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Vol. 1, Summer 2011
Issue Index
What about Levantinization?
Jacqueline Kahanoff
Beyond the Sea of Formlessness
Daniel Monterescu
The Mediterranean Option
Gil Z. Hochberg
Center or Frontier
Guy Miron
The Orient in the Literature of the Haskalah
Amir Banbaji
The Long Shadow of Max Weber
Salman Bashier
The Struggle for Humanism in Islamic Contexts
Mohammed Arkoun
Rediscovering the Mediterranean
Wael Abu-'Uksa
Mahmoud Darwish
Almog Behar
Review Essay: Tormented By Politics
Victor Roudometof
Book review
Andrekos Varnava
Book review
Merav Mack

Rediscovering the Mediterranean: Political Critique and Mediterraneanism in Mohammed Arkoun’s Thought

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Wael Abu-'Uksa


 The article explores the works and the thought of Muhammed Arkoun, one of the most prominent Muslim intellectuals in the West, and a representative of liberal Islam. Since the 1970s, Arkoun's major intellectual critique was directed at "Islamic reason." He endeavored to deconstruct the "regimes of truth" of Islamic medievalist dogmas, which still function as orthodoxies among contemporary Muslims (Sunni, Shiʿi and Khariji). According to his analysis, this medievalist perception of Islam fulfills a function in the modern era of political ideology. His works not only deconstruct and reassess Islamic traditional epistemology but also posit a counterpoint to the common perception of Islam among both Muslim believers and western scholars.
 The article contextualizes Arkoun's works in the intellectual and political history of the Arab-Muslim countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean. The first section presents a general overview of Arkoun's oeuvre since the 1960s, with special emphasis on the foundation of his political critique. The second section sheds light on the role of the Mediterranean as a concept of mental and geo-cultural space in Arkoun's thought.

About The Blog
The Social History Workshop is a platform of public history that aims to bring to the general public current discussions that concern the past, present and future of the Middle East. The Workshop was founded in August 2013 by Dr. Liat Kozma of the Hebrew Univesity, Dr. On Barak and Dr. Avner Wishnitzer of Tel Aviv University. For us, social history is not only a history that focuses on society as its main object of study, but also history as a socio-political act. Our main venue is a blog in Haaretz website. Over the last two and a half years, the blog has published almost 150 short articles about different aspects of Middle Eastern history, from warfare to desertification, from nocturnal life to slavery, and from technology to prostitution.

In addition, we organize public events in different venues outside the campus, aiming to engage in direct conversation with our readers. In addition, we aim to intervene in the public sphere beyond the virtual world. One such project, funded by the Rashi Fund, was a report about the history of the Mikve Israel school, as part of a major preservation plan. A series of articles we published about the public dimensions of archives in Israel has generated interest among archivists across the country, and lead to the organization of several panels of historians and archivists about issues of accessibility of data in Israeli archives, preservation and digitization.

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