This book seeks to dispel the myth that we have ever been embroiled in some 'clash of civilisations'. Adib-Moghaddam traverses various intellectual disciplines in order to find a pathway through the conceptual maze that has habituated us to think in 'tribal' categories. Accompanying the reader on this journey from the wars between ancient Persia and Greece, the Crusades, Colonialism and the Enlightenment to the contemporary 'wars on terror' are thinkers from 'East' and 'West': Adorno, Derrida, Farabi, Foucault, Hegel, Khayyam, Marcuse, Marx, Said, Ibn Sina, Weber. In asking where ideas such as the 'clash of civilisations' come from, and by whom they are perpetuated, Adib-Moghaddam engages with both western and Islamic representations of the 'other'. He demonstrates a) the discontinuities between 'Islamism' and the canon of classical Islamic philosophy distinguishing between 'Avicennian' and 'Qutbian' discourses of Islam, and b) how the violence inscribed in the idea of the 'West', especially during the period of the Enlightenment, continues to cast a shadow on world politics today. Expanding the geography of critical theory to include the canons of Islamic philosophy and poetry, A Metahistory of the Cash of Civilisations refuses to divorce Muslims from Europeans, Americans from Arabs, the Orient from the Occident. As such, it presents a frontal attack on our current cultural reality and Islamist-Western agitation against each other.
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is Reader in Comparative Politics and International Relations and Chair of the Centre for Iranian Studies at SOAS, University of London. He is the author of The International Politics of the Persian Gulf: A cultural genealogy (Routledge, 2006, 2009), Iran in World Politics: The question of the Islamic Republic (Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2008, 2010), A metahistory of the Clash of Civilisations: Us and them beyond Orientalism (Oxford/Hurst, 2011) and the forthcoming On the Arab Revolts and the Iranian Revolution: Power and Resistance Today (Bloomsbury). Educated at the Universities of Hamburg, American (Washington DC) and Cambridge, where he received his MPhil and PhD, he was the first Jarvis Doctorow Fellow in International Relations and Peace Studies at St. Edmund Hall and the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. Since 2007, Adib-Moghaddam is based in the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS. His writings have been translated into many languages and he is a frequent contributor to leading newspapers and TV channels around the world. .