Islam and the Culture of Modernity – Fondazione Collegio San Carlo

Islam and the Culture of Modernity

  • da lunedì 10 febbraio 2003 a venerdì 14 febbraio 2003
Scuola Alti Studi

Programma del corso:

1. History of Cultural Modernity in the Islamic World

2. Convergence of Islamic and Western cultural history in the age of modernity

3. The meaning of Islamic cultural modernity

4. Post-modernity, post-colonialism & post-islamism


Public lecture:
Islam, Theology and Enlightenment

The intention of this seminar is to ask to what extent Islam has served as a tool for interpreting the culture of modernity. This topic is based on the assumption that Islam is not a fixed and normative set of meaning but a historically and socially diversified repertoire by which various interpretations of life worlds and theoretical worlds have become “islamized”. Parts of the cultural elites in the Muslim World who participated in the process of modernization used Islam as a framework for giving meaning to the changes that effected the life worlds and the theoretical worlds. “Their” Islam converged with the (reified) notion of religion that had come popular in the long run of the 19th century. In order to construe an Islam that meets the requirements of modernity these cultural elites redefined the concept of tradition and embedded their perception of Islamicity into a folder of older text traditions.

Our purpose will be first of all to examine the emergence of cultural modernity in the Muslim World. We will have to discuss the problem whether modernity should be perceived as a mere “Western” form of intellectual and social organization of rationalization (e.g. in the sense of Max Weber) or to what extend Islamic cultural history itself paved the way to participating in global modernity. Next we will concentrate on Islamic articulation of modern culture, including the emergence of a positivist world view and of so-called religious fundamentalism. In a third step we will talk about the meaning of Islamic cultural modernity in contemporary history and finally we will discuss the concept of post-islamism which some authors suggest for summing up the specificity of current Islamic cultural articulations.

Riferimenti Bibliografici


1. History of Cultural Modernity in the Islamic World
- S. N. Eisenstadt/Wolfgang Schluchter, Introduction: Paths to Early Modernities. A Comparative Approach, in «Daedalus», 127, 1998, 3, pp. 1-18;
- Björn Wittrock, Early Modernities. Varieties and Transitions, in «Daedalus», 127, 1998, 3, pp. 19-40;
- Reinhard Schulze, The Birth of Tradition and Modernity in 18th and 19th Century Islamic Culture. The Case of Printing, in «Culture and History», 16, 1997, pp. 29-71;

2. Convergence of Islamic and Western cultural history in the age of modernity
- Armando Salvatore, Islam and the Political Discourse of Modernity, Reading, 1997, p. 97-112;
- Reinhard Schulze, Is there an Islamic modernity, in Kai Hafez (a cura di), The Islamic World and the West. An Introduction to Political Cultures and International Relations, Leiden, 2000, pp. 21-32;
- Aziz al-Azmeh, Islams and modernities, 2nd ed., Verso, London, 1996;

3. The meaning of Islamic cultural modernity
- R. L. Euben, Premodern, antimodern or postmodern? Islamic and Western critiques of modernity, in «Review of Politics», 59, 1997, 3, pp.429-459;
- Salvatore, Islam, cit., pp. 189-218;

4. Post-modernity, post-colonialism & post-islamism
- Olivier Roy, Le post-islamisme, in «Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée», 85/86, 1998, pp. 11-30;
- Reinhard Schulze, A Modern History of the Muslim World, London, 2002, chapter 6.

(*) I titoli contrassegnati con l'asterisco sono disponibili, o in corso di acquisizione, per la consultazione e il prestito presso la Biblioteca della Fondazione Collegio San Carlo (lun.-ven. 9-19)

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