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Muslims, Islams and Occidental Anxieties: Conversations about Islamophobia

Title: Muslims, Islams and Occidental Anxieties
Subtitle: Conversations about Islamophobia
Subject Classification: Religion and Faith, Morals, Race
BIC Classification: HRH, HR, HPQ
BISAC Classification: REL037000, REL077000, PHI005000
Binding: Hardback, Paperback, ebook, pp.290
Publication date: 10th February 2022
ISBN (Hardback): 978-1-871891-83-6
ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-80441-148-3
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-871891-84-3


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Muslims, Islams and Occidental Anxieties deconstructs our common prejudices about both the compatibility and incompatibility of Muslim and Western civilizations. Rather than reinforcing the well-meant, but misinformed, opinion that the religions all fundamentally teach identical values, we identify what seem different distinctive Muslim “goods.” Rather than offering the facile moral choice between an Islam either “all good” or “all bad,” we argue the case for pluralism derived from Sir Isaiah Berlin. In many cases, Islam thus represents a distinctive system of alternative ethical and religious “goods” to those valued in the West. In other cases, differences will remain different and unresolved. Far from necessarily threatening Western moral and religious identity, we explore how the alternative “goods” Islam offers the West can enrich our notions of what constitutes “the good,” even to the extent of reviving or enlivening certain Western religious practices. 

Along with instructional guidelines for classroom use, the book in informed by the powerful and intellectually rigorous device of investigative, empathetic “dialogue” or “conversation,” as articulated by MIT’s Sherry Turkle and Oxford’s Theodore Zeldin, respectively. This form of dialogue steers clear of the didactic mode and instead recovers the open models of philosophical dialogues pioneered by Plato, Socrates, and the “tolerant” Renaissance humanists, such as Erasmus and Jean Bodin.


Author: Ivan Strenski is Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, University of California, Riverside and Docteur Honoris Causa (Lausanne). His 19 books and over 120 articles focus on gift, individualism, myth, nationalism, ritual, and sacrifice, influenced by French sociologists Emile Durkheim, Henri Hubert, Marcel Mauss, Roger Caillois, Louis Dumont, and Claude Lévi-Strauss. Prominent too are critiques of myth theorists, Bronislaw Malinowski and Mircea Eliade. Major publications also explore the intersection of religion and politics in Abrahamic and Indian contexts. Recent awards include US State Department lectureship (Armenia) and lectureships for the Open Society’s Institute Higher Education Assistance Program (Russia). 


This title is currently being reviewed. Please check back for further updates in due course. 

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