a critique of current literatures that ensconce Islam as antithetical to the ever modernizing world and thus posit a "clash of civilizations" between the West and Islam. Through a reading of a series of contemporary Persian Islamic thinkers including Jalal Al-e Ahmad, the Ayatollah Khomeini, and Abdolkarim Soroush, I trace the way in which Perso-Islamic political thinking intervenes in essential conversations about modernity including globalization, nation building, democracy and the religious tensions surrounding sexuality and gendered national identity.
The goals of this dissertation are three-fold. First, I recover the critique of westoxification as a critical Third World political theory that grapples with the problems of global capitalism, democracy and cultural globalization. Second, I challenge a dominant discourse that renders Islam and the West as incommensurable civilizations. Third, I advance the necessity for thinking political theory outside and in comparison with the western canon.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2008. Major: Political Science. Advisor: Lisa J. Disch. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 178 pages.
Deylami, Shirin Sedigh.
Strangers among us: the critique of westoxification in Perso-Islamic political thought.
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