•  12
    The Persian Translation of Arabic Aesthetics: Rādūyānī’s Rhetorical Renaissance
    Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 33 (4). 2016.
    Notwithstanding its value as the earliest extant New Persian treatment of the art of rhetoric, Rādūyānī’s Interpreter of Rhetoric (Tarjumān al-Balāgha) has yet to be read from the vantage point of comparative poetics. Composed in the Ferghana region of modern Central Asia between the end of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelfth century, Rādūyānī’s vernacularization of classical Arabic norms inaugurated literary theory in the New Persian language. I argue here that Rādūyānī’s vern…Read more
  •  3
    Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism
    with Navras Jaat Aafreedi, Raihanah Abdullah, Zuraidah Abdullah, Iqbal S. Akhtar, Blain Auer, Jehan Bagli, Parvez M. Bajan, Carole A. Barnsley, Michael Bednar, Clinton Bennett, Purushottama Bilimoria, Leila Chamankhah, Jamsheed K. Choksy, Golam Dastagir, Albert De Jong, Amanullah De Sondy, Arthur Dudney, Janis Esots, Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst, Jonathan Goldstein, Thomas K. Gugler, Vivek Gupta, Andrew Halladay, Sowkot Hossain, A. R. M. Imtiyaz, Brannon Ingram, Ayesha A. Irani, Barbara C. Johnson, Ramiyar P. Karanjia, Pasha M. Khan, Shenila Khoja-Moolji, Søren Christian Lassen, Riyaz Latif, Bruce B. Lawrence, Joel Lee, Matthew Long, Iik A. Mansurnoor, Anubhuti Maurya, Sharmina Mawani, Seyed Mohamed Mohamed Mazahir, Mohamed Mihlar, Colin P. Mitchell, Yasien Mohamed, A. Azfar Moin, Rafiqul Islam Molla, Anjoom Mukadam, Faiza Mushtaq, Sajjad Nejatie, James R. Newell, Moin Ahmad Nizami, Michael O’Neal, Erik S. Ohlander, Jesse S. Palsetia, Farid Panjwani, and Rooyintan Pesh Peer
    Springer Verlag. 2018.
  •  47
    In the wake of modernism studies' global turn, this article considers the role of translation in fostering Iranian modernism. Focusing on the poetic translations of Bijan Elahi (1945-2010), one of Iran's most significant poet-translators, we demonstrate how untranslatability becomes a point of departure for his experimental poetics. Elahi used premodern Sufi hermeneutics to develop his modernist theory of translation, whereby the alien core of the text is recognised at the centre of the original…Read more
  •  41
    Responding to recent calls made within UK Parliament for a government-backed definition of Islamophobia, this article considers the unanticipated consequences of such proposals. I argue that, considered in the context of related efforts to regulate hate speech, the formulation and implementation of a government-sponsored definition will generate unforeseen harms for the Muslim community. To the extent that such a definition will fail to address the government’s role in propagating Islamophobia t…Read more
  •  8996
    The challenge posed by legal indeterminacy to legal legitimacy has generally been considered from points of view internal to the law and its application. But what becomes of legal legitimacy when the legal status of a given norm is itself a matter of contestation? This article, the first extended scholarly treatment of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s new definition of antisemitism, pursues this question by examining recent applications of the IHRA definition within the …Read more
  •  127
    This essay examines Giambattista Vico’s philology as a contribution to democratic legitimacy. I outline three steps in Vico’s account of the historical and political development of philological knowledge. First, his merger of philosophy and philology, and the effects of that merge on the relative claims of reason and authority. Second, his use of antiquarian knowledge to supersede historicist accounts of change in time and to position the plebian social class as the true arbiters of language. Th…Read more
  •  64
    This essay considers the relation between Don Quixote's hunger and the disenchantment (Entzauberung) that Max Weber understood as paradigmatic of the modern condition. Whereas hunger functions within a Hegelian dialectic of desire in Cervantes' novel, literary representations of hunger from later periods (in Kafka and post-Holocaust Polish poetry) acknowledge the cosmic insignificance of human need by substituting the desire for recognition with a desire for self-abdication. While Don Quixote's …Read more
  •  130
    Adam Bede’s Dutch Realism and the Novelist’s Point of View
    Philosophy and Literature 36 (2): 404-423. 2012.
    Hegel was ambivalent about Dutch genre painting’s uncanny ability to find beauty in daily life. The philosopher regarded the Dutch painterly aesthetic as Romanticism avant la lettre, and classifies it as such in his Lectures on Aesthetics, under the section entitled “Die romantischen Künste [The Romantic arts].”1 Dutch art, in Hegel’s reading, is marred by many shortcomings. The most prominent among these are the “subjective stubbornness [subjective Beschlossenheit]” that prevents this art from …Read more
  •  214
    Antiquarianism as genealogy: Arnaldo Momigliano's method
    History and Theory 53 (2): 212-233. 2014.
    This essay uses Arnaldo Momigliano's genealogy of antiquarianism and historiography to propose a new method for engaging the past. Momigliano traced antiquarianism from its advent in ancient Greece and later growth in Rome to its early modern efflorescence, its usurpation by history, and its transformation into anthropology and sociology in late modernity. Antiquarianism performed for Momigliano the work of excavating past archives while infusing historiographical inquiry with a much-needed dose…Read more
  •  178
    (Awarded the International Society for Intellectual History’s Charles Schmitt Prize) Mīrzā Fatḥ 'Alī Ākhūndzāda’s Letters from Prince Kamāl al-Dawla to the Prince Jalāl al-Dawla (1865) is often read as a Persian attempt to introduce European Enlightenment political thought to modern Iranian society. This essay frames Ākhūndzāda’s text within a broader intellectual tradition. I read Ākhūndzāda as a radical reformer whose intellectual ambition were shaped by prior Persian and Arabic endeavors to m…Read more
  •  97
    Building on the multivalent meanings of the Arabo- Persian tarjama (‘to interpret’, ‘to translate’, ‘to narrate’), this essay argues for the relevance of Qur’ānic inimitability (i'jāz) to contemporary translation theory. I examine how the translation of Arabic rhetorical theory ('ilm al-balāgha) into Persian inaugurated new trends within the study of literary meaning. Finally, I show how Islamic aesthetics conceptualizes the translatability of literary texts along lines kindred to Walter Benjami…Read more
  •  156
    American Muslims increasingly negotiate their relation to a government that is suspicious of Islam, yet which is legally obligated to recognize them as rights-bearing citizens. To better understand how the post-9/11 state is reshaping American Islam, I examine the case of Muslim American dissident Tarek Mehanna, sentenced to seventeen years in prison for providing material support for terrorism, on the basis of his controversial words (USA v. Mehanna et al, 2012). I situate Mehanna’s writing and…Read more
  •  161
    Secularism and Belief in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge
    Journal of Islamic Studies 22 (3): 339-373. 2011.
    This paper discusses the diverse forms of contemporary Islam practised by the Kists, inhabitants of Georgia's Pankisi Gorge related to the Chechens. The newest wave of Salafi-inspired Islam among the young generation of Chechens, mostly men who have fought in the Chechen-Russian war, is aesthetically marked by a distinctive style of minaret and by a more public adhān than Pankisi has hitherto known. The reactions of local Kists to the aesthetics and morality of the new Islam, and the distinction…Read more
  •  146
    The concept of the exception has heavily shaped modern political theory. In modernity, Kierkegaard was one of the first philosophers to propound the exception as a facilitator of metaphysical transcendence. Merging Kierkegaard’s metaphysical exception with early modern political theorist Jean Bodin’s theory of sovereignty, Carl Schmitt introduced sovereignty to metaphysics. He thereby made an early modern concept usable in a post-metaphysical world. This essay carries Schmitt’s appropriation one…Read more