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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


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.
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