The End of Two Illusions: Islam after the West — Hamid Dabashi's Official Website
Hamid Dabashi

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The End of Two Illusions: Islam after the West

(California University Press, 2022)

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Official Page on University of California Press

https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520376922/the-end-of-two-illusions

Dismantling the myths that divide Islam and the West, this cutting-edge work of critical thinking proposes new ways to reread Islamic and world histories.

Extending from the front-page news coverage of our daily lives back into the deepest and most revelatory histories of the last two hundred years and earlier, Hamid Dabashi’s The End of Two Illusions is a daring, provocative, and groundbreaking work that dismantles the most dangerous delusions manufactured between two vastly fetishized abstractions: “Islam” and “the West.” With this book, Dabashi shows how the civilizational divides imagined between these two cosmic binaries have defined their entanglement—in ways that have nothing to do with the lived experiences of either Muslims or the diverse and changing communities scarcely held together by the myth of “the West.”

Through detailed historical and contemporary analysis, The End of Two Illusions untangles the motivations that produced this global fiction. Dabashi demonstrates how “the West” was an ideological commodity and civilizational mantra invented during the European Enlightenment, serving as an epicenter for the rise of globalized capitalist modernity. In turn, Orientalist ideologues went around the world manufacturing equally illusory abstractions in the form of inferior civilizations in India, China, Africa, Latin America, and the Islamic world. The result was the projection of “Islam and the West” as the prototype of a civilizational hostility that has given false explanations and flawed prognoses of our contemporary history, with weaponized Islamophobia on one side and militant Islamism on the other as its most palpable manifestations. Dabashi argues it is long past time to dismantle this dangerous liaison, expose and overcome its perilous delusions, and reimagine the world beyond its shimmering mirage. The End of Two Illusions is the most iconoclastic work of critical thought and scholarship to emerge in recent memory, clearing the way toward a far more liberating imaginative geography of the world we share.

Reviews

REVIEWS:

“This book should have been written a long time ago. It is the first bold and incisive deconstruction of the greatest fabricated binary of this century: ‘Islam and the West.’ This old Orientalist and destructive juxtaposition has survived until today and provided the moral justification for the brutal American assaults on Afghanistan and Iraq. This book offers a different genealogy for the emergence of this constructed binary, positioned one against the other in a poisonous, and artificial, relationship. Hamid Dabashi forcefully challenges this dangerous concept of ‘Islam and the West,’ offering an alternative de-racialized and humane perspective—visions of the past and future that will be essential for all who are embroiled and affected by this insidious and violent construct. Scholars and the wider audience will find in this book an accessible, honest, and very readable critique of a notion that impacts the lives of so many of us in this century.”

—Ilan Pappé, Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter

“‘Islam and the West’ is a gnoseological invention (not a ‘representation’) cast in the binary logic undergirding the idea of Western Civilization. Dabashi’s convincing and powerful argument is the call to extricate ourselves from this and all binary illusions that shatter thinking in order to manage subjective and intersubjective relations.”

—Walter D. Mignolo, author of The Politics of Decolonial Investigations

“Dabashi, with all the erudition of a distinguished scholar, takes on and demolishes a fiction that has long been accepted as truth: that something called the ‘West’ and ‘Islam’ actually exist. This book both pushes back against mainstream and right-wing authors and takes on scholarly work that falls into the trap of creating an essentialized West. It then draws on millennia of history to expose the limitations of the ‘Islam and the West’ framework. This brilliant book is an important intervention at this historical moment when the empire of capital has assumed new forms to legitimate itself.”

—Deepa Kumar, Professor of Media Studies at Rutgers University and author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire: 20 Years after 9/11

“In this gripping text, Dabashi advances a new materialist, post-Saidian perspective to dismantle the ideological foundation of the all-too-familiar binary ‘Islam and the West.’ The End of Two Illusions is a powerful antidote to Samuel Huntington and the epistemological apparatus of the ‘clash of civilizations.'”

—Asef Bayat, Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Dabashi draws on his probing and erudite oeuvre to chart an emancipatory path beyond the illusory West-Islam binary.”

—Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab, author of Enlightenment on the Eve of Revolution: The Egyptian and Syrian Debates

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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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