Abdelilah Beleqziz: From Critique of Arab Modernity to Critical Islamology

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As a critical scholar and historian of Modern Arab-Islamic thought, Abdelilah Beleqziz´s systematic scholarship never ceases to engage various disciplines in a reflexive and multidirectional conversation with the “founding texts” or rather the “founding discourses” of what constitute Arab-Muslim modernities or Modernity as both a historical trajectory in which the epistemological and the ideological are cast into different modalities. For doing so, Beleqziz undertakes upon himself to tell the story of his project: The Arabs and Modernity (al-ʿarab wal-ḥadāṯah). Although each volume of the four volumes stands on its own, they collectively constitute an organic and multifocal metanarrative that draws on an internal logic that attempts to delineate the dialectical relation between the self and the other on the one hand, and the past and present on the other. While the first two volumes deal with the historical, i.e., the formation, and development of Arab-Islamic Modernity, the other two volumes deal with two foundational epistemological and ideological systems of thoughts: the Arab-Islamic Civilizational Heritage (al-turāṯ) and Western Culture. As far as the latter is concerned Beleqziz sets out in the volume to deconstruct both Orientalism (or rather the various orientalizing discourses) and Eurocentrism. In this chapter, I shall outline Beleqziz´s motivation(s) behind the study of modern Arab-Islamic Thought in its interlinked trajectory – inter and trans-developments on the one hand, and his own trajectory as a critical thinker and historian of ideas on the other hand. Casting a gaze of double critique, I shall focus on “theoretical and conceptual turns” in these two trajectories: From a critique of Arab modernities to his latest contribution to a post-secular Islamology: Critical Islamology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Moroccan Thought : On Philosophy, Theology, Society and Culture
EditorsMohammed Hashas
Publication statusIn preparation - 2023
SeriesHandbook of Oriental Studies. Section 1 The Near and Middle East

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