Tuesday, October 26, 2010
5:00pm – 7:00pm
McKinney Conference Room, Watson Institute
“What is Enlightenment? Arab and Postcolonial Perspectives.”
Elizabeth Kassab, Visiting Fellow and Researcher, Erfurt University, Germany
A close reading of contemporary Arab thought reveals the notable amount of critical effort deployed by Arab intellectuals since the mid twentieth century in dealing with questions of culture and politics. To what extent has this effort produced a process of enlightenment, and in what sense? What have the main themes, promises and challenges of this process been? And how do these compare with such processes elsewhere in the postcolonial world? The talk addresses these questions by focusing on the recent Arab intellectual history from within a large comparative postcolonial approach. It articulates reflections on the intellectual, cultural and political meaning of enlightenment in Arab and postcolonial contexts.