The phenomena of orientalism, occidentalism, and Islamism are at play in a variety of contexts today. This intervention, while not a systematic essay on the subject, presents a kind of collage of analyses, observations, criticisms, and commentaries dealing with several conventional and unconventional themes substantively related to these issues. Occidentalism, it is argued here, has taken various forms over the past few decades: the “Orientalism in Reverse” of Hasan Hanafi and his call for the establishment of a science of istighrab (occidentalism) in the Arab world; the retaliatory occidentalism of Adonis's “Manifesto of Modernity (or Modernism)” of 1980; the Talibanish occidentalism found in a work like The Spirit of Terrorism by Jean Baudrillard; and the benign and popular variety of occidentalism, which helps in some cases to reinforce shaken identities. Such discourses are examined in light of the recent publication of Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit's Occidentalism and by way of a reassessment of the political intentions of Edward Said's Orientalism. The concluding section of the article is devoted to answering the question, what is Islamism? It is suggested that Islamism as ideology and practice since the mid-1970s can be said to have six defining characteristics: fundamentalism, revivalism, integralism, theocraticism, theonomism, and terrorism.
Orientalism, Occidentalism, and Islamism: Keynote Address to “Orientalism and Fundamentalism in Islamic and Judaic Critique: A Conference Honoring Sadik Al-Azm”
Sadik J. Al-Azm; Orientalism, Occidentalism, and Islamism: Keynote Address to “Orientalism and Fundamentalism in Islamic and Judaic Critique: A Conference Honoring Sadik Al-Azm”. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 May 2010; 30 (1): 6–13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-2009-045
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