Hamid Dabashi

Books

Corpus Anarchicum: Political Protest, Suicidal Violence, and the Making of the Posthuman Body

Palgrave (2012)

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This book is a meditation on and attempt to understand suicidal violence in the immediate context of its most recent political surge—the decade between 2001 and 2011, from the suicidal mission of Muhammad Atta and his band in the United States to the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi in 2010 in Tunisia. After the former a devastating military strike and occupation of two Muslim countries commenced, and after the latter a massive transnational democratic uprising ensured. Suicidal violence is neither specific to Islam nor peculiar to our time, but the suicidal violence we witness today is of an entirely different disposition because the bodies on which it is perpetrated (both of the assailant and of the assailed) are no longer the human body of our belated Enlightenment assumption. What we are witnessing is in fact the contour of a posthuman body. The posthuman body, as Dabashi here proposes, is the body of a contingent and contextual being, and as such an object of disposable knowledge, while the human body that it has superseded was corporeally integral, autonomous, rational, indispensable, and above all the site of a knowing subject.

Review

“Passionate, courageous and compelling in every chapter, Corpus Anarchicum draws on an exceptional range of texts, from the Qur’anic to the cinematic, to trace the configurations of suicidal violence as a mode of political protest against the combined horror of the postmodern imperium and local tyrannies that has given rise to it. Rigorous in his analysis, but never indifferent to the suffering of the victims, Hamid Dabashi marries righteous indignation with profound reflections on the making of the ‘posthuman’ body, breaking entirely new ground in our understanding of suicidal violence in some of its most unsettling manifestations today.”
—Alamin Mazrui, professor, Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures, Rutgers University”This exciting new volume is a remarkable meditation on suicidal violence and the fragility of the human body, incited by the experience of 9/11 and its violent aftermath, as well as by the popular uprisings following Bouazizi’s immolation. Dabashi seeks to explain suicide as a political expression/military instrument, and explores with considerable originality the meanings of that violence in our contemporary world. The result is a provocative contribution to the rethinking of our present.”
—Talal Asad, Department of Anthropology, City University of New York”Dabashi synthesizes his encyclopedic knowledge of sociology, philosophy, theology, political theory, literary and film criticism, and semiotics, as well as his perceptive analyses of historical and current events, to provide a novel interpretation of the body as the site of the political. This work is a major contribution to scholarly thinking—one that will be a new benchmark for which scholars working in related fields ought to strive.”
—Lucian Stone, assistant professor of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Dakota

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Array ( [2] => Array ( [title] => [text] => "A leading cultural observer." Washington Post "Our most prominent intellectual." Shirin Neshat "Renowned Columbia University scholar on Iranian culture." Boston Globe "Spectacular, important, and incisive. Dabashi's work is crucial for our times." Zillah Eisenstein
Ithaca College, NY
"Hamid Dabashi lovingly writes about the history of Iran that teaches us how to understand a people overshadowed by the grand narratives of political (mis)representation." Gayatri Spivak
Columbia University
"You are with a humanist who deeply loves his country, and invites you to feel very much at home." Susan Buck-Morss
Cornell University
"Superb authority... Dabashi provides a tour de force on Iranian art, politics and culture." Shirin Neshat "Great erudition and imagination... bringing out rich aspects of Iranian culture that are little known or not recognized." Vanessa Martin, Royal Holloway
University of London
"Hamid Dabashi, is one of the most significant intellectual voices outside of Iran since the Islamic revolution." Shirin Neshat "A leading light in Iranian studies." The Chronicle of Higher Education "Cuts through the myths, past and present, that Americans have been told about Iran... presenting Iran's history through the lens of its literary cosmopolitanism." Susan Buck-Morss
Cornell University
"Magisterial." Houchang Chehabi
Boston University
"An important man in New York." Sir Ridley Scott "Much-needed in our troubled times." Gayatri Spivak
Columbia University
"Exemplary of a new Leftist discourse that is undogmatic and non-sectarian... open and intimate." Susan Buck-Morss
Cornell University
"Hamid Dabashi beautifully lays out the alluring dynamic between Iranian art and politics." Shirin Neshat "A rare cultural critic." Mohsen Makhmalbaf "Dabashi's passion and extraordinary vision, gives us the knowledge and commitment to stand against war and build the possibilities for peace and global justice." Zillah Eisenstein
Ithaca College, NY
"Hamid Dabashi's piercing revelations have been as instrumental in fashioning my own films as have Scorsese, Rossellini and Bresson." Ramin Bahrani "Superb and brilliant." Bruce Lawrence
Duke University
"Fresh, provocative and iconoclastic." Ian Richard Netton
University of Leeds, UK
"Learned... sparkles with verve and a sometimes punishing wit. Hamid Dabashi is the perfect guide." Edward W. Said "There are few better places to begin than with Dabashi's subtle and vividly presented wealth on Iran." Said Amir Arjomand
SUNY, New York
"Objective and empathetic... unlike many others on contemporary Iran." Ervand Abrahamian
Baruch College, New York
"Enthusiastic... clear and accurate... impressive." Oliver Leaman
Liverpool John Moores University, UK
"Original, creative and insightful." John L. Esposito
Georgetown University
"Extraordinary." Daniel Brumberg
Georgetown University
"Dabashi has an astonishing ability to range over some of the most complex issues of modern intellectual life." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
"If anyone can lay claim to Nima Yushij's statement that this world is his home, it is Hamid Dabashi. I want a very broad readership to know the quality of his writing and thinking, of his immense epistemic and historical scholarship." Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Columbia University
"Dabashi is learned, poetic, ranging from philosophy to film, every word written with a commitment to the possibility of a just world. I have worked with him in the past and will work with him again in the future." Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Columbia University
"Hamid Dabashi is one of the foremost exponent today of postcolonial critical theory, whose work deserves to be called post-colonial with all the multivalence of this description." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
"Hamid Dabashi's writings on Iranian culture and politics brilliantly re-imagine the rich heritage of a shared past and a conflicted present. His reflections on revolution and nationhood, poetry and cinema, philosophy and the sacred, are urgent, provocative, complex, and highly original." Timothy Mitchell
Columbia University
"Equally fluent in philosophical reasoning, literary interpretation, visual hermeneutics and writing with a rare combination of penetration and lyricism, Dabashi's work continues values of both modern critical theory and the highly sophisticated and subtle intellectual traditions of Iranian... reflection -- for both of which he is an wonderfully sympathetic reader." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
"Hamid Dabashi belongs to a marvelous tradition of poetic thinkers, whose deep insights are crafted in magnificent poetic prose." Gilbert Achcar
University of London
"Dabashi provides his readers with the wine of literary pleasure along with rich food for thought." Gilbert Achcar
University of London
"In Dabashi's work, post-coloniality does not mean a denial or denunciation of the modern European tradition of philosophy and social theory, but their effortless absorption into a larger, more complex reflection." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
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