In this collection of essays, Gilbert Achcar examines the controversial relationship of Marxism to religion, to Orientalism and its critique by Edward Said, and to the concept of cosmopolitanism. A compelling range of issues is discussed within these pages, including a comparative assessment of Christian liberation theology and Islamic fundamentalism; "Orientalism in reverse", which can take the form of an apology for Islamic fundamentalism; the evolution of Marx's appraisal of non-Western societies; and the vagaries of "cosmopolitanism" up to our present era of globalisation. Erudite and incisive, these essays provide a major contribution to the critical discussion of Marxism, Orientalism and cosmopolitanism, and illuminate the relationships between all three.
Gilbert Achcar is Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His other works include Perilous Power: The Middle East and US Foreign Policy, with Noam Chomsky.
Contents: Foreword 7 1: Religion and Politics Today from a Marxian Perspective 10 Marx's view of religion 12 Religion and radicalism today: liberation theology 16 Religion and radicalism today: Islamic fundamentalism 23 For a Marxian comparative sociology of religions 28 Political conclusions 35 2: Orientalism in Reverse: Post-1979 Trends in French Orientalism 40 "Orientalism in reverse" 41 Post-1979 French Orientalists 45 French "Orientalism in reverse" 47 The meanderings of French "Orientalism in reverse" 56 3: Marx, Engels and "Orientalism": On Marx's Epistemological Evolution 68 Said's Orientalism and its Marxist critique 68 Orientalism, essentialism and idealism 73 Marx and Engels' radical break with historical idealism 78 Were Marx and Engels Eurocentric? 82 The political/epistemological evolution of Marx and Engels 88 Critical Marxism and Orientalism 96 4: Marxism and Cosmopolitanism 103 Four conceptions of cosmopolitanism 103 Marx and Engels' initial conception of cosmopolitanism 107 The maturation of Marx and Engels' conception of cosmopolitanism 116 Cosmopolitanism and internationalism 123 "Cosmopolitanism" after Marx and Engels: Kautsky, Gramsci and the Comintern 128 "Cosmopolitanism" as anathema: the Stalinist perversion 134 Cosmopolitanism and "globalisation" 144 Bibliography and References 165