Retail Link
Hamid Dabashi

(Zed Books, 2020)

Order Now

Emperor Is Naked: On the Inevitable Demise of the Nation State Paperback – April 4, 2020

Official Page on Zed Books:

https://www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/the-emperor-is-naked/

The invention of the nation-state was the crowning achievement of the Sykes–Picot Agreement between the United Kingdom and France in 1916. As a geostrategic move to divide, defeat, and dismantle the Ottoman Empire during World War I, it was a great success and the modern colonial borders of the Arab nation-states eventually emerged in the course of World War II.

Today, as nations are reconceiving their own postcolonial interpolated histories, Arab and Muslim states are becoming total states on the model of ISIS with Iran, Syria, Turkey and Egypt, among others, violently manufacturing their legitimacy. And yet simultaneously, examples such as the Nobel Peace Prize winning formation of a civil society ‘Quartet’ in Tunisia allude to a growing transnational public sphere across the Arab and Muslim world.

In The Emperor is Naked, Hamid Dabashi boldly argues that the category of nation-state has failed to produce a legitimate and enduring unit of post-colonial polity. Considering what this liberation of nations and denial of legitimacy to ruling states will actually unfurl, Dabashi asks: What will replace the nation-state, what are the implications of this deconstruction on global politics and, crucially, what is the meaning of the post-colonial subject within this moment?

Reviews:

“In an illuminating argument that mixes personal narrative and classical fables with history and political analysis, Dabashi counters a series of common assumptions about how revolutions today must proceed, including the destructive myth that the postcolonial state is a necessary vehicle for liberation. Particularly important is his argument – against the standard narrative that casts recent insurrections as failures – that the seeds of the future will be found in those “open-ended revolutions.” A vital contribution for all interested in liberation struggles today.”  Michael Hardt, co-author of Assembly

“A tour de force, insightful and enjoyable. The Emperor is Naked is an elegant dress-down of the West’s colonial legacy of fabrications and falsifications. Agree with him or not, Dabashi makes a strong case against the rationality and durability of Europe’s grand legacy, the nation-state. A seasoned intellectual, he emotes his readers like a grand maestro, summoning the voices and sounds of thinkers, poets and artists and elevating them into inspiring crescendos.”  Marwan Bishara

“The modern “state” and especially the so-called “nation-state” are increasingly showing their dark underbelly – their potential for global catastrophe. Is there another path ahead, beyond myth and calculation? Dabashi’s stunning text explores this crucial question.”  Fred Dallmayr, author of Post-Liberalism

« Return to Blog

Copyright ©2009-2020 Hamid Dabashi. All rights reserved.
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
[filter] => 1 ) [_multiwidget] => 1 )