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Islamic Modernism, Nationalism, and Fundamentalism

Episode and Discourse

The Islamic world has experienced extensive social changes in modern times—the rise of new social classes, the formation of massive bureaucratic and military states, and the incorporation of its economies into the world capitalist structure. Yet despite these changes, a national consensus on even the most important principles of social organization—the form of government, the status of women, national identity, and rule making—has yet to emerge.

An ambitious comparative historical analysis of ideological production in the Islamic world from the mid-1800s to the present, Mansoor Moaddel’s Islamic Modernism, Nationalism, and Fundamentalism provides a unique perspective for understanding the social conditions of these discourses. Moaddel characterizes these movements in terms of a sequence of cultural episodes characterized by ideological debates and religious disputations, each ending with a revolution or military coup. Understanding how the leaders of these movements formulated their discourses is, for Moaddel, the key to understanding Middle Eastern history. This premise allows him to unlock for readers the historical process that started with Islamic modernism and ended with fundamentalism.

424 pages | 1 line drawing, 8 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2005

History: Middle Eastern History

Middle Eastern Studies

Political Science: Comparative Politics

Religion: Islam

Sociology: Individual, State and Society


"This is an ambitious and important book that offers a unique combination of historical depth and comparative range. It provides much more than a historical survey of the subjects analyzed, expounding a rigorous, comprehensive, and consistent explanatory paradigm for the evolution of modern Muslim discourses"

James P. Jankoski | James P. Jankowski

"Mansoor Moaddel has deeper insights into modern Islam than any other social scientist in the world, as will be obvious to all readers of this remarkable book."

Rodney Stark | Rodney Stark

"Moaddel’s book innovates in considering the development of modern Islam simultaneously in several Arab countries, in Iran, and in India. Like William Sewell Jr., he argues for the centrality of historical episodes in shaping ideology. His attention to the colonial context, to the impact of Christian missionary work, and to nationalism does not cause him to downplay the agency of Muslim thinkers. His insight that the precise target of reformers in each time and place shapes the form of their Islamic activism allows him to avoid the essentialism that has often marred treatments of modern Islam."

Juan Cole | Juan Cole

"The book contains a wealth of historical and contemporary information that would be of interest to social scientists and students."

Mohammed A. Bamyeh | Middle East Journal

"Moaddel successfully fulfills his purpose in writing this book through synthesizing significant primary sources . . . and the secondary literature on political, socioeconomic, intellectual/theological, and ideological developments. . . . Moaddel does the field of Islamic and nationalist studies a great service by covering a broader geographic area (from Algeria in the west to India in the east) and by presenting a pattern of development over a longer historical period (from Islamic modernism to Islamic fundamentalism)."

Eric Engel Tuten | H-Net Book Reviews

"Highly recommended for advanced students and those already familiar with the history of the Muslim world."

David Owusu-Ansah | The Historian

Table of Contents

Introduction: Sociological Theories of Ideology and Cultural Change
Part One: The Rise of Islamic Modernism
Introduction to Part One
1. Social Transformation and the Origins of Islamic Modernism
2. Historical Discontinuity and International Transfer of Meaning
3. Europocentric Rationalism and Islamic Modernism in India
4. The French Enlightenment and Islamic Modernism in Egypt
5. Iran: The Bastion of Traditionalism and Conservative Reaction
Part Two: The Rise of Liberal Nationalism, Arabism, and Arab Nationalism
Introduction to Part Two
6. Egypt: The Rise of Liberalism and Territorial Nationalism
7. Syria: From Liberal Arabism to Pan-Arab Nationalism
8. Iran: From Constitutionalism and Anticlerical Secularism to Economic Nationalism
Part Three: The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism
Introduction to Part Three
9. The Rise of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt: From Moderate to Revolutionary Activism
10. Ba’athist Socialism and Militant Reformist Fundamentalism in Syria
11. Iran: The Monarchy-Centered Nationalist Discourse and the Origins of Clergy-Centered Revolutionary Shi’ism
12. Algeria: The Socialist Turn and Radical Islamism
13. Jordanian Exceptionalism: The Alliance between the State and the Muslim Brothers
Conclusion: Episode and Discourse: Ideology, Target, and Practice in the Islamic World


North Central Sociological Association: North Central Sociological Association Award

North Central Sociological Assn.: Scholarly Achievement Award of North Central Soc. Assn.

ASA Sociology of Religion Section: Sociology of Religion Distinguished Book Award

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