News Details
22 October 2015

Lunchtime seminar hosted by CISRUL/Arab Transitions

Modern Egypt's unheeded revolution, and why it matters today -- Haifaa Khalafallah

By the first half of the twentieth century, Egypt's first modern, albeit quietist revolution, had succeeded in altering general ideas and practices, redrawing the map of mainstream Islam in that country.

 It also helped define Egyptian collective identities, paving the way for further changes in society, including perceptions of legitimacy and governance. But its impact did not stop there.  It challenged, indeed affected Muslim discourses in Arabic-speaking societies and, eventually, elsewhere too.

 Its implications remain significant today but they rarely figure in  our narrative about the Middle East or Islam.

 This presentation outlines this struggle, which erupted late in the 19th century, and how reviews of Muslim history and its sources became its main tool for change.  Finally, it highlights the irrelevance of investigating the Arabic-speaking region in reductionists  phrases such as “progressive,” “orthodox,” “traditionalists,” or ‘moderate.”  Contemporary illustrations from that region show these ready-made terms continued neglect of the consequences of this revolution and how they affect us here in Europe today.


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