Saturday, September 22, 2018

"The Muslim world of the nineteenth century

has long been considered as a century of inescapable reform of an ossified world, until then closed to progress but eventually exposed to a new wind of European ideas triggered by Western intervention. The transfer of technologies and ideas has been seen as playing a pivotal role in this process, but the considerable impact of colonial workings and Western modernity has also been noted, especially the growing national sentiments and movements that espoused certain Western values, purportedly leading to the irreversible secularisation of individuals and nascent states. The teleological perspective on modernisation became the main thread of this narrative of modernity, in which Islam also played its part, as represented in the emergence of 'Muslim reformism' (a term coined by French orientalism) toward the end of the nineteenth century.
--Rachida Chih, Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen, and Rüdiger Seesemann. "The Nineteenth Century: A Sufi Century?" in Sufism, Literary Production, and Printing in the Nineteenth Century, edited by Rachida Chih, Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen, Rüdiger Seesemann. (Würzburg : Ergon Verlag, 2015), p. 3.

Friday, September 21, 2018

ACES Faculty Spotlight: Khalid Kadir

New Report Identifies Steps to Secure Americans’ Votes; All U.S. Elections Should Use Paper Ballots by 2020 Presidential Election; Internet Voting Should Not Be Used at This Time

The Venetian Qur'an A Renaissance Companion to Islam Pier Mattia Tommasino. Translated by Sylvia Notini

320 pages | 6 x 9 
Cloth 2018 | ISBN 9780812250121 | $59.95s | Outside the Americas £46.00 
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors 
A volume in the series Material Texts 
View table of contents and excerpt
"The Venetian Qur'an is an impressively rich study. It is a model of multidisciplinary research, drawing on historical, literary, and linguistic approaches."—Thomas E. Burman, University of Notre Dame
"A philological masterwork that introduces readers to a shadowy figure who was central to the intellectual life of his age. It is meticulously argued, encompassing early modern Italian literature, intellectual history, and the history of Orientalism, as well as Reformation-era European religious studies."—Karla Mallette, University of Michigan
An anonymous book appeared in Venice in 1547 titled L'Alcorano di Macometto, and, according to the title page, it contained "the doctrine, life, customs, and laws [of Mohammed] . . . newly translated from Arabic into the Italian language." Were this true, L'Alcorano di Macometto would have been the first printed direct translation of the Qur'an in a European vernacular language. The truth, however, was otherwise. As soon became clear, the Qur'anic sections of the book—about half the volume—were in fact translations of a twelfth-century Latin translation that had appeared in print in Basel in 1543. The other half included commentary that balanced anti-Islamic rhetoric with new interpretations of Muhammad's life and political role in pre-Islamic Arabia. Despite having been discredited almost immediately, the Alcorano was affordable, accessible, and widely distributed.
In The Venetian Qur'an, Pier Mattia Tommasino uncovers the volume's mysterious origins, its previously unidentified author, and its broad, lasting influence. L'Alcorano di Macometto, Tommasino argues, served a dual purpose: it was a book for European refugees looking to relocate in the Ottoman Empire, as well as a general Renaissance reader's guide to Islamic history and stories. The book's translation and commentary were prepared by an unknown young scholar, Giovanni Battista Castrodardo, a complex and intellectually accomplished man, whose commentary in L'Alcorano di Macomettobridges Muhammad's biography and the text of the Qur'an with Machiavelli's The Princeand Dante's Divine Comedy. In the years following the publication of L'Alcorano di Macometto, the book was dismissed by Arabists and banned by the Catholic Church. It was also, however, translated into German, Hebrew, and Spanish and read by an extended lineage of missionaries, rabbis, renegades, and iconoclasts, including such figures as the miller Menocchio, Joseph Justus Scaliger, and Montesquieu. Through meticulous research and literary analysis, The Venetian Qur'an reveals the history and legacy of a fascinating historical and scholarly document.
Pier Mattia Tommasino teaches Italian literature at Columbia University.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New Book from Harvard UP (2018): The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment by Alexander Bevilacqua:

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a pioneering community of Christian scholars laid the groundwork for the modern Western understanding of Islamic civilization. These men produced the first accurate translation of the Qur’an into a European language, mapped the branches of the Islamic arts and sciences, and wrote Muslim history using Arabic sources. The Republic of Arabic Letters reconstructs this process, revealing the influence of Catholic and Protestant intellectuals on the secular Enlightenment understanding of Islam and its written traditions.
Drawing on Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, and Latin sources, Alexander Bevilacqua’s rich intellectual history retraces the routes—both mental and physical—that Christian scholars traveled to acquire, study, and comprehend Arabic manuscripts. The knowledge they generated was deeply indebted to native Muslim traditions, especially Ottoman ones. Eventually the translations, compilations, and histories they produced reached such luminaries as Voltaire and Edward Gibbon, who not only assimilated the factual content of these works but wove their interpretations into the fabric of Enlightenment thought.
The Republic of Arabic Letters shows that the Western effort to learn about Islam and its religious and intellectual traditions issued not from a secular agenda but from the scholarly commitments of a select group of Christians. These authors cast aside inherited views and bequeathed a new understanding of Islam to the modern West. 

"The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries"

were marked, Welch observes, by "the antidogmatic, antiethnusiastic temper of an age tired and disgusted with religious controversies." [29] The rationalism of the Enlightenment was "antidogmatic," and therefore it was anticreedal and anticonfessional.  
In the celebrated definition by Immanuel Kant, the "Englightenment is man's exodus from his self-imposed tutelage" a tutelage that had expressed itself "in indecision and lack of courage to use the mind without the guidance of another." 
Or, in Paul Tillich's definition, the Enlightenment was "the revolution of man's autonomous potentialities over against the heteronomous powers which were no longer convincing." 
For many disciples of the Enlightenment, including its theological disciples, creeds and confessions were among the most obvious examples of such a "self-imposed tutelage." 
The rejection of creeds and confessions as "heteronomous powers" and as "no longer convincing," together with a "disgust with religious controversies," was a less obvious example of such a "revolution." 
For "it's plain from Church Histoy," the Deist Matthew Tindal wrote in 1730, "that Creeds were the spiritual Arms, with which contending Parties combated each other; and that those who were the Majority invented such unscriptural Terms, as they thought their adversaries wou'd most scruple, in Order to the stripping them of their Preferments." 
An Enlightenment thinker like Thomas Jefferson, nominal Anglican though he remained at least officially, strove to go back behind the creeds, and even behind the canonical Gospels as they had been transmitted by an orthodox and creedal Christendom, to find the authentic figure of the human Jesus as the teacher of a rational and universal faith, to set him free from creed and dogma, and to see genuine--and therefore non-creedal and nondogmatic--religion and morality as embodied in him.

--Jarsolav Pelikan, Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 490.

Global Radicalism: Solidarity, Internationalism, and Feminist Futures

Global Radicalism: Solidarity, Internationalism, and Feminist Futures

Mary Helen Washington, Vijay Prashad, and others
Sep 22, 2018 | 10:00am
The People's Forum, 320 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018
Co-Sponsors: Racial Capitalism Working Group (Center for the Study of Social Difference, Columbia University), The Peoples Forum, and New Directions in American Studies
This one-day conference recovers the histories and possible futures of anti-imperialist struggle. Conversations between scholar-activists and organizers will unearth hidden legacies of internationalist movements and reveal the potentials of decolonized feminist futures. Mary Helen Washington, Distinguished University Professor in the English Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Vijay Prashad, Executive Director of the Tricontinental: Institute of Social Research, will deliver keynote addresses.
RSVP is not required. This event is free and open to all. Seating is available on a first-come, first-seated basis.
9:00–9:45am: Coffee
9:45–9:55 AM: Welcome from The People’s Forum & short opening from Christina Heatherton
This panel examines the radical anti-racist, anti-colonial, socialist internationalist, and feminist visions of social change, that Mary Helen Washington terms “Black Left Feminism.” Cheryl Higashida, Mariame Kaba, and John Munro discuss key intellectuals, organizers, and artists in this internationalist tradition. They consider how Black Marxist feminists like Louise Thompson Patterson, Claudia Jones, Lorraine Hansberry and others confronted racism, patriarchy, capitalism, and imperialism in their own times. Panelists explore how the anticolonial Left survived the Cold War. They will suggest how new generations of antiracists, feminists, and socialists might engage this rich political tradition in our own times. Moderated by Jordan T. Camp.
12:30-1:30 PM: LunchLunch is provided for all guests who RSVP’d prior to 9/13. RSVP is now closed.
Lisa Armstrong, S. Ani Mukherji, and Margaret Stevens recover lost and forgotten histories of shared global struggle. They explore the formation of radical networks across spaces and struggles from Harlem, Mexico City, San Juan, Moscow, Port-Au-Prince, to Beijing from the early to mid-twentieth century. They describe how radicals linked struggles against Jim Crow, capitalism, imperialism, apartheid, and patriarchy in shared global movements. In examining these internationalist webs, they explore how hidden histories of global radicalism can embolden international solidarity at present. Moderated by Christina Heatherton.
3:30–4:00 PM: Break
5:00–5:15 PM: Short Break 
The final session explores the challenges and promises of cohering an internationalist political project around core feminist principles. Claudia De la Cruz, Chantelle Bateman, and Melanie Yazzie will discuss the centrality of feminist organization to mass protest against the current U.S. administration, situated in global contexts of struggle. Panelists will consider their work in movements such as the Poor People’s Campaign; Diné solidarity with Palestine; among others. Looking to the future, this panel will emphasize the significance of social reproduction and the centrality of feminism to dismantling cultures of war and imperialism. Moderated by Manu Karuka.
8 PM: After Party Featuring DJ Assim + DJ KayKay47
The event is free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible through freight entrance. Childcare offered upon RSVP request. Organized by the Racial Capitalism Working Group, Center for the Study of Social Difference, Columbia University (CSSD), the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) in partnership with The People’s Forum (TPF) and New Directions in American Studies.
Elisabeth Armstrong teaches courses on gender and movements for social, economic and environmental change, emancipatory cultural studies, and feminist archives. Her second book, Gender and Neoliberalism: The All India Democratic Women’s Association and Globalization Politics (Routledge 2014)describes the changing landscape of women’s politics for equality and liberation during the rise of neoliberalism in India between 1991-2006. Armstrong’s first book, The Retreat from Organization: U.S. Feminism Reconceptualized (SUNY, 2002), re-examines ideologies of politics and political subjectivity in US feminism from the early 1960s to the 1990s. Her recent article in Signs describes solidarity methods developed in the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) and the anti-imperialist pan-Asian women’s movement from 1942 until the mid 1960s. An ongoing research project explores the daily lives of feminist activists in India called Organizing Nephews and Uncles. Armstrong is an editorial board member of Kohl: Journal for Feminist Research on Gender and the Body in the MENA Region.
Chantelle Bateman is a mother, artist, strategist, and cultural organizer currently residing in Philadelphia. You can find her developing the leadership of anti-militarist veterans at About Face, campaigning against police violence in public schools with the Philadelphia Student Union, combating street harassment with Fostering Activism and Alternatives Now (FAAN!), challenging prevailing narratives of war as a Warrior Writers artist/facilitator, or working to uproot her own internalized militarism while parenting. She is the co-host of “The Other Veterans” podcast, founder of the Tubman-Baker Fund for Veteran Organizer of Color, and lover of Eduardo Galeano’s philosophy on utopia.
Jordan T. Camp is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work focuses on the relationships between race, class, culture, political economy, social movements, and social theory. He is the author of Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (University of California Press, 2016), co-editor (with Christina Heatherton) of Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso, 2016), and co-editor (with Laura Pulido) of the late Clyde Woods’ Development Drowned and Reborn: The Blues and Bourbon Restorations in Post-Katrina New Orleans (University of Georgia Press, 2017). His work also appears or is forthcoming in American Quarterly; Environment and Planning D: Society and Space; Crime, Media, Culture; Eurozine; Jacobin; Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies; Ord & Bild; Race & Class; and Social Justice; as well as edited volumes including: In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and Futures of Black Radicalism (Verso, 2017). He currently teaches American Studies at Barnard College.
Rev. Claudia de la Cruz is a popular educator, community organizer and theologian. She serves as co-chair of the New York State Poor People’s Campaign. For over 20 years, she has been committed to movement building, and has actively participated in collective grassroots spaces, particularly in the communities of Washington Heights and The South Bronx. As Pastor of Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas-UCC, a community church rooted in the traditions of Latin American Liberation Theology and grassroots organizing, she found her passion and dedicated her life to youth leadership development through political education and culture. In 2004, she co-founded Da Urban Butterflies Youth Leadership Development Project. Her experiences there informed her cultural and political education programing at The Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDAC-BX) for almost 5 years. As The People’s Forum Director of Culture, Claudia is committed to the creation of cultural-educational space with organizers, educators and cultural workers/artists to continue producing, promoting and uplifting the cultural traditions that nourish and strengthen our communities in our struggles towards social justice.
Christina Heatherton is a scholar and historian of anti-racist social movements. She is completing her first book, The Color Line and the Class Struggle: The Mexican Revolution, Internationalism, and the American Century (University of California Press, forthcoming). With Jordan T. Camp she recently edited Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso Books, 2016). Her work appears in places such as American Quarterly, Interface, The Rising Tides of Color: Race, State Violenceand Radical Movements Across the Pacific, edited by Moon-Ho Jung (University of Washington Press, 2014); Futures of Black Radicalism, edited by Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin (Verso Books, 2017); Feminists Rethink the Neoliberal State: Inequality, Exclusion and Change, edited by Leela Fernandes (New York University Press, 2018). With Jordan T. Camp she previously co-edited Freedom Now! Struggles for the Human Right to Housing in LA and Beyond (Freedom Now Books, 2012). She is the editor of Downtown Blues: A Skid Row Reader (Freedom Now Books, 2011). She currently teaches American Studies at Barnard College.
Cheryl Higashida is an Associate Professor of English, at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Cheryl works on ethnic and American literatures, sound studies, and Marxism. Her essays have appeared in American Literature, American Quarterly, and Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections between African Americans and Asian Americans. She is the author of Black Internationalist Feminism: Women Writers of the Black Left, 1945-1995 (Illinois, 2012).  Her current research is on sound technology, social movements, and race in the 20th and 21st centuries, and she is working on a manuscript titled, ‘Mao and Cabral/ Mingus and Coltrane’: Music, Social Movements, and the Reproduction of Race.
Mariame Kaba is out to abolish the prison industrial complex and to transform justice. An educator, an organizer and a writer, after co-founding several organizations over the years, Mariame established Project NIA, a grassroots organization with a vision to end youth incarceration, in 2009. She currently serves as its director. Mariame has taught high school and college students in New York and Chicago. As an organizer, she builds “containers” to encourage and promote social justice and change. Mariame’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Nation magazine, and on her blog Prison Culture. She has developed many popular education based curricula and online teach-in resources which can be found at the PICis site ( among other platforms. The recipient of numerous honors for her work, today Mariame uses her extensive experience with issues of racial justice, gender justice, transformative/restorative justice and multiple forms of violence to catalyze various projects.
Manu Karuka is an Assistant Professor of American Studies, and affiliated faculty with Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, where he has taught since 2014. His work centers the critique of political economy and imperialism, focusing on race and indigeneity. He is the author of Empire’s Tracks: Indigenous Nations, Chinese Workers, and the Transcontinental Railroad (forthcoming January 2019, University of California Press). With Juliana Hu Pegues and Alyosha Goldstein he co-edited a special issue of Theory & Event, “On Colonial Unknowing,” and with Vivek Bald, Miabi Chatterji, and Sujani Reddy, he co-edited The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013). His work also appears in Formations of United States Colonialism, edited by Alyosha Goldstein (Duke University Press, 2014), The Settler Complex: Recuperating Binarism in Colonial Studies, edited by Patrick Wolfe (UCLA American Indian Studies Center, 2016), Critical Ethnic StudiesDecolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and SocietyJ19, and Settler Colonial Studies.
Ani Mukherji is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He is currently working on his first book, The Anticolonial Imagination: Race, Empire, and Migrant Radicalism before World War II, an analysis of the political interventions of Asian and African diasporic artists and activists who traveled to Moscow in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. His essays appear in American Communist HistoryAfrica in Europe: Studies in Transnational Practice in the Long Twentieth Century, and The Wider Arc of Revolution: Russia’s Great War and Revolution.
John Munro is Associate Professor of History at Saint Mary’s University in Canada, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow at the Institute for American Studies at the University of Rostock until May 2019. He is the author of The Anticolonial Front: The African American Freedom Struggle and Global Decolonisation, 1945–1960 (Cambridge University Press, 2017). His essays appears in venues such as Global Urban History, History Workshop JournalThird World Quarterly, Left History, Decolonization and the Cold War: Negotiating Independence, and Jack O’Dell: The Fierce Urgency of Now.
Vijay Prashad is the Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. Prashad is the author of twenty-five books, including The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South, and ten edited volumes, including Land of Blue Helmets: The United Nations in the Arab World. As a journalist, he writes regularly for The Hindu(India), Frontline (India), BirGün (Turkey) and Alternet (USA) and appears regularly on The Real News Network and Democracy Now. He is the Chief Editor of LeftWord Books (New Delhi). He has appeared in two films – Shadow World (2016) and Two Meetings (2017). For twenty five years, he was a professor at Trinity College; he has also been the Edward Said Chair at the American University of Beirut, where he was a Senior Fellow of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy.
Margaret Stevens is a scholar and community leader, an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Urban Issues Institute at Essex County College in Newark. She is the author of Red International and Black Caribbean: Communists in New York City, Mexico and the West Indies, 1919-1939 (London: Pluto Press, 2017), and a contributor to the volume Communist Histories, Volume 1, ed. Vijay Prashad (LeftWord Books, 2016).
Mary Helen Washington is Distinguished University Professor in the English Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, specializing in 20th and 21st century African American literature. Her monograph, The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s (Columbia University Press, 2014) received Honorable Mention in the William Sanders Scarborough Prize competition from The Modern Language Association. She has edited three collections of African American literature: Memory of Kin: Stories About Family by Black Writers (Random House, February 1991; Black-Eyed Susans and Midnight Birds: Stories By and About Black Women, reprinted Doubleday/Anchor, January 1990; and Invented Lives: Narratives of Black Women, 1860-1960, Doubleday/Anchor, September 1987. From 1976-1980, she was the Director of Black Studies at the University of Detroit.  From 1980 to 1990, she taught at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She was president of The American Studies Association from 1996-1997 and was awarded the American Studies Association’s Carl Bode-Norman Holmes Pearson Prize for lifetime achievement in 2015. Her current project is Afterlives: Legacies of the Black Literary Left.
Melanie K. Yazzie (Bilagáana/Diné) is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. She specializes in violence, biopolitics, water, Navajo/American Indian history; (neo)liberalism; settler colonialism; Indigenous feminisms; Native American studies; social movements; urban Native experience; political ecology; queer Indigenous studies; Marxist theories of history, knowledge, and power; and theories of policing and the state. Her first book, Life in The Age of Extraction: Diné History in A Biopolitical Register, shows how biopolitical calculations of Navajo life that accompanied the introduction of extractive economies in the 1930s have become a full-scale biopolitical epoch defined by violent relations of extraction. She has published in Wicazo Sa ReviewStudies in American Indian LiteratureAmerican Indian QuarterlySocial Text, and American Quarterly. With Nick Estes, she guest edited a special issue of Wicazo Sa Review (June 2016) on the legacy of Dakota scholar Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, one of the founders of Native American studies. She is also co-editing a special issue of Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society with Cutcha Risling-Baldy on Indigenous water politics (forthcoming January 2018), and is co-authoring a book on bordertown violence with Nick Estes, David Correia, and Jennifer Nez Denetdale with PM Press.
Conference organized by the Racial Capitalism Working Group, Center for the Study of Social Difference, Columbia University. Co-sponsored by The People’s Forum, the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and New Directions in American Studies. 
Image credit: Adapted from Lydia Gibson, Cover of the Liberator magazine (January 1920)

The Intimacies of Four Continents by Lisa Lowe (Duke University Press, 2015)

In this uniquely interdisciplinary work, Lisa Lowe examines the relationships between Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth- centuries, exploring the links between colonialism, slavery, imperial trades and Western liberalism. Reading across archives, canons, and continents, Lowe connects the liberal narrative of freedom overcoming slavery to the expansion of Anglo-American empire, observing that abstract promises of freedom often obscure their embeddedness within colonial conditions. Race and social difference, Lowe contends, are enduring remainders of colonial processes through which “the human” is universalized and “freed” by liberal forms, while the peoples who create the conditions of possibility for that freedom are assimilated or forgotten. Analyzing the archive of liberalism alongside the colonial state archives from which it has been separated, Lowe offers new methods for interpreting the past, examining events well documented in archives, and those matters absent, whether actively suppressed or merely deemed insignificant. Lowe invents a mode of reading intimately, which defies accepted national boundaries and disrupts given chronologies, complicating our conceptions of history, politics, economics, and culture, and ultimately, knowledge itself.
About The Author(s)
Lisa Lowe is Professor of English and American Studies at Tufts University. She is the author of Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics and the coeditor of The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital, both also published by Duke University Press.

via Maryam Kashani! :)