ReOrient Latest Issues

Below you can find the table of contents for the latest issues of ReOrient. All articles are Open Access and links to each article are provided below. The journal is hosted on JSTOR and can be found here to read online. 

SCIENCE FICTION BY, ABOUT, AND FOR ARABS: CASE STUDIES IN DE-ORIENTALISING THE WESTERN IMAGINATION

Emad El-Din Aysha

Abstract: Orientalism is a much maligned concept. While geared to the service of the Western colonial sense of superiority, Orientalism is, at base, a loose set of symbols and motifs that is more geared towards an introspective critique of the West itself. It represents certain internal antagonisms and Western anxieties that emerge in confrontations with the East over gender and sexuality. This becomes evident when it comes to Western science fiction (written and filmed) among other popular genres and specifically when applied to Arabs and Muslims (the “classical” East). Hitherto, most literature on the Orientalism evident in Western SF has focused on the Far East, via Techno-Orientalism and Cyber-Punk. The growing strength of Arab and Muslim SF, however, can counter these Orientalist tendencies in the genre; taking Egyptian SF as a test case. Western SF, moreover, can set its own house in order in the meantime, since SF allows for symbolic substitutes to existential threats traditionally posed by the East in the Western imagination.

Keywords: Edward Said, pop art, Techno-Orientalism, classic Orient, Arabic science fiction, agenda-setting, male sexuality

“JEWISH” POLITICS OR THE POLITICS OF “JEWS”?: ON ISRAELI NATION-STATEHOOD

Yaacov Yadgar

Abstract: This essay seeks to explicate a tension that lies at the very root of our discourse on Israel as a Jewish state. I argue that the academic and political fields tend to confuse and conflate two different, often contradictory understandings or constructions of the very meaning of Jewish politics. Schematically labelling these as Jewish politics versus the politics of Jews (and derived from these, the outlook of Israel as a “Jewish state” versus the notion of it being solely a “state of Jews”), I argue that the conflicting political and ideological constructions are nourished by different readings of Jewish identity and authenticity, which were first developed in Europe by leading (self-identified secular) Zionist ideologues, and later shaped mainstream readings of Israeli politics. The essay outlines the basic contours of this conceptual distinction, traces its roots in Zionist ideology (as developed in Eastern and Central Europe), and concludes with a consideration of the playing out of the tension at hand in contemporary Israeli politics.

RELATIONALITY AND THE GADAMERIAN “HORIZONTVERSCHMELZUNG”: KHALED ABOU EL FADL

Angus M. Slater

Abstract: While the notion of philosophical hermeneutics and its impact on discourses of Islamic law and ethics have been a continuous feature of comparative and religious study in the recent past, this has tended to take the form of theoretical and largely textual hermeneutical readings. This article aims to examine the instances of the occurrence of one particular aspect of the philosophical hermeneutical canon, the Gadamerian notion of horizontverschmelzung, within the work of the contemporary Islamic legal thinker, Khaled Abou El Fadl. In doing so, the article focuses on the way in which the notion of horizontverschmelzung is used by Khaled Abou El Fadl both explicitly, in his textual work, and implicitly, in the performance of his broader methodological project. This dual dynamic is made apparent in his work that aims to engage with debates that are internal to the Muslim community, such as those over the process of the interpretation of the Shari’a, and those that involve the Muslim community’s relationship with the West, such as those to do with representation and identity. This dynamic is a vital consideration for the further understanding of contemporary forms of philosophical hermeneutics in the islamicate context and the legal and social work of Khaled Abou El Fadl.

Keywords: Horizontverschmelzung, Islamic law, Khaled Abou El Fadl, relation, identity, philosophical hermeneutics, Islamic ethics, beauty

TRANSLATION AND THE COLONIAL ENCOUNTER: CONVERSATION BETWEEN YUVAL EVRI AND YEHOUDA SHENHAV-SHAHRABANI ON BI-NATIONAL TEAM TRANSLATION

A DANGEROUS TEXT: DISCIPLINING DEFICIENT READERS AND THE POLICING OF THE QUR’AN IN THE GERMAN ISLAM CONFERENCE

Luis Manuel Hernández Aguilar and Zubair Ahmad

Abstract: Departing from the premise that the Qur’an has been imagined as a dangerous, almost subject-like text in the long tradition of the Eurocentric-Orientalist order, this contribution traces how Germany’s Islam Conference has attempted to govern this supposedly dangerous text by disciplining its readers and policing its interpretations particularly regarding gender justice and equality. In doing so we argue that the policing of the Qur’an is an important site of political interventions and as a technology of power whereby Muslims in contemporary Germany are problematised as deficient and archaic readers. Moreover, policing the Qur’an as a racialised textual governmentality, we argue, is a further point of power application within the larger context of refashioning the racialised figure of the Muslim subject in Germany.

Keywords: German Islam Conference, Muslims in Germany, the Qur’an, governmentality, Orientalism