Title: Dale F. Eickelman's Video Essays, Lectures, Panels & Interviews
Date: 2006-2022

    Video Essay

      Dale Eickelman on Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet (Nov 2014)


      Radicalism and Minorities - International Panel on Exiting Violence - Tunis Colloquium (Jul 2017)

      Islam and Governance After the Arab Springs (Apr 2015)

      The Arab Spring and Social Anthropology: The Last Half Century (Feb 2012)



        The Arab Spring

        Higher Education Standards

        The meaning of fieldwork

        My baggage


        Literary Arabic

        Robert Fernie

        National Science Foundation

        Social Science Research Council



        Max Weber

        Social Anthropology Today

        Social Anthropology Training

        Social Anthropology Lessons

        Training in Social Anthropology

        Q & A

      Justice, Morality and Modernity: What Makes the Risale-i Nur Modern? (2010)


        Religious and Secular in Open Societies

      Religion and Democracy in Turkey by Dale Eickelman (Apr 2009)

        Q & A


      Panel 3: Reimagining Mobilities: Immobilities in the Indian Ocean (Dec 2022)

      Panel 4: Reimagining Mobilities: Immobilities in the Indian Ocean (Dec 2022)

      Religious Discourse and the Public Sphere: Dynamics and Influences (Mar 2018)

      April Seminar: “Tangier 1947 -- Two Speeches: Independence and Women's Education.” (2017)


        Opening remarks

        The Events of April 1947: A Spanish Perspective

        The Primacy of Education, Especially of Women, in the Progress of a Nation

        US-Moroccan relations in the 1940s: A New Beginning

        Princess Lalla Aisha’s Historical Speech in Tangier of April 1947 in the Light of the Varela Archives

      The Emerging Shia Crescent Symposium: Understanding the Shia (Jun 2006)


      Dale Eickelman on the Transformation of Islam in Contemporary Societies (Mar 2010)

        How Islam is Transforming

        The Internet’s Influence on Islam

        Islam and Politics Compatibility

        Future secularism in majority muslim countries

        Fear of Islam

        The future of Iran

      Interview With Muhammad Shahrur (1996)

        Coming of Age in Damascus

        Arab Nationalism and Theories of Society

        Return to Syria (1964)

        Style and Method

        Islam and Civil Society

Video Essay

Dale Eickelman on Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet (Nov 2014)


Spectra Media

Nov 18, 2014

[Keywords: Fethullah Gulen | Hizmet Movement | Gulen Movement]

Professor Dale Eickelman is a professor of Anthropology and Human Relations at Dartmouth College at Hanover, New Hampshire and specializes in Islam and the Middle East. He received his M.A. from McGill University and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and is currently the Relationship Coordinator of The Dartmouth College-American University of Kuwait Program. Prof. Eickelman served as a member of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, between the years of 1998-2002, and has been a member of the Center for Peace Studies since 2001.

Some quotes from Prof. Eickelman:

"... one thing that the Movement, I think, has done in general is to learn, not overnight, but step by step, how to reach wider audiences. Not just in Turkey, and of course, Turkey has many different communities with many different backgrounds, but outside of Turkey as well, including people who don't know very much about Turkey or, for that matter, about Islam."

"... The second part that has impressed me very much over time is how the Movement really proceeds. I'll use two words in Arabic, not by da'wah, but by tamthiil, by example, where people just become good teachers and encourage the students to think seriously about education or do charitable goods, but again, with an eye to getting the job done, and showing how it can be done, and not to say, “look at me, look at me, I'm part of the Hizmet Movement.” The modesty of people associated with it, from, at all levels, is the same."

"In my view, the Hizmet Movement is a little bit of everything, except direct participation in politics. I know that many in Turkey would not agree with me. And in Turkey, like in Eastern Europe, the Arab world, and Iran, I keep hearing, in different languages, the phrase “hidden agenda.” Unfortunately, when people are suspicious and see complex movements they don't understand, or see something successful where they can't understand why, an easy rationale is to say, “oh, there's a hidden agenda.” I think a more satisfactory answer is to say that in the modern world, individuals take charge of themselves, they organize into groups that work, and they're willing and able to be flexible and to change that organization as circumstances come along. You don't need a central committee or direction from above. What you need is a commitment to, in Arabic I can say it, the common good, al maslahat al ammah."

http://spectramedia.tv http://twitter.com/spectramediatv

I think interfaith dialogue is is 1. Thing among others. Sometimes when one says interfaith dialogue, it's almost like setting up soccer teams to play. Let's have a Muslim. Let's have a Jew. Let's have a Christian. Let's have a dialogue or trialogue. Pride like Miller since 1996. I think this. Education for all sorts. Of reasons it crosses social classes. The picture. Sometimes when one says. I'm Dale eickelman. I'm a professor at the Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations at Dartmouth College. I worked on the Middle East since 1966, N Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, lots of places in between. Iran, Central Asia. I speak Arabic. I regret that I don't speak Turkish, but I've been visiting Turkey regularly since 19. 88 and reading about it since I was in university, well long before you were born, the Hispanic movement I've come to know, gradually I first met people associated with the movement in Washington in 1996. He was the editor of Zaman at the time. When I met and since then, I've kept in touch with various people the term has met itself in, at least in my world, just became began to be used quite a lot in public, possibly in 19 in 2004. But before then, the schools had begun public service. Things had begun, and one learned about them little by little. I first met Hochfeld I in 1998, when, as I recall, he was still living in Istanbul, very modestly in a in a secondary school at the time, and since then I've met him several additional times. When he was living in New Jersey and then when he moved to Pennsylvania, I've my initial Intel. This was how he reached wide audiences in Turkey. Top of the secondary school had a television studio. I knew his background. I know he began as a teacher in the government sponsored schools, and so I asked him. One question which I think made him reflect a lot on what was the difference between when he was talking to people face to face and when he'd have to talk to them via television. And there was a sense of real difference. To my mind and nostalgia, you do different things. And of course, at the present time he still talks to lots of people face to face, but it's that ability to leap over, to talk to wide audiences, as if individuals are sitting in a small circle with him. I think that makes the difference. Not everybody knows how to appear. Sincere and intimate on television, he's made that he's made that leap. There's certain types of thinking and persuasion that have to be done in small groups and face to face. Building of individual ties. There's other sorts that work good when you would you are addressing wide audiences and one thing that that the movement I think has done in general. Is to learn, not overnight, but step by step. How to reach wider audiences not just in Turkey. And of course, Turkey has many different communities with many different backgrounds. But outside of Turkey as well, including people who don't know very much about Turkey, or for that matter, about Islam. Two, I think I'm hesitating because it is so hard to just reduce things to, you know, to short answers. One is the consistent focus on schooling. And especially the focus on science. And and mathematics the hardest sorts of things, in some ways to do. But while doing that, the movement is not forgetting about the social sides of things. This has been consistent. This has been something that I think has attracted a number of. Of people, the second part that has impressed me very much over time is how the movement really proceeds. I use 2 words in Arabic, not by. Power, but by Tim, Phil by example, where people just become good teachers and encourage the students to think seriously about education or do charitable goods. But again, with an eye to getting the job done and showing how it can be done. And not to say look at me. Look at me. I'm part of the Hizmet movement. The modesty of people associated with it, from at all levels is the same. I think it's absolutely important education. For all sorts of reasons, it crosses social classes, it crosses clock, crosses backgrounds of ethnicity. Of religion. Sect and just about everything else. The emphasis on science and competition for science, I think, is something international and easy to understood, to understand and within Turkey itself is, I've learned also by. Looking at private universities in Turkey. Every school, public or private, related to the Hispanic movement or not related very strictly, follows the very explicit Turkish regulations regarding what is taught in school and so. The curriculum is is the same, except perhaps delivered. In better surroundings for students, the same in the United States, and he has met school and I've only visited them in New Jersey but have to be regularly inspected by state authorities and the teachers have to meet certain standards. I think interfaith dialogue is is 1. Thing among others. Sometimes when one says interfaith dialogue, it's almost like setting up. Soccer teams to play let's have a Muslim. Let's have a Jew. Let's have a Christian. Let's have a dialogue or trialogue. I think that there are many different points of view within each faith as well. But in some cases I think it's very healthy, even if. No one can represent their faith worldwide easily. To have opportunities for people to talk about what they have in common. And what they have that divides here are some very optimistic, but when people? On their feast days or inviting others in to, let's say, to break the feast of Ramah. Together with people from other religious movements, this is a highly visual and symbolic event in Congress. Now the American Congress one has the opening of official sessions. One has a Catholic priest. A Protestant minister, a rabbi and an imam. The imams were the last to be added, but there's at least a symbolic notion that that the American Congress stands above any particular religious group, and this is just a part of the fabric I think of getting along. Large police forces, such as in in New York City. Have people who represent and understand all sorts of different religious movements from the Haredim, the Ultra Orthodox Jews, to the various Islamic communities from Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and Africa and the United States. In my view, the Heisman Movement is a little bit of everything except. Direct participation in politics, I know that. Many in Turkey would not agree with me and in Turkey. Like in Eastern Europe. The Arab world. And Iran, I keep hearing in different languages the phrase hidden agenda. Unfortunately, when people are suspicious and see complex movements, they don't understand or see something successful where they can't understand why an easy rationale is to say oh. There's a hidden agenda. I think the more. Satisfactory answer is to say that in the modern world, individuals take charge of themselves. They organize into groups that work, and they're willing and able to be flexible and to change that organization as circumstances come along. You don't need a central committee. Or direction from above. What you need is a commitment to. In Arabic I can say it the common good of musleh talama which is not a political term. It's a sense which everybody debates in, not tied to any given religion, but of what is in the general interests. Let's take an extreme case. Where I took. The large part of the day to visit his met school. The school's tuition. Was perhaps 1/5 of the tuition. That students had to pay pay for a private British school or certain other ones, and there were also scholarships available. This meant that the schools were much more accessible. To different Mongolians then the British schools, which required tuition from everyone. The teachers, the curriculum was except for required Mongolian almost entirely in English. Most of the teachers were Turkish. That, of course, was the secret of the schools being accessible because a lot of people in the Heisman movement were teaching in the schools as part of their notion of giving something back to a community. In other words, their salaries. I did not ask their salaries, but I do not think that they were salaries of luxury. They were. They they were more subsistence than anything else. The schools seem to be very well run, and the students seemed happy to be there, and I've tried my best since 1996. To find the hidden. And and so far, that's the whole point of hidden agenda. You can never find it. And so it always stays hidden to be more serious about it, there's perhaps the possibility that there is no hidden agenda, that it attracts people who tend. To be very optimistic. And who are searching for ways of achieving the common good. It's very easy to make everything political in Turkey and in the case of the his movement, it's got a wide range of things. The education part, I think the one I know best. Is very successful and the ability not to get captured by the politics of the week. We I mean WEEK like the week, but I, as I said that I thought WEAK is also something the ability to keep one's eyes on the common good without being distracted. It's been a very important element.


Radicalism and Minorities - International Panel on Exiting Violence - Tunis Colloquium (Jul 2017)


Fondation Maison des sciences de l'homme

3 July 2017

Lecture by Dale F. Eickelman, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Dartmouth College

Tunis Colloquium of 3-4 July 2017

The International Panel on Exiting Violence met in Tunis on 3 and 4 July 2017. The symposium took place in partnership with the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies, the Institute for Research on the Contemporary Maghreb and the United States Institute of Peace.

The co-director of the International Panel on Exiting Violence, Michel Wieviorka, introduced the two days in an intervention entitled "What has become of violence". Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and Dale Eickelman, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Dartmouth College, both members of IPEV's International Evaluation Committee, gave lectures on the situation in Syria and on the theme of radicalism and minorities.

Stakeholder: Dale F Eickelman. Professor of Anthropology at New York University (in 1985) Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Dartmouth College (in 2017)

Disciplines: Methods in SHS, Sociology, Violence

Place of realization: Tunis (Tunisia)

Language: English

Credits: FMSH Production (Production), Dale F Eickelman (Presenter)

Cite this resource: Dale F Eickelman. FMSH. (2017, July 3). Dale F. Eickelman - Radicalism and minorities - IPEV - Tunis Colloquium. [Video]. U-Channel. https://www.canal-u.tv/98941. (Accessed September 10, 2023)

My title, I changed slightly. To show you this mistake. To what I heard yesterday to minorities and violent. Radicals, because we were reminded yesterday, that's right, which on PC to be radical, however, if you. Are violently raw. That is not polite. In fact, it is not to be welcomed and they want to. Figure out how people. And that's, you know. One thing I want to do I think would apply to many of the other terms we have used. Including the Nice neutral term, exciting violence and as you know from following what Americans do, we never mentioned official America never mentions, forget about our President. Things never mentions religion in any way. 1 uses more neutral language, but one thinks about religion. Now, most of us can agree. In a general way about what minorities are just to remind you of the way I would define the notion it would be. Group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, that doesn't leave very much in the world, are singled out from other people for different and unequal treatment, and who might regard themselves as objects. Collective discrimination. But they might also be objects of privilege. Think of the beautiful British term positive discrimination. If you were identified as a certain. Type of minority you get special privileges. The same thing happens in the United States with affirmative action, except the you have a conjuncture of things that makes the term more interesting. One is self identification. Which can change overtime. Let's give the Muslim world a break for a moment. There's a 5 in South Carolina these days of Native Americans, which I especially like to cite because since the time of the American Civil War, depending on ways in which they could get more privileges. The Lonely Tribe has collectively identified as African American as white. Didn't play as small as Native American, lasted longer and each time they would go to the state legislature of self-care. Right clothing lineup. We'll get overruled by the federal government to redefine themselves in order to get more entitlements. Very good. Or another? Centerfold this also some Senator Claiborne Pell who established a program to help people who did not have much money to be able to pay for higher education program has been. This matching no, because now we are making America great again, which means eliminating support for higher education. But in the state of Rhode Island, this New Englander from a distinguished family at 15,000. Portuguese fishermen from the Azores islands, so part of our affirmative action, is for African Americans. People with Hispanic surgeons, white Hispanic survey and names because other regions don't like Mexicans and others, and therefore the language is not. Post to language if you're Spanish. Certain now if you happen to be a Mexican jewel with the name Michael Levin. You there's ways that you could say you still have the Spanish surname get privileges as well, but 15,000 Portuguese fishermen from the I'm sorry, it's not from Lisbon. Not from Portugal. Or anywhere else. Also get the privileges of preferment. Through federal employment and in various other things. So my point, which is a point that applies to the Muslim. World as well. Is that you can map the bottom up. Station it's a minority self identification as such negotiated with other people or you can have a top down negotiation of some sort with international pressures. Or with the pressures within a country within the country itself and historically, things things changed somebody yesterday. Made the very important point that when we are talking. About religious groups and other. Groups we should also also think locally as well and not try to impose even if some people do. The idea that all Muslims or all of anybody else deal. In the same way. Now there is a way that I. Think that we can. Constructively think about minorities and some of the other terms we use. There's an Oxford philosopher. Some of you may know. Walter Galley, who has a useful essentially contested concepts. I would argue that minority is one of these terms. For that matter, radical is as well. But let me skip more of us talking about minorities. This is something where you can agree what the phenomenon is. Let's talk about minorities, which is what I'm supposed to do today, but then there will be a disagreement as to what constitutes A minority. Godly, like most philosophers, chooses the most. Simple of ways of discussing essentially contested concepts. A soccer game. You might like the team from Tunis because of their style of play. They might lose you gain. That they play with such style. And somebody else will. Say no, I prefer I prefer. I prefer a different team, the team. From Algerians? Perhaps because. They win all the time and win is. What comes the two? Groups are never. Going to agree. Style versus the sheer brutal force. Of winning more often in. The terms again, however, both groups agree that the game is called soccer. Identifying as minority is very much the same sort of thing. One can argue. That it's something that is consumed. There are cases, for instance, in North African History with people having publishes status where you could. Being part of the given group so that you could assume or get the privileges of being protected by the foreign power. And then those. Privileges being taken away in Algeria, Jews were citizens of France. Let us know. The fiction that Algeria was never a colony, it was an integral part of France. At least for some people. But the Jews also found that their privileges, the citizens of France, were taken away from them. Now coming to the Muslim and might samples will deliberately be. In the present, but in threats of people also. Are are. Compelled to use what they think about. What happened in? The past the notion is that there is one. Tie that Muslim. Said, which is between individuals, which makes. It for our very in the 7th century and God and that is remember the worth. The furnace time. That that binds A believer with God. The for me, the interesting notion of this, this idea, it doesn't deny ties, space of race, cover language where once or rather characteristic. But it's it enabled 1 to understand the flexibility with how books are construct. Then I think got this term right in thinking about how savia. Which for a long. Time, at least in English, was mistranslated as well. Feeling tied into whether one of us, no matter or urban yourself. Because the basic sense of. The term is when you have a. Group acting as if they have strong ties. Then that group. Works and the emphasis there is as if. Majestic metaphors to have very powerful force force in society. Now in that sense, the word meant for a minority like Rabbit is an observers. Of the most radical people in the American judiciary are located are are called strict instructions. Those who believe that they can. For the current situations, you know exactly what their 18th century predecessors managed by certain terms. This is an amazing historical theme to be able to reconstruct all of the implicit assumptions. 150 years ago, but one gets that. For instance, with the earlier forms of some people believe that you can reproduce. We say that for the exact way that the problem. Trimmed this year. To to the questions of how people, how people are are. Let me. Take a number of examples of. And see the way that that matters when there's a couple of examples in passing. And I caution you very quickly going to use examples. And just brought. Up the experiences from them to make. The general point when speaking about minorities even. If we use the. Language of sociology. We really are talking about situations where we have to know history and local contests in order to understand. So let's start with the so-called easy sort of situation, Saudi Arabia, the. Guardian of The Who called him places. It's always interesting to think about the role of the Shia in Saudi. Because the Saudis don't like to think about it unless they're the people. Losers to tear down dangerous places that just happen. To be occupied. By 10 to 15%.

Speaker 0: Of the native.

Speaker 1: Population, which leaves all of the workers are in the country. They're subject to severe discrimination in most things in terms of school's freedom of movement. And all sorts of things. Intermarriage is included sign where the phone lines are and could be challenged on this. But I think the number. Of Shia and Mary. Known Shia in Saudi Arabia is. Limited to point. Zero in other places in minority increasingly means less safe the. Sultan of Oman. Where in official discourse everybody is equal and the most of the country. Of sensory origin. And against all laws is a friend of mine will speak off record. After because he sits in the after the 1st 25 years. If you keep coming back and talk to you of everybody and nobody. Mentions almost never mentions the role of the body in in Islam. This will be located traditionally and solvent significant. Number of Sheila. Or, as the Minister of Religious Affairs, but gotta be said. I said why? Did the ministry's name that changed from? That will show to from from Islamic affairs to religiously thought about, and he said, well, you have about 200. Fear. So I'm the minister of them as well. And besides, when I indicated astonishment, he said. I've read enough. And at that point, I said no and there's some translation. I'm savoring and said, well, somebody has explained. To me, this story. The point is that you can have a top down notion of what you're supposed to do, and the important point is that it is very impolite to mention religious divisions that exist for reasons of marriage. People who are of a certain age, which now includes me and remember when there was a sharp division where people lived in the country, but that's about it. If you're balluch from certain parts of Pakistan by origin, you play down identity now. If you'd be watching another. SC group. You know one. Where at one time you would have claimed before the 191947. You were baddies. You would play that down. And somebody would. Discover that you really were Arabs who went. To South Asia. For bought their Arabic and then came back and rediscovered that they were Arabs after all. Yeah, sure. You can use history. When circumstances change their community they were here were given a choice in 1947. Either they could become citizens of India or they could be citizens of the supplement of Mustang. In a moment. The community made a very wise decision and chose to be a citizens of Muscat and Oman, which gave the better life opportunities fell thereafter. And that at that time to be more highly educated and everything else. My point here. Is that to? Be minority whether I reach. Of the whole religion. Or ethnicity does not necessarily condemn 1. To be identified. In that way, in that way home. You have a major range of choices of of what?

Speaker 0: You can do.

Speaker 1: Let me trend on dangerous ground. If you look at the situation in Morocco, which again one needs to look at, historically Morocco has many languages. Number of them are now called. And lots of feel. They're saying waiter and attends your restaurant, who explained. To me, when? News test in Morocco became very boring in 1990s, with Tim Hassan permitted the what he used to call the. And that had shots in Bulgaria. The burger died. He started using the term he would never called the language. He provided teen flowing newscasts to begin. I asked the Russian waiter. What do you think of those newscasts? And he said to me well. One of the three. Speaks very good. Review. The other two have trouble speaking writhing because there was no overall sense as if by any group there was a sense of people united by language, very difficult terrain and embedded by. A government which at one time would machine gun that from telescopes when there were demonstrations earlier to help. Require greater. Draw attention to the central government to the problems regional problems. That's no longer the method used for educating people citizenship. In in Morocco, but from the land which are in public places, one became very proud of the Berber culture. Identity claims that means something else that the the almost the so-called civil war. In Nigeria in the 1990s, persuaded the King of Morocco that perhaps he should have a very soft approach for local languages and other things. The point is that. Then they need there. Very hard to call burgers or the amounts of the a minority because they may be a slight majority in the country, but the meanings of what it means to be in there were in the massive change politically very well and get managed in various. Various various parties involved. To claim minority status often, and being a political claim, I will maybe mention one word and not talk much about it. The credit crunch now, as in the past, it's been a very interesting. Source of identity after World War One. Leading nations profits to everybody that they could have a nation based on. A majority of people to give it as an identity that up the number of people. In different places it did not feel curves and how we talked about curves affects many different things, including how one talks about the notion of exciting exhibit violence. Let's go outside the Middle East minority, says Chambers. Go to China, which we don't often think about. There's maybe. Let's see if I can. I don't remember anything but. I did write it down. There's about 23 billion Chinese who identifies. They're different groups. The way you leaders is. In the weaker who are in. Shinjang Province are perhaps the ones having the roughest period of time, or the central government moves to non-Muslims non reader into the area that creates a number of. Land issues. And everything else, but at the same time, the Chinese, at least it's the 1980s or 90s, recognizes that this minority is very good way of attracting foreign investment in parts of China. And this is accelerated in the last. Four years or so that the. Belt one Rd. Policy where you can go to places like insured in in what geographic and precision I would call central China, something with which is where you have a wide majority and you would see mosques which are. Like mosques in many parts of the Muslim world, structures that the Wahhabi missionaries were those trained in Saudi Arabia. But very much not. Approve of because. They were also shrine, some strong in. Annotation of local senses of identity. The Big battle for minorities in China right now is the use of the term come out of to introduce our food because it ensures should you go out for a stroll. You could even have a funeral. In the car during Ramadan and the restaurant will say that it's a hollow restaurant you've been voting as I would and pass through an interpreter. Excuse me. Helping you call this event in Ramadan. And you get an answer in sorts where people don't like it. Don't like. Talking about it and you find things happen. A final restaurant would be a restaurant where you draw the curtains so nobody from outside can see the. Eagle most of. This evening, in the middle of the. Day if they choose to do. So number of kind of local thing faculty shrine. And again, with some people who might receive. The more rigid. But you'd see non-muslim functions, even I've only heard about it. I haven't seen it the rest of that would serve about. The notion of come. Out has softened. In China to mean food that's pure and not the doctor, not the sort of stuff for which food producers in China are known, which is often adulterated, may be known for other things the Muslims. The sensed technically in food of what they have, but fiercely trying to defend them, and the the use of social. For people to talk about impressions against Muslims or Muslims taking too many. Privileges is a very active thing because the central government tries in the best way it can to to hold things. But the point is once again minority. Is a negotiated status and it is locally negotiated 1 cannot extrapolate the Chinese use of allowed food or halal restaurants in to other areas. That is a signal for me to. Very quickly, I think mentioned a couple of other places much 50 mentioned not listed.

Speaker 0: So we.

Speaker 1: I don't think he's going to have. Much success, and therefore I'm going to put the microphone closer to my mouth motions. The Lebanon is once again a place to negotiate. In the mornings in. In many different directions from the the publicly sustained myth that the representation in parliament of different Christian groups and Muslim groups is the same as that of the census of 19. It is in the interests of most parties to maintain that even while being situation has radically changed minority status, often in the past, but also. In the past. Has been sustained by foreign powers to a given. To give the situations and that continues and again the basis is minority status sometimes can be based upon can be based upon self description. At other times, by imposed senses of minority from above vision crafts and Algeria, dividing who is a Jew and using the same language as was used in in France and other areas of controlled rightly. 3rd Right would be a good if ugly sample of the top, top down approach or the way in which one would negotiate such identities in in Iraq met once. The deserter from the Iraqi army. This is before the coalition of the willing came into Iraq. He talked about how when he was truck driver, he kept from being killed at a checkpoint. And in one part where systematically you can see that the the. Like the sunny. Drivers who were thought men and convoys were being. Taken out of. Their vehicles and stopped. He changed his identity paper. So instead of. By just taking the dog from over and end, he put a dog under a new in his name, so it went from. I don't remember exactly exactly from janabi to something pronounced in a different way because. One subdivision of the tribe. Some sheep and he got out alive and he decided that he was. Loading the truck driving.

Speaker 0: At that.

Speaker 1: Point and and hit some other occupation and then eventually to to desert the. The point is that if we can look just about anywhere we want in. The Muslim world. And to ask whether the radicalism is inherent in minority status is a question that, really. Has to be looked at in an open way, and the answer this hell is a lot of sure is. Sometimes it can be a cause for radicalism. Armenian terrorists, for example, using violent means to express what they feel they have to express in other situations side of getting place. Sometimes it's the residue of other things. You know Joseph Stalin like. Nationality to different ethnic groups and Armenians were. Through the 1930s, at least selected for working with the city and the television. Says so they. Do a lot of. The Dirty work Central Asia, there's a residue in some ways in some ways, in some ways that the.

Speaker 0: Right.

Speaker 1: The important thing is a sense of local history. I think of the difference. I don't think of custom Soleimani as a historian, the leader of the revolutionary nerds, who is a very good sense of tribe, context and religious groups in Iran and Syria. But it's the Americans. To slowly and then unlearn as people change to understand tribal networks and the contours.

Speaker 0: Right.

Speaker 1: Who is connected with whom? Which tribal woman is married? Somebody from Saudi Arabia and so forth can be a way that one can effectively work in a dangerous intervention. Iraqis, rather, the Iranians. Getting fewer resources than the Americans have been able. To do quite well. That would come as no surprise to learn that at certain periods the. Americans, including James Mathis, now fueled senior people government who had some sense of timing is, is that negotiating? Whose minority and who's not enables 1. To do a lot more than you could. Do for drones. Aerial conciseness. OK, let me stop my main point. Is that by thinking of minorities, whether that would ever not so much about the ideologies materialism and it's something that is not fixed, but it's something that even if people claim they are fixed, is changing overtime. And even as we say you know not. Changing over time is the very important part of trying to understand the highly elastic mass. How what that negotiating. And try to figure out how we can exit violence. Thank you very much.

Islam and Governance After the Arab Springs (Apr 2015)


Apr 16, 2015

Professor Dale Eickelman (Darmouth College), an expert on many Muslim countries and particularly Morocco where he carried out his research on zaouia Cherkaouiya Bejaad, returns as part of a meeting of the Chair of Comparative African Studies on the theme " Islam and Governance".

I was in Paris about six weeks ago and I was told by Jean Francois Bayart, the other chair in the pool sociology, that I had to speak in English. And I let you decide why he would say that. But my colleague many, many years, Mohammed dozy was here and I just asked him why aren't you introducing me? And he said it's to show the old tono me of the other chair so. I have the good reason there my title is a broad one. As you can see, Islam and governance after the Arab Springs notice the plural. It is a plural because. I read French and I read Jean Francois Boyette and I think that he had a very good idea, especially in the United States, there's a tendency. For students and the general public to think of the Middle East and North Africa as one big pot with no differentiation in it from Morocco at one end to, it can go to Pakistan or Afghanistan. Depending on how you feel. And as Moroccans, as many of you are, I think you're aware that there's quite a bit of difference. Let me begin with one of my favorite quotes from Vladimir Ivanovich Lenin's not an anthropologist who said we have decades. When nothing happened. And then we have weeks. Where decades happen. And that's a good way to think about the Arab Springs. With one exception. I would argue that the main changes. Were happening all along. They became visible. In 2011 and they became visible in different ways, and even the term Arab Spring or Arab Springs is Jean Francois and I prefer is an abstraction for Europeans. In any case it. Conjures up the Prague Spring. Of 1968. Now, since many of you were not born in 1968, you know what from history books. And let me remind you what happened with the Prague Spring. It was then crushed by the Soviet Union. And you didn't hear anything more about what this Prague Spring was for many, many years? And we have a. When you combine the term Islam and governance, you have a very interesting sort of thing where I used to have. Lots of resistance to talking about Islam and politics because American political scientists know or thought they knew that religion has nothing to do with politics. And if you believe that? But then you have not learned very much. Anyone has not learned very much for many years. In fact, for not here but elsewhere. The very notion of Islam is what the English philosopher Richard Rorty. Calls a conversation stopper. When you want to talk about politics and you say, oh, let's talk about Muslim politics. Everybody stops thinking and they say well, no, Islam is something that stops development. It does other things, bad things happen well that that I assure you it's not my view. But my view is not to look at the spectacular things such as happened. In Egypt with I think it was the 11th of January 2011 when President Mubarak. Left office. The Economist, the English magazine, not the Economist. The local 1. Back in 2010 had a special issue on Egypt, which it called Egypt holding its breath. By which they meant that the big things happening were the things you all know. 60% of the people of the Middle East and North Africa at that time were under 30 years of age. Now birth rates have gone down. But a nice thing about demographers or demography. Day is that it takes 20 or 30 years before it makes a difference unless you kill off a generation as Bashar al-Assad and others are unfortunately being successful at and most of the young of this age group under 30 are under. Or unemployed. You used to have safety valves. I'll talk about like immigration, economic. Immigration. But what you have now, I'm going to adjust these so there's less echo. I hope what you have now is what you have now is immigration. Because of desperate refugees, some Syrians are not desperate. They have extended family connections. But if you live in a refugee camp or if you become the equivalent of a hiraga, then your life is not very good. I would argue because again, I'm looking at some things that become visible, but looking at what happens in between that when we talk about the Muslim world and we could talk about many other places as well that you're dealing with ideals and practices that are. Always contested, contingent and emerging. In other words, you will have some people say I used to hear a lot in parts of the Middle East saying at Islam. Islam is one thing and it never changes. As I explained to a tribal Devonian Kuwait once, because you can be tribal and you can be not with a university degree and very sharp. They said OK professor, you've traveled to many places. Who has. Is a real Islam. And I said, well, you know, some taxi drivers and Fez have told me they have the real Islam. And in the Sultanate of Oman, they would say to me, we in Sahar have the real Islam, not those people in Chinas or Muscat. OK, that's fine. And in Jakarta, some people knew the real Islam is well and I would say I know what the real Islam is. And where you can find it. So I said in Arabic, I I said God knows. And the problem is that a loss of honor to Allah last spoke to humankind through the Prophet Muhammad, and he's not saying who's closest to his idea of what Islam is anymore. And they thought this was a reasonable answer, and that's the closest we can get them. For me, the interesting thing about that answer was that even for people not in the universe. They were thinking about their religion, but at the same time thinking critically about their religion and being aware that not everyone agreed on what Islam is. What a wonderful idea now. Why is Richard Rorty still there? Oh, because I have not mastered the technology, that's why. Muslims, like everyone else. Reinvent. Rethink. Reimagine. Reinterpret. Al Qaeda used to produce videos where you could see Osama bin Laden, where except for his Rolex watch. And his Kalashnikov would conjure up the idea that he was following in the footsteps of the Prophet Mohammed of going away from the center Mecca to somewhere else so that you could reconcentration the reconcentration, the Muslim community and come back. That's kind of an interesting idea, but it would be very, very different. One key thing I think to understanding Muslim politics, which I'll give a working thing up at the moment, is to see how different it is from, for example, some American ideas of politics in the Middle East. I write things down. I guess that's what makes me a scholar in November 2007. In an interview in Newsweek, not exactly a rare publication. Somebody called Condoleezza Rice. Our Secretary of State. Said that, she just had presented to her a brand new model of politics in the Middle East in which you could not just talk to a head of. You had to talk to tribal leaders, regional leaders, students. And everything else mashallah what a brand new idea to get through to her. And of course she was right. But I'm quoting exactly what she said. This is a brand new idea to her. Well, fortunately, with Jean Francois Bayart and Mohammed Tosi, you will not be exposed to that kind of political science. Watch him on that and when I use the term Muslim politics, I'm not talking about one thing, but I'm talking about the arguments people have. About what is the proper role of religion in political life? You can have some people say that religion should have nothing to do with politics. You have others saying it has something to do, but it's a shifting boundary. You can have everything in between. In Turkey, a Turkish friend of mine who was 10 years ago complaining about how the American embassy. Kept inviting people who were the head of Labor unions and the head of official groups, but not unofficial people to things suggested that rather than having. Cocktail parties where you might have beer and other things that some people drink and some don't, to have a run parties. Iran is a yogurt drink which more Turks drink than whatever it is below. I don't know what. Is the institute they used to be called viniculture in Saleh now has but. In the 1990s, at one point somebody knocked off Vinny from Couture, so it became the Institute de Couture, which I thought was an interesting way of dealing with the issue. So Muslim politics is politics basically by Muslims. And being Muslim is something that people have to argue about, just as you do about other big terms, Abdullahi years ago wrote a book called Mahoma Demokratia. The understanding of democracy, which had very little to do with Morocco, but it had a lot to do with how people understood a broad term or Mahima Horia, was another of his books as well, which got people to start thinking about about things. Now I'm going backward again. This is interesting. OK. I think. Perfect. OK. Yeah. And we're back. Sometimes things will change very quickly in at a certain time. Earlier, the United States spent millions of dollars to produce media commercials about how friendly the United States was to Muslims. Private Lindy England, who had a little cell phone that could take pictures. Took some pictures at Abu Ghraib. Of her work. And once those pictures got distributed, the multi $1,000,000 campaign of the Americans. Just collapsed because it was hard for our official representatives to say we represent romatelli, democratia and everything else. This suggests that. We were perhaps representing something else, but if you can read what I put underneath this this photograph. The long term trends, even despite the fact so many people have to move because they're refugees, are what's happened in the last 50 or 60 years. Greater ease of migration in Thailand and. What Moroccan family is without a relative in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands or some other place. The smallest villages will have people coming back and this is replicated everywhere. You used to be able last time it was in Syria, it was March 2011. To smaller villages and you would always have people who are working somewhere else to allow the village to survive. The second thing is a shift from elite to mass education. At one time, for instance, I remember early studies of secondary school education in Morocco. People thought that if you got a secondary school diploma, The Bachelorette. That piece of paper would give you a job. And that was true. Once Upon, Once Upon a time, it stopped being true. Now you get a piece of paper. And the job thing is something else. And the third thing, of course, is the rapid translate transformation in communications technology, hadith. I Co edited a book with the title new media which came out in 2003. That's old media now. Facebook is old media. Things change very quickly and the way people can communicate and organize for all sorts of purposes has changed, Manuel Castells, a Spanish sociologist whom I admire, uses the term real virtuality. What you put up? In images like what private Lindy, England did is more powerful on the mind how the. That is something that really stops conversation or steers it in another way. And when you talk about Dash as well, and I certainly am not a fond of them, you have exactly the same sort of thing, too, very skillful propaganda. Which as much as we find it, perhaps disgusting. We have to ask ourselves, well, who watches this? Who gets inspired by this? Because it will tell us things about ourselves that perhaps we have to know, even if we don't want to know them. So one of the things that you get in the current debates is what I would call a mainstreaming of Islam, one of these people is an anthropologist. He doesn't mainstream anything the other person is. Fethullah gulen. Who was a state trained village preacher as he began his life? But somebody who made the transition? Between speaking face to face with people. And being able to communicate by television. I had a my first meeting with him. He was still living in Istanbul. He very concerned about his personal safety. But I said, you know this. I I asked him what's the main difference between his audiences now and before? He said. I see fewer people, but he learned how to master the new media so that he could speak to people as if because many people would say this. He was sitting across from them and talking. And metaphors that everyone could understand, the highly educated would understand him in one way, and those who weren't so educated would understand him in a different way. Turkey may seem far away, but it also is a place where you have very powerful demonstrations about the government and changes. This is what politics is all about all about in most places. What interests me is how and who is able to maintain a dialogue on what there what there is 1995. A colleague of mine, Richard Norton. Got a lot of people together. To talk about civil society in the Middle East. And one of the things he said, it's a region as we all know, that has authoritarian regimes. That's the sort of abstraction. Which as that we all learn to deal with, but once you get beyond the abstraction, there's all sorts of different meetings as well. I can provide if anybody wanted quotes, even from Bashar al-Assad talking about at least until 2011 his Rd. Democracy, even the worst tyrants. Will use the term of democracy or take a look at North Korea, which I don't think anybody wants to go to, to live. It's the peoples Democratic Republic. The word democracy has captured the imagination. But when you are really an authoritarian. You're excluding other people and you make it harder to make transitions of what people want now that more people are educated and more people have the experience of living in different places. Sometimes transitions work for all of the roughness of Tunisia, which continues until. Today, with the Bardo Museum incident, one of the secrets is what happens behind the scenes and I'll say more where the police and what Tunisians have of an army and others agreed to work with the new regime or what. Followed after Benali. One of the. I'm going to pass that one of the best books I think on the transition in Tunisia is by Beatrice Kibble. Again, a French calling and as I tell people. It's the English translation of her book in 2011, the 1st 40 pages one should look at because her book on Ben Ali's kleptocracy was first published in 2007. As I recall, possibly 2008, but in 2011, because I was the person responsible for seeing the book come out in English, she added 40 pages in which she explained how the transition was made and how many things did not change. Business leaders, police, security services, everybody agreed that Ben Ali was not able to continue, but the transition is going. Being reasonably well as these things go, it's never, never a very easy sort of thing. Everybody knows Tahrir Square. This is something. From a man who. Weaves kind of. Wall hangings and quilts for a living, mostly for tourists. But since there were no tourists after January 2011. He produced this beautiful tapestry, Hani Abdul Khadar of his view. This is simply a Workman, A Craftsman of Tahrir Square in 2012, as he saw the revolution, because revolutions have to deal with people from. The bottom up is well is top down. You have an interesting succession of leadership in Egypt from Hosni Mubarak. Seen behind bars. And then we go to Mohammed Morsley. Seen behind bars, but to give you I'm being very ironic. A ray of hope. General Sisi is president. Sisi is not behind bars. You'll notice yet, and there he is dressed in civilian clothes. But what one has had in the transitions is a dramatic display of power and authority at the top. But revolutions work when you get a convergence of people from the bottom is well, they don't always work. General. I'm sorry, Colonel. Muammar Gaddafi is no longer with us. How many of you have ever read his equitable, Lakhdar the Green Book. No, you own it. Yes, it's a book of complete nonsense in my view, but I would not have said that if I were living in Libya for four years, I would have had a shorter existence. The only comparison I could make would be with. Sagan, Murat Nazarov, who many of you may not have heard of, he was the President for Life of Turkmenistan. Who assigned only one book, the Rahnama, which was his rather preposterous things. And this was the only book used in secondary schools until 2006. When, presumably, things got a little better, but Gaddafi was very good at providing Potemkin villages. If you wish. Gregory Potemkin was a minister under Catherine the Great and in 1787, to show the progress of Russian peasants, he constructed not whole. Villages along the Volga. Facades like theater props, a villages and to have peasants show how happy they were to come out and wave at visiting diplomats, Colonel Gaddafi was rather good at that and as you know, his son Saif al Islam Gaddafi. Managed to purchase a PhD. From the London School of Economics. It was a big scandal. Don't try it. And if your daddy or mother have a lot of money, it's harder to do now. There is a big report on this. The Lord Wolf report, which I use for a book I'm writing on secrets and lies because it shows how universities respond when people corrupt the entire system. Which he did. But safe Islam is is. In Libya awaiting trial. Bashar al-Assad was rather good at media. This is from 2011, November. And from his personal website, only a brave man protect his own people. I'm not giving you a lesson in English, but protects is the way I think most people would say it. And yes, he really protects his own people in his own way. OK, keep in mind too I forgot to mention that Colonel Gaddafi made a brilliant analysis of the demonstrations in the Arab world in 2011. He said that demonstrators were drinking in Nest Cafe. With milk. Laced with those drugs that Al Qaeda was distributing to people, this is a brilliant insight about what caused the Arab Springs. Now what's against that? For better and worse, is the idea of mainstreaming Islam. This is a book by Pakistani of where she uses the term secular Islam entering the mainstream because, as I said, you have lots of debates. But here's the four points. That will frame what I remain to say, mainstreaming Islam or trying to get a voice in public means. Taking charge? I'll give you a local example organizing and communicating. Working effectively behind the scenes both domestically and internationally, and inspiring trust and cooperation where even if you like to do things in secret, you have to pretend to do them more in public. Taking charge afna tofu. Is, I think, a good example of entering the public sphere. There's other examples that I would give I could give them of people who are not in power and authority, but among the other things that struck me is just what was it 2 weeks ago. There was something Moroccans have been doing all along, but now it's more official. Developing a school for imams, not only in Morocco, because that's been done with daughter Haditha Hassania for years and years and years. Years, but of making something more official where Morocco can export its soft power to parts of West Africa, Tunisia and elsewhere to suggest ways in which one can engage people with more positive views of what politics should be like. Keep in mind for a lot of people like fertility Gen. Gillen Islam is not political, but Islam gives you the moral values by which we should all live and inspires people to be more honest in public. So the first thing is trying to do things in public. And to engage people. Because when you engage people in public, even if you're a minister, you get all sorts of feedback. What I like about Morocco is some people will be. Buy it in public, but behind the scenes it's something else. There's some people from Vijay D where I worked for many years here. I used to go with a Member of Parliament Habiba Malki, and at the beginning he would speak in the very elegant at the elevated Arabic. That he would know, although he would prefer French and everyone would just listen in many metal or in the other areas. But by the 1990s. People would talk back to him and that, like some Members of Parliament, you have so many things to do in Rabat, you would not always go home and I would hear people say yeah, Habib, if we vote for you again, will we see you again? Or are you just going to go off? And be somewhere. And I'm not saying this to pick him out, but people could talk back in public, which is the big change which which creates a different sort of site. The second thing is organized and communicating if petilla ginen. Was just talking to himself. He would still be a village preacher. But he has thousands of people who helped create schools in the United States, Mongolia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Europe. And everywhere else that are affordable and accessible and in which in the official schools, there's no religion because that's the way the the way that things work, you have lots of people who organize and communicate you have. The number of. Media preachers, now some in Khattar, like Yusuf Sharawi and others where if you can read big books, you've got big books. You can read them and if you. Can't read big. Books. Maybe you can listen to an audio tape and download it from the Internet. You can do many many. Things in between other protected 2 at your own level if you wish of of of things the next. Thing making this point is working effectively behind the scenes. Who knew Halid Saeed in Egypt until he died? OK. Yes, exactly, yeah. But then he became a symbol. For many other things and it's people who could manage the public face of the symbol who were working behind the scenes. Very quickly to grab the conversation and make a point about about things. Kabus bin Saeed of Oman. Is the person I would use to inspire trust and cooperation. Now, how do you do that? Because he hardly. He does not talk very often in public. But what he does? Is works behind the scenes. Now again, just a question of you, how many know anything about the about the? The body, notably body. Yeah. What to me. Search where? Yeah. Well, and all that, but for Oman. The modern ebionism is something that's. Let's say it's very quiet and very moderate, as we would say, and Oman, as you'll notice with the current situation. Is not joining the armies of Egypt, the Emirates and the Saudis in anything. Oman is the place where with both the ruler and others, it's the intermediary. It was the between Iran and other places and it works rather well. It's how the Americans began to talk. With the Iranians, it's a projection of. What I would call soft power example. Oops. OK, now I'm not going to give the example here, but an example for instance would be the ormani religious minister of religious affairs. Abdullah Mohammad Salami, who is the only minister of religious affairs I've ever met. Who he was responsible in 1997 for changing the name of the ministry from Wizarat, Lakoff were shown in Islamia to shown Adinia and I said, why did you do that? And he said, well, his first answer. Was I have about. 200 hamud in Oman who are citizens, and I said mashallah, this is just really wonderful and what other reason? And he said Mohammed Tosi, would like this. He said I read Max Weber. The sociologist and now I understand the difference between Islam with Dean is more abstract and it is an an amazing conversation. But it's one that he would follow up and would do to manage religious affairs by finding ways. You could talk back. Now secrecy. A lot of people would use this is from Taro Dante in July 1999, the day that Hassan the second died. Al Jazeera Television announced it. I believe in the morning, as the BBC did. It was announced in Morocco on the Radio Televisio Metro Ken in the. And I once asked somebody why the long delay and I was told Monsieur Heiko. Man, you have to understand, we are the official voice of Morocco. We had to make sure the king was dead. In taroudant. The area was shut down. You could not travel between towns because the Minister of the Interior believed in secrecy and televisions were brought out in public places so you could see the official announcement. But everybody knew. And So what they learned. Was that their government or the Ministry of the Interior was the last place to get the fresh notice they would make sure. That there was a change of things. Well, this teaches people a certain suspicion about governments. That is part of the old school, which I think has changed or should there's a 1935 book by Sinclair Lewis, a novelist. American called. It can't happen here. It's about the United States becoming a dictatorship and in the 30s, with fascism and communism in the air, it's a very serious sort of. And again, something that was showing some of the changes coming along with the 17th of May 2003 I was in. Morocco at the time and this brought a number of Moroccans to. Focus their attention on changes in their own society, and it was the beginning of a series of responses to things well. To play on the words of Sinclair Lewis, it did happen here. Morocco is not immune to what is going on elsewhere, and it could happen again just before. Came to Brockville this time I. And le mag. The account of a sweep in which a number of. Extremist cells were rounded up in different parts of the country, and there were two things today in the newspapers. One was yet more arrests and the second thing was Ahmed Tofiq bringing together a number of all amount to talk about to Mahima Salafia. Which again is a way of bringing things in public. So let me. Here we happen again, OK. Yes, thank you. It's one more slide maybe. I don't know. OK, now he's out of place. That's the minister of Religious Affairs of Oman. Goodbye. OK. So here's the things I'd say in taking charge now you have to be ready to adapt and respond quickly. You lose trust if you don't engage in serious, serious dialogue with people. The second thing is that an organizing and communicating it's not just top down. Unless you believe in the Green Book, for example, it's also bottom up. Lots of people have ideas and know how to communicate them and do so. Governance now means or talking about politics means being open to very rapid and sudden transformations. In which you try to have lots of people doing things the. Is effective working behind the scenes, whether you're talking about Hillary Clinton's aspirations to become a political leader in the United States or someone else, anybody in governments outside of governments trying to promote their views have to have lots of people with different skills. In specialties working with them, people who understand Alita, Salah, Al, Haditha, who are capable of taking words and images and making them count. And finally, inspiring trust and confidence. The hardest sort of thing to do, what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. Both governments and people have to be ready to change, and likewise, religious leaders. So that's it. You're in a very good place. The I'm learning my French the pole. Sociology. How would you say that in Arabic? And maybe it's too heavy. But you're in a new school. People of school that takes thinking about societies very seriously and they wish you the very best in your studies or teaching. Thank you.

The Arab Spring and Social Anthropology: The Last Half Century (Feb 2012)


Boston University

This presentation on February 8, 2012 explored how scholars writing in different national contexts find themselves now, as in the past, in constricted, volatile, shifting, and precarious regional and international political and economic currents. How has the balance shifted today between social thought and public responsibility, and for whose public? It explored the changing craft of social anthropology in the Middle East over the last half century and suggested the likely shape that field research and the writing of anthropology will take in at least the coming decade.

This presentation explores the likely shape that anthropological field research will take over the coming decade. It explores the changing craft of social anthropology in the Middle East over the last half century and suggest what field research and the likely shape that field research and the writing of anthropology will take in at least the coming decade. Dr. Dale F. Eickelman is the Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations at Dartmouth College. The Carnegie Corporation of New York named him a Carnegie Scholar in 2009 for his research on Islamic practice and tradition. His scholarship has focused on the role of intellectuals in Islamic society, education, media and communications. Over the course of his academic career, Dr. Eickelman has authored or edited over a dozen books and has published nearly one hundred and fifty journal articles or book chapters. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in Islamic Studies from McGill University and is a 1964 graduate of Dartmouth College. This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Iraqi Studies, the Campagna-Kerven Lecture Series, and the BU Department of Anthropology.

Speaker(s): Dale F. Eickelman

When: Wednesday, Feb 8, 2012 at 4:30pm

Where: The Castle, 225 Bay State Road

Who: Open to General Public

Admission was free

Contact: Institute for Iraqi Studies, Michael Carroll, mcarroll@bu.edu


Dick: It’s nice to see some new faces? Professor Eichelmann's lecture this afternoon, primarily institute for the study of Muslim societies and civilization, with a little bit of help for the the Institute for Rocky Studies as well. Professor Eichelman is in a word, or in a few words I should say. Obviously, the tough anthropologist of his generation working in the Middle East, he remarkable number of public entrances worked in a number of different interesting locales as well known for his early. Work in Morocco? And the. Book market is. And a lot of work in Oman says some work in Syria. He's basically been back and forth across the nation many times. Many of you, particularly perhaps graduate students, many others of us as well, be very familiar with this culture. Of eastern anthropological approach, which is now in its fourth edition and coming out of the 5th edition before too long. So that book alone is a testament to this command. Of the field. It's hard to believe that one person can put that much analysis and that much by way of protection. Version down and picking one. Book, he said in. Remarks with the surveying literatures across the study of the Middle East, from anthropology, as well as from other disciplines, history, sociology, and. Science in some cases. He's well known for his book coaching and James history. Muslim politics also has published 2 editions of the volume on new media which coated of the John Anderson and which some business rule. Have actually contributed to. He's also done important service by way of. Being employed, invoices from the least to the attention of these dollars. For example, he wrote a really defending the pictography essay on the writing of Mohammed Shapur the Syrian, before listening to has had considerable interaction was. Love the important Turkish social movements and religious. This is a man who worked tirelessly, almost everything, if not everything produces is positively first rate. He's also very active in the promotion of scholarship by younger scholars. In fact, evidence of that in the series. That he and Joe, Mr. Tori began. It wasn't positive series at Princeton University Press and helping Collector of that series, and Mr. Terry steps. And and you find in that Series A number of five works by established brothers, but also plenty of room for yourselves. And that's very much testimony to jail's commitment to giving voice. And opportunity. I've been published in no deal well before we got these days, we first became acquainted in the early 1980s, when he was still at New York University, before he was attracted away by my daughter. And he's been a long standing. Our friend and colleague I've read all of this work. My own favorite is is it power? What is the book? Your 1985 book? No. No. Now they should have which you kindly gave me a copy of. I think in 1986. I've read in one sitting really marvelous account. Of Hadi, A Islamic judge who is in some ways watched life. At least overtake him in the modern context residing on his work in the administration of of of justice in society. Dale has been asked to reflect on field work in the lease, not just in the context of the sort of post Arab Spring period, but also to to offer some ruminations and reflections on the places you'll work in. The stay of the Middle Eastern anthropologist, so without further ado. It's been great pleasure to turn. To you, thank you very much.

Dale: Thank you very much Dick. It's a pleasure to return to Boston University. It seems I've been returning to Boston University for well over 2. Decades in one way or another. Because this is 1. Of the more lively places in the Boston area. For anybody interested in the Middle East or for that matter, the Islamic World, Boston University quite the same skills as certain institutions across the river. But it has more projects that end up in publication than just about anywhere else. Usually I come here. I just go into a. Sealed room. And talk with other people and we start doing pre editing. This time I'm pleased to see that it's in room to the best of my knowledge. And which gives us something else to do. I am going to talk about field. I there's no secret to why my formal title is there. Spring social anthropology the last half century. This presentation pretty well marks my century of doing field work into leaks. There's an old article. May still be used by graduate students by sharing Ortner anthropology in the 1960s came out who flip them? For those of you don't break in 1984 things then came out. Sherry said that the way we look at our field is what it looked like when we entered it, to which I would add a coda when you enter it. How do you know where and for what you spend? Answer usually buy the lectures that your senior faculty give the brainwashing. That church subverted graduate studies, and those usually are. From the prior. Generation then they themselves were trained, but certainly it's the case for you known instructors that differs to Chicago on the home. Some others.


But let me begin with a sense of humility that cause anthropologists like just about everybody else, are asked to give instant readings and things such as the Arab Spring, although perhaps later some of you can tell me what I'm noticing on my campus. Like yours is, so there's quite a bit of. Excitement in the. Feedback on things such as involvement in American involvement or I'm sorry, the coalition willing in the reading, the draft and in what's been happening in Egypt and Tunisia, I barely hear a murmur about Syria right now. Perhaps it's different from boss, but please tell him that that's the case, but not very much. You will swear. Here we. But there's a saying from linen, not a card carrying anthropologist attributed to him, at least in 1920s. There's decades when nothing happens, but there's weeks when decades happen, and that's certainly been the case in perceptions and in action in substance. For the last, for the last year. And 1/2. Since December of 2000 and in the Middle East so. You know to serve as kind of markers for what I'm going to say, I guess lesson number one that we can have looking ahead to the first part of the talk is to say that predictions are very hard to come by. If you think you're getting astonishing insight from me in this talk, I'm going to begin to disappoint you. Because that's the best I can do. But if there's repetition because quite often anthropologists and others are called upon to do exactly. Yeah. And sometimes we aspire. I had since I was a graduate student, sometimes to think a little bit ahead. And this is the August hope part of anthropology and the social sciences. We try to think about how we might engineer or advise people to make things at least a little bit. Better in the future and we often get. Very humbled by that. So let's just take a look at the record of some to make it very quickly. Scholar in the mid 80s and neighboring Austin Area University conducted a major project project with his graduate students that honored about $450,000 from the US government. Agency and confidential fund. And just under that amount from the Rockefeller Foundation, because if you have confidential funding, you don't have to bother adding other people that you're doing the same thing for. You know, I'm on record, so watch that bit, but not much for a while. Yeah, little side income bite. People making presentations to university professors and the ethics of funding, and it's all dried up now because the times have changed. But in 19. 85 This study was to produce the report saying. That a major? The Arabian Peninsula country would be politically stable for the next five years unless it was not. OK. That predictions come true.

How does that asset Died in June 2000. Recently retired a friend recently retired from a senior government post told me last year when I was being very reticent to be exuberant about the Arab Spring in and of itself. Told me that the inside word in Washington in June 2000 was that Bashir last last no longer than four months. OK. That's prediction number two. OK, we've seen a number of prior shifts where we have a certain where Eric intellectuals have asserted that the world has driven would be change, think of sakalas and many others after the Israeli Arab world. For June 1966. Saying that this is ushered in an era of self criticism, politics of society and everything else. Brilliant analysis of where Arabs were and I leave you to decide whether in the Arab world or elsewhere, major catastrophe brought about. Substantive change in 1989, when had the fall of the eastern German government and whole cascade of events, Soviet Union and the Eastern states. They were after. One of Robert Adams and secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, who still is an archaeologist going. Into the rack. Mentioned to me that people who never spoke politics before took senior people got government, we're saying, I guess we're next well. At least, at least not right away. And the point again, is not to. Is is to be perhaps much more reticent about predicting the future. September 11th, 2001 changed everything, or at least that was the hack phrase that kept being repeated for about a decade. And now we have the last. The Arab Spring begun. With the tragic pumping, which? Immolation of Mohammed Bazis in southern Tunisia and exacerbated later by lots of things. Remember the video that must still be on YouTube to the video clip of the next president of Tunisia coming to his bedside. Wasn't quite the thing to do.

The Arab Spring

or many of us. The first part of the Arab Spring we thought, ah, this is finally showing. This changes the person's ideas of person politics. And society and reinforcing that even despotic regimes are perhaps much more frail than they appear to be from the Sultanate of Oman, usually referred to place like worked a lot. Your monies hate the springs, the rather some knowledge, something that. Money is really to try to. Save money, even in under 40 degree heat. To Syria, to Jordan, to Tunisia. Terms such as dignity have become as common as the familiar fray refrain of wanting meaningful employment from the chance to play a role in one one's government. A lot of these ships. They're going to be visible only in retrospect, and some of them may not be very substantive shifts at all, as marked below, wrote over 80 years ago before he got shocked by the. Earns the generations involved in creating new social reforms or unaware, often that they're doing so, and if something new is created, it's often in the process of trying to readapt to adapt the old or to reestablish it. Now Arab Spring itself is termed as primary resonance in several European languages because since 1968 and decedent is of course the problem. Which began in January that year, and you'll recall that by August 1968, after a period of quietness where everybody thought this is it, democracy is just around the corner. The Soviet military crushed the Prague Spring, the 2011 Arab Spring. May also be reversible, but in a very different climate where people are going to talk a lot more in public, at least while they're able to talk in public and then they'll point out that things the analogy for all of its frailty is nonetheless, I think it's called would have said really good to think with it suggests a family resemblance that gets us out of just thinking about the Middle East and these these garbage again turns like, well, Arabs love authoritarian. Low cost, that's in their nature or certain religion has it in its nature just about anything. Else I'm no longer certain about inevitability of the turn toward democracy because so many other things are going on. I live in a country where it seems that the money put into television where it sways voters and polls on a very short term basis as opposed to thinking. Substantive issues, of course. I'm not telling you where I live. I. Live in new. Hampshire so that they were placed in. You. So I'm spared other things. But it does remind us our own experience reminds us that we're not on an upward slope where democracy is all that easy. It means each step of the way having to figure out what it means, how we're working on it, whether we're a quote, advanced society with the high level political discussions that we have. In this country, or whether we're more backward society, that hasn't achieved the level of television advertisements that we have managed to to to do for our. Now, anybody talking about the Arab Spring is going to talk about a number of long term things. And here I could pretend to be in comparative literature, sociology, political science is everything you want. Most of the population in the Arab Middle East is young. And of course that's true for a lot of other places. Let's forget it. I'm just talking about the beliefs right. There was a very, very senior member of the Moroccan Government who said to me. Last September that it's going to get easier for us beginning in 2015 because we already know how many people are born and fewer people are being born, so there'll be less of. A political crisis yet? Good luck. The one thing we know from what he said is that there will be. A slower birth rate for Morocco? After that I would. Not be so too. Worried about? Anything else, because the population is still really significantly under or unemployed immigration long ago seems to be the safety valve that accounts. For long time. Secondly, the region. Is much better school. It may not be good. But is a major economist, American economist said not very long ago, the United States has significantly disinvested in primary, secondary, and tertiary education for quite some time now. So. That are lead in education may be increasingly. Eroded nonetheless, the region is much better school, not more people for the. Arab world can talk back in the sort of Arab that you hear on newscasts, and so. Forth, which you. Have to use if you're talking in public, whether. It's in Kuwait or. Focus somewhere else 3rd and state in a sentence. Is the greater accessibility of new media and new media when when I last edited the book on it now are very much old media, it's now one tweet, tweet, obviously I'm not part of that particular generation and do a lot of things and governments, for better or worse can catch up. Even Syrians by state-of-the-art. Equipment from American. Companies and use them for the purposes. So what goes on in virtual reality is the same case. You were wondering a lot of the one of the news channels reported today that that you said it's a good family. He's got nothing to do with these. These bad rumors you're hearing of stuff going on in Syria. Everything's calm. He does have some military role, but he doesn't know anything about all these disturbances.

Higher Education Standards

There's a prediction that I just read. Very, very. Like today from the national the United Arab Emirates. Beautifully made for my presentation, in which the World Bank manager for education initiatives in the Middle East said that if one had higher education standards in the Middle East, the Arab Spring would never have occurred. Because everybody would be employed. So you get that reasoning that this is thrilling profit science to make. If you have the right sort of education, you're going. To be employed. And therefore you won't have time to revolve or be revolting or anything else. Yeah, the. Being more deadpan, I do appreciate the attempt to have immediate cause and effect relationship between. Patient and politics, but I think it would be more complicated. One of your graduate students, formerly one of my undergraduates, Chloe, moved Eric sticks some more to what anthropologist would do. She had a marvelously titled thing published here at Boston. Universal adulthood denied, in which she tries to capture the tone this anthropologist sometimes still. But what it's like to be unemployed. And with an education that leads to nothing except the diploma probably produced. My ************. Hope not. The familiar statistic she does just as I would do with anybody else getting the tone right in a few words to have people think about that. This is fun.

The meaning of fieldwork

OK, that being said. What difference can anthropology make and what is it that at least social anthropologists are doing? Now let's talk about the meaning. Whom I suppose. Once Upon a time, like when I began teaching anthropology, I was told that field work was proprietary to anthropology. Even when I first heard that, I regard that as nonsense. It is central to social anthropology. But one often gets really brilliant work for people who aren't anthropologists using the same book tool. Jim Scott at Yale University, for example, who have very who, in my judgment anyway, has perhaps a broader reach in. Looking at the way political scientists talk, but of doing much more with it. Your department has single anyone out by name? A former military officer with a degree in political science, and I believe he's made substantive contributions to anthropology regarded as such, and I regard that. Is having conducted field work even before heat? Became an anthropologist. France Bowles certainly didn't have a degree in anthropology, but he's one of the founding fathers. The less you become too emotional about this to go us. Keep in mind that the American Anthropological Association spelled him, censured him. In 1919, because he suggested that anthropology conducted under the Peabody Museum should not be used to conduct espionage in World War One that was regarded as wrong, but to show you how our national organizations really keep up with these things shipped with the times heat. The censure was rescinded in 2005, so if you ever get censored. Robert Redfield had a degree in law and did I think some of the the field. So OK, point made.

My baggage

Now when I entered the field talking about. I arrived at the apology at Chicago University of Chicago with some baggage I have two years of Islamic and Arabic studies from and degree from Yale University. My other baggage was something that no longer exists. I had a merit based. National Science Foundation Fellowship to pursue graduate studies. That program ceased to exist by the 70s, and those of you who are graduate students, I feel for you because I know the sort of resources who compete for it, and it's always incomplete and it's always partial. Once Upon a time in the politics of this great country. And after the Sputnik era, we had some great US senators who were not spending most of their time competing for campaign faults such as J William Fulbright and one of the things they did after the launch of. Was to brilliantly point the notion. The idea of the National Defense Education Act, the issue, the things they supported, could not be immediately tied. To National Defense. But that was the way that they could make a major infusion into everything from the teaching of math and physics in elementary and secondary schools, to the promotion of the study of quote, exotic foreign languages. Never mind that. Sociologist at. Princeton University at the time said, well, we have to have money to have to get scholarships, people to learn Arabic because Arabic language has no literature. It's anybody wonders. Well, he was. One of the leaders of the field Middle East spaces. And I would honestly say maybe he was wrong, but in terms of the national funding? To train people well, in order to assess situations and work in a variety of circumstances, I would say that I hope the day comes when we can regain what we've lost the Japanese to stipe, their economic problems still can support long term research. The French are doing. Exceedingly good job. Of doing the same thing. So with the Swiss, there's fewer of them than us. I suppose the Brits, let's pass over in silence.

They have different problems. We could still go back and do a lot, but we have. Now going back to 1966, although I've just set the scene for. It I hope. I had an entry class of 30.


We were there so said the chair of the. Department at the. Time so that they faculty could separate the sheep from the boats. Wasn't aware, as Charles Lindo might say, that there was so much pastoralism in anthropology at the time. There was more than a whiff of authoritarians. Little bit later. One of my colleagues, Judith Friedlander, who by the. Name you might be able. To just serve. Did a very. Basic study and got pulled some figures noticed that there was a huge dropout rate of women between year one and year two graduate studies. And when this was. Brought to the attention. Faculty, the faculty. Said, well, you know, that's why we don't give fellowship support to women because they drop out. Would you wish to answer was, could it? Possibly because they can't afford to stay in answer? We hadn't thought about that. OK, so it was slightly different. I do recall class in which one of my scene student colleagues asked what was structure of this and then the reply was. If you're asking such a question, you don't belong at the University of Chicago, but pedagogical techniques to use at Boston University. Try that today. I don't think the answer. I think the answer would be something more than silence, but field work was not taught and this is my main point. Field work was another thing. If you had asked how to do it, maybe you shouldn't be an anthropologist. Nobody ever said. That, but nobody taught a course in it, and nobody built in any sense of how one was supposed to do Hill work. So you absorbed it from introductions to books. So 1967, we graduate students took matters into our own hands and organized the book seminar. On the theme of field work and what we could gather. It was memorable, of course. We didn't fight here. People that we have their Raymond Firth who died after about a century in 2002 with his experience in Solomon Islands Tikopia we all I think still read him talked about us as if they were only yesterday was really 19. 28 that he went to Tikopia. And with no sense of humor, he said that the proper field workers should have all their teeth extracted before they go to the field, because otherwise you get that toothache. There goes your field research, so that's one. Way of looking at.

Literary Arabic

Another faculty member where my keen interest in the Middle East and background in Islam studies. Urged me to. Avoid religious topics for religion is the cancer. Of the modern. I guess if you don't. Study if it would go away too. Another caution being about my handicap. I could read everything. And I could make an approximation of speaking the. Literary language that would keep me was told from dealing with the real people in any country I was, I would become the prisoner of school teachers and others. Redfield, returning its graves since school. Teachers where his bread and butter when he was working in a distant place called mixed. This, but knowing literary era, it was supposedly A barrier to understanding. Quoting deep structure of how people really think we. Would look with. Excitement and hints of field work such in, as in Victor Turner's essay, much shown On the horn. Published in 1967 that came out. As I recall in a. Book edited by Joseph Campbell around 1960. And which would turn us padding perfectly alongside the dusty room, and then got I'm quoting there. I usually don't use the words padding perkily and was compared to an Oxford Dom He would talk a Great deal, man, of the of the beginning of the day. What you couldn't find is any reference to the podium situation. And nobody wrote about that almost in any direct way. So it was with great excitement that in 1967 we quickly latched on to the sole copy in Chicago, the craft of social anthropology. That was. Edited by Arnold Epstein. In which a number of the essays were quite helpful to us. But even there, very little was said about the colonial context in any way. It's only after his death in 19. 99 that I read. In a reddish obituary and account of how Epstein himself was deemed. As subversive in what is now Zambia, because it was felt that he was saying good things about labor unions amongst Africans, which obviously was against political interests at the time.

Robert Fernie

I could go on. But the point that I'm making is that the the elephant. In the room. Is rather dead. Metaphor was not being talked about, and that's the political context in which anthropological knowledge was taken. There's a Robert fernia. I had a when television stations still had to. For reasons of their license, have nonprofit programs. They had something called sunrise semesters, at least the people put. Makeup on them said. Normally, if you have a program that doesn't have a lot of viewers, throw it off the air 8 to 10 weeks, but you've got 48. For sunrise semester. Which was really. Great. But Bob, Hernia was one of the people I brought up the program and he. And he said that he had a conversation with Evans Pritchard with Evans Pritchard. It was the fluent, apparently a fluent speaker of Arabic, and had been teaching it throughout the first university and had done field work in sea lock in Oasis in Egypt's Western desert. He said that he decided to. Not work in the Arab world because that would have required. Doing something with historians and people and other disciplines, whereas if he worked in the self Sudan he could do the sort of work that was more favored by anthropologists that you know to be in some elementary elementary society in some ways, when I think back about my. First field work. It's kind of very different from anybody going into the field now would have. I was learning. Language in Cairo, part of the time, usually rather noisy city. Even then, and much more so now. Except when Uncle Sal would sing. In fact, that the level of traffic noise would drop would just really drop. Nasser, of course, would speak after her. She was kind of. Warm up out to her and one could mingle with people in lots of different places. Nobody, very few people that I can't even recall whether there was television at the.

I'm not. Time that might. Have been but it's so very few people had. It I'd go to it. Vacant bottom rocks Musa Pedida and had the privilege of watching old black and white films, which I couldn't understand. The word of very fast Egyptian colonial, in which each tarboosh was carefully painted out. But I had a neighbor. Refugee from Portside, who loved to. Trans retranslate for me into a basic Arabic in most people's ambush, Triops said. Much later had seen all the old black and white films, so that when I could get people to talk to me about what they were saying to one another and these old, worn out films, it was great fun. By 1967, I made-up my. Mind to go to Iraq and? I got there briefly, technically, as social anthropologist attached to an archaeological mission, although what I wanted to do, which was explained to the pre backed government in 1968, was to spend 2 years at the House on Edge. Despite the warning that religion was the cancer of the modern mind, I wanted to be in a mattress self for two years and it was an exciting. Time, frightening time. And and I was aided in not being too frightened because I didn't really know that much about the politics of Iraq, except to notice that I would walk into. A room and. A lot of people would run out of. The room although. I did not think. Of myself, as much of A threat. But I was aware. Much of A threat people might be. Under as a government is. Changing the Glorious Revolution of June 1968 turned glorious is not flying. It's translated from Arabic and the corrective action in July slowed me down. But in the best Iraqi tradition, people from the embassy of the Iraqi Passy in Cairo tutored me in Iraqi. I was waiting in our little code which took me a while to figure out this. All the talk about the uncle's ulcer and when the uncles ulcer. Got better, they said. Now it's time to give you a visa to go to Iraq. So then I figured it out. These are relatives of people that have been studying the Arabic with who helped me.

National Science Foundation

I'll pass over the few queues you had put things in Canada, Marion, which is now the Green Zone. But the radio station was also there and I was living there in the British archaeological admission. Every morning and take a walk and you go by the radio station. If the soldiers there from three different kinds of, you know, I never figured out who. Was who but three. Different units did not have clips in their ammunition belts, and I figured it's a good. Day if they had. Ammunition in some machine guns and rifles. Something might be going on. Yeah, it might be good to stay at home and read in the library. The the politics of where we could work and where we could not are just as bad. We're just as bad there as I believe they they are today. In 1975 I applied for National Science Foundation. 74 was roundly rejected. I felt your dad about it. I was told that ohh. You want to study religious intellectuals? There's no such thing. There's just a bunch of dead and dying old men that have no influence in society. So topology and then this. That was fine. Later I learned that not very much later that no male. Received National Science grant for that year. So like for future well, I got a with perhaps of academic politics.

Social Science Research Council

Stanley Tambayan from Harvard University at the time appealed the decision. And he got the the decision not to award him a grant reversed. So he got his grant, but without funding, since, of course, the money had been spent out and great moments of history. And I have permission to say this. I think I did because I told her give her permission to share a letter and vote her with others.

When I became kind of a grant examiner in 1980 with Marilyn Waldman, who's history of somebody called chocolate Hockey, some of you know quite well it's applying for a social Science Research Council grant to go to Iran and Marilyn. Myself had a little pre conference before we. That are in the room. With anybody else, how are we going to say no? Because yeah, it's too dangerous. And everything else. She's lucky she didn't have the National Science update she to deal with. She was so persuasive that she got the grant, and we argued to the next. Level up. That she'd be able to she'd be. Able to do it. Well, she lasted for three months rather than. They asked for one year, but in retrospect that's pretty good because we were beginning to enter a time in which for private funding, again in the wisdom of short term financing and thinking in the United States social Science Research Council, the largest in the 19 early 50s. The largest funder of social science research in the United States decided to pull out of anthropology and field work in area studies because they felt such things were no longer needed because the rational choice people could take over, as somebody said. At the time, why do you need to know Japanese or anything about Japanese history culture? If the methods of rational choice will explain why Japanese politicians and bureaucrats do the things they do really.


So the funding becomes a very. Awkward sort of thing. The sort of things that people do has radically changed. One can almost in one sleep, talk about the ethnography of the 50s and 60s. Name your place by Team a village in Jordan. What's the region? What's the wider sort of things? That's usually very short chapters. Anthropologists, we could say at. The time would. Work on small canvases, but could ask bigger question, but sometimes the canvas as I indicated you would have heard yet the example of what Evans Pritchard said to him, the cannabis would be manipulated, in other words. Sometimes you would want to indicate that somewhere you were working in was really smaller and more self-contained than it was because of the nature of the field. There were breaks, Sloyd falters, they wrote in it's published in 1974. They wrote it earlier. Social anthropology of the nation state was one of the first studies of Turkey, which tried explicitly to look at the question of how anthropologists would work. Now is the Middle East work more politicized today than it was in the past? I'm not so sure we can look at the older ethnographies and see little hints of what's left out. There's a photograph, as I recall, in Evans Richards, nor religion showing. A shrine which was bringing the various groups to the newer together kind of owner. Parallel to what Muslims were doing in the northern Sudan just before it was bombed by the British Air Force, which would suggest that Evans Pritchard probably knew about politics more than he was saying Edmund leeches political systems of Thailand, Burma doesn't mention. Anything except one or two sentences in the introduction of World War 2 and the fact that each. British intelligence officer trying to figure. How to get the machine to work With the Japanese?


These days we’re much more explicit about what we are doing. You would search up and down of the ethnographies concerning Morocco place where I did my first appeal for the late 60s and early 70s for much discussion about. Politics in significant way. For that, you'd have to go to John Waterbury's, commander of the faithful. But he's a card carrying apologist. And his work is banned in Morocco, but that wouldn't stop the Ministry of Interior from commissioning a private translation. But in the way of many authoritarian governments, the government administrative interior didn't notice that the book was being translated into French anyway, and they could thought it for much less. Money source of that is John Waterbury, who met the translator for the. Ministry of Interior. On the beach and. She was very happy to spend. The summer, with all the translating this work

Max Weber

Now, Max Weber in 1913 said something that resonates, I think just as strongly today. The social science is presupposed and appreciation of the possibility that our ultimate values might diverge, whether in this country or leftist. Right for anything else and these divergences might be in principle and reconciled only. But he went on to say, and he was viciously attacked in Germany for saying this. That social scientists should take up heated issues, but as analysts not as propagandists, explicitly or implicitly, for one side or the OR the other, this is a constant sort of thing, I think in anthropology we've all read, probably at least those of us, an apology training. To work with Pierre Bouju. He had a very important book on called the Algerians Cassez. What do I know? Series of French first came out 1958, when the Algerian issue was really heating up. And then we reissued, not reissued, reworked for 1962. When Algeria became independent and later one of the classic things that everybody learned in anthropology was his article on the Labia House, the structure of the basic burger household. And I was as duped as anybody. Else just because. It's reading on North Africa. That's nothing. I figured that's because he said working for the villages, no. He worked in fortified. Villages, as the Americans called the fortified Hamlets, places to which people were brought and rounded up where the French could watch over them at night, should they be comfortable. And his his work done within Algeria mostly was very much about imagine, though, which it would have been nice to have shared a little bit more information about how the took the context of politics at the time.

Social Anthropology Today

What are good anthropological projects look like today? What are they like to to become? Let me just mention a few and give a sense of what I see is the most promising sort of careers about it. Let me take somebody an older generation first about Susan Schmich. How many people have read anything? Right. One is she began her life working on the Benihana kind of oral history thing, of the of Egypt, and moved on to a number of places to work, perhaps her most. Just the older most distinguished, but would be objects of memory about an error. Village in Israel, where the inhabitants had not. 48 agreed to. Surrender or not, to fight the. Israeli Jews and then one day they were asked to evacuate through village. Just just overnights. The army could have an exercise there now. They still haven't been allowed back. They had to set up tents on the hill overlooking their village. And what Susan did was to contact. The era the villagers still in Israel and those overseas about the places they had and the eviction was to allow Eastern European refugees who were artists. To form an. Art colony in the same place. She talked to both sides and kept the balance on it as far. Has been reported. She had lost some of her own family in the home. Lost. So she had a. Very acute sense of things. She's worked on Palestinian drama in places like Jerusalem and now on the performance of human rights involved, published what it's called in French and which is very well known amongst those who read French and Iraq. What other sorts of things do you have? Here's more recent work, which might be the sort of thing which any graduate student would aspire to reading to get ideas for the day. Let me just to choose two on each of. Since that's that no. Country, but we could anybody's meeting with you tomorrow. Talk without anymore Amira. Maya, who's written a book called Dreams that matter, which is about the different interpretations of dreams in each of five religious scholars of the specialize in such things, and by those Egyptians, the poor in the Western style. You mean analysts and just About everything And looking at the spectrum of these things, because a lot of these dreams become eminently political and and are seen as permissions of other things. One about 6 prizes this last year. Even come to? All the prizes the Victor Turner Prize. That you're surprised that this prize that. It's a good book to think about because of the rapid shift in perspectives that she gets in without slowing one down into the the obligatory anthropological first two chapters about how to read all the books I've read from my thesis.

Social Anthropology Training

Jessica vinegar. I'm saying her name right. Who has a book on contemporary art in Egypt? Where you have to get beyond chapter one in some ways where you don't have all the things my graduate advisors told me but once. You get beyond. That you have a brilliant account of the world of Egyptian artists and. What they. Have to do it in addition to, you know, doing something and. Paintings or the plastic parts such as sculpture or anything else, and the context that no longer are limited to a place called Egypt but can just as well be the decision of a curator in the Greater New York area because she had second life as a curator for a while, which helps. Anthropology might be a little bit like being a firefighter. What matter is locked, I would argue, is having really good training. And I would argue, unlike some anthropologists, really good formation in language. To the extent that you have an idea of where you're going and you won't be able to manage everything, what languages you're supposed. To know from. Wrong though. For instance, just Arabic might not help you if you're working to read or in. Southern Morocco or other places? There's other languages very hard to find, to talk in the United States or anything, but it's a good start. Or or in other places. And for those of you who do know there that you're very aware that knowing. Arabic, like school teacher Arabic as I did at the beginning, isn't much help when you start hearing people in Damascus talk among themselves or people in Egypt or in the Rocco who was once president of meeting between a rock and publisher and an Iraqi publisher and the. And the common language that would be English, because the the Iraqis had been educated in Britain and he couldn't rise to the level of the Moroccan who who could manage a few more languages than he then he he would be able. Do, but when an anthropologist I would like to think, aspires to be properly trained or has a certain amount of humility about what he does, he or. She doesn't know. Then it's, I think then it's possible. To take advantage of the situation of what the. I've assessed the meeting of the logical Association last November and there was a panel on the Arab Spring. And I must say, didn't grab me that much to hear somebody say, well, I was calling my mother every day in Cairo and she didn't know much of what was going on outside of her apartment building. Well, good news I guess.

Social Anthropology Lessons

One burned a little bit one it was it, one doesn't have to wait for arguments, but in good ethnography. I think there's something between the really circumstance. And then the sort of paper where you say that all this talk about waves and top of your square police waving in and of demonstrators going back reminds me of will be will be allowed or something, preferably a French scholar of the book and the poetry. Of opposition and so forth. Just try that after temper square some time. See how far that gets you in some ways. About what you can have and you get in the best of ethnographies is a sense of all the competing voices in many these places, without amputating the intellectual surprise. When I was in Syria the first time I had something. That wasn't quite prepared for. My phone rang in the middle of the night and somebody a voice and I recognize said, are you awake? You figure well, in Syria the proper thing is if you answer the phone, say yes, I'm awake. That's true. And I came. Down to the lobby. Where there is somebody. Who I didn't recognize, who wasn't? This was very polite. This is sort of Syrian would be who turned out to be the head of security for that part. And he asked me what I was. Doing there and. I basically said in Arabic that well, I, I said. Told us an American that serious terrorist state. And yet I'm finding the most exciting publications on religion to take place to take place in Damascus and not elsewhere. And I'm here to ask. You, mother. Why? And I want to talk to publishers, and if I can sensors. Poets and others on this question but. Two days later, I was told now you have your inoculation. You can do whatever you want and some people from the bath party. They're very structured. They had the the cultural section of Bath party. You take me around, I'd meet the best people could meet others trying to survive On their own. And get a good sense and I learned. Of the distinction between books sold above the table and under the table, and bookstores that go in the bookstore. And they have, like, a copy of such and such a title. And I'd have some Bob party with me. Something then was a best seller called Secrets of the droves. And you say. It's not on our shelves books on, he said. And I said that's not what I asked you. I said, is it in this room, under the table? And there were about six boxes of the book there. But the person I was in with knew that and. I learned something about the Gray area between something being permitted and something not being officially officially banned.

Training in Social Anthropology

Let me let me stop here. Any sort of training you get the best. The anthropologists, the prior generation or what? You can learn. From colleagues, because more and more now you will have amongst your your midst, people who are from the area that you want to talk about, it's probably. Going to be out of date or a little bit about now the focus. Before you go. But what you have to do is to recognize the. Breadth of the fee. In which you may be called to operate in some places. I know for a fact, certainly not at Boston University. Anthropologist. I'll just read anthropologists. Otherwise you'll get confused if you want to work in the Middle East would strongly advise against that. You're not going to become in a story and at the same time. That you're probably going to have a number of complementary disciplines and fields. That you're going to. Want to know about and attend? To get a good sense of and you're going to want to be much more aware than would have been the case half. A century. The multiple audiences of not just other people in the trade, people who will assess you for promotion and tenure, but at the same time the. First of all. People about whom you. Right English used to be a language of privilege where only the leak would learn it. Now many, many more people do, and the chances are before you go see anybody. They're going to rule. One way or another, and the chances are much better than in book reviews, in newspapers and eventually. In a good way of writing you will be translated and should be and the excitement there is. You really learn something from multiple audiences at that time. Thank you very much.

Q & A

Dick: We have time for some questions. Let me… Looking forward to the unfolding developments in places like Syria, because it's not the same with governments, the minds of many of us. Drinking things. Where do you think where? You can find. That you hope inspiring material for a case like Syria, where the beginning with the regime there seems to be in many ways that the world. Is its population. Who would be on your bookshelf recommended as a as an appropriate, you know. To get some pleasure each other through 2026.

Dale: I would think of two books in French, one of which I've read the other one of which I've attempted, I can recall the title of the book only came out two months ago and I I have a disease I called the departmental chair, which means no reading hasn't slowed down. It's a handicap that we. Endure that all things will pass. One book is called the the most recent book is the. Bass and the. And is the Bash party of Syria. Just came out, it's. A single authored. Book by an anthropologist, a student of view, Coppell, who's been translated quite a bit into English, who basically has spent long periods of time in Syria and who has the language capacity.

Dick: [inaudible]

Dale: Exactly. Thank you very much. And the other would be or not oshier, whose first published by Harvard University. Press and whose title is. Every day, dealing with dealing with the views of Palestinians and refugee camps in Lebanon, I'm not aware of any Americans had sustained. Current keep going back to these camps, so I. Know who she. And when you're told, don't come back here again, they might once again, he still would trust other people enough to say, well, that might be true anywhere. And to keep going, that it's not encouraged to don't, you know, by many. He has a second book that just came out. Again, very recently in French. Not in your date your time, but it's spoke about the politics in Northern, which has quite a bit to do. You meet between the lot. The sort of support that Syrians in the continuous borders with with Lebanon can get from outside, in which they need. To continue the solar resistance that we read about at the present time, these are people who have done sustained work under difficult circumstances. Not about Syria, but about Gaza if somebody said. To me, well, I'd like to. Think about Gaza. What's going on there? Then I would say, well, look at the work of the Tetia Bukhari French again. Who died? A considerable period of time in that as of what you were in engine though, but for the purpose of conducting research, she was a political scientist that if you gathered by now from what I'm saying. Political science in France is perhaps closer to. Apology in the United States or social anthropology, then, is the French discipline of ethnology, anthropology, sociology, which also exists. But it's kind of in remission for most not elsewhere for the Middle East people. Things there are some works in English and Syria that come out at different times. In fact, one of my former undergraduate students, Christa Salamandra. Wrote a very good book on Syrian television, special soap operas, and what Syrians could do in that range of things where they could have creative expression, she said. It's one of the problems of being a writer for television in Syria. How many times can you do? Family dramas, as opposed to anything else. If you want police streams on television reaching wide audiences, you have to. Go to Morocco. There, it's the only Arab country I know. There's a little bit in Egypt, but where you have crime cereals done with the proposition that, that's where that's just rising in terms of collaboration.

Questioner #1: Sorry, I'll preface my remarks Dale with since you went a little bit into your own past preferences just with a little bit of a shared. Paths because it is almost to. The week 30 years since I met you. And I want to follow up on a. Comment that that you made about the support. That you provided. For young scholars in the field, of course, I was at Southeast Asian is known at Eastern, but. I was. I had just defended my dissertation. In November of 1981, at University of Michigan. And was working as Gifford Carissa's assistant, which she. Never really didn't. Call anything other than just hanging out. And feeling very sort of out of my. Element not knowing where I was going. To go and you. Know being on. The job market, it's a difficult job market then and. Actually. And you came to the business of the Institute for the Advent, for Advanced Studies and. You came to see Cliff? And, to my astonishment, had had made arrangements to meet with me, and this is the first time anything like this in my life, and it was just such a remarkable gesture from the scene. Well, big career and but certainly very great defender scholar. It it stayed, it was. A lesson I don't know that I'd implemented. It, but I certainly recalled it throughout my life, the way in which you you reached out to me and I've watched you do it with many, many young scholar, young dissertation writer, over the course of subsequent years. And I I just. Say that as a preface to just a second, whether you said you're you're the way in which you've reached out again and again and again over the course of your career is really, really exceptional. Your real teacher and and mentor in all senses that were to to those of us who. Were seeing this in the world briefer. Comment. No question. I'm working with Carol Ferrer right now. We're repeating our course read. Reread it several times your. Knowledge and power in the. But since Carol and I are going to be talking about. Your book tomorrow. I've just been doing independent study with her. I thought I'd just sort of do an easy setup for her and she can. She can follow up, but if you went back to that really, that book, which I consider one of the most exquisitely beautiful ethnographies of knowledge written from any. Part of the world, any part of the world. If you went back and revisited that and looked at the life history that you tell there, you tell the history of the world and the tradition of knowledge in change in the process of far reaching changes from the point of view, of course the. Body like that light you present so vividly and movingly. You also make use. His life to talk about the way in which knowledge, education, socialization are changing. In Morocco and across the broader Middle East. The question in subsequent years used. Back and made broader statements about knowledge, traditions and the changing nature of education. All across broad expanses. In the movies, but. If you just return to that book. And the life of the Cosby. Whom you described there. What would be the? To the world that was lost there and the world that was emerging, what would be the EPA law that you would write as an for cologist at that level of intimacy? Using the life of that person, what would? You what would. Epilogue would you write to that account?

Dale: I would say that it is in one way. It's a nice, resonating, crazier path. I suppose it is about. The world that was lost. In another way, it's not because most Moroccans. Would say that they are in a different way, preserving that task for bringing it up to date. Now that's not quite the case when you have a system outside of US medical complication where you spend. On your normal eyes and body parts. The When you are able to become first of all, a reciter of very specialized sort of activity, which it wasn't before, but it's still an iconic sort of knowledge. The places where I see. That iconic sort of knowledge contained. Places like the it's not the full time job, but the tutors to very elite children were part of the house and I know some. Of them have. Known in other settings. But it's where people can afford to be patrons up. And where they go out. To do something that was not available earlier, how did they? Where do you show distinction in this? If you're part of the hassania kind of school learning, you go out to international recitation inside of your products. As you come back. But when I talk these people, we'll talk to them a bit about that and they've got a very beautiful way of of reciting. But I'll get the same questions without students as from others. Do you think I can get to America? Can you get me a scholarship? Like that, by the way, before thank you for your comments on the discussion 1981. One of the reasons you want to talk with students such as bond is you get other doors open in longer term. In 1985, I was invited. Indonesia by the Indonesians, but since they don't have any money, they got money from the US Embassy and somebody had seen me keep a riot from breaking up and discussion. Very left wing person decided that she was being attacked, so she brought in her own gorillas. The translators call them who scribbled their names and will place cards to put over people through that from the other Pacific health. Keep them calm. Not in the American way, which should be called the LA police, bringing the night sticks, but some other way. And so somebody who was then the Under Secretary of the clinic studies said like to invite me. And then the American Embassy said no, absolutely not. And he said, well then there's going to be no American that the first introduction conference, Islam and politics in the country. So they got rid of me and then I need to deal with the Indonesians. Sure, I'll come. But you have to allow me to go to. The tender Highlands where I know this anthropologist too. Is there any summer? And so I got to walk above the clouds literally. In there. But my way was paged by the Indonesians keeping their work and the authorities know that I was coming and it was OK. You don't have to do too much reporting from else and there was something that Bob may or may not recall. You were sitting in the little Hut in the middle of the field waiting for this is. What you want to learn? Waiting for Epanet come back, sitting in his place. And there's a gentleman. With crease at. The window. Beginning to form it. Mouth and I noticed this, thought said. I think because. We're skin color. He thinks that we are demons of some sort. And so later Bob reconstructed it because my ability to distinguish levels of speech in Indonesia is not very good. Doesn't exist. And he spoke to him in a more authoritative way than others. And so the phone diminished. I would wait and The thing is, if you have a. Say quick get. Me, my interpreter, that might not have been the to do and bobs lesson for me was the next time you read one of these prepared statements about how calm and. Otherworldly. The Indonesians. Remember the guy. At the window. And I also just by context, got a sense about stability in language, which I could get from other objects. Then you could play shell. Game because I. Could go in mosques and I could read the. Some things in. Arabic better than most teachers, of course. They would say that when I ask questions. There, they confided answers. So most teachers would be very happy. So thank you, that's the best [inaudible].

Now, you were being set up for a question.

Questioner #2: Oh dear. OK, well then I sure I'll come up with something. Let's see. How would you think that education? Now in Morocco, then. Is being used as a form of as a form of power, in the sense that it's obviously LED a lot of young people to Nothing. So how is the mental construction? Of what it means to be educated, changing.

Dale: Parts of the education system work. But some of the senior administrators who are accidents of my own cohort I know will point out to me, at least in private, when our system works, it's not because institutionally it's functioning functional. It is working because of individual initiatives in our own field of apology. Remember, dealing with students in. In 1992. Where I was running a seminar in Arabic for my own reason to run. It was not because to run it in Arabic. They decided that we're going to Jordan to take care of it. Going for lessons to improve. You want to just jump in and swim and see what happens, and some students asked to join us at the university and their teachers. Said get out. And when I met the students in Porter who asked me great poetry community with you. Later, they said don't do it. They might be police spies. Because I want to see sort of questions please guys would ask. And so we beat it. My partner better watch it and so forth. And they're the number of people where with some of them I've seen in touch, guess what? It's just like we're not just like here, it's harder. A number dropped. Out or had to go into the Ministry of Interior here to do other things because you know how many jobs are there doing anthropology? Or something but. I would get. A good idea of how they operated little photocopies and this and that around because nobody could afford the books, but they can afford both copies and shared information on things and so forth. And some they survived and are now teaching. And last time I went back was very happy. There was a long. Period where nobody. Was doing sociology after apology that it wasn't existent university except it's part of social. And and I was told during an exam here. Well, can you come by? There's just four or five students, and there were about 45 there. And I had a chance to. Ask people what they Were doing and they were adapting students, in other words, if you were working in the Ministry of Health, I'm doing social work. Surprise. That would be your field work and you'd be reflecting on that for your courses and your practical work with nothing else to do. You know the standard thing in Morocco, you know, we for my generation, in fact at New York University, we've told no and study quote their own people. You have to study somewhere else that no longer is the case, but in Morocco, if you were from Al Jadida, that's about the only place you're going to be able to do field work because you will be taking this included spy much more than an alien would be for working anywhere else. And tremendous hostility. But you would see a number. Of people with pretty good projects and others. Trying to get an. Idea where the projects were and you're. Beginning to get. Books in Arabic that are not, and we have translations from French or English. That are concerning anthropology and some of the pretty the circulation in the Arab world remains the worst of anywhere in the world, except perhaps Antarctica. It's it's really bad between the sensors and book distribution, piracy and everything else, the economics for it just don't work, but I would like to think that [inaudible] stay that way forever.

Dale: Yes, please.

Questioner #3: Could I ask you to reflect on IRB processes and how this relates to both of the institutional review boards and studies and human subjects?

Dale: I missed your key word? RIB?

Questioner #3: RIB. Process and how it relates both of the policy and strategies.

Dale: It's a good question. I'm of two minds. I used to be on the IRB at New York University and they're very much. IRB's are still pretty well dominated by medical people. I'm glad to say that a lot of medical people are very. Opening things, but it does take somebody who knows about non medical approaches to things, especially where. I I mean it it, it would almost be the subject of a good Egyptian drama or good Iranian drama to say to somebody. Hello. I'm your friend. The American apologist. Would you mind signing this human consent form from IRB's and ask me a few questions? I'll promise you. It doesn't work that way to say the least. It's, but most IRB groups will know that. Sometimes, in my editorial capacity, I'll see things in between, like somebody going into a university setting and and asking permission from students to do certain things, but then treating anything faculty members would say spare game, even where faculty members could say there's certain things that might get them expelled. Certain countries and. How that gets handled? Something that won't conquer that here, but it's it's basically part of the peer review system. It is awkward with a lot of people are more resistant than others to this, but when you get doctors talking, those long forms that people sign anyway to get medical care, especially if they can't. Court paper doctors. Are are not necessarily understood. You know doctors will say to me informally they'll say to the patient, just sign here, then we can. Get on and. Treat you or something and then you know. Most people are aware of the process and most people interest in good faith. That's that's about the best I can say, but it's a very American notion. Still, perhaps some of you with a lot to do with Europe to tell me otherwise. Are not quite aware of the French going to the same levels for social science research and for other things, and the British the less that is said the better.

Questioner #3: Inaduable.

Dick: And we fixed it here. Yeah, we.

Dale: We progress.

Questioner #3: Well, that's.

Dick: Is due to the nightmare last year.

Dale: It was a.

Questioner #3: Nightmare here here. It's better than it was a year. Or two ago. We got divorced from the medical school.

Dale: OK, we've had both at NYU and elsewhere when I was on the NYU or the very interesting thing where I would pick up an anomaly of what looked like. I can say. It now a. Doctor Who was selling body parts or tissues from patients. And by the book, this is what it was. But it turned out to be one of the few doctors in the NYU system or, you know, coming through the IRB. They're willing to treat. What we now call HIV patients, everybody else, which was a dentist in fact. And what got us through that and is, is you all know IR's are not just medical personnel or anything else because of American excesses in places like Tuskegee experiment or water U.S. Army experiments to see how people would act to being downwind. And radiation exposure and so forth. One of the medical people explained to us what was going on. The doctor was probably dealing with probably dealing with impoverished population who couldn't pay, and there was a market in the selling of tissues. Which is probably the only way that people could get treatment. And so we, the IRB, did what it's supposed to do. It's like what a jury does if you. A jury that says it's going to send somebody away for life for the third violation of pot smoking. I've been on grand juries where you simply refuse to hear the evidence. So you just say there's no evidence in the prosecutable player at you and will. Say sorry, you're. Tampering with the grand jury. Get out. But in this case we would. I would like to thank answered in terms of both the comic book. So you know, there's a case where. It worked a little better. But I can well imagine another. Hierarchy just by the chemistry of the groups. Doing by the. Sorry, it looks like it happened to you.

Questioner #3: No, not really. What I'm trying to take on my own discipline in political science, there are basically 2 competing views on Iraq. These people who report to ethnography, they are more in terms of, OK, I mean it would be good to have a sort of a softer ID process. There is more sort of orthodox mainstream political science, people who think it is good both for you and for your subjects, which is, which becomes very hard for people who. Try to do the political ethnography, or more qualitatively, or at work in multiple sites. So it's like.

Dale: OK. Thank you and good luck.

Dick: Yeah. I want to thank you for a number of fascinating insights tonight. [inaudible]

Justice, Morality and Modernity: What Makes the Risale-i Nur Modern? (2010)


Long Fuller, a noted jurist, who died in 1978, distinguished between the morality of aspiration and the morality of duty, Fuller explains that the morality of aspiration shows a close affinity with aesthetics as a means for making the best use of our short lives.[470] Nursi’s notion of divine or “pure” justice has an important aesthetic and moral dimension that resonates with Fuller’s notion of the morality of aspiration, and goes far beyond narrow notions of justice.

Fuller regards the morality of aspiration as “the fullest realization of human powers.”[473] People might fail to realize their fullest capabilities, but this is a failure of shortcoming, he argues, not of wrongdoing.[474]

Both Fuller and Nursi also see morality as the basis for law and justice. Nursi’s notion of justice and balance parallels Fuller’s argument except that Nursi of course invokes not only a higher morality, but divine determination.

Fuller’s morality starts at the top of human achievement, his morality of duty starts “at the bottom,” laying down “the basic rules without which an ordered society is impossible.”[478] Fuller's morality is prescriptive, much like Nursi’s specific invocations of prescribed punishments in Shari‘ah.


Most proponents of modernization theory have generally assumed that modernity marks a sharp break with the “traditional” past. In Turkey, as in the Middle east, political reformers exaggerated this great divide, so that only in the last few decades have Turkish social historians and social scientists acknowledged that “modernity,” both political and social, is a much more nuanced and complex process than explained by such sudden tectonic political shifts as the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of the Turkish republic.

In terms of social reforms and religious understandings, both Turkish and foreign scholars today recognize that many incremental innovations, and not necessarily just the “top-down” ones mandated by state authorities, were underway long before the Republican era in fields such as marriage, family, and fertility patterns.[486]

A strong sense of religious modernity remains central to Turkish public life and social institutions that is at the same time compatible with the secular nature of state institutions and mainstream political expression.

Religious and Secular in Open Societies

Open societies claim to respect religion and religious worship. at the same time, however, in the words of the late philosopher richard rorty (1931–2007),[490] religion usually functions as a “conversation-stopper” outside of circles of believers. Rorty’s observation points to why the career and writings of Said Nursi have proven such a challenge to conventional ideas of modernity. “Modernity” is normally seen as an “enlargement of human freedoms” and an “enhancement of the range of choices” as people began to “take charge” of themselves, which is of course exactly what Nursi encouraged people to do.[491]

The modern era has intensified the pace of interaction among believers in different religious traditions.

The Risale-i Nur encourages reflection on core ideas of morality and justice without prescribing particular, context-specific directives. At the same time, its advocacy of multiple systems of learning, including those derived from the colonial experience,[505] encourage the elaboration of habits of thought and practice that facilitate introducing new elements and practices. For Nursi, it is not sufficient simply to “be” Muslim and to follow Muslim practices. One must reflect upon and articulate one’s faith in practice. Pluralism, and a respect for complementary values of justice and ethical conduct, is of necessity constantly negotiated between universal and local ethical values.

Thus, the teachings of Nursi readily function to explain, “in accordance with the understanding of the age," as Nursi said, "the truths of the Qur’an.” I emphasize 'the understanding of the age' indicating his engagement with practical reason and specific historical circumstance.[506] Nursi's writings represent the islamic tradition as one that enjoins a continuous dialogue over meaning, one that explicitly enjoins tolerance among Muslims and between Muslim and other religious traditions. Religious intellectuals such as Nursi may claim strong links with the past, but their practice in the present conveys the idea of the modern at its best, dissolving the artificial between between “traditional” and “modern.”

Bridging this gap has challenged Turkish intellectuals, as the career of Şerif Mardin suggests. Soon after I met Mardin in the early 1970s, he shared with me the first of multiple successive drafts of what eventually became his landmark book, Religion and Social Change in Modern Turkey (1989), his study of the life and thought of Said Nursi.

On several occasions over the span of twenty years, Mardin told me that this book was the most difficult one he ever had to write. He explained that Nursi’s writings and career were impossible to understand through the conventional lens of modernization theory such as he'd learnt at Stanford in the late '40s, and thereafter in the United States also, and the popularity of his work also contravened the tenets of Turkey’s then prevailing secular vulgate. In word and in deed, Nursi showed how faith and modernity worked together. If Nursi’s point of departure was religious studies, that of Mardin was secular modernity.

Both men, Nursi, and in his academic way, Şerif Mardin transcended conventional wisdom and practice in order to understand how the spiritual can be thoroughly compatible with modern notions of responsibility, justice, and ethical pluralism based on critical reason.

Religion and Democracy in Turkey by Dale Eickelman (Apr 2009)


Professor Dale Eickelman (Dartmouth) discusses the role of religion and democracy in Turkey throughout history and today. April 2, 2009.

***Voice-over:** iTunes U at Kennesaw State University.

Dan Paraka: Push build means welcome. Good evening. My name is Dan Paraka. I'm director of International services and programs. And if you're here for the next year of Turkey Lecture, you're you're in the right place. We're winding down. We're getting down to the last about 3 or 4 lectures. Now we've got some really great lectures to finish the year and. Tonight's lecture is is no exception. We're really, really delighted tonight to have Dale Eichelman here with us tonight he is. The Ralph and Richard Laver professor of Anthropology and Human Relations from Dartmouth College. He has a Masters of Arts degree in Islamic studies from Mcgillan University in Canada and a PhD from. In anthropology from the University of Chicago, his publications include public Islam and the common good. The Middle East and Central Asia and anthropological approach and new media in the Muslim world. The emerging public sphere. He's former president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America. Earlier this year we have the. Incoming President Virginia Jackson was here earlier this year, and so that's a nice connection, I think during the series. And he's senior adviser to creates first private liberal arts university, the American University of Kuwait. And. He shared with me a nice brochure on the on the university. It looks like a great place. Maybe if some students are interested, we could help you study there. And he's presently adding a book called Islam in the modern world, the Fatula Gulen movement. So again, please join me in welcoming Dr. Eichelman almost.

Dale Eickelman: Thank you very much, Dan. It's a pleasure to be here, especially because I think that there is no other university in the United States of America at this time that has such an extensive series of of presentations on Turkey in any given. Year there tend to be intensive conferences where people flock together and then they disappear three or four years later. The book comes out, but this is something a little bit different, I think where you've covered the gamut of what there is to cover. I think in the year of Turkey from many different perspectives. And prisms and the pleasure of being here. I've also. I've spent a lot of time working in the in North Africa and I was absolutely surprised and walking through the doors of Kennesaw State just now to see a not just. Kind of a montage of things having to do with Morocco, but rather about a particular part of Casablanca of getting a sick and fascinating fascinating sort of exhibit. If if I learned who did it, there was one or two translation problems between Arabic and English, but it's so. Good. It would be bad form of me to point out anything like that, but it's it was a very nice surprise. I'm very glad to be able to talk about Turkey today, but. That's there's anthropologists in the room, amongst others. What I'm going to try to do at the same time is suggest why Turkey is good to think with. If you're interested in Islam and democratization, or if you're interested in things such as globalization and it's. Hard for. Anybody to say that those are things that don't? Interest them. Turkey plays, in my judgment, a pivotal role in the cultural, political and religious imagination of us of us all, and some of the things going on in Turkey now I think, can help us to understand how really significant political and social change. Take place to frame things for Turks who are in the audience or people of Turkish origin. If you're studying history textbooks, you always learn about the top down approach. This is where the Ottoman Empire. Quickly becomes the Turkish Republic, at least as it's taught in school books and with a very, very different sort of emphasis and popular base. Now what I'm going to be emphasizing a lot today is something that's a little messier, but it's a lot more basic, I think, to how we think about ourselves and how we think about our societies. And that's the bottom. Up approach the approach by which people learn. To talk to one another and more importantly, in the highly diverse communities in which we live, to learn to trust one another, let me give you a vignette and it's not going to be from Turkey, it's going to be from the it's going to be from the from Amsterdam and the Netherlands in 1999. There's a Member of Parliament, the 20 camera there in 1999 who took me on a tour. Of various Muslim community centers, mostly Moroccan and mostly and mostly Turkish. His name I'll mention was Osama sharabi after 2001. He's changed his name slightly to Sam Sharabi. You can figure out why he now teaches at Emory University. Which is the reason I'm mentioning him by name because he has a strong political past and as a Moroccan who became a Dutch citizen, he was a two term member of the Dutch Parliament. So for a total of 6 years. I can't help but add a diversionary note in this country after you serve after a life after serving in our Congress and the like, you begin getting lucrative consulting contracts and everything else. What you get in Holland is a bicycle to take home. It's a little bit. Different try doing that with your elected representatives or with Gingrich. I think he got more than a bicycle for what he did. However, what you could see when you went into the Moroccan center. It was a, let's say, a hostility to talking to anybody, even a member of the Dutch Parliament who could speak Arabic, the many languages in Morocco, but they're just, oh, you have to come back. The only person who can talk is not here. When we go to the Turkish centers, there's no problem. The director wasn't there either because we were doing cold calling, but then the deputy director and the deputy of the Deputy Director took over and showed us the gamut of what they were doing. Dutch language lessons for recent immigrants classes in how to take advantage of the various things that citizens and non citizens could take care of in in the community, how to access health services, whole range of things you can do as citizens, including how to register. If you were a Dutch citizen to take part in elections and it was then that it dawned on me that despite all of the things that I'd have Turks telling. About the travails of democracy in their own country, but there was a substantial base on which one could build in order to think about, one has to do in a democracy, and for those who chose to come to Europe to assimilate into. European Society at the same time, we'll come back to the top down approach later, but as I say, the rougher one in the story, that's not often told that is the bottom up one. And why should this be important? Let me give you a litany of perhaps familiar quotes to you, because Islam often is a conversation stopper when it comes to thinking about democracy. Let's take Paul Johnson, an historian whose work in many ways I admire who in the 1990s wrote. That there's a vast Islamic arc in which democracy, personal freedoms and the will of law are denied. It's fascinating, quote. It's easy to grasp, even if it's just totally wrong. One of the world's largest democracies, as you know, is Indonesia. More Muslims live in India, which is, of course not a Muslim majority place than live in all of the Arab Middle East. And elections in many places, especially Turkey, are alive and well. It didn't happen overnight. And how these things happen will come to in a moment. Amos perlmutter. These are quotes. I'm not unfortunately making them up. Islam is incompatible with liberal human rights, with liberalism, human rights, human rights with Western style, representative democracy. And if that's too much of a mouthful. For you then go to Daniel Lerner back in the 60s saying the Muslim world faces a stark choice Mecca or mechanism. Nation, at least it's alliterative and easy to remember. But like Sam Huntington's notion of east versus West, it's very much. Perhaps it's very much off the pumped. One of the first public opinion polls in Turkey dealing with Turkish identity, of which I'm aware took place in three years beginning in 1990. Now this this is Stone Age, but it's a rather important time because you'll remember the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait at that time and other things. And the collapse of the Soviet. Union a cross section of Turks where asked, is Turkey Western? I'm sorry, is Turkey European? Is Turkey Muslim or is it both a very steady number of people said it was Western. But it was far from that majority. It was about 11 percent is Turkey Muslim? A certain number. Said it was Muslim, but in each of the three years, the biggest change, and I'm not going to give you all of the statistics, was an increasing number saying it's both. In other words, it's a false dichotomy. You can be Western and you can be Muslim and at the same time and. This again is is. Well, the Gallup organization did the did the poll and it it gets very much to the point that we're getting to many of you would know from political science courses or just general reading the name of Seymour Martin Lipset very famous political scientist and sociologist. We had. And interesting definition of democracy in which he would say either you have it or you don't. His notion of democracy was the following. The institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions. In which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of competing, so that you get a struggle to persuade other people by the power of the vote to decide what the decisions are going to be. Now, so far so good. With Lip set in terms of saying. But in his case of saying that, here's where I begin to disagree with him strongly saying democracy is either present or demon. Accuracy is absent. And then he. Would go on with the fatal thing that you keep seeing in a lot of Western thinking of saying that Islam is an obstacle to democracy. In some ways. Now you don't have to go back that far. I've been around the United States long enough that I can remember as some people in this room can be. The first presidential campaign of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, where in the state of West Virginia? One piece? Of oral persuasion that was used by the opposition political party was to say that a vote for Kennedy was a vote for the Pope. The implication being that if you were Catholic, you were teleguide died from the Vatican that caused a national stir when that occurred, and to the best of my knowledge. Nobody has tried that sort of argument since 1960. If I'm wrong, please correct me. I hope not. But it's still kind of open season in many ways on on how Muslims are guided by their. Which you know in a generic sense, I suppose we're all guided by our faith, but at the same time, there are limits. I was asked in a tribal setting in Kuwait once by people who are. Certainly not academics, but who were at the crossroads of? Muslims with different notions saying well, professor, you've been to a lot of Muslim countries. Can you tell us what's the true Islam of Islam taking? And I kept a straight face and I said God Subhan O to Allah may praise be upon him. God knows what the true Islam is, but since God hasn't spoken to any human since the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Body trays, I said all Muslims and non-Muslims can do is argue about what God really meant. And they laughed. So I thought it was a very good sign. And then we had a more a very constructive discussion about what you do with the various disagreements with the Muslim community and practices in which. Even if one's not using the word tolerance, 1 learns and gets reminded that. 1 can be very tolerant, but lip sync would argue that Muslims are guided more by religious doctrines than the rest of us who are not Muslims. There's another way of looking at politics and at getting to democracy now be very brief about it. Link this to what's happening in Turkey. You could look at politics, I believe. As the setting for the decision making boundaries in a society. And enforceable rules for resolving jurisdictional disputes. Heavy language. But think of how the idea of politics has changed since what you've learned. Regardless of generations here in your secondary school textbooks or in other places. What are the hot button political issues in the United States right now? Gay marriage. Who would ever have thought that a major political hot button issue would be the status of marriage? If you were looking at things from the perspective, let's say the nine? 60S or another time? With the conventional notions of nuclear families at an earlier time. And in many ways, in Turkey, the hot button issue is. Can there be a role for religion in public life? Notice I'm not saying politics, I'm saying in public life this is a distinction that would be very important. OK, so politics is the setting of decision making boundaries in society. And enforceable rules for resolving jurisdictional disputes. It can be marriage, it can be citizenship, it can be immigration, ways of becoming a citizen, it can be a range of other things of that sort. And the second thing that politics can be is a struggle over people's imaginations. We all think about politics in the field way of a colleague, a friend of mine at the Yale. As as who gets what, when and where, I call that the Richard J Daley approach to politics I grew up in Chicago. How do you get a state job? My very first job after high school. Was I I found out 10% of my salary went to the Republican Party and I said I don't remember volunteering that and I was told by my supervisor. Well, you have a choice. You can say you didn't volunteer it. You'll be fired next. Where you can continue to volunteer 10% of your salary. Take your pick. OK, but a more constructive way of looking at politics is thinking of it as a struggle over people's imaginations. How you can get people to believe in a certain way of doing things, whether it's in the details. Or whether it's in an overall an overall approach. And in this way, I think Turkey again is good to think with. Now Turkey, like just about every other country in the world that you. Can think of. Has undergone a real revolution from below in terms of how people can speak in public and contribute to public debate. Let's take things that we often don't. Even considered to be part of politics, one is the rise of mass higher education. Turkey, whether it's the time of the Ottoman Empire or whether it's the time of the Republic, has always had first rate elite institutions educating a tiny minority of people. But what has happened since the mid 20th century, and especially since the 1960s and 70s? Is a massive and rapid growth of secondary education, both public and private and of university education. If you visited Turkey in 1988, you would have seen a few universities and technical institutes, with the exception of the Logicity University, former Robert College, almost all of them were state institutions and technically. Speaking in Turkey, the private institutions are also state institutions, but it's a it's kind of a little trick about how it's done. Today. You will see literally hundreds of institutions carefully regulated. By the Republic of Turkey. But education higher education is with in the access of large numbers of people. Now this is not that unfamiliar from other places that the United States of today, higher education is more accessible to larger numbers of people. Than it would have been earlier. But in Turkey, the numbers have simply skyrocketed as they have, as they have in in, in other in other places as well, and the other is mass communications, resulting in a proliferation of opinions of different sorts. Turkey has a very thriving. Newspaper industry and if you've visited Turkey, just just imagine it in any way. Internet has radically changed how people can speak and in which languages they can speak in public. In the 1980s, the German Federal Republic. Like passed a law saying that the children of immigrants and at that time Turkish immigration from Turkey was widely encouraged, were able to get educated in elementary schools in their native language, which the Germans interpreted. As not the state language, which would be Turkish, but the languages people actually spoke, which included kamanche and the other quote Kurdish dialects or languages prevalent in Turkey and in Germany. One was beginning to get local television broadcasting and radio broadcasting. Earlier in two Turks, but in languages other than. Turkish it was this competition over people's imaginations. If you wanted, that meant that soon the Republic of Turkey, not immediately very grudgingly, began allowing opening up the possibility of speaking in languages other than Turkey other than Turkish. Turkish as well. So you're beginning to get a movement if you wish from below, often not formally acknowledged by the state, but in which the state has a choice of trying to block things or censor, as in the old patterns of censorship. Or of allowing an opening up of things and finding that despite the problems that Turkey has in some areas that that one could do it. Let me give you an anecdote about what this opening up and rise of mass higher education is in the 1960s in Turkey, one began. Getting a number of scholarships from the US Agency for International Development for Young Turks from some regions, usually regions not favored in. And to come to the United States to study practical subjects, including agriculture, agricultural, engineering, and things of that sort, 1988, I remember the conversation with Dean of one of the universities in Istanbul. I shall not deliberately shall not named. But it was saying saying to me that the United States. Is subverting the Republic of Turkey because a lot of these people from the rural areas and small towns are deeply religious. They go to the United States, they get a degree that's not as quality driven as. My degree, for instance, I love that phrase. And but they have religion on their mind and they think religion can be can be expressed in public as well. And I would listen to this. I mean, if not Gopher, which means you don't always get into arguments about things. But I would ask. To for her to give the best possible explanation. And she was right in one way because this was one of the first conversations I had that suggested that you were getting very profound transformations in the middle class in Turkey. The middle class was growing, the number of people who could invest money for their children to go to schools. And if they didn't like the public schools to go to private schools was increasing. At A at a very rapid pace, the number of people who had immigrants in their family who had gone to Europe, mostly to Germany but to other places, was likewise. I don't commute regularly to the greater Atlanta area, but in the short time I'm here and my conversation with Turkish friends elsewhere, the Turkish community locally is growing and the Turkish community here doesn't lose ties with its past. There's a good give and take on a regular basis. Including of various types of religiously religious or religiously inspired organizations at. The same time. A very interesting thing, and I think a very basic one, is the growth of Turkish institutions or Turkish movements that are not. That are not state driven in any way. 1 clear example of the opening up of Turkey is the fertility guided movement. For example, how many of you have heard very much about Fethullah Gulen in this room? Yeah, Dan has. OK. You're studying the immigrant community. OK. Others. Some very interesting individual who was born in 1938. And OK, fairly remote. Part of Turkey and trained to be a state preacher. In Turkey, the only people who can meet prayers in the mosque who give religious lessons are people licensed by the state. This is one of the compromises that happened after Turkey became a Republic in a very carefully controlled. If the math works out, Dylan was 15 when he became such a. Preacher, because the official biography said it was at the age of 15, I've met him several times. I've never gotten to that detail of asking him, but by 1958 he was in, he was teaching at a mosque in DNA, which is another. Smaller town in Turkey and then in 66 went to Izmir. Now in his youth, he was. Very well. If I write on that well, I'll be convicted of graffiti I can't of. He was part. Of an audio movement called the resonating neural movement, founded by side noisy born in 1883 as I recall, and who. Died in, I believe it was 1960 who thrived in the Ottoman Empire, was doing various official and semi official things. Then under the Turkish Republic. Because of his popularity here, I'm Speaking of side noisy was regarded with increasing suspicion. It was put under house arrest. Beginning somebody in the room could correct me and take anyone to the 1930 and graduate. Certainly by 1950, restrictions on his movements relaxed, but in the 20 years when he was under big restriction, he was able to compete, complete a major work called originality, nor the letters of light. If you want it literally but that but then his name, remember, is noisy. And so it's kind of the epistles covering. And used in a style of parables and metaphors. Now a beautiful thing. If you're writing in parables and metaphors and you have to watch government. Answers is your writing. Isn't it time specific? You have to write in such a way that you can transcend immediate issues and the nursing movement did this quite well, and this is a movement that is alive and well and transnational today. But to cut to the chase and then I'll fill in things in between the. The guilt and movement, which doesn't have membership cards or anything else, I assure you, in my judgment, is. Perhaps the most significant Islamic Movement in the world today, it has transcended the boundaries of Turkey and it's learning very well how to communicate to other Muslim populations, sometimes unevenly so. But if you were in Central Asia? As I was in the 1890s, if you found articulate people who could speak in pretty good English, the Turkish, I don't speak Turkish, so I can't speak very much to that. It often would be people associated with one part or another. The gilded movement especially. Actually, various forms of education and emphasis on science you can visit given schools in because they exist now there's about 500 schools, as far as I can tell, there's no one big association, but my best estimate is there's about 500 schools. In a very large number of countries, New Jersey is not a country, but. I've seen villain schools in New Jersey as well open to African Americans, Puerto Ricans and others at very, very competitive rates, much lower in cost than private schools that you would see elsewhere. And one of the reasons is the volunteerism the of. Of the teachers in them quite often have highly motivated Turks working with the movement who will come and teach in these schools in exchange for very little cash reward of any sort. And scholarships are very easy to come. Guy, it's the notion of education is a public good if you want as a civic virtue which drives the movement, and in all of the schools in Turkey is elsewhere, local laws are rigorously adhered to, so you don't get a missionary element of these movements, except perhaps by the example of civic virtue. That shows in what the teachers. Going now, the important thing to keep in mind is in this movement, which I'm characterizing as perhaps the most significant Muslim movement in the world today, more significant perhaps than the Muslim Brotherhood movement was from the 1920s to the 40s and beyond is. The fact that it is non political. Except in the sense of urging people to have a civic virtue and to have a civic consciousness. There's a phrase in Arabic, a masala halama the the common, the public good, and in that sense the movement is political. But in the diffuse sense, not in the more specific sense. For example, of the Turkish constitution. Gillen was a member of the resolution newer movement, or participated in it, was deeply influenced by it for a while, but then began to be. Let us say to acquire the sort of voice you need to transcend local or national boundaries. You can see a record of his work, and certainly in Turkish and translated a large part of it is translated. Into English at the same time, movement now has the university. In Istanbul, Fatah University and it is probably soon going to open others as well, but again, there's no big central command or anything. It's an affinity of different movements. In fact, when a hostile state prosecutor tried to indict Fethullah Gulen for something, the state prosecutor is not. One of the best and brightest, as far as I can tell, in anybody's legal establishment, was astonished because he said there's nothing for us to seize and the man owns nothing. It's it's simply people contributing to the movement in different way. Things you have a network of schools pervading Central Asia, Eastern Europe, United Kingdom, Africa, Mongolia, where I personally visited the schools and as I say, New Jersey, NJ has a favorite spot in my heart. Being from another part of the. Up from England. What is more interesting about Guillen is is when I first met him, he would have regular television broadcasts from Istanbul, where he'd lived a very simple life on the top floor of one of the secondary schools, but since 19. 99 has been living in the United States, first in New Jersey and subsequently subsequently in subsequently in. Pennsylvania and the Poconos Mountains, but the movement has brilliantly captured figured out how to use modern technology to spread itself so you can join Gillian in the Poconos. See a lesson circle? Much like the things that I would see. In in various parts of the Arab world, or Iran or India or other places, except that they would be broadcast live via webcam Cam for those who wanted to follow the movements. Well, the websites are astonishingly clear and the aims of the movement, as I say, is to emphasize science and a dedication to learning. And I might even go so far as to say to critical thinking at the same at the same time. Now, what does this all have to do with democracy? Would be the following. I would say #1 Turkey has since the 1990s and since the demise of the military regime. How to allow multiple voices in public? The Turkish constitution is adamant the Turkish Turkey is a secular Republic. There's absolutely no doubt about that. But what does secular the meaning of secularism? As in our country is something that has to be constantly negotiated and debated. If I were an expert on Turkey, I might talk about the rise and fall of various religiously motivated parties in. Turkey in the 1990s and beyond, or the current political situation in Turkey. As an anthropologist, I would invite you to stand back and look at the long term trend, which would be this, that, that the religiously inspired parties in Turkey such as the Refa Party of the 1990s, by trial and error. Learned how to communicate in public without frightening the radical secularists. In 1996, I was see some people from Atlanta, so you've heard this before, so you can shut your ears off for a moment. I was interviewed by somebody from a very secularist newspaper hoodie act put on a tape recorder. And said how great of a threat threat. Is Islamic fundamentalism to Turkey? And I decided this wasn't the time to argue about the meaning of fundamentalism or anything like that. And I said this is a just as great a threat as radical secularism to. Turkey tape recorder went off. Interview was done now. Had I said the opposite? Turkey is facing a grave danger and then I could have mockingly quoted as I did before, from Daniel Lerner, plagiarized exam say. Turkey faces a stark choice Mecca, or mechanization, and that could have been the headline for the next day. I guess I, Coleman says. Mecca and mechanization for us, beware of the IT doesn't work that way. What has happened is one has been able to. One has been able to separate in Turkey a religiously motivated people in the public sphere from the sense of religion pervading and somehow controlling the public sphere. Vast majority of Turks are. So in a sense, it's not a question of faith as such. The question is how people operate in society. I do a lot of work in North Africa, and I remember in the late 1990s being fascinating, that fascinated to see in the Arabic press. In Morocco? Representative of the still dominant united front of socialist parties, very secular political party, saying we have we can learn a lot from Turkey's Refa party about how to conduct elections and. The man went on to say that of all of the political parties in Turkey, what was unique about this religiously inspired party was its ability to garner grassroots support in Turkey. To this day, there is. A let's say a social separation of men and women. I'm choosing my words carefully because it's nothing in force, but it's just kind. Of you don't feel right or Turks tell me if the men and the women are sitting too close together. If they're not related in various ways, you can go to various functions and you'll see. Women sitting in one, not all women, some women. Across the lines and women sitting in one area and men in the other, but what the Refa party had pioneered, unlike other parties, was, you know, the very obvious thing that that women like men, could use telephones and developing telephone trees, much as Obama, the Obama campaign. So of getting people to communicate in various ways for the 1990s electronically. So you could reach large numbers of households and take advantage of the fact that Turks, both men and women, were able to vote and to. Get out the. Vote. They did it much better than any of the other political parties, and they won first. The municipality elections in Istanbul and then in different ways, the religiously inspired parties won national elections, but more importantly. They persuaded the various people behind the parties with with that would rise and fall, managed to persuade the military officers. The self appointed Guardians of the Turkish Constitution, of the fact that that the all of the parties were going to play by the rules. By the democratic rules of the state of Turkey, and that is pretty well where things stand now, but I would very strongly argue that one of the best bellwethers of the transformations in Turkey has been. The rising prominence in the public sphere, not the political sphere of religiously inspired organizations pushing education, pushing the development of women, pushing questions of of the public good of mutual support. In times of dire economic straits and and, and in other matters, this bottom up transformer. I would argue is a better signal of the long term consequences for what's going on in Turkey than the calm down approaches that's once saw in early time. Earlier times, such as the, you know, the declaration that every man. To cover his head with European ballet or head or hat of some sort. If I were in the hat industry, I. Would have loved. My stuff would come out to took, I think. Let me stop here, except to leave you with this one sense. This, this one, I think key to understanding developments in Turkey Once Upon a time in the United States, not only in social theory but in terms of. How some people in our country thought in terms of policy, religion was thought of as something that was not very important and. An obstacle to really promoting civic values of democracy. I think that we have learned. Overtime, but this is not the case. Think of three great revolutions of the late 20th century, whether you like them or not, the Islamic revolution. Of Iran. Which has had a rocky up and down, up and down, but in which I think the forces from below are something that we can live with for a long time to come liberation theology. In Latin America, where religiously committed individuals, certainly not under the control of the Vatican. Did much. War to bring the end to despotic regimes and military dictatorships than any infusion of American Security Assistance or public aid fund of any sort ever managed to do well. The solidarity movement of Poland. If you take religion out of solidarity. I don't think you have very much left. It's very integral part of the movement that brought about transformation of a real transformation. In Turkey, we're not looking at revolutions in Turkey. What we're looking at is a growth in participation in civic institutions and in public life that's encompassing larger numbers of people who can speak up and do what. Modernity is supposed to do to give individuals much more of a say. In in what they are doing, and in this sense movement such as the village movement have been extremely important and I think are very good indications of the sort of continuing ability in Turkey to move much more of the debates. Which used to be thought of in terms of conspiracy theories and what was going on behind the scenes into a vigorous public discussion of who are we and where we should be going. And with those words that we end and invite questions. Thank you very much. Yes, Sir.

Q & A

Questioner #1: I'm just curious, how is this movement affecting the rural sectors of Turkey, where technology is perhaps not quite as advanced as it were being a larger city?

Dale Eickelman: I once asked not once let me give you a year 19. 1998 I think it was the second time I met Fatima Gillen when he was still in Turkey. He was surrounded by television cameras and before I saw him, he would have advisors talking with him in the room where I met him was in kind of a reception area that doubled as a television studio. In which many of his broadcasts was, were and I asked him. How does your work today differ? From where you were ten years ago and. You get a very interesting answer, he said 10 years ago I had more face to face contact with people. Now I have to imagine. That contact because I'm looking, you know, of course he would. Be surrounded by. Many of his followers, but he would. That rarely appear at large public meetings. Even when he was in Turkey, it would be through video means in in something I wrote at the time, like in 19 in early 1990, seven 1998 article. Very dramatic, called inside the Islamic reformation. I've since written something called whatever happened to the Islamic reformation? That's another story. I referred to them as Turkey's equivalent to Billy Graham. Now Billy Graham of the 1950s. Really knew how to manage large audiences, but also could manage small groups when you would have that sort of thing, he sometimes would be he being Billy Graham, the adviser to heads of state and rulers, A villain to the best of my knowledge, never has been. But he's been inspiration, I think to many to how to behave in public and his real background. Go to the. Heart of your question. Is 1 where he would be able to speak in parallels in a language where you can understand it in different ways. Scientists and engineers, Turkey scientists and engineers are captivated by his notion because. In the Arab world, I can deal more with villagers and I don't have to have a screen of interpreters. But I am assured by Turkish friends that he has this ability still to communicate in rural areas and to communicate quite well. And if you think about any religious movement or one religious movement for that matter, this ability to transcend lines of class, lines of education. Lines of region. Is very important and in that sense he's he's done quite well. Turks in the room can comment on his abilities to. Incorporate or to make for instance, people of Kurdish origin feel apart not only the Turkish nation but the wider Islamic community. Thank you.

Questioner #2: So my understanding what what you're saying here is that because religion fosters solidarity between people, they tend to be more encouraged to. Engage in public debate. And in the case of of. Turkey Islam is the religion that encourages. People to be solid. Have solidarity and debate, and therefore Islam and democracy are compatible in that.

Dale Eickelman: Sense what you're saying? Let me change your words slightly. That's one of the things I always kind of like to do. Islam exists. Islam to me, is a big arena in which people call themselves Muslims argue about what the correct path is and some will argue very vigorously. And in Turkey, most people are learning to do so very civilly, despite the fact. That the Turkish state is thought of as trying to break up. Religious influence in the country, which they were built by disbanding. For instance, Madras schools of learning in the 1920s after the declaration of the Republic and having only a few rather mediocre to be frank about it, teacher training institutes to authorize state. Places to learn religion. Islam is and I would argue, has been alive and well in Turkey and my first visit in 1988. I remember people with kind of a grins saying we want to take you on a pilgrimage and I said, what do you mean? And they took me to the the mother of the then Prime Minister. Secularist had just died and she was buried or Saint shrine. And so I said yes. So what? This is very common. North Africa, he said. Well, this is what there is that, you know, in the man's personal life, there still is this deep attachment to the. And this is not just the traditional issue of where you bury your mother, which is obviously very burning, even if the son is a Prime Minister, a very a very key issue. Rather, the question is how you can use your faith in a way that doesn't exclude other people. To work for some civic good. And this is, I would argue, perhaps one of the most important developments of Islam as it's worked out in Turkey. That's why I'm changing your words. I'm not saying that this is, you know, some would argue with me or this is inherent in Islam. And my argument would be. And in Islam, as in other faiths, you have to work hard to persuade other people of what is central and what is inherent. And that's the sort of work that, that, that I I believe that is is becoming very mainstream in Turkey at the present time.

Questioner #3: Islam not necessarily playing revolutionary role in maybe more. Of a transformative role. Do you see a point to where? Will Turkey just simply shift to have? Their government or how are they going to address the issues of religion, constitutionally and? Through their forms of government.

Dale Eickelman: Let me break down your very good question into two parts. Islam can be revolutionary. I think anytime you see the logo of Hizbullah, they've changed it. Recently. The Party of God. If you read it in Arabic, it's his build. If you have none, the party of God in Lebanon indicating that they're not trying to change the world. They're we're trying to change something in. Evidence that's changed recently. Now it's Hezbollah without the feel of down in left. In part, Islam can be profoundly revolutionary, and it has been it can be violently so in the hands of some people. But it can also be, and I would argue, that this is the story that I don't think is reported enough. It can also be something that is mainstream and that's bringing people. Into civic participation in different ways. I'm reviewing a book right now by somebody called Rafael Israeli Israeli on Muslim minorities. In the. That's a good start. It's an interesting issue, but not the way he does it. He begins with public opinion polls of taken right after September 11th, in which Pew Charitable Trust poll apparently found a large number of Americans saying that all Muslims should be put into internment camps just as the Japanese. Were in World War 2. This was not the finest moment. I hope you will agree with American democracy to round up Japanese and put them away. And then the author, Mr. Israeli, goes on to say. Public opinion was right. This should have been done. What an extraordinary sort of statement to make in a book that's coming out that came out in 2008. But the slump can have both faces and, I would argue, and you can say the same thing of other. Religions, by the way. At the same time, there's nothing unique to Islam or Mr. Israeli. Would be here. He would, he would say that I was absolutely wrong and I'm just a sympathizer against dangerous things, and I would answer something. Perhaps I'd lose my cool and say something very impolite in response. But the the. The second so So what issue is Islam can be both. But then I would argue that the story that doesn't make the evening television news is that the mainstream. Dreaming of of of Islam, in which you have civil engagement is the big thing that we ought to be looking for and it's it's it's it's a very unpleasant message for radicals or revolutionaries or others. And it takes a lot of hard work, but you can get 7 transformations. I was one of those who had just about given up hope in our national political campaigns to see any change in any significant. Way over what? We had since over the last two presidential campaign cycles and I'm glad to say it was wrong. I underestimated the ability of large numbers of voting population to try to try to do something very different and Turkey for what everybody is saying about the limits of democracy. The scepter of the military taking over again, I don't think this is going to happen. Turkey has real challenges in these economically distressing times. We'll have more challenges, but I think people have the flexibility to meet those quite well. Yes, ma'am.

Questioner #4: I know we've. Had some of the news for. Last year from we've been working out with the top down that really changed. But what what you call the development of women?

Dale Eickelman: Yeah. Can I…? I've probably used that phrase. That's the awkward thing about having three different television cameras here. If you misspeak, you can't take your words back. Go ahead.

Questioner #4: In Turkey, I know you're, you're here. You're talking about a bottom up scheme. Do you think that that relates, they they have a somewhat warden root, like less individualistic type culture than we do here in America, but not as extreme as. Do you think that that the? Bottom up approach works better. Because it's that cultural underpinning.

Dale Eickelman: Let me transport you to Piscataway, NJ, home with one of the gunman schools, where there was a women's meeting nearby. I was invited on the what you could call. The boys side. The women, who are all the Hyderabad. They're a big headscarf and so forth. Learned that somebody was looking in the building and demanded from the boys, their husbands or relatives and I'll be brought in. Talk to them. And I said, let me be. A devil's advocate now. The Devil's Advocate is a hard phrase to translate if you're not a native speaker of English, I said. Since Satan usually doesn't like to say hi, I'm Satan. Let me pretend to be somebody asking the hard question, and I asked that question. Look at you. You are wearing headscarves. You're all wearing long robes. Where's your individuality? And we had a fascinating. Where they gave lots of examples of what they of what they were doing, and that there was no no problem at all. It's it's, you know, it's it's clothing well in France, in Turkey and in Egypt. How you choose to dress yourself is a big political statement. It is not a unique statement. I mean, there's. A number of. Huge about in this room now and if this were time for American style personal testimony, some people might say religious motivation, some might say, well, I'm from a certain area. This is what my family expects. It's more just my tradition or like there could be a number of reasons. And as I've heard in Morocco, it can be rebellion. Could be a young lady and a family who just wants to rebel against father and mother and. What better way? Than to become Maharaja to our headscarf and then say, look at your mother and father, you're not Muslim. I am a Muslim. And and it's it's harder to answer that sort of thing. And I I would argue that we have to get beyond thinking. Of religion as a conversation stopper. Even when some religious people is an example of the teenage rebel who's now, by the way, happily married in Canada, and she's living in a different sort of, and she's passed her stage of of going on a question up there.

Questioner #5: Yeah. You mentioned something about maybe the limits to democracy and freedom. Definition right now. Isn't that what we're seeing right now in the conflict that we've gone on now for a few years between Denmark and Turkey? And right now the the Turkish Government is trying to block the English Prime Minister to becoming neighbors new General Secretary based on this whole issue of the Muhammad drawings and the Danish newspaper. And this idea where? They are wanting Denmark as a nation to apologize for something that a local, privately owned, Democratic Nate newspaper chose to do and Prime Minister then might be saying we're not going to apologize for something that has nothing to do with us as a nation. This is a free nation with a Free Press and where the Turkish Government right now is having. This this conflict and has had for quite a. Few years now. What, what some of your thoughts be about that?

Dale Eickelman: It took about four or five months. To cook, the Danish cartoon controversy. In the the following sense, perhaps a number of people in this room. What was the name of the the the newspaper? The evenings? I don't speak Danish, but supposed to thank you very much. Thank you very much and it sounds as if you've got strong local knowledge. Nonetheless, with 156,000 members, it took approximately 3 months and a small group of activists, a fair amount of time. To send a kind of. Video of things to various Saudi groups and two Iranian groups, and. Then you were. Beginning to get a competition over. Guess what? Who speaks for Islam? And at this point, I can't recall whether the Saudis took up the mantle. Or whether it was the Iranians. But the crucial thing that I would point out was it took three months. Of strong if you want to use the term public relations work to get the news of what 150 S 6000 readers of a Danish newspaper. We're getting pushed onto the world stage. You might think that that was a relatively fast sort of thing, but. As you are reminding me, at the present time the story has more than a good half life. You can have others. I would go back to get a sense of perspective to the Salman Rushdie issue where I worked very closely with the Pakistani colleague who was sending me a kind of a synopsis of translations of what the Urdu newspapers were saying about the Satanic Verses when they came out and it was a rather. Fascinating argument that you would not think of in the West. You could have the unimaginative argument, in my judgment, about saying, oh, this is an insult to Islam and XY and Z should happen to run. You can have your own opinions about whether Rusty at one point was excitedly writing to his publisher and things. That have been. Made public saying, hey, people are being killed because of my book in India. Why don't you get this out to the newspaper so that it can, you know, draw more attention to my book. But the argument in Pakistan was, to me, a very unusual one. The Daily John, as I remember, one of the leading Urdu newspapers wrote. In the. This issue which got seized by the government we are publishing extracts from the Satanic Verses. We are doing so because our Muslim brothers and sisters in England, as distasteful as this novel is, are capable of reading it for themselves and making their own. Judgement. Why should we Pakistanis be subject to government censorship? Are we not mature? Do we not have the ability to decide for ourselves early or readers? You can see it for yourself. The you know the issue of that. Any John was seized but it was a question of freedom. And of the sense that the any with anybody is going to read a newspaper in Ordu, but they're also going to be capable of exercising their own reason to decide whether this is offensive and if it is offensive in what way it's offensive, rather than having somebody decided for them. Now in this case. I'm not very well versed on what's happening right now between Denmark and and the the and and adigan but I would like to look at the back story again and thank you for bringing to my attention. That one, number one that that I will never again say in public, a small Danish newspaper, 156,000, is a. Pretty good number. It's larger than Kennesaw. Larger, maybe the newspapers in this area. But the most serious point is it reminds us in a very humbling. Of how easy it is to distract people from major global issues by holding up the little thing that that can capture the imagination of some people. For some of the time there's more serious issues, I think to to be taken into consideration. Thank you very much. Other questions?

Questioner #6: Nobody wondered about claims made by Abu site and the Shadow Quran that the laws of the Sharia of the should be the laws of government honored. And that secular governments have strayed. From from the true meaning. That was intended by. The what was coming out of the. Quran and in terms of. His revelations, and so on. How is that? How do you? How do you find that for your studies. And how does that? Apply to Turkey.

Dale Eickelman: One of the biggest issues is is I'm saying is who speaks for Islam and we have a large number of claimants to do it. There's a book that took a lot of people. By storm that came out in 19. 90 by a Syria. Civil engineer Mohammed Shakur were there 23 books written in response to what called the book in the Quran of Kitab Quran. A contemporary reading in which war argued that we have to. Turn aside. The centuries and centuries of jurisprudence and fic saying what the Sharia is and to treat the Koran, the parts of God's word, as if God was speaking to us only yesterday about our contemporary faiths. So once again, without going into his argument, it is. And emphasis on the use of critical reason. To understand the Sharia, one quick example in the Sharia if you're in Saudi Arabia, if you're an American diplomat, you will never be allowed to drive. You'll have somebody from another nationality drive. Why? Because if you have an accident, even if it is not your fault. Little boy jumps. In front of a car and this has happened, and all the eyewitnesses say the driver could not have stopped it by Saudi law, which applies the same to everybody. If the family wants the head cut off of the driver. They will get. Period. This happened so Filipino driver for the American Embassy lost his head and the American State Department's argument was, well, the law doesn't discriminate against anybody. It's all the same. Now, many Muslims would argue that in the contemporary. Circumstances, the so-called Hadoop public punishments, the amputation of ARPS and legs is inappropriate. Can use stronger language. It may be appropriate to much more primitive earlier stages of human life. I don't like Jehovah's use of primitive in that sense, but that today the hadoop's are kind of the maximum that you can do. But if you look at all of the other chronic viruses that's talking about the nature of society and the exercise of. Judgment. This is the most extreme example, but normally you would have other sorts. You would have other sorts of ways of doing making out justice than the. Other so yes, you're going to have some people arguing, arguing for a almost mechanical application of the Sharia. But let us just say that that's one of many ways of thinking of it. The notion of should we have that I find more prevalent that actually came up in an English court. Over a lawsuit involving $9 billion a few years ago is the notion of commonly accepted principles. I remember that. The was the Minister for Legal Affairs, the State of Qatar argued the Sharia is to my country, but common laws to England, you don't have to have it written down. It's a set of common assumptions that most people use. Obviously guitar is not the largest country in the world that most people share. About what is the public good of maslaha talama? And this is a much more open sort of thing than thinking that the Sharia is saying everything you know is saying everything and everything is written down because it's not. The Sharia is a combination as I understand. But and I'm not a mufti unfortunately or fortunately. It is a combination of the Koran, as Reddit interpreted by certain people and of the practices of the Muslim community. So it can be a common practice which is not necessarily written down. It's an understanding of what a community considers to be reasonable and just, and the community has a wide way. Some people argue there's one global or not, but most people would argue when you start. Looking at what the Sharia does in practice, there's tremendous variation historically and in the present time. I think I've warned people out. Whoops, there's three video recorders that hear my final words on that. OK, thank you for being so patient. And I do commend you to attend. The other talks in the Turkey series, you've got a unique opportunity here. Thank you.


Panel 3: Reimagining Mobilities: Immobilities in the Indian Ocean (Dec 2022)


Speaker 1: Hello, everyone. Good morning. Welcome back, hope. Everyone had a good night's sleep. And so today we're starting off today with the first panel. And panel three of the conference. This panel will be the discussion for this panel is Professor Dale ICO. In at Dartmouth University in the US, our first presentation for today is titled Roots and Hubs in the Indian Ocean world, presented by Professor Burkhardt Schnepel at the Martin Luther University Hall, Wittenberg in Germany. Please welcome.

Speaker 2: Yes, good morning, everyone and again thank you to all the organizers and to all the people who do a lot of very. Good work, a lot of hospitality. I would also like to say greetings to a friend. I made the translator. He's the unsung hero of the conference. Yes. So I promised him to not speak very fast, and then I thought, how can I convey everything I want in 20 minutes? One thing would be to talk faster and faster the closer I come to the end. The other thing is it was a hint of my supervisor in England, he said. Cut out all the adjectives. But the main the best thing is not to have silly introductions like this and go ahead. So studying the Indian Ocean world in essence means studying mobility. It is about maritime movements, long and short ones, and about the exchanges, material and immaterial things that are made possible through such. Movements. So I was reimagining, reconsidering. Mobilities in the Indian Ocean world and my paper is a bit different from what we have heard so far. I merely want to be methodological. So in the Indian Ocean studies, a lot of the terms we use spatial accepts. Hinterland fall and umland literal and so on, and I'm not against space as Tim Ingold, who wrote an article, but I want to convey the message that the metaphors we use can make a big difference to the knowledge we can acquire. And so I want to introduce 2 concepts, not introduce, but I want to. Illustrate what can be done with the mobility oriented approach and with the proper metaphors. My 2 metaphors are routes and hubs, so my paper will have two parts, and I will start with routes and much of what I'm going to say will be known to you, so I will be running into open doors. But it will be my ambition, my intention to tickle out some. Questions. Maybe also some answers which show you that if you have a mobility approach. You know the emerging field of mobility studies, there's a lot of to be said about it, but that we can find out new things. Roots. Let me start with two roots which we all know. Let us call them here, not belt and road, but the terrestrial Silk Road and the maritime Silk Road. As you can see, and this will be all I have to say about it that it's. Not one Rd. But that there are a lot of junctions leading off and leading to the roads to the main excess from east to West, and that these connect local, regional, national and transnational markets and States and nations. If you think historically this. Started about at the turn of the new age, around when you think of the Han Empire on the eastern side. First centuries CE and the Roman Empire, that's where it started. And it also connected, of course, in deviations Indian and Middle Eastern empires. The main point here is that we have two roads and maritime and terrestrial one, and that these two roads. Are interconnected communicating tubes. Usually you have scholars who study the one and then you have scholars who study the other, but very. Sell them. We look at the connections and what happens in one Rd. If the goods there are getting scarce, it may affect the prices on the other roads. Or if you have unruly step nomads in the Central Asian steps, then the traders may go to the. Maritime roots. And if you have pirates in the seas, then it goes the other way around. And so on. The main point here is these two roads are interconnected, if you wish. The main term in and China knows this and not in favour of what is happening there. But China knows the major, the major or the most important word is end. It's a belt and Rd. initiative they are doing and of course along these routes they we have to look at the places where the movement comes to a halt. These are the hubs. Hubs are places where movements are started halting. And even ending and the people living in herbs are what I've called experts in hubbing, so they know what they do, and I will. When I talk about helps, I will come to Mauritius as one prime example. The island in the southwestern Indian Ocean. Chance to go forward. There are also always places where these two routes are interconnected. In history. We have also in the 1st century CE Funan in Cambodia. We can also go to the West Asia. We have sokkia and bacteria. And for example, if you take sokkia or during history, they were always provinces centerpiece of Middle Eastern empires. So we are now in the early centuries. And from that point of view, when you look at these things as spaces, these were always provinces at the margins of great empires. But if you look at routes, Sophia and bacteria and Funan they were at. Very important points of intersection and for example subdean traders. You can find all over the Indian Ocean world. They traded horses, among other things, to China both on land and both and on sea. So if one. Wants to know more about where these two routes are interconnected. Again, one maybe has to look at what China, where China is building roads and railways these days. Pakistan, for example, to connect these two routes. So let us go to another. Major route. Here we have only the maritime secret to give one example, one person who went both ways. Marco Polo, 13th century. He went to China on the terrestrial and returned by sea. Actually, when he returned on a ship with six. Several ships sent by a coup like Khan, the Emperor Yuan Emperor. These ships all had to stop in Sumatra. And they were. Kept there for five months because of the monsoon winds and on the ship there was 1 Princess, who was about to marry the Khan of Baghdad. But when they arrived? More than a year later, this Khan had died, so she married his son instead. So, but what is his extent playing? Is that in the age of sale? It was not possible, considering the structure of monsoon wants to go all the way in one go. You were always getting stuck somewhere, so at one point at around 1000 CE the traffic was becoming. Large enough, the quantity of goods that the traders said we are stopping, we are going in a relay fashion. So we are dropping our goods in some in Korea and port cities, and then another ship coming from the other direction will take it. And that was starting a relay session with all these important port cities that came up at that time. One important. The root, of course, is the Europe Asia route or the Cape route, and you all know that the Portuguese were the first Europeans who managed to get around the Cape, or during the 15th century they were trying to get closer to the Cape or was clinging. Very close to the West African coast and then at one point managing to get around the Cape. Vasco da Gama, as you all know, was the first in 1419 eight and he was going. Then once he surrounded the Cape up the East African coast in Mombasa. He was not welcome. So he went to the enemies of Mombasa to Malindi. And then he crossed the sea towards W India. To the West Indian coast, so he's still known as the person who discovered India, which is of course nonsense. He took a pilot in Malindi who knew that the time was good. The monsoon winds were right and then he managed to cross over to India. Yeah. When Dagama went back, he thought I can do it without a pilot, but he went at the wrong time and he got stuck in the middle of the western Indian Ocean and a lot of his people died. He just made it to Malindi. And that's the other point I want to make here. If you look at the literature, OK, you hear that? He took a pilot. But where did he come from? There's not much about pilots, but there are hints that you have. Who will? Communities of pilots in the Mozambique Strait, in the Swahili coast, also Hormuz, also Maldives and the point here is, once you look at these things from a mobility oriented perspective, maybe pilots will be coming into your view and maybe you realize how important. The pilot, as the person person Nash, was for the early European. Yeah, colonization of the Indian Indian Ocean world. There are always deviations from the roots. Which from the established routes which can become very important here you can see. One Cabral, he was blown off. And discovered Brazil. This was, I think was in 15102 and OK, you know that Brazil, they're still speaking Portuguese and it became an important colony. But Cabral also realized that. To get around The Cave, it's much better to take a big step. Instead of being here and then trying to. Around and others followed. 100 years after the Portuguese, the Dutch arrived on the scene and the Dutch knew exactly which route to take because on Portuguese ships we had a. Lot of Dutch. German sailors also who were becoming spies in the sense there's this fan, Lynn Shelton, who wrote a book which itinerario, which means a route which was used by the early Dutch sailors to get around. But the Dutch made. It's not here one important change. Lowering 40s. And then almost up to Australia and then up to Indonesia to established their seaborne empire there and at one point. One of the early Dutch sailors, Captain Warwick and the ships were going here along the.

Speaker 3: And they were also blown.

Speaker 2: By some winds towards the north, and they discovered an island which they named after Prince Nassau of Maurice, Mauritius. So in the in the end, Mauritius was not populated. People say it's the last inhabitable island that was. Inhabited. So the Dutch tried to establish a colony. Or June, the 17th century. But they didn't manage. They killed all the dodos and. In the end, it was had become an island of rats and the left. The French took over and this is where my discussion of roots ends and I start the second part on hubs. With Mauritius being the prime example. Mauritius was born to be a hub. When you listen to. Mauritian scholars working on Mauritius it always appears as a plantation economy. As if this is the. Prime reason for existing but Mauritius started as a hub. The Dutch and then the French from 1710 onwards did not want anything but a stopover place. To go where they really wanted to go to India. For this, Mauritius came quite handy. It's a stopover, please, freshwater. Something to rest but the friends had to realize at one point, even against the expressed will of the French East India Company that. In order to cater for all the sailors and soldiers passing by, one had to establish a settlement. And a settlement which was producing food which was. Providing shelter which was able to mend the ships and the sick sailors coming down and so. By and by, Mauritius was becoming a colony with its own needs. People went there to establish a life of their own. Starting as a naval hub. Catering for the maritime needs and maritime movements, Mauritius also developed into a mercantile hub. Sugar, of course, started to become one of the most important export items at the end of the. 18th century Mauritius was a safe harbour for pirates. The French called them crosses and these pirates were. Making a lot of. They were entering and getting prizes. Maybe this is the start of the term enterprise, but what pirates don't do is to take all the gold and jewels and take them or put them in a cave. They were selling them to businessmen from Mauritius and from there all these pirate hoods that 5 minutes only. Time is passing. Yes, all taking all the pirate roots and selling them to merchants. Operating from Mauritius and so these goods entered the commercial circles. What is important now, the maritime expertise or the expertise in? Neighbor Hubbing was slowly transferred into non maritime. Expertise. That's the point which you can oversee Frankfurt, for example, why does Frankfurt have the largest airport? Why is Frankfurt the German bank? Because they are expert in hubbing. It's not nothing with the city but coming back to Mauritius. So what sort of things did they have? Non maritime tourism would be one thing. It's now also trying to be a cyber island. It was connected through big to big cable. It's going from Australia to South Africa. Textiles. There's an export processing zone, producing textiles for consumers in America and Europe. And all these things are also and manifestation of and expertise of Mauritius as a hub. Sugar is also still there, but showing that islands are not. Characterized by insularity. But by connectedness. Island studies also talk of Island Ness, so they don't use the term in celebrity anymore. Now coming to an end, I hope I could have given you an idea of what can be done. If you look at things from a mobility oriented perspective. I also want to warn against an over emphasis on mobility. If you read the literature, it's full of terms like circulation and flow. And as if everything flows. According to Heraclitus, but it's not true. Not everyone is moving, not everything flows. Some people have to stay. Some things never move, some have to move, but don't want to. Some would like to move but can't, and so. We if we use terms like flow or circulation again, it's the metaphors we use. We may be misunderstanding things as if it's always on the run, always on the move. I would suggest something else. Other people also said this global things are not. Flowing but hopping. And if you look at things from a. Jumping point of view you can see where does the movement start, where does it end? How far does the hop? Going on. Who and what is being jumped over? So this is a punctum salience. Someone may know Latin in German. We have the nice word their spring and the punt, whereas the jumping point in history and in space, that would be my suggestion as an alternate. To all these circulation and flow discourses, and as still keeping and perspective, which is not against space, but which I think offers a valuable alternative to all the spatial. Thinking and concepts which many of us myself also are used to. Thank you very much.

Speaker 1: Thank you, Professor Burkhard, our next. Presentation is titled Puff and Pull rickshaw, coolies as human capital in Indian Ocean port cities. Presented by Professor Johann Matthew at the University of Rutgers. Thank you.

Speaker 4: Thank you so much and good morning, everyone. I just want to add my thanks to all of the organizers, but perhaps especially Satan and Sarah who? Have made this all seem so smooth that I know how much work is involved in making things, making things flow, and seem like they're sort of seamless under the under the surface there's a lot of work to that, so I appreciate that. And also to all of you, yesterday's panels were like mind blowing. And so it was. It's really fascinating. And wonderful to to be here. I will sort of just tell you a little bit of background. This is this presentation in this paper is part of a larger project, a kind of huge and probably too too big project that is global in scope and and looks at. Narcotics and human labour. What I'm calling a sort of prehistory of human capital. And I'm sort of midway through that project and this is kind of pieces of that kind of cut together to sort of to create what I hope is a sort of coherent story and and argument. But but you can tell me and and please you know this is a very preliminary stage, so I welcome. Frank criticisms and suggestions, and I'll also in the interest of time, I'm. Not going to talk about all. Of the the. Images and partially I guess I'm also a little bit I'm sure like given the wealth of knowledge about visual analysis in this room, I will just embarrass myself by trying to sort of. Really think through all the images, but there's there's a lot there and and I'm happy to talk about it in the in the Q&A if people are interested, OK. So from Singapore to Calcutta to Durban in the early 20th century, rickshaw pullers were infamous for their drug use, colonial officials, modernizing nationalists and missionaries often noted that the most glutinous consumers of opium and cannabis were those broken specimens of humanities. That pulled rickshaws for a living. It is, however, not at all clear that this association was merited. Indeed, many of the sort of quasi quantitative studies of drug use at the time suggested that consumption was actually higher amongst other social and occupational groups. And yet this sort of association of rickshaws and drugs persisted, and so I want to explore why that association is there, why drug use is so firmly. Yoked to the rickshaw despite other evil. So we should begin with the rickshaw itself. There's some dispute over who is the real original inventor of the rickshaw, but in any kind of meaningful sense it is sort of put into real production in Tokyo in the late 1860s. In early 1870s, there were, of course many, many kinds of wheeled carts all over the world for centuries before, but in large part those required the labor of a draft animal. Normal or of more than one human being of two or more often four or five human beings to to actually pull them. So the innovation was the use of new industrial technologies, particularly ball bearings and metal springs. That allowed that reduced the amount of physical force needed to propel a vehicle across space. It was fundamentally a labor saving device. This was technology that allowed one human body to pull another human body across a city. So, as important as the sort of technological advance of the ball bearings or whatever was a commercial innovation of right rickshaws for hire vehicles for higher taxis basically, which meant that a much broader market of lower middle class and working class consumers could have access to affordable urban transportation. Urban landscapes were opened up and made more easily navigable by the rickshaw and its puller, and they almost immediately proved very successful and quite profitable. So we see the rickshaw quickly adopted first in China, then in Southeast Asia, and then interesting actually goes to East Africa before it makes its way to. To South Asia, over the course of the late 19th and early 20th century. The the rickshaw moves across oceans quite quickly and effectively, but is much slower to move across fields and forests and mountains because it was basically useless in rural areas. You need a city, you need a dense population. For our rickshaw to be to be useful, and so the place where you see the most rickshaws in in use are colonial port cities. These expanding urban agglomerations created demand for private transportation and for short distance commutes. Colonial cities often had paved roads, a substantial bourgeois and working class customer base, and, most importantly, cheap human labor. So who pulled these new technological contraptions? Well, firstly, they were single men and sometimes that was because they were unmarried bachelors, but quite often it was men who had left their their families back home in rural areas to manage family farms in, in peasant parts of various. Parts of the world. Which leads us to a second trait, which is that they were overwhelmingly migrants. Sometimes there were migrants from the immediate hinterlands of of territories. So in Durban, they're coming from the sort of neighboring Zulu. And in Pondo areas that are quite close to Durban. But others were long distance. So you see here, someone who's likely from the the Fujian province in southeast China, pulling a rickshaw in Singapore. While it required significant skill to navigate our rickshaw through congested alleys and and dense, multimodal traffic. On colonial streets, these men were of course, considered unskilled laborers. Moreover, this was physically demanding labor, but it actually required less muscular strength and physical endurance than higher paid, but still unskilled work in mines and on the docks. Right. So you see how incomes are are. Intimately tied to the physical force that a human body can kind of harness in the workplace. Pulling a rickshaw was also intermittent work in that a puller could always rest after a long journey. There was no four men to push them on. There were no, you know, machines running assembly lines that forced them to keep working at a certain at a certain pace they were often. Actually, you know, independent contractors and that they weren't paid a wage. They rented the rickshaws and they took in whatever money they they could make off of fares on top of their rental fees. So this was precarious, flexible, what we would call gig work today. So we see actually the youngest and strongest of migrant laborers don't start off as rickshaw pullers. They start off as minors, as factory workers, as plantation workers. And then as their bodies begin to breakdown and their endurance flags, then they move into the trade of pulling rickshaws. So to really kind of figure out what this labour was like and what drove pullers to drugs, I want to do something and maybe you've already kind of sensed it in in my language, right? We need to sort of to see a rickshaw puller and the and the way that rickshaw pullers were were treated in this moment. Is to engage in a form of dehumanizing language and a focus on. On bodies as kind of separate from minds and full human beings. So forgive me, but I'm going to continue to sort of speak in some of that language in order to convey, I think, something of what what this experience was like. So. So the Japanese word Jin. Ricky Shah means human powered vehicle. And these bodies were only valuable to the extent that they were cheaper than horses. Right. People would prefer to have a horse drawn carriage, but a human drawn carriage was cheaper, and that was the competitive advantage of the rickshaw in in history. Basically the ostensible value to the customer was also deeply tied to the rickshaw itself, rather than. The human being that pulled it a high quality rickshaw with good suspension, rubber tires, nice leather seats, fresh paint, attracted more customers. UM, and it was actually also easier to pull right? A better, newer rickshaw was easier to pull than an old one, and the more advanced once you get cycle rickshaws rather than hand, hand pulled rickshaws, those can charge a higher fare even though they're actually easier to pull than. Than the other rickshaws. And so it's the rickshaw rather than the human being that determines the rates of of profit that determines wages. And ultimately, of course, it is the. Owner of the rickshaw. Rather than the puller who derives most of the profit. So pool is rarely owned their own rickshaws. Usually they rented them by the day or by the week from from owners. And those owners often supplied housing to rickshaw pullers, and they often acted as the drug dealer they supplied regular. Their doses of opium to to the men who lived in their in their lodgings. So what you see here, right is additional revenue streams that the owner of the rickshaw is able to extract out of the body of of the polar and trapping them and denying them the possibility of escaping. This occupation. So drug use may not have been universal, but it was certainly widespread and it was understood both bipolars and by owners as a vital supplement to the human lives that the rickshaw required smoking opium or drinking cannabis was less a leisure activity than a form of sustenance. More than anything else, opium and cannabis were consumed as a form of. Relief palliating sore muscles and alleviating the psychosomatic strain of this work. They allowed rickshaw pullers to ignore the signals that their bodies were sending to their minds, pleading for rest and recuperation. Human bodies could thus keep working even though they were being slowly debilitated by this labour. Now both cannabis and opium were widely used across Asia and Africa as medicine. And they are, you know, actually quite quite useful medicines. Opium in particular is is still right, a derivative of opium is what we used today for diarrhea medication, certainly for pain and for for various sort of alleviating coughs. And so there was sort of medical traditions. Both in Islamic and sort of Hindu and sort of African contexts that that recommend the use of these substances to. Uh to ease the symptoms of diarrhea, tuberculosis, arthritis and many sort of chronic ailments. Now obviously they did more to ease the symptoms of those of those diseases than any underlying causes. But you'll also remember that in the early 20th century, before antibiotics. For many of the sort of modern diagnostic tools that was actually not bad medical treatment, even if you lived in London or or whatever. So they were. They were. Sorry, there was. They're very effective medical interventions and they were also used bipolars to help them fall asleep at night. Right? It helped them to sleep while their bodies were were in pain. It also helped them to sleep often during the day because they had to work during the night. Right. So to sort of drown out the noise of the city in the midst of the day. So cycles of debt, pain, loneliness, generate despair, which could only be managed with more drugs, more debt, more profound isolation and more corrosive addiction with opiates and cannabinoids flowing to the bloodstream, broken bodies could still stand up and pull, at least for a little while. This is a depressing and and dehumanizing story, but it's it's not without its sort of momentary pleasures. 1 cannot deny that opium and cannabis produce highs, brought a certain kind of levity, even beauty, to their customers. And they were often consumed in a multitude of forms and admixtures. Which heightened the almost aesthetic sensation of consuming narcotics, right? So. Hong was a cold top decoction of cannabis leaves mixed with spices and sugar, sometimes even milk. That was kind of taken as a refreshing drink on a hot Indian summer day in Sangu was cannabis smoked through traditional horns and pipes. Which would have reminded Durban rickshaw boys of the easy lifestyle of their elders in the village, smoking in banjo or Ganja also affirmed one status as a man. Right. Men would often gather together in groups and share a pipe or a cigarette, thereby forging friendships and community in otherwise kind of isolating and alienating cityscapes. Hindu and Muslim aesthetics from across Afro, Eurasia 8. Majune smoked hashish, drank bhang to enter closer communion with the divine. These narcotics revive the body, but in some way they also elevated the. Soul. So for many of these peasants, their specific ways of consuming these drugs sustained a kind of a connection to home, to family and to traditions that were otherwise inaccessible in the colonial city. But ultimately this was not a form of resistance. Cannabis and opium were supplied, or at least condoned by employers. They encouraged drug use as a stimulant, as an analgesic, and fundamentally as an enhancement to. Labor, unlike alcohol, they did not seem to make labor as unruly or combative, and it was also cheaper than alcohol and the many other distractions of urban life, like the rickshaw itself. Drugs made their labor more efficient. Frequently, cannabis was smoked in the morning and in mid-day, quickly snatching a puff as we see in this image before setting off on a run. Opium using pullers in Singapore tended to work night shifts, which were less desirable because they were night shifts, but also because they made less money at night. Workers during the morning and evening rush hours needed to be quick, strong and alert in order to navigate rush hour traffic. While the dark and dull nights were less oppressive to men's minds, who could sort of pleasantly float along on another plane? Cannabinoids and opiates thus did not help these working men to break their chains. They made those chains a little bit more comfortable. They allowed laborers to cope with and survive an economic system that denied their humanity. Laboring bodies were broken down by repetitive, wrenching labor, insufficient assistance, sustenance, and the epidemics of congested urban environments. Narcotics allowed these human beings to eke out. A little more life and their customers or employers to eke out a little more profit from their bodies. Yet, unlike so much other industrial labor, which was similar in many ways, this was not hidden away in a plantation in a mine behind factory walls, middle class consumers sat practically on the backs of rickshaw pullers and watch them labor to produce the service that they themselves consumed. Rickshaws had to be omnipresent in the city, and their enforced idleness and boredom were necessary so that so that rickshaws were available during rush hour. Their need to light up and kill time in between fares restored their bodies, but also made those bodies and their dependence on drugs. Unavoidable to bourgeois eyes and noses, presumably it was discomforting to have to watch labor exploitation and bodily deterioration and know that you were responsible for. Decrying drug use, the drug use of rickshaw pullers then provides a useful scapegoat for the sins of the colonial city and of capitalist production. When colonial officials and their nationalist opponents had to watch a bent back and plodding feet as they were comfortably esconced in the rickshaw's cushioned leather seats, they were forced to confront a microcosm of the urban society that kept them aloft. Rickshaw pullers seemed more addicted to narcotics not because they smoked more than other people, but because they smoked in front of middle class urbanites and because they did so while their bodies buckled under the feet of their customers. Thank you.

Speaker 1: Thank you, Professor Joanne. Our next presentation is titled the Making of an African Jezebel. The conventional view of the reign of Rana Valona, the first of Madagascar. This is presented by Gwen Campbell, professor at the Canada Research and Canada Research Chair in the Indian Ocean World History and director of the Indian Ocean World Center at McGill University, Canada. Thank you very much.

Speaker 7: Great. That's OK. And it's these. OK. Thanks. OK, well, it's a great pleasure to be here and I'd like to reiterate thanks to the organisers for having invited me and I'm thoroughly enjoying the papers and I I think that it's thrown up all sorts of ideas, which I will certainly be taken back and. Using in my future research now, today I'm going to be talking about. Valluna, the first queen of Madagascar. And in so doing, I am actually breaking all my rules as a historian. I come from a I was brought up in a radical, non conformist republican Welsh family. And was taught to strictly avoid elites. And to avoid in studying history just to avoid the big men theory of history, so not to study kings and Queens and rulers and grand politicians et cetera, but to rather study. The vast bulk of humankind, 99% of the human race who weren't part of the elite. However, I've transgressed all my rules and I am now studying this queen. Why, you may ask. Because she has been castigated in the historical tradition. She has been described as. Pick an adjective that is derogatory and you will have it xenophobic, barbaric, inhumane. Worse than Pagan, a fetishist. Devoted to. Ancestral superstitions ruled by divination. Who believe that Europeans, for example, were harbours of sorcery and were to be avoided at all cost if she met, if she was in personal contact with a European, say, one came from the coast to the Highlands of Madagascar, where she lived. She would keep them at a disc safe distance consult. The diviners. To see which was the right day upon which to invite them to the capital and they they, their journals are full of this impatience at seeing the queen at being held at Bay. How dare she do this to us? They would arrive and expect a royal audience. She wouldn't give it to them. She would sit on a balcony, something like 15 feet away from any. Any European? It was COVID personified. And then in terms of European powers, they would send agents. Official agents to the Marina, court to the Malagasy court in the Highlands with credentials given by their particular governments, and she would say, hey, I'm a queen. I will talk only to your ruler. I'm not talking to you. This of course. Was regarded by Europeans as the ultimate insult. So she has gone down in history. Has been. Possibly one of the most barbaric rulers that God has blessed this earth with. I got increasingly intrigued with this story. And as you all do as historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, questioning the conventional historiography, it's something I think that we all have to do time and time again. Do not accept. The dominant tradition question it before you accept it, and if you find major flaws with it, then proper alternatives. So I asked myself, where does this come from? This tradition? Well, it emanates from. The London Missionary Society. And a book that appeared in 1838, two volume book. Called the history of Madagascar under the name of William Ellis, who was the director of the LMS for a very long time, he was a virtual dictator of LS LMS activities of LMS publications. And in it. You get this portrayal of Rana Valen. And every subsequent historian to date. Has echoed. His particular interpretation, in fact, historians have used his two volume history as a primary source. Pierre Larson, for example. Who was a major historian of Madagascar used Ellis's history as a primary source. That's how he had it in his footnotes. So I want to query this dominant theme. And I'm going to do so by first looking at. The position of Madagascar. Its significance to the major European powers of the time. Then to zone in and see what the Europeans, how they approached Madagascar and how they approached. The ruling elites in Madagascar. And what happened from the time that Ranavalona became Queen? In 1828. And by the way, she ruled for 33 years, one of the longest brains of any African queen.

Speaker 3: Back to.

Speaker 7: The significance? Of Madagascar, we're going back to the French wars. So from the 1790s through to peace in 1815. The British and the French were fighting continuously. In fact, they've been fighting continuously throughout the 18th century. This was just a particularly intense period from which the British emerged victorious and established themselves as the basically the world's first superpower. Why were the British concerned with Madagascar? How did they get interested in Madagascar? Well, they weren't particularly. What they were interested in was India. India was the gem of the British Empire. It basically financed the British Empire. The problem being. That the Ottomans. The shortest routes to India. The Ottomans governed the Red Sea. Alien Muslim Powers governed the overland route to the Persian Gulf. So, as Burkhart mentioned in his talk. The only route? For the Europeans was round southern Africa, and that was in the days of sale. So it took something like six months sale. To get to India. It was an arduous journey. Perilous. It was full of. Weather adverse weather. It was full of. Seas, which were not properly known, reefs upon which ships were found and sink. And of course, disease. One of the untold histories of. The European encounter with the Indian Ocean. Is the enormous death toll. Experienced by Europeans. And because of that and something which is underrated in all the histories. They were obliged. Not only to negotiate, but often on unfavourable terms with indigenous peoples to recruit them as sailors to recruit them as soldiers, to recruit them as pilots. The ships often sailed back to Europe because of the death toll amongst European sailors, with indigenous Indian Ocean world sailors. So that in places like Cardiff for example, or or Liverpool or London, you have well established. Elements of people from the Indian Ocean who came back with those ships. They enabled those ships to return. Anyway, back to the French wars. And the French already had reunion and Mauritius. They had the mass green islands. I must apologise to Burkhart. They are not on this map. He always reproves me for not having indicated. But there's something to the right of Madagascar. And the Mascarene islands. Were a pain for the British because they produced ships. They produced expert sailors and they Harrison. The British ships on the route to India remember all the British ships have to pass. This route around southern Africa. So the Mauritius and reunion were in a prime strategic location to Harris the British ships. And they sank many of them. And they took prize ones East India Company ships with riches aboard. They would take them as prizes. And Mauritius became a a kind of emporium. For looted goods from British ships, they also attacked the allies of the British Indian Princess, for example, and their ships. And Gulf princes and their ships. So eventually the British took the decision that they had to conquer, eradicate this menace and conquer the masculines, which they did in 1810 and around the same period they also took. The Cape. Aiden, a bit later, they secured. In other words, the route to India, the maritime route to India. This for them was of primary importance. And this is where Madagascar comes in. Madagascar wasn't of prime importance. For Britain per se. But for Mauritius it was Mauritius was a plantation economy. And it depended upon the influx of cheap labour and cheap provisions, and the nearest source for Mauritius was Madagascar. So for Mauritius, Madagascar was essential and the French established. They tried to establish a colony there. That falter. But they did establish trading posts along the East Coast, the northeast coast, the mid, Mid East Coast and the southeast coast. The British, when they captured Mauritius also. Pushed the French, they they they fought several naval battles and pushed the French out of Madagascar and the first British governor of Mauritius. A man called Farqua who had had experience in Southeast Asia and in Calcutta. He decided that the only possibility to secure. The British route to India was not just. To keep Mauritius. But also to establish firm British Dominion over Madagascar. So he sought out. A favourable Chieftain. Who turned out to be rudana from the Highlands of Madagascar, and in 1820 he signed a treaty with Rodana. And the treaty was typical of British treaties at the time it established informal British dominion of Madagascar. Free trade, for example, was one of the key clauses a ban on the slave export trade. Was one of the chief clauses and in return. He said that he would recognise Rodana as king of all Madagascar. Now Madagascar is big. It's the fourth largest island in the world. It's bigger than France, Belgium, the Netherlands put together. 2 1/2 times the. Size of Britain. So, Farqua said, we will make you king of this entire island. And he sent him military aid. And technical aid. Military aid to enable him to conquer the other peoples of Madagascar. Technical aid to enable him to produce goods that would be a substitute, a legitimate substitute for slave exports. Because Radama suffered a severe cut in revenue due to the slave trade ban. That was in 1820. By 1825, Radama was beginning to regret his decision to ally with the British. The military campaigns faltered despite British training, despite British arms. They faltered. Why not? Because of enemy aggression. The enemy attacked guerrilla tactics. They would exhaust the Merina troops, the troops and the Highlands. It was guerrilla tactics and disease that wiped out the Highlanders. Malaria basically, just as it wiped out most Europeans who approached the island. So by 1825, the mortality rate amongst Merina troops was so high that Rodana was beginning to regret his decision, he said. Would he ever? Be able to conquer the entire island and of course the loss of troops. These were young men. Men between the ages of 15 and 30. These were the prime. Rice producers from the Highlands. So it dealt it dealt a very serious blow to rice production, which was the staple upon which Madagascar depended in the Highlands of Madagascar. The technical side also faltered. They tried to produce. The British were fairly inept. They tried to produce things like grow oats on the lowlands of Madagascar. Oats do not grow well in tropical climates. They imported British technical aid and the British technical aid did not do well with malaria, so it it generally failed. And in 1825, Radama started slowly to retreat from the British Alliance. Rodina then died in 1828. And he was replaced by. Accepted Radama's retreat. And accelerated it. Within a year, she had booted out, she had expelled from Madagascar and the charges of sorcery. The British resident agent Robert Lyle. Who fled to Mauritius and complained endlessly about it before himself dying of malaria. That was 1829. 1835 she banned Christianity. And introduced. Are reintroduced ancestral traditions as being the basis of mariner's religious belief, their worldview? The missionaries, of course, took an. Total dislike to this. That was 18351838. The book comes out under Ellis's name castigating. The Pagan queen. Barbaric. She was portrayed not only as the antithesis of civilization. In comparison to her predecessor, Rodana. She was. In many ways. As a male, as a strong woman, as a woman who? Loved persecuting Christians? Loved watching them die. Who exalted in. Going out to the West western grasslands in Madagascar and hunting wild cattle. Europeans reported than on the rare sights of her. That she loved roaring like a bull when she was happy. Exalting exotic ****** Pagan dances. So the physical descriptions of her and she was she was pockmarked by. 1817 I think there was an epidemic of smallpox which hit her, and they described her as being pockmarked with with this smallpox. So the physical. There was a mirror image. Of the description of her. Pagan, barbaric, xenophobic nature being ruled by fetishism and superstition, and then the physical portrayal of this this terrible ogre of a queen. What I want to do now very quickly is turn to two case studies. In my attempt to rectify this picture and to present Ranavalona as in fact a very rational person. Someone who was reacting against. European imperial powers, who for the reasons I've described, were extremely interested in Madagascar. The French had an ancient colonial claim. Which they which wished to reimpose, and the British fought that with their attempt at informal domination. SO2 case studies. And one which? Again, is underrated in the literature is that she inaugurated an attempt to industrialise. This is in the 1830s, eighteen 40s, eighteen 50s. It is contemporaneous with similar attempts in the West. And she produced. At Montezuma. On the borders of the tropical forest. To the east of the Highlands, where there was plentiful wood, plentiful water for power and plentiful iron ore deposits. She produced a major industrial centre. That by 1835 was producing muskets, cannon, gunpowder, silk. Other textiles. An entire range. Of industrial products. Which were loaded as being of high quality. It enabled her to become independent and that was her aim of foreign imports of arms. It enabled her. To be able to resist European attempts at imperial domination. And this is where I end. I move to the second of the case studies, which is her military. Relations with the Europeans. As soon as she took to the throne, the French decided this is our chance. We go in. And we stamp our, we claim Madagascar back to our original. Claim of Madagascar is French 1829. They invaded the East Coast. They sent in the French Navy. She defeated them. Part of it was due to her own. Obstinance listening to the ancestors, if you like, but part of it was due to British trained troops. She had a superb standing army, well trained. And at the very time that the French invaded, she recalled from the British Navy. Youths that rudana her predecessor had sent to the British Navy to be trained. She she recalled them. They landed just in time to help repulse the French attack on the East Coast. Malaria did the rest. And the French? Obliged to retreat. The second time and I. Let's see if I've got a. And no, I don't. The second time she did, it was in 1845. When there was a rare occasion in the history of European imperialism where the British and the French. They sent in joint naval squadrons. To attack Tamatar as the premier port in Madagascar, they landed troops. And they thought you've seen the journals of Europeans that time they thought it would be a a joke. They described the defences as pitiable. The Malagasy as ill prepared. Until they opened fire and they got the return fire. And they said, well, they there's a robust defense here. What's happening? They did manage to take the Fort, but what the Malagasy did was retreat and then return. And hide in the Bruce the the the rough areas around the Fort and fight back with modern. The Anglo British force. Was obliged to retreat. So for a second time. That horrible, nasty Queen had defeated the major European powers, including the world power of the time Britain. This was extraordinary. From then on, the British and. This is this is. Evidenced in the correspondence. You'll find it in Q. Or the British diplomatic correspondents. The British it made them sit up. And start writing. Highly diplomatic letters to Ranavalona. Courting her in effect. The LMS. The London Missionary Society to try to get back into the island, started to do the same. She kept them. Not only did she keep them at Bay, but she stopped trading with them. And when she stopped doing this, this caused a crisis on Mauritius and on reunion. They had to turn to other countries for their. Labourers, cheap labourers and other countries for cheap provisions. When she died in 1861, there was a huge sigh of relief on the masculines and in Europe. And of course the the LMS came thundering back in with their second mission. But I've given you those two case studies I'm doing other I'm reexamining her other policies. But it's just to reinstate just to question. These dominant themes of history, particularly when it comes to peoples indigenous to the Indian Ocean world and to reevaluate and get your students to reevaluate them. Thank you very much.

Speaker 1: Thank you very much, Professor. Gwen. Our next presentation is titled functions and historical significance of the wall niches in the Indian Ocean. Swahili examples from Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia presented by Stephan Pradines, professor of Islamic art and architecture at the Aga Khan University in London. Thank you.

Speaker 8: Miss Milla. Ramana rime. I'm not a very religious person, but we are in a Muslim country. First, I would like to thanks the organizer and the host of the Conference for this beautiful event. And yesterday I remember that someone asked what about African Studies? The link between some papers and African Studies. So today I will try to serve you just before the lunch. A pizza with beef, chicken and shrimps. So African Studies, Islamic studies and also Indian Ocean studies. So about the sueli mainly located in Kenya, Tanzania, but also in Somalia, Comoros and Mozambique, the Sueli represent an extremely original maritime culture based on long distance trait. In the Indian Ocean, this African civilization. Is on the periphery of the Muslim and African world occupied an extremely favorable position to the development of an original coastal culture based on? Trade, on the other hand, these coastal populations serve the same special organization, the same architecture, the same language, Kiswahili, and the same religion, Islam. One physical characteristic of the soil eastern houses is the presence of 1 niches, especially in the stone houses and palaces from the 18th century. Last summer last August 2022, in collaboration with the CNRS and the charity patrimony Decomo, we started some archaeological investigations in Mutsu, the capital city of Anjouan Island and Juani in the Comoros. Research focused on the. Zombie Palace with a study of the architecture and building archaeology. To identify. The main construction phases of this palace, the building dates from the early 18th century and was completed in the 17 in 1786. The palace was the home of several Princess from Anjouan, from the 18th to the 19th century. The two main building phases are the construction of a ground floor. And a first floor was added later. The two floors correspond to two family units with distinctive entrance, reception, hall rooms, bathroom and toilets. In fact, it is interesting to note that the so-called Palace is called a palace because it was the residence of the Sultan. But when you look at Mutsumi Edu or Domoni on the same island, you can see a lot of these big houses. It they were built for the elite, but they were not called palaces because they were not the House of the Sultan. There is another ozone Bay in Domoni who was the former capital of the island. This largest large stone houses. Are also well known in the Lama Archipelago in Kenya and the Bajuni Archipelago in Somalia. Here you can see one particular feature of this palaces, so-called palaces or stand houses is the fact that the reception rooms. And also some time two times the bathroom are decorated with what we call wall wall niches and these wall niches are normally located in the most private parts of the house. So the reception room, the bedroom, the main bedroom and some time to time the Hammam or the the bathroom of the of the house. The same for the first floor. As you can see here. Here you can see these wall niches made of plaster stucco and I think Zulfikar yesterday also showed showed us some of this one niches in Lamarque pelago. You can see here the work that we did last summer with some photogrammetry and of the wall niches and also with beautiful inscriptions. It's another wall wall panel that we have outside the house, but actually it was probably a room was destroyed and transformed in a courtyard. And another panel that you can see here. So we have different kind of shape for the arches. Some niches are quite deep where you can with some recess. So you can put objects book, ceramic and so on. I will come back on that later and you have also what we call blind niches so they look like niches but they are in fact only decorative. You can see some of them here with the detail. And you have also niches not only on the walls, but on the door jump so you can see on the door jump. You have also niches on the side sometime to times they are only blind niches. As you can see here. And actually the main function of these natures not only to be decorative, but they were also to store stuff. So here you can see the niches where are used to store bottles. You are you have here a a small bathroom, a small hamam with a burka water tank and you can see also plastic bottles and actually in the past they were used to store ceramics, you know, jar and and poultry. As I mentioned previously, you have the same wall niches in the north of not only in Comoros but also in the north of Kenya. So in the lamia archipelago and also close to Lamar Tippeliga. But in Somalia and the Benadir coast, you have also on the balcony archipelago, you have the same kind of niches. And here you have the floor plan of the Swahili House in Lamu town and you can see again the same reception room and same bedroom and Haman bathroom at the back with again niches and the walls and this very long, elongated, elongated narrow rooms. For the reception and the bedroom. So it's a very characteristic of the houses built in the 18th century. And and not in the 19th century at it was commonly said, the Swahili houses from the 19th century, like in Zanzibar, Stonetown are much more influenced by Arabs from Oman and also Indians from from the Deccan, but also from from Gujarat. So I wanted to show you now in the second part of my presentation, the origin of this whale niches and also a kind of genesis, you know, evolution of this whale in niches since the very beginning of stone architecture on the Swahili coast. So I will start from, let's say, the latest. Period until the earliest period. So here you have one city that is still under investigations. We have a project with the Tanzanian antiquity and we are working in kua. Kua was one of the capital city of Mafia. And it's a project with the Tanzanian antiquity Mafia, Marine Park and also the Wall Monument font. You can see one of these stone house, and you can see some small niches. As you can see here. Here you have a plan of of a house in in Kula. Kula is a site. Founded in the 11th century, but the site is mainly from the six. 13 and 17th century, so a little bit earlier than than what I showed you previously in the Comoros. And what is interesting here is the fact that instead of having two families unit, you know, one on top of each other, you're in Goa. The family units are divided in two parts. So you have a house built in two sections. With exactly I mean it's symmetrical. It's the symmetry is absolutely perfect. With two houses connected with the same courtyard, they share the same same courtyard here. These houses are interesting because you can see that we don't have wall a a panel with niches as I showed you previously here you have more like kind of individual niches built in the middle of the of the facade of the wall or some time to time on both sides of the door. And you can see here in the ruins of this house here you have the main niches that we have in cocoa, and you can see that they are much more simpler than the one that I I showed you previously for the 18th century. They are simple rectangle square with a bit of ornamentation to ornamentation. And half circular. So you can see that here we have simple niches, but the function is still the same. They were used to store objects. If we go a little bit earlier, site that we excavated in Kenya near Malindi, you have the site of Gedi and I will show you very quickly 2 examples of Swilly. Stone houses and palaces UH-1 house that we excavated in the middle of the site. Uh. A stone house and a part of the study that we did on the palace of. Here you have one swirly house from the 15th century. And what is striking is the plan of the soil House of the 15th century is very similar to the plan of the House that I showed you previously. For the 18th century, so you have a kind of continuity in the soil architecture. Who is extremely interesting because it shows you also the the swirly style, the permanence of the swirly culture and style with but with some. Slight improvement during time, for example, with this niche panel, but here you have also some niches zedaker vidaca that you can see here in the one of the main room and also in the toilets in the shore room. And you can we did some excavations. In two rooms. So archaeologists we like toilets or pitla trains because it's a place where we can find a lot of things. And we excavated the. Toilets and you can see that it was a proper bathroom to put pots here support and you can see one niche of this toilets here or bathroom. I prefer to see bathroom where you can see the support for normally you have to to think at to imagine. Water pot. Eat here and we for all and a system to to collect, to collect the water. So they were very elaborate niches. And as you can see here for the 15th century. The niches were not built with stucco, but they were built with coral stone, natural coral stone. So it's interesting to see also the evolution of the building material through time. So the first niches soily niches were built with coral and not with stucco. Here you have the palace of giddy from the 15th century. And one characteristic of the palace of Ghedi it's this big courtyard reception courtyard. And where you have also. Niches. You can see the monumental entrance of the palace with some bench to sit to discuss, to to talk, you know, in front of the palace. Barraza and you have here some niches along the wall. The main wall of of the palace. You can see that they are very simple niches. On both on the door jump. So both sides of the doors here. I wanted to show you another example of a swirly palace. Now we are now not in close to Malindi, but we are going both back South in Tanzania, the South of Tanzania in Kilauea and in Kilwa Archipelago. Sorry. On on the island of. Angara and you have here the palace of Songo Mnara with a beautiful courtyard surrounded by doors. With niches. Sunken courtyard and here you can see the niches made of coral stone so you can see the use and the display of niches was a bit different during the 15th century. We have also examples of niches for the 14th century. My colleague Mark Walton found some niches. The houses in Shanghai in Lamarque Pelago dated from the 14th century and I wanted to show you here one of the most famous sueli palace, the palace of the Great Palace, Asuni Cubia. In in Kilwa Kilwa Kisiwa Ani and this palace the palace of the Sultan. 1K was divided in two parts, one part for economic activities with the caravanserai and one part for the residential part for the Sultan. As you can see here and here, you have one courtyard called the reception. Courtyard and in this courtyard you are also tiny. Very small niches here that you can see on this wall. So they are among the earliest, solely niches documented for the Swahili coast from the 14th century. And I wanted to show you also stone houses that we excavated again in the Kiwi archipelago South of Tanzania. And why? Because they are amongst the oldest soily houses excavated. They are from the 11 and 12th century. Unfortunately, as you can see here, we found the houses with the plaster floor, the walls, but most of the elevation disappear through time because it's a ring. And we found only the first meter. Above the ground and most of the time, the niches in soil. Houses. They are above 1 meter, so unfortunately they were not visible, but because of the plan of the houses that we excavated in Sanjaya Kati from the 12th century, you can see that the plan is extremely similar to the plan that we have in Swahili. Authors from the 18th century, 6th, 17th century and 15th century. So it's just a proposal, but I do believe that the Swahili houses, even from the 12th century, they had also niches because the pattern and the plan is almost the same with elongated, narrow rooms, bathroom and kitchen at the back. So now let's try to compare this Swahili houses and niches with what we have around the Indian Ocean. In the literature we have a few articles and even books were published by scholars such as James David Allen, who published several swilley houses and inches from the Lamu Archipelago. But we have also Linda Donley read, who published a book. She did her PhD and published a book and articles comparing Swahili houses from the Lamour keeper. Lego Lamu Town and Pate, with Indian houses from the couch and Gujarat and what she found out that in fact the plan of the suede houses like this one from from Lamour. The plan of the houses are very similar to the plan of Bohra Ismaili Shia houses. From from the Gujarat, as you can see here, with tripartite plan with three rooms. I was convinced by this theory of an Indian influence over East Africa a few years ago, but with futile with after 20 years I changed a little bit my mind and I think that it was not really the Indian architecture who influenced this way. Architecture for the simple reason that I show you examples who predate the Indian influence from the 18 and 19th century. Because we have this whole architecture from at least the 12th century. So I tried to look at examples where earlier. Uhm, previous the eighteen 17th century and cultures or dynasties or model architectural models who could have been very influential for in Indian models from Gujarat, but also for the soil cost and for East Africa. First point I found some very nice examples in. And of course I'm talking about. I'm talking about Yemen, and most recent cities, I mean, recent cities from the same period as as the one in Comoros such as mocha or SANA for the 17th century and. These houses? Uh. In Yemen, were connected to the houses that we can find also in in Ethiopia you can see that this niches in arare and we have this common ground between Ethiopia and Yemen because the two countries, despite the Red Sea, share the same kind of architectural. Traditions, and probably in Ethiopia for are for the late period. We have a Yemeni influence, but then? When we look at the book that we will publish soon with, I mean it will be published in February 2023 with my colleague from Zanzibar Autopan and I tried to understand what was the origin of this socialist yuko niches. And when you look at the Gujarat. But when you look also. The the scene, the scene. And you look at Yemen, Oman and East Africa, you have a common ground. It's the fact that we have the with this very strong abrasive influence from the 9th and 10th century. And here you have some example from Samara. Samara was one of the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. And you have also this kind of beautiful plasters to call niches. So when we look at the literature about the human architecture, we have influences from from the from the Gulf and these influences in fact were from Iraq and Iran and. So there is probably to me a very early architectural influence coming from the Gulf and then. Moving to India, but also to Oman, Yemen and East Africa, almost similar to the. At the same time, sorry. And So what is interesting to finish my presentation very quickly, it's a fact to, to, to to situate these niches in a global context. The social context of the soil culture. You can see that these natures, as I said previously, they were used. To store stuff when I said stuff, of course it was a bit ironic, but it was in fact to store precious objects such as glass, Islamic glass, but also China, where Chinese ceramics and sometime to time also weapons. Or books Quran and religious books and non religious books. So you can see here the Sultan of Anjouan receiving some French diplomats or something. You can see also here a nice photo from 11 notable important. People from from Lamu and you can see you don't. You cannot see here a lot of niches but what you can see on the walls it's a lot of ceramics. And so the idea is a little. Bit the same. You when you are from this rich and important lineage and families were in Guyana, you need to show your wealth, you know, and you have to display your wealth and one. Possibility to display your wealth is to put you know, all this ceramic and this glass in niches as display. And so I wanted to show you these ceramics and I wanted also to show you as a conclusion to tell you as a conclusion that this display of niches and ceramics are not only limited to domestic architecture. But you have also the same with niches. And here ceramics inserted and. In funerary architecture, because Israeli society was a bit archival with the wrong one at the top at the top of the societies and notable and important families, and you can see that this monumental mausoleum, ortom pillar tomb, has also these niches and. And we have also public monuments where the wealth of the important family was displayed, such as the mosque you can see here the Kibler Wall of Tonkawa with a lot of ceramics, were inserted in the Kibler wall, a little bit like what you have in the mosque in Oman and. The same origin probably, and you can see here this Wally Mirab with some Iranian. Black and turquoise silhouette and also blue and white porcelain. So you can see that the display of wealth was not only limited to the domestic architecture, but was also for public monuments supported by a rich patron who wanted also to show the wealth of the community. So I thank you very much and I would like to mention this book that I recently published last week. If you're interested by sueli and mosque, thank you.

Speaker 1: Thank you very much, Professor Stephan. I would like now to invite Professor Dale Eichmann to present his feedback and discuss the papers. Thank you very much.

Speaker 3: Sometimes in serving as a discussant on a panel like this, my mind goes back to what you could do when you were in charge of a class at a university and you want to construct an examination. Out of hell. And the examination question would be show in detail the. Relevance of each paper to the other as if you were editing a book. Be concise. Take enough. Take no more than the equivalent of 20 minutes, and it would be great. Great to do. Well, the first thing that you would start out with to try to see what you have to work with and to ask questions I think would be to say that the broadest paper in terms of understanding what you have to do would come from would come from. Would come from Burkhard schnepel, by which I'm beginning to say it's a good paper. Really good paper. Why? Because what that paper does, at least to somebody like myself, is to do for the Indian Ocean. What what Shmuel Goitein did with his Mediterranean society book of an earlier era. Looking at things that at first sight would look to anybody except goitein. As impossibly opaque papers stuck in the wall of a synagogue in Cairo, but using it to produce an ethnography of the region that was really better than most contemporary ethnographies of family. Life, commerce and many other things. Now what we have, I think everybody would agree that Professor Schnepp a. Does not spare us any century or any expanse throughout the Indian Ocean area and his maps. Paralyze us with fear and how we can write about such things. Because the Indian Ocean covers such a grand region now more specifically. What? What is perhaps different even from? Ohh. Let's let's take something more dealing with more recent errors. As Ferdinand Brodell's work on the Mediterranean, which comes close, which for his generation came very close to changing perspectives. And of course one of the main things we're getting out of. To getting out of here is let's take a look. Let us look at the combination of roots and ports you have just about everything there because a route can be via land terrestrial it can be, it can be. Yeah, over C or it can be both. So we have a lot and we have things that keep bubbling up to remind us of how difficult this is. Anybody who's gone to an archaeological site in Pakistan, Harappa, for instance, is amazed. At least if they're a social anthropologist at how one finds. Finds things from very far away because I think you would agree that an archaeological site not that far from Lahore is no longer a crosswords for the world, it's it represents an earlier era of of routes that we have so. What do we get from snapple's paper? We get a framework.

Speaker 0: OK.

Speaker 3: Filled out as much as one can in 20 minutes, but that's alright. There's a longer paper that's already produced and that will come out before very long for monsoon unless it's blown away by the monsoon. Of course that that is giving us a language. To put the pieces together in terms of expense of time. In terms of places and for some of us, something reminding us that what we have to do is to pose the is to pose materials, it is to use examples that are indicating the richness of what one has. Would be a multi volume work. I think that that would be impossible if one were to fill in all the details. But the purpose is achieved. One is posing the questions that one needs, one needs to to go forward in other ways. The result is to have really grand history, the grand history and my way of looking at it is not. Something that you feel in everywhere. It's drawing on the work of other people that are very persuasively working at different levels, that you can begin to see the transition because when you pose that question out of hell for students, you have to try to answer it for yourself. You have you have to build on the work of others who are looking at materials that are often very difficult to look at. House types that surprise of surprises are easier to look at in more contemporary periods than what's left over from the 12th century. For other things or forms of human capital, I am persuaded by the the 2nd paper we have from Johan match. So that if a student came to me and recommended something for a career, I would say don't go into driving to pulling rickshaws. It's it's, it's not a way you're going to get ahead in the world and except, except by describing how. Rickshaw's driving, pulling rickshaws might give one an idea of how people at a very low level of society can be can be brought into things. So whether one is talking about. Pilots or island hubs of an earlier period, or other things. Our imagination is open as to how to how to fit things together. I would only add that the other thing I like about your paper, it's not 1 overarching narrative because there's so many layers involved in. What? Who are pilots or who gets involved in trade and how they are that your imagination gets opened up? I think of the work, for instance, the British colleague of mine, whose name of course I'm suppressing, right? Now who? Who writes about the changing trade routes between China and the Middle East over shorter periods of time? The name will come back to me soon. I'm not. I can't stop at that 20 minutes. So we go to truff, puff and pull. You have to avoid in looking at a paper like this. The temptation to find your nearest retail cannabis store. It's it's coming to the United States, one might say, not fast enough, but the sub question out of hell would be to ask. How does understanding? Rickshaw rickshaw workers feed into the broader question of the Indian Ocean area, and here we're getting real bottom up questions to ask. No grand overarching idea. Rather, what's getting once getting is an overarching idea of how to pose different questions than have been posed before. It's very easy to get lost in some of these papers in in in, in earlier historical studies, I should say. With the exoticness of the details, the photographs of rickshaw drivers in the longer paper are absolutely stunning. They do convince you that if you have a choice between walking and taking a rickshaw, it's better to be. Pulled rather than to pull in the the rickshaws and then when we look at Glen Campbell's paper, the African Jezebel to marvelous title, my congratulations we we see how if a. Major European power has to be defeated that they can attribute this to the backwardness and barbarity of a smallpox scarred ruler who has learned from the Europeans how to train themselves to get the. Job done to keep. The to keep the Europeans out, not bad. And you attribute it just like in the recent World Cup games. If if you lose a game, you can either say you're not as good as the other team, or you can say that the referees were corrupt. And that's an easier sort of cop out. To do things and you can say she's a sorceress. She uses sorcery and so forth. And you go on from things. To to finish on Johann Matthew's paper, which I found absolutely fascinating, by the way. The the. Part that I take away is to look at capitalism. And how capitalism plays out in things which at first you don't think of as being capital and you do a good job of that, and that's one of the things that opens up at the bottom up level, the information that one needs to join the papers together from hubs and. Island hubs and others from the other to the beginning. Last word on Professor Schnabel's paper, we're given a warning at the end. I'm talking about mobility. So you bring in new scholarship and show how it really is. Building on not destroying an earlier era, which is a good thing to do, but you don't have to go too far with mobility. That reminds me of television. Weather reports things are going to be bad unless they're not. When we're dealing with, I'm using it in irony, the African Jezebel. This this is such a a a good Welsh setup for for the the excuse me for. Somebody who's been portrayed as kind of an exotic footnote to history, rather than somebody who, with the resources that she had for her time, did remarkably well. Perceiving the uses of malaria, if you wish to dampen the spirits of of of European powers, come on in. Yeah. You want to be here, enjoy it. Say hello to the mosquitoes. You, you you have a sense of. Whether she was trained in history or not of somebody who had a good sense of timing and of what might happen to others who are coming in and then in the margins of what you're doing, where you get away from the exotic thing, you take a look at what is driving both the British and the French to do things. The Ottomans are not always friendly. With the European powers and they recognize their power of being able to block things, and there's other blockages. And so for a time with the technology available, it made a lot of sense to capture Madagascar in order to protect India, which you saw as the real as the real prize. But uh. The sorceress, the Jezebel also had a very good idea of of how to how to keep things down. One might add that that the the Jezebel and deliberately bracketing her in that way must have had for that period a really good sense. Sense of politics in the ebbing and flowing of events to be able to manage them in in her own way, our congratulations to her and especially the details where you do go down of building. Manufacturing areas and so forth in order to have the things that one needs and understanding what's strong and effective about European military methods to play things against others. Now Stephanie's paper is the one that with due respect, it shows what you really have to do to make archaeological information work, and you don't stand back from using. Some contemporary things to do so you don't have to prove your case at all times because what you have. Or niche walls that clearly are using the same pattern over a wide geographical era, but you sometimes see these populated the niches in 19th century photographs, or sometimes in more recent ones where you see, as you say. The displace of wealth. You can't immediately say that something you saw in the 20th century immediately gives you insight into the past, but it's reasonable to assume that something was done there. And, as you say, archaeologists love toilets. The deposits in toilets give you very good sense. Of diet. Disintegrate, perhaps? And everything else you need to make sense of how people of, of how people are living, and it gives you a sense of of vanish, a now vanished era, places like Lamo, for instance, if you visit it, are very hard to think of as being in the center of wider currents of commerce and politics. But they were. And and and intellectual ones as well. The intellectual movements along these trade routes or other things are equally important, I think, to think about. So I am impressed by the way in which. A careful examination of archaeological forms, as we've known all along, is really effective in helping us reimagine somebody. Yesterday was I like this term reimagining as if we ever stop imagining what we maybe we do. But reimagining how pieces, how pieces fit together. So that's it. And I must say that for indicating more interest to how to interpret archaeological things. I for one was fascinated by what I'm going to have to read one of these days, even if I'm not looking that much at niche walls because. You're using it as a springboard to put. Together the the currents and the parallels of different things that help us imagine how things work in the past. So in the end, doing history from the bottom up and sometimes from the real top down and doing it in between. Because all of you have worked at different levels within your own papers and citations is remarkably. Active and so maybe some of the students or some of the the, the, the audiences that you will have will go perhaps in response to what I've said, you can answer a question that's dear to my mind. How do your students, especially the undergraduates? If they're exposed to what you're doing, how do they interpret how you can learn and put things together? Because we do try to get across to new generations. So that's that's what I have to say. I'm impressed by these papers and I might add as everybody has in terms of the, let's see what we can learn about how to organize conferences and make things work. The team assembled by the African Institute. Has done a remarkably good job of avoiding the pitfalls that often are associated with any thing like that. And I also thank you for the courage you have. In beginning again to do something that was has not been done for the last few years of having face to face conferences. Zoom when you have nothing else, it's OK. But for younger scholars and for that matter for older scholars. Not being able to have the mix. Discussions from face to face. Things somebody asking on the side. What the hell did he say? I'm sorry. He or she is. Is this really something that? And and getting somebody else to say. Well, here's what so and so is trying to do and here's why it's important. Makes things work a lot better, but you've had the courage to bring people to. Together and I would like with courage to say that we're not going to read in the newspapers that in the the in the Emirati newspapers that once again the Emirates has managed to be a hub. For spreading COVID, I don't think it's going to happen. OK. Thank you very much.

Speaker 9: Well, thank you. Thanks, Dale. Thanks very much for your comments. Thanks to the whole panel, we do have a few minutes. We've been given license to take a few more, but of course. We also don't. Want to hold you? From line. Yes please. Did you want answer a question? Yeah. So I I think. The way we'll. Proceed is as we did yesterday. Take a. Couple of questions. And then give the panel an opportunity to respond both to those comments and to and. To the question.

Speaker 10: Hi everybody. First of all I also want to thank the African Institute for this rare opportunity and for all the participants who came from far and near to share some perspectives that we all desperate to learn from. So thank you so much. My first of all, thanks to Gwen for introduce me to a new role model in my life runner wall. Now I have been looking for one desperately. So thanks. What's next for you? And what? Where you going to say if you had to say this and talk about this particular incident, especially the two case studies, if you have 20 more minutes, what did you miss and what can we learn from this? The other question is for. Work hard. Thank you so much. And again, the idea of using hubbing and jumping instead of mobilities. I absolutely love it. What do we do with mobilities and what do we do with hubbing and jumping within metaphorical understanding of mobility? And of everything that happened in the Indian Ocean, the British and the French exploits, I am anxious to hear about what implications of what had happened in the masculine in Mauritius, little reunion in Chagos, for example, and the displacement. And the invasion and the British oppression of Chagos and its people. And the continued human rights struggle struggle for that again for Yohan absolutely beautiful. I always thought that the rumours against rickshaw drivers in the Sudan as being high on Bango and hashish. So thank you. I think they are. So if you can tell me some more just to dovetail with what Dale was saying about what does it tell us about the continued class struggle within this emerging things and the Stefan, of course, I love what you said and I want to save time for other people.

Speaker 5: There are a lot OK. And one more question.

Speaker 9: Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 0: Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 5: Oh, sorry.

Speaker 11: Thank you again for this amazing set of panels and today's excellent papers. I have two quick questions, one for Gwen and another for Johann Gwen, given Madagascar's history with piracy or pirates, what was the role of of? The uh in the case of the rise or the OR the legacy of piracy, at least in the rise and stay in power of the queen that you marvelously spoke to us about to Johann, I don't want to sound prohibitionist. But there is an element of truth in the prohibition. Visionist talk against these drugs and alcohol. They they they take that moral stand of how those who consume these drugs and alcohol are morally corrupted, sometimes dangerous, and all that and and drugs and alcohol. Has that kind of effect on some people at some times or at some level of consumption anyways? So my question to you is, when you find in the archives this drug consumption enabling the laborers to withstand the hardship or overcome pain, at what point do they cross into that lethargic high or drunk state of of paralysis or not productivity? Thank you.

Speaker 12: Thank you to the panel for these marvelous papers. My first question is for Professor Campbell, and I found myself utterly persuaded by your mesmerizing reappraisal. Of queen. What is it revona? And I'm wondering, but we didn't hear very much about her. The perception of her as a leader among among her subjects. And I'm wondering if you know how she was able. To sustain her. Rule over time and to consolidate power. And secondly I'm curious about. Her efforts at industrialization, if they were oriented chiefly around militarization and defense? Or did they extend to other areas of of the economy? And my my other question, if I can get one in very quickly for Professor Prydein has to do. With, you know, my my impression of. Scholarship on the Indian Ocean world and the way in which influences are are. Maybe disproportionately 1 directional, which is to say, it seems to me that tracing influences from the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia, Persia into. EE Coastal Africa is. Tends tends to. That tends to be the dominant direction, whereas I'm curious if you find archaeological evidence of the Swahili world in the other direction. Do you do you find evidence of the wall niches and other architectural innovations? In these other geographies, so thank you.

Speaker 13: Thank you very much to the panel. I have one question for Professor Campbell. It seems that you know the story of the reign of Ranavalona is. Is it the tip of the iceberg for many such historical? Kind of. You know, narrative stolen by historians. Uhm, and I think of the queen, the Rani of Jhansi, who's often, you know, written about. She was a warrior queen who fought in the Indian Mutiny in 1857. So how does how do we? Find ways to reclaim that history. And how do historians find a way to search for the archives if they haven't been written and you know from a more indigenous perspective? So that was my question.

Speaker 5: So unfortunately we are only able to take one more question and we're also going to lunch a little bit shorter, but question and then about the panel panelists to respond to all of these questions.

Speaker 6: Check. Thank you so very much for the wonderful presentations. I have been learning a lot since yesterday. I have two questions to the 1st and the last presenters. Maybe 2 Campbell 1 to Snapple. You say that we need to go beyond the question of space. Even though I don't know about the issue of space, how it has been entertained in the Indian Ocean Scholarship, how can I was wondering how can we really transcend the question of space. For instance the hub, the hubs where they places or spaces where people send. Bodies objects were. In relation to this, of course, ideas, peoples, you know things have been circulating. And with all interconnectedness the the simultaneous, you know, the multilayered roots, the crisscross roots. We spouse to. The idea of mobility. But can we think of mobility without understanding of immobility? Yes. Who renders the other immobile to make himself and his things ideas mobile? Then how? How do you want to keep the tension between these things? I would like to. That's one question that I have two proteins, you know, following to the previous person who asked this question of info. I don't know whether that helps us at all. This idea of influence coming from a certain corner and you know, it's Eurocentric. View. We saw it in Greek. Without Egyptian some, you know, conventional historians are telling us that, you know, the sun rises in Egypt. So here the sun rises in Oman. How do you account for histories of Creativities adaptation? Creolization Vernacularized action and as it has been said previously, multiple ways of interactions. Thank you so much. Maybe one question for Campbell is? That is. Extraordinary story, right? What do you want to say about ordinary stories of struggle? Thank you.

Speaker 5: All right, I think. But please use the microphone.

Speaker 4: Yeah. Hello. OK. Thank you so much for the for the great questions and the wonderful comment that that was a very hard job. I thought I thought you passed the exam so. I'll, I'll try and be quick. You know, what does this tell us about continued class struggles that we face today? I mean, people can easily label me a presentist and I'm deeply shaped by questions about today in my sort of study of of history and and to me this is. Sort of studying the precursors of neon. Liberal forms of of Labor today, right? So it comes out a little bit more in the paper thinking about the rickshaw puller as the Uber driver. Right? An independent contractor who has no security of Labor and must hustle right in order to make a living like this has been happening for for at least 100 years. And we see it there. And how do people squeeze ways of living Despite that? It's it's almost not living, right? It's it's it's. Working to live without like living. It's living to work without working to live right. And and I want that's a. That's a great question and I'm I'm you know, I I hope it's clear that the the story that I'm telling about narcotics use is a deeply ambivalent one, right. It's not like, yeah, drugs are like, you know, it's it's, you know, it's. Deeply tied to a notion that this allows people to survive, it doesn't actually make their lives better. And. And so I think the the thing that I want to point to is that drug use often reflects much more. Upon the lives that people are already living, then the structure, their status in society, their economic status, and so right, you rarely see big problems with wealthy people, wealthy people in the historical archive, wealthy people smoke a lot more opium than poor people, and they never. Problem right? Because they have the money, right? And it's it's it's when you're at these kind of lowest ends where your your body is almost destroyed that you know yes. Sometimes people turn to crime or whatever to sort of feed that. But I think that reflects much more upon the socioeconomic structure of society. And it reflects the effect of of the narcotics themselves and and I sort of also focus on cannabis and and and opium, which are. Still sort of associated more with the sort of depressant thing and and though there are stereotypes of cannabis in particular as causing people to go become homicidal maniacs. But it's it's a racist. It's basically a a racist claim that sort of Euro Americans put on Hispanic. Mexican immigrants in the 1920s, right? It's it's the connection to people's actual actions is is pretty limited, but it's there. I mean I don't want to sort of pretend that, like, people aren't destroyed and going to crime and all these sorts of things, but I think to me that the sort of fundamental causation is has much more to do with everything else than the than the narcotics themselves, which are more. Kind of symptom of the problem than than the cause of it.

Speaker 7: Yes, thank you very much for that. I don't know whether it was a kind of Welsh tone of mind, but I think it worked. And I'll try to bring some of the issues that the question is raised together to start with the the last one I've I've been interested in non elites all my life and I've I've explored particularly aspects of. Forced labour. Whether it be slavery or other forms of forced labour. And I think most forms of Labour were forced labour and most labour was under. Incredible restraint due to. Debt being one of the major impulses which pushed people into positions in which they were held subject. It's very difficult to get to the stories, individual stories of the non elite. Most of them were illiterate. Most historians record only the elite. So unless you've got a literary tradition which is peculiar, you occasionally come across. Stories about ordinary people it's extremely difficult. So it's a it's a task that needs looking. But other forms of evidence. I think traditions in countries, oral traditions, songs, illustrations, these are the things that I think need to be brought to the fore, but it needs a disciplined I to examine them and to draw out of them what is required. Because again, there are problems that sometimes those are the production of the elite as well. It's. That's where Matt's paper was brilliant in the sense that you suddenly got these photographs of of young enslaved children. And it vividly hits you. Uhm, and I think that's probably the route to go to discover more about it in terms of Ranavalona, that's one of the reasons why I started looking at her in more detail, because in Madagascar you walk around the streets of the capital city of Madagascar. There's not a, not a single St. named after her. They're all named after. The generals. French Malagasy politicians, French Malagasy, inevitably male. There's a there's a huge gender bias in the conventional historiography that needs to be questioned, severely questioned, and male attitudes that. That most books. Are thoroughly immersed in so that someone like Ranavalona comes out extremely badly and that needs to be. Revised I think, and that is one of the reasons I'm doing it so that the Malagasy it's an insult in Madagascar. Girls call each other ranavalona in the in the in the school if they want, if they. Want to insult them? So to restore Anna Valina as a a rational, credible person, despite the fact that she wasn't Christian, she wasn't Muslim. She was a a fetishist. If you like. She was believed in ancestral traditions. So what? Rather, look at her policies. Look at the structure of society, look at what her, what she was trying to do, and what she achieved in an incredibly difficult international arena. And I think that will slowly bring it back out so. I suppose I'm trying in my modest way, to restore what I think was an extremely interesting and intelligent female ruler to her rightful place. Uhm, the last on piracy. What's interesting is that. Madagascar since the time it was settled, probably in the 9th century, there were pirates, active pirates that crossed the Mozambique Channel, pirates that raided the East African. And this continued, it was, it was a favorite place for pirates on the main shipping lanes to East Africa to India. And the British were in part hauled in because on the route to India, the British always stopped at San Juan for provisions. They didn't stop in Madagascar because of malaria and Joanne was free of malaria until about 1830. The 1830s, I think. So that they stopped there, that was their preferred place. And the Sultan of Anjouan complained about Malagasy pirates that consistently attacked Anjouan and the Camaro Islands, and then also East Africa and said, hey, you've got to pull this to a stop. So this was one of the chief criteria. Why farqua he incorporated it into his. Alliance with Rodana saying not only must you conquer the entire island, but you must stop this piracy so that was one of the main motivations. They didn't completely eradicate it, but the British Navy did temper it somewhat.

Speaker 8: Thank you. So I will respond to the to the question in the comments. First of all, there is no European countries because as far I know, I didn't speak about Europe. I was speaking about Indian Ocean culture, Africa and. In the Gulf, so I think that in the two the two comments and questions, there is a common ground. The fact that there is a confusion between working on cultural influences and diffusionism. And I know that it's it's very sensitive topic because people think that if you work on cultural influences. In the Indian Ocean, you are doing diffuse unions. So basically you are talking about north-south and Fluence or East, West and Fluence. In fact, it is much more complicated than that. It's a try modestly to show in my paper that the fact that you. Have the 3D style of architecture very clear on the coast from Somalia to Comoros, but you have also a common ground. You have also an Indian Ocean culture of cultures where people share ideas and style. And so as an archaeologist, but also in in a modest way as an historian. What we call art history, actually, I try to determine, you know, to analyze all these current this trends, you know, all over the Indian Ocean, from from India to the Gulf, but also to the Arabian Peninsula, Oman, Yemen and East Africa. But I could go even more further because when you look at the. Coral stone architecture. You have coral stone architecture in the Maldives. Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, so the situation is much more complicated than the people wants to see. You know, sometimes the time people they want to reduce ideas and culture in little boxes where you have Africa, Asia, Arabia, Southeast Asia and people cannot go outside these boxes. So the idea is to deconstruct. All this idea that we have about cultures to look at Africa from a global perspective because I think that the best service that I can modestly give to Africa and Africans is to put Africa in the big picture in the global world history and it's a way to do it. Thank you.

Speaker 2: Thank you, Dan, for this generous comments. There's one interesting introduction into social anthropology. It's called small places, large issues. And my book, which is coming out this week, the next book is. Small island, large ocean. So what you heard today from me is only one side. I'm a social anthropologist. I'm going deep into the empirical matter. But I also think what are these small places? Small islands. Helping us to understand about small issues and I'm convinced, and this is the thing about. Anthropology that we can say something about these large issues like globalization, not although we study small places, but because we do so, it's difficult to convey this in 20 minutes paper. But you've read my paper that at least I tried to and. This is why I'm also grateful to you that you mentioned students. I can say that all my life I in. You know it, teaching. I can say this because I got retired four months ago, but teaching was always a pleasure for me, also for egoistic reasons, because when my students didn't understand what I wanted to convey, this was for me a sign that I cannot publish it like this. So. It was it was a yardstick for me, and I always tried. I always liked to supervise students. There was one doctoral student on Chagas Island. He was with me from Novi again four years, four years and he was also. Doing then, these specific studies on Chagas, which is a sad case and which is also a case connected with power and this is coming to your question. When I was trying to convey a perspective not only against space but also. Against flow. Arguing that things are jumping and interrupted instead, then this was. Meant to show that in all this there's a power dimension that some people can move or can stay at home. Whatever you wish and others can't. And This is why I think. And when you look at things from a point of view, from root. And places along these routes suddenly also questions of state formation of extension of power. Some people try to conquer space these days. Other people try to have belt and roads and control the. Perhaps on these roads, which is the more intelligent way, I'm not saying that I'm in favor of that, but this is the thing where power and politics come in. And by changing a perspective, you may also get a different glance at what is happening. Thank you.

Speaker 5: OK, I think.

Speaker 12: We'll have to.

Speaker 5: Stop there, but I'd like to thank the. Thank you.

Panel 4: Reimagining Mobilities: Immobilities in the Indian Ocean (Dec 2022)


Speaker 1: Hi everyone. How are you? Welcome back, hope you had some more good food. We have a longer panel than previous ones. We have 5 speakers in this panel. Our first presentation is titled the Archipelagic lens representations of Indian Ocean. In mobilities and mobilities in film, it is presented by Ferrard Aruch, associate professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. Please welcome philat. Thank you.

Speaker 2: Thank you, Satya. And and I would like to reiterate my deep gratitude to the Africa Institute for bringing us together. I think for many of us. The first time after the pandemic, so I know there are 5 presentations so I'll I'll try to be as quick as possible. I'm not going to show any clips in the intro. Stuff time, but sort of good news. This paper and the reflections that I will share with you today is really a preparation for an Indian Ocean season film program. Coming soon in spring in the in spring 22. 23 and sat on and rim kindly have been really helpful in the process of putting the program together, which I currently titled. I learned that cinemas of the Indian Ocean, which will cover. A collection of films from Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, Mayotte, Chagos, Runyon, Mozambique, Sugatra, Lamo, Persian Gulf Islands, all the way to Sri Lanka. I know it's a huge. Expense. The final program will ultimately be determined by what we can find, especially for available for public screening. But I think it will generate some fresh. Conversation on visual cultures of the Indian Ocean world. My colleague Uday is not here, but the term thinking with the Indian Ocean is a term that I borrow from him that we it. It came up pretty much in our last conference in 2020 at Georgetown. University. So I'm basically trying to today think to think film with the Indian Ocean and. Some of the concepts that I will think through are, I think, pretty much familiar to to us those those of us in the Indian Ocean, the the archipelagic, the littoral, the mobile and the circular. The archival and its effects, and as I was thinking about this presentation, I'm like Salah, very bad in. Properly pronouncing terms, I got and you know, sometimes it can be productive. The more you try the then some it turns into another concepts and the more I tried and thinking about the films, there was some. There's a sort of. A strong element in across the Indian Ocean littoral films. So I'm kind of toying with the idea of a I don't know if it will be a new concept, but archipelagic Y thinking of. Elegiac terms about the archipelagos. In in terms of the notion of archaic, archipelagic sensibility, I would like to start with a quote from Abdul Razak Guru. Which I think encapsulates that archipelagic being in the world. He he, he says from as early as I could remember as a child. There are late months of the year from around November, December or so, so. The arrival of dozens of ships of all sizes from different parts of the Indian Ocean. They will be from the Arabian Peninsula, from the Gulf, from India, and occasionally even further away. The huge ships that sometimes came from as far as Thailand and the sailors and the traders on these ships crawled themselves and their wares among us. Beside us everywhere, it was impossible not to know. That you were part of a wider world, a wider world with its own center of gravity, a cosmopolitan world, if you like, and that we were networked in a shared cultural and historical community. In a way, what Gurna invokes is a certain. Notion of archipelago archipelago of culture, right, which is a kind of world expanding vision then that takes shape. Formal shape in creative works by crafting narrative sort of portals. That open to other stories, other worlds and so on and obviously. The creative work that Gurna does is in the in the literary run, but I I'm strongly convinced that the the archipelagic view has a lot to offer in terms of thinking. About visual material in the Indian Ocean, through what I would like to call the archipelagic lands, which would refer to a representational model. Quote UN quote capturing perhaps with certain limits, right? The continuum of communities that are ecologically, structurally and culturally shaped by the sea. Now, in the second conceptual modality, I work through Michael Pearson's I think one of the foundational essays in Indian. Ocean studies the Litoral society, where he kind of quite, you know when non way argues that there is such a thing as electoral society. We can go around the shores of an ocean. Or a sea, or indeed the whole world, and identify societies that have been more in common with other littoral societies than they do with their inland neighbours. Surat and Mombasa have more in common with each other. Than they do with inland cities such as Nairobi or Ahmedabad. And of course, Michael Pearson, Historicizes and in certain ways think about it in sociological terms. But in cultural studies of the Indian Ocean. There has been an effort to think about the Litoral is a. Formal feature right? And indeed, if littoral societies share a common history, heritage and material culture across its otherwise diverse shores, then I argue the littoral generates a certain cinematic ecology that encompasses. A transnational film culture across the Indian Ocean, which is characterized by what Max Samuelson have described as and and phibian aesthetics, right that. That is featured by the perspective Tidal ambivalence and optical by focality that arises from the littoral, in which sensory perception reception is oriented simultaneously towards the sea, the land and sea, interior and exterior. Here and there. Now in the third kind of conceptual mode, I work a bit with nsang hose. Yet again canonical essays inter. Inter Asian concepts for mobile societies and if I disturbed and sank, whose conceptualization? Johan, don't tell him so. And those of you who may be familiar with the with that important essay, and Sancho, basically argues that the the pretty much the dominant. Euro American models of studying societies are not helpful, right? We can. These are they they we cannot really. To produce any serious scholarship in terms of understanding the histories of Indian Ocean mobile societies as he writes, those smaller mobile, less integrative societies have become difficult to see. Because the notion of society that has been created by Enlightenment theory focuses on the internal constitution of. Large encompassing aggregates such aggregates banish the external and the outside to a realm of to a realm beyond the pale outside of the core understanding of society and. My I tried to kind of transpose this to understanding. Or trying to in certain ways theorize a a certain notion of visual disaggregation and reaggregation process. Right? And this is almost rewriting of his statement from a film studies perspective, which would go something like. The dominance of aggregate notions of film, their rigidification in association with nations and states, and the theoretical investment that fills them up with structural content and defines what they are, they they are have created blinders that make it difficult for us to see the range. And reach of mobile small societies of the sort that crisscross the image world of the Indian Ocean. Is 1/4 modality and this is thinking about the the archives, how to move the archive and and so on. And here I think together with two. Names and concepts. The first one is idea Hartmann's notion of critical tabulations, which she defines as a reading of the archive that mines the figurative dimensions of history to imagine what might have happened. Or might have been said. Or might have been done and to make visible the production of disposable as well as silenced lives right as a great Tarkovsky fan, I I always felt that there is a way of there could be a way of thinking. This idea with Tarkovsky right through his notion of sculpting in time, his definition of what, what, what is filmmaking right, he says. It is sculpting in time. The primary material with which the filmmaker works in block is blocks of time imprinted onto strips of celluloid. The filmmaker's captures shapes them and releases them in the act of projection. And the the way at least one example that Tarkowski does it in his great film, The Mirror is really activating the steel foot footage from. The Spanish Civil War and all of a sudden this refugee girl arriving in Russia looks at you right. It's no longer a role historical footage, but in gazing at at you. Right. And I thought. That could be a modality in thinking about the Indian Ocean, especially colonial archives of the moving image. I've been working on the collection of. Eleanor Dyal, whose wife was the British colonial administrator in in Bahrain and Eleanor Dayal had in the early 30s. Produce a series of what we call late colonial. Amateur filmmaking, right. And I think there is a way in which there are we could and these are steel shards from the celebration of manumission during the heat time. And I felt that there is a way in which we could use. The Tarkovsky Ian notion of. Notion of of animating the archive and here once again the emancipated slave gazing at you. Right as here as well. OK, that's the 4th. Finally the. The whole. Going back to some of the collection of the littoral films and as I said, they are very much characterized by what I would like to describe. Archipelago, perhaps we want to think of it in do. Front ways from the cloud. Lavish Strauss's notion of trees. The trees test. I I feel you know, concepts like prison and more vernacular concepts will capture this elegiac modes better, but what you see across these films, these. Notions of themes, of insecurity, human and ecological laws, trauma and violation, encroachment of global tourism, gentrification and development. Of pneumonic unfolding of the past into into the present, but also recreation of sensual and bodily experiences and rituals, these are some of the favorite ones that I have been working on. The work of Nasir tagai. From Iran. Alexandra Bella's work on Madagascar. David Constantine Hashemi. Ahmeda situating her work in Comoros. Nova nanten. Naina. In Madagascar. So you know. Is A is A, is a collection. As I said, they invoke a certain effective visual quest for the hoped for the denied, the lost and the retrieved in in in fragments. I know I am. I need to finish soon, but perhaps one final notion around the concept of circularity. Now I go back to Ensign, chose right where he says. Circulations of peoples across the trans regional axis that straddled the Indian Ocean are thick and historically continuous. In the early 20th century period of colonialism, one way migrations swamped these circulations but but today. The circulations are back as migrant workers are denied long term or permanent residents and have to return home, and for me the cinematic expression of all that is the one that I mentioned briefly yesterday is a really fascinating work. From titled from Gulf to Gulf to. And even the title, you know, invokes this indeterminate, ambivalent sense of circularity. By the time you, you begin to look at the material, there is no unilinear direction that is taking place. In the sense that you don't know from which Gulf to which Gulf to. Which gulf, right? And of course, we need to give due credit to Sharjah. Foundation, which supported this. Project and it's a collaboration with migrant sailors across four years, which is really comes together as of in the form of a superimposition of raw cell phone videos recorded by the sailors onto Sufi devotional. Chants and popular Hindu Hindi film songs and. This film defies pretty much all conventions as we know it and toward the end in for the end credits instead of any characters, human characters and so on, we have the the names of the mechanized. Sailing vessels, the MSVS as the characters right as the protagonists, as the kind of agents of of the film as such. And and from that perspective, I consider from Gulf to Gulf to Gulf is a great example, fascinating example in which enables us to think about the visual medium is a reconstruction of. Affects rather than results of ethnographic and. It is to think about visual production freed from being policed by the directorial gays, which is particularly important for understanding the ways in which the electoral indigenous communities navigate challenges. And documenting without shifting focus to a native informant voice favored by Western Film Festival and funders. I I need to stop. OK, then let me skip a couple of. A A couple of slides. One fascinating moment in the film for me is the at some point one of the sailors in kind of on a piece of paper. Create their own opening credits for the film they are making and it is, you know, the title is really in reflects a certain consciousness of wondering life. Puglia, avara, right, like the wandering Majnoon. Kind of right and you know. The the the the opening credits sort of in. Of course it's a statement against global English. They, you know, they butcher English as well as director. Who's junas and producer? Sahil and so on and so forth. And the film is on another register is also a great example of the contemporaneity of Dow cultures. They are they sit down and there is a. Quite a diligent effort of navigational mapping that they rely on is is the deep history of the cultures OK? And I conclude I hope I convinced you that. Indian Ocean are archipelagic films are like. Like a smattering of tiny islands in the cultural sea of world cinema, largely invisible to the international image market and academic film study. Yet they provide us with a precious inventory to gauge the transformations and futures of littoral societies of the Indian Ocean. They are. They are yet to acquire a consolidated place in what Dudley Andrew calls the Atlas of World Sydney, and the scholarly turn to the Indian Ocean must certainly signal greater awareness of the layered. Political and cultural legacies of the Indian Ocean, littoral societies and their contributions to world music, literature and visual culture. Thank you.

Speaker 1: Thank you very much, Professor Ferrat. Our next presentation is titled Tracing Contemporary Circuits of Literature and Literary circulation from and across the Swahili Seas. The presentation is by Meg Arenberg. She's a postdoctoral research fellow in the African Middle Eastern and South Asian languages and Literatures Department at Rutgers University. Please welcome Meg.

Speaker 3: See if I can fit both laptops on. OK, let me echo all of the others in thanking the Africa Institute and the organizers of this wonderful gathering for inviting me to participate. I'm just going to. Dive right in. Because I don't want to take too much time. In an influential article published in 2006, literary scholar Eileen Julian posited that what African readers and and readers beyond Africa think of typically as the African novel is a particular type of narrative characterized above all by its intertextuality with hegemonic or global discourses. And it's appealed across borders. What she termed the extroverted novel, written often by novelists who live beyond their countries, borders. These are works that quote speak out word and represent locality to the non local others. Extroverted African novels physically cross borders and Thematize border crossings. The assumptions that undergird what international and largely Western audiences recognize or demand as the African novel, what Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina. Satirized in his widely read article how to write about Africa are mostly at odds with the characteristics that we associate with narratives of the Indian Ocean. Indeed, the definition Julian establishes seems to suggest a particular kind of border crossing as primary. These assumptions are based in the binaries that my fellow panelist Ferrat Aruk described so aptly in his introduction to the wonderful special issue on Indian Ocean circularities in comparative literature published earlier this. Year, as he writes in that article, these binaries are the comparative ground, not just of Anglophone African literature, but of anglocentric world literature at large, between modernity and tradition, reason and faith, individualism and community, literature and morality. In this framework, he writes world literature. Functions merely as the morning House of violently and tragically destroyed social forms and practices. By these criteria, novels like Abdul Razak Garnas by the Sea and Paradise and Ivan Alambo Wars, the Dragonfly Sea offer important counter narratives. These are novelists less concerned with theorizing the post colonial nation via contact zones between Africa and Europe, but who trained their attention to histories of horizontal. If not fully equal, transoceanic migration relationship and exchange. These are novelists less apt to be read as representing tradition in opposition to an externally imposed modernity. Rather, they embed a rich intertextual catalog of languages and genres that reflect cross cultural traffic between Asia, Africa and the Middle East. However, the distribution of and global response to the books themselves chart different transnational trajectories. These novels, published in and distributed from the West, written in the powerful global language of English and the privileged and mobile transnational literary form of the novel, not only travel across a different set of borders than their narrative subjects, but, and this is another criterium of the of the extroverted novel in Juliano's formulation. They've been embraced by a readership largely distant from the Indian Ocean, facing port cities that their narratives describe. UM. The relative global obscurity of Abdulrazak gurnah compared to, say, Muyongo or Chimamanda Adichie prior to the announcement of the Nobel Prize not withstanding, these are books that move freely through the Euro American market and that find their way onto top ten lists in the culture section of the Guardian, like this one. Titled Top Ten World spanning novels. As Eric laments in his introduction to the aforementioned special issue, and as I also wrote in an article shortly after his win, the Nobel Prize Committee and most commentaries on journals work framed him explicitly and exclusively in post colonial terms, ignoring the significance of the Indian Ocean in his narrations even of refugees and migrants. In Europe. I thought it was particularly ironic that in the summary reasoning they offered for awarding the prize, they evoked A metaphorical gulf between cultures and continents without recognizing the actual water body across and upon which crucial transcultural and transcontinental relation extend in journal's narrative models. Or worlds, sorry. And while awards novel was initially launched in Nairobi, where the author lives, and while it has certainly been read and circulated among urban readers of English in that city, it's publishing by the American multinational conglomerate publishing company Penguin. Random House has ensured its place on bookshelves across the US and UK, and has meant. Views in such mainstream American publications as people Vanity Fair, USA TODAY and Southern living. While I have not done formal market research or surveys, my anecdotal experience suggests it has not found similar purchase in the Lamo archipelago that forms the novel's narrative center. So I began all of this as an avid reader of these novelist work, and I I believe in the importance of their narratives in dispelling exactly the kind of harmful assumptions that binyavanga's acerbic satire described. And I don't mean to dismiss or criticize them for. According Western audiences at the expense of readers on the East African coast, but rather what I want to begin to think about, and this is really just a sketch, is how we complicate the persistent binaries further by searching out points of intersection between the circulations of these highly global visible and mobile text. The Indian Ocean circulations, they thematize and some trajectories of contemporaneous literary production and circulation by Swahili language poets that inhabit the East African spaces. The books narrate. As Ashley Harris has written, echoing Karen Barber quote the unresolved debates as to the novels relevance in Africa have also reinforced a formal divide in the field. On the one hand, we have an African literature dominated by published books, and on the other we have a more inclusive version of African literature, often referred to under the more elastic. Concept of culture. Covering a fuller spectrum of literary forms, from oral poetry, storytelling and drama to informal print culture, and more recently, Internet based literature. So this presentation is focused on examples that sit at the boundary of the oral and written and is intended primarily as an experimental sketch of three different nodes where we might begin to explore such intersections. So starting with an idea of thematic convergence for those who may not have read the the Dragonfly Sea, I just want to give a very brief synopsis. The novel narrates the coming of age of Ayanna, the child of a socially ostracized single mother, and her adopted father, the seafaring. Nick seller Mohideen and it spans her early childhood on Pattaya Island, a boat journey to study abroad in China, and a brief sojourn in Turkey before a final return to her home on the northern Kenya coast. Ayanna is a fictional reinvention of the real life Momoka Sharif, who a young woman awarded a scholarship in 2005 to study in China after being confirmed by DNA test the descendant of a Ming dynasty sailor. One of Zhang. Hua's fleet. Who survived shipwreck and took refuge on Pattaya Island. As such, in its very premise, the Dragonfly Sea marks an homage to Patai Island on the Swahili coast. More generally as a site of open encounter and exchange, long before European colonization. But the book also set on at the turn of the 21st century. It also narrates contemporary relations between Kenya and China, and were were witnessed to the sort of relational work of her sense making through Chinas unfamiliar environments, as the shapes and sounds of Chinese language. We figure her understandings of both sea and world, but her arrival in China is also a lesson in the geopolitics of erasure. So I want to hone in on an. Exchange that unfolds. In Guyanas Chinese classroom, in which a discussion of China's contemporary economic ambitions on the African coast become an argument between students over the various toponyms for the Indian Ocean, I'm just going to quote a little from that in the retelling of the life of her see. Liana saw that the maritime Silk Road initiative had gobbled into Patel's place in the global monsoon complex. She was overwhelmed by this infinite land of infinite armies and infinite words and the machinery that at a signal could roll over her skies, waters and earth to reach her home and cause it to disappear. She had come to school wanting to enter into the language of the Seas through a people she was to imagine where her own. Instead she was learning how the world was reshaping itself and her see with words that only meant energy, communications, infrastructure and transportation. Storm warning. I personally first read the Dragonfly Sea while in Lamo myself the summer after it was published in 2019, and the construction for Lamar's Mega Port, which she references here in these references to the Maritime Silk Road. Objective had been underway for several years and and some parts of the port had begun to be used. I was curious whether local residents viewed the port in ways similar to wars, characterization, local poet, respected elder and religious teacher Mahmoud Abdul Kadir, locally known as Mao, had never heard of the Dragonfly Sea. But when I asked him whether poets and Lamu had had had anything to say about the Megaport project, he brought me written copies of two poems in the attendee verse form which he had previously performed at large public meetings in Lama. The first titled bhandari. Or port he had composed for the occasion of a public meeting with the Minister for Transportation when the Port Project was first announced to the public in Lamu, addressed outward to the official guests. The poem opens with the words of thanks and welcome, expressing cautious acceptance of the project that have been brought to the community, but it immediately turns toward a series of warnings that we might. It is a refraction of a wars rendering of allana's, anxiety about self-determination and loss of control. I'll read just a few stanzas. I'll just read the the English translation. This was a port project and we accept it. This is a port project and we accept it in shalla. Let it come with good fortune and spread blessing. It is luck for us to get this opportunity. It is a door to prosperity that God has opened for us. The important thing we want is to protect our lamel so that poison isn't dispersed and filth spread around us. If it will happen that we will lose our morals with this money, we don't want it at all, nor even to hear of it. Better we stay poor but remain in our religion and our culture and benefit from our heritage. This is the anxiety that we feel very much our customs and religion aren't cheap. We will not agree to lose them. The second poem Bandari Animal Memba the port is beset by waves, he told me he had composed before the 1st and had been addressed internally to the Lama community during a public meeting. The poem describes as similar combination of opportunity and risk, and echoes at the same time. The storm warning sounded in the Dragonfly Sea. Throughout which storm signal both creative and destructive energies? To take two just two stanzas from the middle. A discussion about the port could be a blessing, or it could be a provocation and bring upon us a plague. We should prepare. Sorry this is. The wrong we should prepare our conditions and from now be watchful so we don't later say how did things come to be like this? The port faces a tsunami. The waves do not cease. Nothing is able to remain standing or hold back the chest high waves. Alright, so I want to skip from there to to gurna and think now about a translation. In bringing Garner back home. The reality of burnas being read primarily outside Tanganyika and Zanzibar was made quite clear to anyone following Swahili language, media and social media in the media aftermath of his Nobel win. Tanzanians across the union were ecstatic to see one of their own recognized in such a globally prestigious forum, but many admitted to not knowing or having heard of him. Even locally accomplished writers, in a compilation of responses from Tanzanian writers published on the popular Tanzanian Digital Forum, UDA DC, several respondents commented on the need to begin. Reading his books, some questioned what claim Tanzanians could have to an author exiled from Zanzibar in the 1960s, writing in the language of his adoptive home. But in other digital spaces, serious engagement with grenades work did ensue. I I had wanted to show you a clip from this from this video, but I'll just tell you about it. This was a well circulated interview between diasporic Pembine poet and multimedia journalist, Mohammed Cassani, and Ishmael Jusa, who's a former member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives. This video was posted as part of a regular video series that KASANI hosts on his YouTube channel, which boasts over 15,000 subscribers. Titled to Funnel Evitable U or let's open, let's open a book, let's open books in which Jutsu offers detailed summaries and commentary on historical and political. Texts in relation to contemporary Zanzibari political life. The focus on journals, novels are a generic outlier, but this was actually one of the most viewed in this series of videos. In the course of the conversation, the sunny asks Jusa to narrow in on a theme of identity crisis. Quoting from admiring silence on the fault lines in Zanzibar's claim to a civilized and plural culture with racism bubbling beneath the surface. Dusa reads Garnas work didactically as a lesson and warning to contemporary zanzibaris, who he describes as falling basically into two camps. Those who understand their Zanzibari identity in relation to some credit culture, with its origins in monsoon exchange and on the other side. Those who understand Zanzibari identity in relation to an African identity. With its origins on the continent each rejecting the other as inadequately or incompletely Zanzibari. From here, he entreats his listeners to unite behind a notion of Zanzibar that encompasses both of these to embrace an ethnically inclusive Zanzibari national imaginary. So in this third last sketch, I wanna gesture to previous work of mine on a WhatsApp community of Swahili poets called Magina Wall Shairi, one of a veritable explosion of social media, particularly Facebook, but also WhatsApp groups created in the last decade and 1/2 for the composition. Circulation and consumption of poetry and poetic dialogue in Swahili. Many include members in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as Swahili speaking. Diaspora members in the US, Europe and the Middle East. I won't have time to fully detail the argument, but the boundaries of the WhatsApp Chat forum and impose restrictions on the kinds of discourse allowed in the forum. There's a very strict set of rules and imposed restrictions on the kinds of discourse. Members are only allowed to post inverse. But this has an effect of spatializing the community, something I want to link here to the world making capacities of. Novels like O. Wars and garnas. The choice of the name Magina, meaning brave ones or heroes, links the group to longer histories of poetic composition on the Swahili coast. In an interview about the group with the young founder in Mumbai from Bagamoyo. So he explained his use of magina to denote more than brave ones or heroes, but also water. Lamo Magueijo radiophobia expert specialist virtuosos of poetic composition, this merging of poetic ability with heroism evokes the most widely celebrated epic hero of the Swahili tradition, Fumo Luongo. Whose poetry from as early as the 15th century, Clarissa Fierke reads in that same special issue and comparative literature as evidencing. In Indian Ocean connections. The heroic bravery suggested by the name vagina, even as it nods to the heroes of Swahili epics of old, implies A protective role in the present guardians of traditional culture and language of established norms of poetic practice, social practice, and of the community defined and encircled by their adherence to these forms, magina Welsh. Already performs a version of an idealized Swahili coastal community, imagining itself as a community where as Ibrahim N Sharif has described Swahili societies, dialogic poetry. Quote arises as a cumulative effect out of the widespread social pursuit of literary excellence in everyday speech. According to the group's welcome poems, everyone in Uja Ginanni is dagina. Linguistically, homogeneous and inherently agile tongue. But even as the group adheres to a very culturally specific form of poetic discourse originating in the Swahili coast and exalting the acknowledged masters from that cultural origin, the group carefully redraws the boundaries of the poetic community of the home of Jagani. Beyond the geographic confines of the Swahili. Most the pluralism of the community. Is also a topic of frequent refrain. In one poem written to welcome, a new member, reads. Welcome our guest. Welcome to the stage. Inside here we have people from the coast, from the mainland and people from neighboring countries. Welcome. Come close. Feel you are. At home. Another, by ABBA ABI, appropriates the term Wang Guana, cultured or civilized people, which was historically used specifically to distinguish members of the Islamic Coastal Society from inland peoples. They described as what Shenzi is now used to describe all the members of the group, regardless of origin. Welcome, Sister Habiba. This place is indeed my vagina. There is no shortage of verses, and cultured people abound. Zanzibar, Dar bukoba. Tongue. Tonga, Kenya. We all know each other. Welcome. And may you compose prolifically poetic lines with meaning. So I want to show how this group internalizes A notion of Swahili poetry as metonym for a Swahili culture that is cosmopolitan, heterogeneous, and accommodating, even as it works to control the boundaries of its poetic expression. We also find in this group poems that thematize migration across the Indian Ocean, in both positive and negative terms and Arabo uni, the Arab world is a frequent referent as a space of both real and imagined destination. And one interesting example, a sound recording is posted by a magina member of a female poet reciting. A poem entitled Indo Azibo arabiki, or marriages, are to be found in the Arab world, with the refrain nozipho, arabiki, CIO, Quietus, and. Our marriages are to be found in the Arab world, not in our place, Zanzibar. This poem enumerates the shortcomings of Zanzibari men and marital relationships by comparing them to marriages in the Arab world where such things are posited as to be impossible. Within the form of of Madrigal, Shari, this post elicited several response poems, arguing both for and against migration. To the Arab world. The poem also offers a hint at the circuits that extend from these exchanges on WhatsApp and social media as within the context of the forum of prominent Kenyan journalist at the time working for the independent Swahili radio and TV station QFM and QTV encountering the recitation in the WhatsApp group asked to be connected so that he could record and broadcast the poem. On those national channels, when I searched for the poem elsewhere, I located a recording on the poets Facebook page. Salma baraka. And it turns out she's a student in Hyderabad, India. And on this post, she elicited comments suggesting both that the poem had gone viral on WhatsApp and and several requests for CD recordings of the poem and so forth. So. I'm just going to stop there, but with those very brief gestures, I welcome your thoughts on the viability of thinking through literary circulations in this way, and whether we can begin to chart points of contact between these very disparate circuits and forms. Thank you.

Speaker 1: Thank you, Professor Meg. Our next presentation is titled from Theocracy to Monarchy, Authority, and legitimate legitimacy in Inner Oman from 1935 until 1957. This presentation is by Dale Eichelman Ralph and Richard Lazars, emeritus professor of Anthropology and Human Relations at Dartmouth University. Please welcome Professor Dale.

Speaker 4: If you wonder why I'm using my own watch, this is a Soviet pilots watch. Which I regard as a reliable time keeper. It won't keep me on time, but at least I'll know when I exceed my limits. In 1990, somebody in the Soviet army told me that this was a computer. Now, having said that, my presentation. Let's say it's long in the making. In one sense it in the wisdom of the conference organizers, they found an article which I published in 1985, which will come out in monsoon. With appropriate acknowledgments. Not as new, but I had to change some things to come up with the current use of pronouns and so forth. So for your own. Delectation ohh, you can't talk about tribesmen anymore. You talk about tribes, people. But I was able to use the term or llamas to gloss it as men of learning because I indicated in with a really excellent copyright editor. I might add that. That show me. Any any alima show me any woman person of learning? I'm sorry in the Sultanate of Oman at any time in the past or present, or anticipate it and then we will talk about people of learning now the what the article is about. Out is a I would almost say manufactured conflict of types of of types of authority posed by Oman. I think most people except Omanis would agree that this is one of the cases where if you talk about Oman, you have to indicate to a lot of people. Why it's important to learn about Oman. If you look at textbooks about Islam in the world you you learn a lot about the. And the and the. It's Shia, often too generalized, but you weren't learned much about the body except in specialized books, and then most of what you see is based on texts rather than rather than what I would call context. And we've seen some very good examples in this conference. Of people who are looking at issues of context, either historically or present, to do things so on the one hand, in the Sultanate of Oman you have. The the view of a Sultan who in principle is an absolute political authority versus that of imam and in Ibadi Islam in theory in in some ways in practice amongst intellectuals. The mom is chosen by the Aryan. The notables of the region under his control using using terms indicating that he's the imam of the Muslims. So that the imam in Niswan until 1954 would use this rhetorical language. But of course the scope of the imam of the Muslims is more delimited to the northern Oman interior, which which is a place where the. Vast majority of, in fact, the all Muslims in an earlier time were were Ebadi. More on what that means in the failure to understand what the body do. I can I will bring in later, if somehow my computer gives me the appropriate time the Oman was began had been had. Being in serious economic straits beginning in the 19th century, the British vastly curtailed. Slavery. Some of you know that until 1963, slavery was permitted in Saudi Arabia more or less ended in other places. In 1960, ones officers in the Ethiopian Navy told me that they wrecked. They reckoned that they. We're able to stop about one out of 10 boats. Coming from Africa, delivering a precious cargo to Saudi Arabia slaves, they had to keep the system going and suppose and officially slavery was abolished in 1963, and I'm sure that the Saudis immediately ended slavery. That's a little bit of sarcasm there, but, but that's OK, the. As the economic condition of Oman deteriorated, there was unrest rest in Oman and the British not spending very much money on areas that they that they sought to influence or govern were very economical in what they used to. Influence Oman, Oman was never a colony, of course. And in 1963, they brokered what's called the agreement of Seib, which was in British language to grant autonomy to the interior of the of of autonomy, political autonomy to the interior of the country, leaving the Sultan. With control of external political affairs, which of course were basically run by the British, so it wasn't very much of of of, of anything that one. Had but one had a very powerful figure of the Imam who ran whose whose rule went from the 1920s until 1954 in the interior. And what I'm going to explain is something that is overlooked in the British records at the time because the British didn't. The British Political Council and and others in Oman really didn't try too hard to understand how the country worked and the oil company when they began getting very interested in exploring in Oman beginning in 1948, didn't do. Much more. Much more either. The formal theory of the element was that you had the best person of learning man of learning, who would be selected by the notables to become the Imam and represent everybody to give a sense of the formal. Equality of the. The Ebadi mosques traditionally had no minarets whatsoever, and only only there was only one in Nisswa. And if you go to your body cemeteries, you would have cemeteries. With stones marking where people were dead with no markings like I could visit the grave of the Imam. That people would know where it was, but they weren't able to, but you would not have his name or a tomb or anything else. If you want to see fancy funerary architecture, you have to go down to the sunny areas of of coastal coastal Oman, the formal authority. Was that the best of the men of learning would be chosen and everybody would agree as I guess, as an anthropologist, I'd be more interested in how things work. And in 1981, of the people I interviewed was a former Scotty not quite soldier, but but a kind of a militia member for the Imam. And I asked him in my awkward way, did the Imam run a government and this? Not very well educated, but really intelligent, Scotty said to me. Yes, it was a government. It taxed it, imprisoned and it killed. Which I think of the for some people is is the basis of what the government is perceived perceived as doing the imam from from at least the 1940s because again, I'm using at first oral history and then people little by little would bring out. Records in their family and so forth and give me an idea. Or I'd talk to ex governors for the imam. There were four. And unlike the sort of governance you'd have elsewhere, all 14 really were men of learning, which added to their legitimacy in the way people would see things. They kept good financial records, more or less after 1952, but before then. Let's say that records were on demand when the imam. Perceive some people of accepting bribes or doing things they should not do. Then then the Imam would begin sending letters to somebody saying monitor what my governor is doing in this area of some again of the letters that I would see but the. Imminent government had a real legitimacy. And indeed, rather than have an autonomous interior and then a Sultan on the coast, you'd have an interesting play between the two. Saeed bin Tamor, who in the British publicist accounts of Oman. After 1970, when Busbin Saeed came to. Power would it equip? Press release is reduced to the idea that before 1970 we were living in darkness, but then a bright light came on the horizon, and that was the advent of Sultan Kaboose bin Sayed. After a British engineered. Who in July 1970, but there was a very delicate play between the two. What would these? The Ebot, the men of learning, were produced by the imminent and the Sultan, who, whose reign began in 1930 when he was all of 22 years old, would build up his judiciary to get legitimacy by. Acquiring judges from the interior who would work for him now if he were a judge working for the. Ebadi Imam, you weren't paid very well because there was not much money around at all. You could pay more in by working for the Sultan. So, for instance, from 1939 onward, there was a very distinguished jurist. Ibrahim Saeed Al Abri, who who was the first Mufti of Oman after 1970, who asked the imam for permission to work as a judge for Sultan Saeed on. Post beginning in 1939, not a bad deal, so he would be a cloudy in the summer in the northern Oman interior when the weather was more pleasant, and then in the winter he would he would be down down on the coast working. Working working for the other. Some tribal leaders also crossed lines. There's one man who. I met under house arrest. He was still in prison from 1970 until 1982, Ahmed Mohammed al Harthi. He was imprisoned at the in the enclosure of the Ministry of Information, which I think is only. Appropriate in some ways information is is we thought. Well, yeah, Alam. In other words, we tell you what there is that you need to know, which is kind of Nice. Occasionally anthropologists do things so that the political prisoners can can get out his son in the meantime, by the way, was a governor for. Under the post 1970 regime, but couldn't do very much, there were even joint governors appointed by the Sultan and by and and by the other. But you know, with everything else, crises. Occur and after the 1940s, a number of things began to happen. After 1948, one thing it was that the Saudis were getting hungry for oil, and so they would offer subsidies to a number of the tribal leaders of the interior. No surprise, the a lot of the, a lot. Of the tribal leaders, we're very happy with subsidies. They take them and not have much of A sense of allegiance or anything else. The Saudis tried to say that such subsidies, where they would have documents where somebody said yesterday documents are becoming an indentured. Labor and so forth were somehow signed and I think it is Professor Hopper was saying so. It will really be interesting to try to reconstruct exactly what indentured labor understood by being indentured in these times. So the Saudis would collect fingerprints. What we do know is that Egyptian intelligence officers helped the Saudis to collect these things. Kind of a pay as you go sort of system and it. Didn't mean too much, except when the Saudis would try to pass these documents off in arbitration panels in in, in Switzerland. But two things happened which tested the system and show the limits of what was what was occurring. One thing was that the. Saudis did establish themselves in one of the Oasis in northern Oman, a part of Oman not contiguous with the rest of Oman, an Oasis called Oberheim. And and the Saudis tried to make the account that tried to claim that they had the. That they had always quote always been able to. I feel very awkward competing with the end of the Friday prayers. If anybody gives me an etiquette lesson, I could end early and say to be continued, but I think that this would throw off the schedule and as we know the arbitrating authorities, at least I I don't see sat down here right now. Would be very unhappy, so I will try. There you are. Satan, what is the etiquette for competing with the muezzin? Do I continue and ignore politely what's going on? Give me an extra minute and you can answer. Continue. OK. Thank you very much. I you know I'm very obedient. I consult authority. OK. So what happened is the British temporized. They did not want what they saw as a possible war between British proxy, which would be the Sultan of Oman. And Saudi Arabia, which they perceived as a proxy for the United States of America. And so the British wanted to call things off meanwhile 1. Of the most. Popular things that Sultan Saeed did as he was beginning to see that he wanted to assimilate the interior to his direct role was to raise an army of 8000 tribal militia. The British had a couple of kind of rental Brit services doing things. But and the Imam cooperated with the Sultan and raised a force of some 800 to go as far as a place called Aldaris, which was on the way. Then let's say, finally the British saying that they couldn't stop this did two things. One, they sent the Trucial Oman Scouts to escort the Saudis back home and to show them how to get there, which ended one part of the crisis, except for very expensive. Things where the Saudis tried to bribe the impartial judges in Switzerland, but they got caught, and so the arbitration pretty well, pretty well stopped at that time. But then the British said to the. Fuller, you've got to go back. You've got to tell people. And what the British did, what was to tell the ruler to do this and what the ruler did was very clever. He said no, I'm not going to read any such edict. If you want the the militia to go back, you read it. He said to the British Council. You read it in front of 8000 tribesmen raring to go the the British representative read the account. And about a week later had a nervous breakdown because of what he did. And then the Sultan went back to Salala where he was and was did not appear again in the north of the country until the end of his role in July 1970. But the the important thing was that the imam. Was working directly with the Sultan in this there's a question of titles, Sultan said would never. Use the term Imam, imam Muslim with the with the roller. They had cordial personal relations including when the Imam had a health crisis of sending an American missionary Dr. to Nisswa. To to to take care of him and and other things. So at the level of some tribal leaders. Helping mediate between the Imam and the Sultan, such as the later imprisoned Ahmed Mohammad Al Harthi and and the patient but persistent use of of the shared judiciary you had. You had a very interesting situation of cooperation between the two, and I must say in terms of method, because you might ask, well, what else do you learn about this? I'd I'd say there would be two things I would bring out of this. The in the original art. Michael, I made some point about the. Plus the advantages of using monks favors very famous notion of quote. Traditional authority tradition is a term that I regard as one that you can use when you have no idea of how to explain a form of influencer. Government modern, you know, rational authority. And then the mother of all ambiguities, charismatic authority. It's a good place to start. But it's a good place not to do too much with anything else, as I see a sign which two minutes is represented as a victory sign, I guess. And and there's something to be learned for that. The other thing to be learned from the interior is to throw away the idea that the interior. Was isolated from the rest of the world. This is a good escape clause for the British because they didn't understand the governance system of the ebody interior, the. There is a constant flow between East Africa and some parts of the body of the body. Implement a very strong one. The current Mufti who has spoken with me many times. I wrote about him at at some length of looking at issues of. Of legitimacy explained to me over several times the various routes that people use to get smuggled in as is after 1964, as somebody was mentioning in passing, it was very unhealthy to. To to to be on to be in Zanzibar as an Omani or as a as a Zanzibari Muslim. You got slaughtered so that the immigration went up. And one of the people who left was the current mufti. Mufti of Oman. The the. You know, having raised that to indicate the level of understanding of a 20th century theocracy, maybe a useful thing is to say to jump from talking about the implement in the earlier time, and to talk very briefly about what happened in 1979. In 1979, as you'll recall, the Grand Mosque at Mecca was taken over by was, taken over by a group of I think we could agree on using the term fanatic militants who were very hard to. Very hard to extract in the end, Moroccan friends of mine say it was Moroccan special forces who did it and others. But you did such things that one doesn't talk about of. Flooding the basement or flooding the floor of the Great Mosque of Mecca with water and then putting electricity into the water to make it very uncomfortable for militants who are holding out in the place. But the word went out. Any embodies in the government and everything else that you better watch out because some British advisers said, you know, the fanatics, the body fanatics of the interior are going to be the next ones to rise up and you're going to have a real problem as to what you had before. I was in the country at the time and the let us say that one British adviser when I first went to Oman put his hands around my throat and pressed my Adam's apple and said if you're not who you say you are, we'll play rough and I mean. And he later advised me not to use the photograph at the Nizwa market or anywhere else, because the fanatics will tear me apart. This is a very senior person and when I mentioned this to the Governor of news well, later just. I was talking about that and I said I went to. Marketplace and I didn't see anybody tearing me up apart. He politely asked me what I meant and I told him the advice I had. And you know you don't laugh out loud, is if you're a governor, but he later put his hand on his mouth and then he called me back when he had some visitors and asked me to repeat the advice I was given from Muscat. About being torn apart, but in 1979 the police suddenly showed up at every mosque where Friday prayers were given to kind of monitor things they were. Very adamant about doing it, and later I found out because I talked with the people above. The police is at first they wanted the uniformed. Internal Security Service uniformed to do this and there was a big fight. I'm told where they said no. If you want to do it, put your men in uniform in the mosques just to show them what you want to do in the stamp and enthusiasm for doing it. But this is the point at which the response. Was the British suggested? Let's have all. All preachers in the mosque have to read from from printed scripts pre done and a bunch of turban Sudanese because the Minister of Religious affairs allowed me into the room where the sermons were being written. They were all Sudanese, very happy, I'm sure to be paid better salaries than they could get in the Sudan at the time, diligently doing things. But one lesson to bring away which one can project into the past is. Just because you're a ruler or know your people, quote know your people. A phrase I continually hear from some advisors doesn't mean that they really know their people at all. And if you're an internal security, if you don't know your job too well, you can always be safe by saying. It's really rough out there. You just need more forces to keep it from getting rougher. Now I've wandered away from talking about the intimate thing, but I have the security of saying that my articles properly done. And thanks to Melissa McEwan and really excellent copy editor, my language has been brought up to date, so you won't see any terms like tribesmen. Where I should be saying tribes people and I'm grateful to her and I'm also grateful to her for recognizing things that can't change too well without doing the others. But thank you very much. OK.

Speaker 1: Thank you very much, Professor Dale. Our next presentation is titled the World according to Quapi and I hope I'm saying this right. Zanzibar newspaper narratives of the Cold War presented by Gary Thomas Burgess, associate professor of history at the US Naval Academy. Welcome.

Speaker 5: Thank you. It's wonderful to be here and to hear so many wonderful presentations. And I want to thank the organizers for this conference and. To get a chance to share a bit of my current research right now, it has. It's a book length project with with the working title of the Zanzibari Revolution, the the pursuit of equity and sovereignty in the Indian Ocean. In my time I want to make 6 interrelated points and I'll move from the more broad perspective to a more specific history eventually. The first point I want to make is that historians can. Consider the Indian Ocean is a coherent region well into the post colonial era. Jeremy Prestol correctly observes that nationalist projects of the early post colonial era frequently adopted introverted politics as well as instigated a series of closures of traditional Indian Ocean connectivities. Yet while nationalists very often turned their backs on and even purged the cosmopolitan networks that emerged under the umbrella of empire, and while sea travel. Often took second place to the sort of global exchanges that travel by air now made possible. None of this means the Indian Ocean is no longer useful as a conceptual framework, a point that Jeremy also makes. Yes, nationalists very often posited a deep connection between people and place, and we're very often intent on securing. What they considered indigenous rights, but nationalist thought frequently ranged beyond such concerns, which brings me to my second point, that nationalist projects across the Indian Ocean often possessed A modular quality. And this had a lot to do with the way nationalists appropriated socialists, language techniques and understandings. According to to how 1 counts and how one conceptualizes the extent of the Indian Ocean world by the late 70s, it included between 9 and 14 regimes that profess socialism and were undertaking simultaneous projects. Socialist projects by the late 1970s that would include. Mozambique, the Comoros, Tanzania, both mainland and the islands of Zanzibar, Somalia, S Yemen, et cetera between 9 and 14. So for millions of people, socialism was a corporate experience. No less impactful than colonialism, despite what Priya Law describes as the conceptual compassionless that characterized the peripheral socialisms of the region and despite A seemingly endless. Tendency towards experiments and innovation. The political elites who initiated such experiments had in mind a new universalism and saw themselves as inheritors and conveyors of a common tradition, no less meaningful than Islam or Buddhism. My Third Point is as much a question as a claim in that it is still not entirely obvious, to me at least, how all this came about, how the Indian Ocean became a socialist. See, it did not emerge because of the existence of unusually sharp class antagonisms in the region, and neither was socialism. The commodity, like clothes that could be conveyed in a ship's cargo. It did not circulate via traditional currents of sea trade and migrate. Action. Yet there does appear to be an interesting relationship in some places, and at certain times between socialist and Indian Ocean cosmopolitanism's plural. One may argue that the spread of socialism owed a lot to an unusually common regional inclination to access the. The cultural and intellectual capital of distant lands, a well established capacity along the ocean rim to create what Sugata Bose refers to as hybrid and polyphonic languages of translation. All of which encourage the repackaging of socialist precepts in new and innovative ways. By asking sociological questions about the conductivity of particular localities, we can go at least part of the way towards addressing the question of how the Indian Ocean became a socialist. See in addition, not all the politics, not all the politics that nationalists pursued, were entirely introverted. In the western Indian Ocean, Tanzania played an important role in nurturing FRELIMO in its long liberation struggle against Portuguese. Cool. It also served as an inspiration to camoran socialists and played a key role in installing a socialist regime in the Seychelles. Even when, when we put aside all the arguments above, it is still reasonable to see the Indian Ocean as a Socialist Sea merely merely due to the density of socialist states. Located within and around its circumference, such remarkable, albeit temporary, density means it is possible to employ the ocean as a spatial frame without making claims about the unique properties of that frame. My 4th point is that nationalists of the Indian Ocean very often saw socialism as a key to achieving full and not false sovereignty. For too long we've had a rather truncated concept of sovereignty bestowed upon us by such luminaries as Benedict Anderson. For many nationalist sovereignty did not just mean independent. It also entailed schemes to liberate peoples from the economic and cultural influence of the former imperial power and even the West as a. Whole the more ambitious nationalists envisioned that the achievement of all these interrelated forms of sovereignty would produce a new kind of citizen, a new, more empowered self. For many nationalist progress developments and decolonization, we're all just markers and means to an end. They wanted a new kind of person to emerge from all of this. They truly sovereign self that would form the human material deemed necessary to achieve true national sovereignty in their eyes. Of course, the nationalist pursuit of sovereignty frequently entailed contradictory imperatives, which engendered considerable dissonance, rupture and resentment. The the idea was highly open to interpretation and could be pursued in multiple and often incompatible ways. The argument here is not that this rendered nationalist thought incoherent, but instead a field of tension and debate. My fifth point is that Zanzibari revolutionary officials decided early on, within days of seizing power, that the way to empower Islanders was to 1st radically disempower them. By informing them that they were a rather innocent and naive people. Conned by capitalism and duped by imperialism. As victims of mass deception, they therefore required instruction from their more enlightened peers. The anonymous writers and editors of quote, which served as the regimes printed, mouthpiece from its inception in January 64 until the papers demise in October 1970. Myopia appeared in Swahili from more from one to four times a week and served an explicitly pedagogy. Purpose An island society rather than function as an open-ended forum where citizens could debate the meanings of freedom or development. It was instead a primary means along with official radio broadcasts. To lecture, exhort, and sometimes berate Islanders to throw off the mental and moral shackles of colonialism in order in order to become truly sovereign selves. Quote writers informed readers that they had been conquered in every sense of the word. And published a series of allegations that the British had fomented racial and ethnic divisions and even violence that the British had convinced Africans they were unfit for self government and even modern education, and that they had even. Corrupted the very character of Islanders by introducing selfishness and individualism, and a society that was formerly egalitarian in nature. As Calliope proclaimed in December 64, we were ruled for many years and filled with rotten ideas, feudal ideas, and capitalist ideas. And ideas that we think only of ourselves in every instance. Elsewhere, the newspaper declared that before the Revolution, quote the thoughts of the citizens were backward and that this sickness was caused by the colonial government. Klippe characterized the onset of the revolution as an intellectual awakening comparable to Franz Fanon's ecstatic evocations of the Enlightenment that Algerians experienced as they fought for their freedom against the French. Yet in both cases, the meaning of mental decolonization was very much in the eyes of the beholder. For fanon, it included repudiation of traditional religious beliefs. For Zanzibari President Abeid Karume, whose speeches were frequent. Front page and above the fold quote copy. Mental decolonization meant repudiating any thought of elections for at least a generation. It meant roughly half of all Islanders. Renouncing their Shirazi ethnic identity and denying their assumed origins in medieval Persia. And that meant a new willingness to provide unpaid labor to the state's karume. And the quote Riders who served him assumed that upon their emancipation from colonial deceptions, citizens would naturally embrace the virtues and benefits of socialist cooperation. My 6th and final point is that will be published a series of travel narratives of Zanzibaris who regard themselves as privileged witnesses of the sort. Privileged witnesses of what socialism had wrought beyond the waves, and who were intent on convincing their countrymen that the world featured A fraternity of friendly and advanced and flourishing socialist societies which welcomed them with open arms. By reading of the progress of distant socialist peoples, Islanders could be reassured. That the sacrifices the regime imposed on them were necessary component of a proven and recognized formula for development. They were not just arbitrary impositions of state power, but part of the plan that yielded dramatic results the world over. Thus, when a Zanzibari delegation returned from a trip to China. In May 64, they reported on their meetings with Mal, Joe and Lai and Chinese journalists during their guided tours. They discerned no meaningful differences in the quality of life between town and country, and were impressed to see that rural districts possess schools, hospitals and all things modern. They reported that poverty had been completely defeated in the country of China because the government takes very good care of the people, UN quote. Moreover, quote, all the citizens of China have the same thoughts. They're completely united. A month later, quote published an anonymous azanza by travelers account to the China. In which all begging and poverty had been eradicated, leaving only prosperity and good health. Just as impressive were the people's work habits. Quote every place you go, you will meet people working with diligence and without exhaustion. All the people work like soldiers, and every person cultivates so as to build the nation. Likewise, when Julius Neri, the president of mainland well of Tanzania period, returned from China in the early 65, coupe noted that everyone he saw in China was healthy and were working uniforms rather than the sort of ostentatious clothing. Favored by some affluent Tanzanians, he observed that while everyone in China had adequate food and shelter, some people in Zanzibar drove nice cars while others went hungry and homeless. In China, the state expected officials to use bicycles and buses instead of cars, and the money saved in this way was spent on food and other essentials. Neri claimed the Chinese people willingly assisted their governments because they knew it. It invested public resources in a wise and prudent manner. Upon meeting Lukhan, China's newly appointed ambassador, President Karume claimed in February 64 that the two nations were going through the same struggles and and against the same enemies. Only Zanzibar was about 20 years behind. In later years, he karumi echoed the claim that Zanzibaris wanted to follow and imitate socialist nations like China. He said in 1970 that quote the Chinese people have climbed a tree that provides good fruits forever for the citizens of Zanzibar. Likewise, Coyopa's anonymous writers praised China's progress, alleging that the state had successfully collectivized 500,000,000 Chinese farmers and launched the Great Leap Forward, which the newspaper described as a marvelous triumph, allowing China to feed its vast population and bring an end to recurring. To shortages. So in conclusion, and in light of what we now know about the Great Leap forward, which is probably the worst man-made. Famine in history that claimed the lives of 10s of millions of Chinese peasants from starvation. Some of these quote claims have not aged very well. Such reporting had a lot to do with the choreographed nature of Zanzibari's visits to China only a few years after the end of the Great Leap forward. For the most part, what they were allowed to see was limited to stage managed tour as a flagship projects that cast socialism in the most positive light. The pages of coyote record the voices of riders and officials position at the center of an assault upon what they regarded as a series of vast imperialist deceptions of a vulnerable population. It in their own search for alternatives to inherited illusions, they expose themselves to misconceptions coming from other quarters. The world they claim to know is more complicated than they realized. Aside from this, representing one of the sadder, sadder ironies of Zanzibari history, it also points to the fact that in the 1960s, the in the 1960s, the Indian Ocean was a world that was somewhat opaque and prone towards mistranslations and partial understandings. As nationalists traveled in search of anchoring principles by which to anchor. The post colonial state, they acquired knowledge through visiting, seeing, and observing other foundational nationalist epistemologies included reading, discussing, experiencing, and performing. Zanzibari travelers were confident they knew how to interpret the pattern of human events, which they which they. Which they regarded as a form of science based upon immutable laws and principles. In reality they were not learning a science so much as the supple and elastic skill of transposition. Believing that cultural boundaries were fluid and in permanent and past, and futures were porous. Practitioners of this skill freely transposed the experiences of 1 society onto another as Kai Cress and Edward Simpson might note, they saw the familiar and the strange and the same. In the other. And to see was very often to believe it was an awakening to the possibilities of the moment of the 1960s and of the capacity of societies everywhere to achieve true and not false sovereignty. Mobility produced images and memories that were less fixed in their meaning. And yet, often more compelling than attract or manifesto.

Speaker 1: Thank you, professor. Our next presentation and last presentation of the of this panel is titled a Land of Dreams and Nightmares, Mauritian ISM Africa, Asia and the frictions of Decolonization and Mauritius. It is presented by Robert Rafael, assistant professor. The Department of History and the University of Iowa. Thank you.

Speaker 7: I think it should.

Speaker 0: All right.

Speaker 7: Thank you all so much. I want to just say the same as my Co presenters. This has been such a wonderful. Wonderful experience. So thank you. Thank you to everybody involved and I'll try to make this. Like quick but also interesting, I hope to to be the final presenter here today. I'm what I'm presenting today. I'm actually working on. A book on. Hurricanes in modern Mauritius, I'm not going to talk about hurricanes today, but one of the sort of smaller arguments that I try to develop in the book is that decolonization, formal decolonization in 1968 Mauritius is actually not as significant as an event in terms of the way that Mauritian society sort of gets restructured, as is a hurricane that makes landfall in 19. 60 by 8 years earlier. Nevertheless, the sort of the arrival of the debate over decolonization. In 1960, it really triggers a lot of. Really important conversations and that's what I'm going to be talking about today. I don't trust myself to keep time, so I'm going. To read. So in January of 1968, just weeks before the departure of the British colonial government and the official declaration of an independent Mauritius, the island's capital city of Port Louis was seized by violence. What reportedly began as a confrontation between 2 gangs. An Afro Mauritian gang known as Mafia and a Muslim Indo Mauritian gang, known as Istanbul, cascaded into regional upheaval shortly after the beginning of the violence, the British colonial state brought in the King Shropshire Light Infantry Unit, which was previously tasked with the suppression of a nationalist. Insurrection in Malaya to bring peace to the streets of Port Louis, and this is that an image taken from from. Portland in 1968. The violence would shake Mauritian confidence in the country's collective ability to transition from British colony to independent nation state. Despite these fears, however, negotiations brokered between local leaders and the British colonial government would eventually bring it around. As the violence of the era demonstrated, however, the bureaucratic nature of this process did not mean that the island experienced decolonization as a set of political abstractions divorced from the lives of everyday people. Racialized violence around questions of political independence were not unique to Mauritius and in the Indian Ocean region. Indeed, in both Africa and Asia, the retreat of imperial power and the move of formal formal former colonies to independent nation states through into stark relief, the extent to which British colonial rule had relied. Upon mobilizing race and racial difference. As modalities of statecraft and everyday governance, decolonization breathes life into debates over.

Speaker 4: In hood.

Speaker 7: In the post colonial and Ocean World race and nation Indian Ocean world in East Africa, this is perhaps best exemplified in the 1964 sands of our Revolution. Similarly, similarly in Malaya and Singapore, fissures over questions of how foreign quote UN quote non young Chinese and the descendants of South Asian laborers would be accommodated within a Malay political imaginary. Raised similar questions about the compatibility of race and nation in the post colonial world. At the heart of those debates, whether they be in Zanzibar or in Southeast Asia or autonomous claims to indigenous sovereignty that could be bound to post colonial national projects, this was not the case in Mauritius. However, with no indigenous population, Mauritius has long prided itself on being a plural. Society quote UN quote one where both no one and everyone can claim belonging. This contestation has rested in large part on how different communities within Mauritius imagine their collective. Paths and how those paths have been integrated or not into sort of mainstream Mauritian life and as scholars of the Indian Ocean have argued. And his cultural theorists as well have posited imagining these collective pasts of departure from a homeland Asia or India. In this, in this case, lays at the heart of expressions of belonging in the Indian Ocean Islands and Mauritius in particular. So writing in 1964, four years before Marius would become self governing, state, Jana Raina, Roy JN Roy and Indo Mauritian intellectual and politician Rd. of Mauritius as a land shaped by the dreams and nightmares. Of its past. Mauritius is a land of many sided illusions, Roy. Wrote some people think they've descended from nobility, while others, the descendants of the enslaved. He means here. Have unduly been branded with the stigma of inferiority. This is Mauritius, the land of dreams and nightmares. Now here Roy is Speaking of what scholars of the Indian Ocean have come to understand as the communal imaginaries that shaped diasporic identity formation in the western Indian Ocean. Memories of a homeland ever known of forced removals from the savannas of East Africa or the mountains of Madagascar, or the trip across the Kalapani or black waters of the Indian Ocean. These dreams and nightmares invigorated the political imaginaries of late colonial Mauritius. They offered a vocabulary of belonging, of inclusion and exclusion, usable narratives of past that cinched together the ocean itself, grounding mauritians both in the meta geographies of their ancestral past, Africa or India. And also providing them a set of scripts from which everyday people turn to in navigating the shifting ethno racial landscapes of modern Mauritius. In the decade and 1/2 that preceded the formal independence of Mauritius in 1968, a political vocabulary of nationhood emerged that nominally sought to bridge these cleavages and reconcile the different experiences of mauritians of African, Asian and European descent. Under a single national category, then dubbed Nutritionism Mauritian ISM, this concept was both quote a synthesis and at the same time a superseding of the cultures and traditions of different ethnic groups constituting Mauritian society. In theory, this term appeared to foreground what quote Thomas Hill and Ericsson has called the common denominators of Mauritian identity. To collapse the boundaries of racial, religious, and linguistic difference into a national one in practice, however. The term was quickly appropriated by various constituencies to sought that sought to mobilize the sort of liberal sensibilities the term gestured towards. In the jockeying for political power at the end of British rule. Mauritian ISM developed as a counterpoint to the starkly communal characters, how this is termed in Marissa's communal character of politics in the decades before independence, where an ethno racial and religious identities often mapped, albeit quite incongruously at times, onto ever evolving political parties. And their fragile constituencies. So for example, for both elites, French descendants white Mauritian planters, descendants of planters. And Afro descendant Creoles in Mauritius. There was one political party that united these interests, the PMSD, the party magician, Social Democratic. It emerged as a dissenting voice against the powerful Labour Party, which was then headed by suicide or Ramgoolam, who would eventually become the 1st Prime Minister. Of Mauritius. For those in the PMSD, Labour was seen as a vehicle for the demographic Hindu majority of the islands. The party whose political functionaries were largely supported by the outgoing British Ram Gulam himself, was a civil servant in the imperial government and the Labor Labor ministry. So on one hand, marianismo for the PMSD emerged most powerfully in the ranks as a bulwark in its ranks as a bulwark against the specter of Hindu nomination, embodied by Romulan Labor. While for labor, however, Mauritian ISM was a local iteration of abroad or sort of Indian Ocean politics. A political moment, really. Afro Asianism non alignment and 3rd worldism. While in 1955, Mauritius did not send a delegation to Bandung, the emergence of a discursive commitment to Afro Asian and political solidarity in the conference's wake was seized upon intellectuals on the island. Mauritius, it seemed, was uniquely suited to embrace the language of Afro Asian solidarity because both of its history and its spatial relationship to both Africa and Asia, Mauritius as Afro Asia became an often used rhetorical strategy by Mauritian politicians before and after independence. Take, for example, the work of the aforementioned Jay and Roy. A Labour Party member, a staunch proponent of independence who expressed the need for Mauritian independence via a framework that emphasized multiracialism for for Roy, Mauritius had to shed those dreams and nightmares to ensure forward forward program towards, if not liberation, at least a sense of equity. Between groups, quote, race, color, communalism and an irrational approach to culture and religion have almost wrecked the foundations of our progress. End Quote, he found hope. However, in the quote Awakening in Asia, Africa, and the colonies of colored people, whether Hindu, Buddhist, Arab or African. This node of Marissa's, this notion of Mauritius as a node of civilizational reconciliation, was employed even after independence by the nation's first Prime Minister, Romulan who in 196074 in a speech to other Indian Ocean leaders. Said that, quote the, the, the the ocean is no longer a European lake and we intend to reopen the communications which which linked Africa and Asia. Perhaps we mauritians have the special privilege of fulfilling this task as our society really is a microcosm, a world in miniature in which almost all the features of Africa and Asia meet and mingle. For the PMSD politicians and their live press marianismo conjured the rhetorical affirmations of Afro Asian solidarity not as a way to affirm self rule, however, but rather as a bulwark against what was perceived to be anti black racism and the threat of Hindu domination. It should be noted here that this party was really shot through with contradictions. Its leader and political rival of Ram Gulaman man named Guy Tom Duvall, was himself someone who claimed African descent, but it would be hard. Really, to suggest that the PMSD was Duvall's party, it was really a party of the descendants of the French aristocracy, but defaults ascension within the PMSD reflected what its leaders leaders within the party believed was a strategy of of appealing to particularly working class class after emerging creoles to peel them away from labor. It was no surprise, then, that when the PMSD emerged as the most strident voice against Mauritian independence, its critique was not couched in, for example, the language of economic liberalism or social conservatism. Rather, it deployed a critique. Of the labor LED push for independence by warning against the putative illiberal tendencies of enumerations and the need not for political independence, but rather for federation with the United Kingdom, and in even more surprising fashion federation with recently Decolonized East Africa. Which was quite surprising in Lithuanian, which was the newspaper that was the sort of voice of the PMSD 1 unsigned editorial declared that quote, the winds of independence were blowing across the Indian Ocean with the destructive force of a cyclone. It went on to say that, quote, the storm surge of demographic superiority and quote and ethnic minorities were vulnerable, to quote the storm surge. Of a demographic majority of enumerations. This slide here. This is a clip from a labor aligned paper. Discussing discussing independence but really shows the limitations of. Of how people, particularly in labor itself, Labor Party itself conceived of of races are related to to to independence. UM. You know, there's a lot going on here, but. Basically, there's a sense here of a racial hierarchy. Despite this, is this is the sort of language of the Labour Party expressing the need for independence and expressing the need for a sort of Mauritian take on on political independence. But we see. Here, right that. Great Britain knows that if Asians are allowed freely on its in its country, it would need less than a century for the immigrants to get a hold of political power. Let alone economic power. One can't help but obviously think of the current administration in the UK when reading this, particularly the present Home Secretary, Stella Braverman, who despite her sort of raw. Anti immigrant politics is up herself a Mauritian descent. The article goes on Africa as a whole. The more so Kenya has the same fear. Even our neighbors Madagascar and reunion fear Mauritians because we are mainly of Asian blood. The fear which the Asian inspires in Europe and in Africa, is really a complement to his stature and genius. It goes on. The African is feared for other reasons. He is sexually strong, rather primitive, wild and behavior, behavior, prodigal care, free Europeans and Asians frown on them generally. So there you are. There was no place for Asians. And Africans in Europe. So there's this. You know, really set of really tight contradictions bound up here about and revealed these tensions between race, race and political independence. It reflects what Shabana Shankar has called the strange balance between often segregation and integration. It also reflects the hierarchies that Gaurav Desai has described in his concept of the of the aspiration of imagination, where Africa is often subordinate to India. It causes the ethnocentrism that layer that the label a shared ocean as only Indian. But one venue, however, with these frustrations and a more coherent sense of Afro Mauritian and Creole political debate emerged with an Afro Mauritian newspaper. Called Le Pei, the sword, which began publication in the late 1950s, the papers editor, a man named Joseph Coralee, was himself an Afro descendant Creole politician who used the paper really to support what was an unsuccessful political candidacy for the legislative elections in 1959. Under the sort of guide of the party, the PMSD party. And while Lepine never became an official mouthpiece for Afro Mauritians. Many of his articles spoke to the deeper social and political anxieties that informed our framers in life. Indeed, the paper, published both in French and in Mauritian Creole, which as far as I know at the time. Was the only paper to do this and an. Attempt to gesture or at least to represent the concerns of a non elite from merging. One of the most striking features of this publication was this sort of dialogue. In each addition between 2 fictional characters, one named Sondra, who was an Indian, and Gabby and Afro Mauritian, and in their debates or conversations with one another, they articulated and expounded upon some of the most salient political. Issues of the day. In the late 1950s, for example, conversations centered around the political future of Afro American creoles. They suggested that mauritians were called Guinea pigs in a global multiracial experiment of decolonization, an argument reflective of the slipperiness of Mauritian ISM, and that it could speak both the the specificities of specificities of American history. While could also appear to superficial, superficially, paper over the historical cleavages that produce Creole marginalization. To that end, Gabby, this Afro immersion character railed against the white creoles that ran his political party, the PMSD. Oh, OK. Discussing the possibility of an Afro Mauritian like Coralee running in the city of Cure Peep where he was from. Gabby wondered whether or not the candidate was hamstrung by the fact that the island was too small. He was too much a man of the people and that he was too African and the term he used for African here was. Mozambique, it's in this adoption of this term, Mozambique that were provided A glimpse into not only the complexities of articulating diasporic nationhood and century marches, but how these dreams and nightmares became constitutive components of forging an anti political anti colonial political. Mozambique alternatively smelled well. You can't see what I'm writing, so it's it could be spelled differently, speaks to historical memory that links African Mauritian identity to the African continent and to the history of slavery. In his authoritative Dictionary of Mauritian Creole Venezuela, Singh defines Mozambique as quote, a derogatory term for mauritians of African descent. But he also goes on to note that Mozambique is phonetically distinct from the country Mozambique, although the 2 words are no doubt. He goes on to situate the word and its etymological relatives within the relative fluidity of the broader historical linguistic landscape of the southwest Indian Ocean. I have that here, I'm going to sort of just I'm going to skip this a little bit, but this is meant to show. This sort of slipperiness between the term Mozambique, Mozambique as both a marker of race and sort. Of space within the Indian Ocean. OK. Mozambique does not stand alone in the Creole lexicon for its polysemia isness. However, the term mission nation is also marked by a definitional flexibility. Nation can mean both the formal political structures that constitute a nation state or, as it's most often colloquially used with an Afro. American communities as an ethno racial group. Unlike for enumerations, and who sometimes will use this term as a marker of low, low caste. For black versions that Sean confers, inclusion within a broader historical narrative that ties the community to Africa and to the slave trade, a history that makes 1 Mozambique 1 interviewee from the early 2000s. Truth and Justice Commission report. In Mauritius, it says the following here, right? When asked what does a Creole person look like? The answer is creoles, or black people. A Creole is someone like me, and that's neon. What is nasion me the same as Mozambique. We are distinct from others. We came from Africa. So I introduced this. This is my final slide. Here. I introduced this to talk about to sort of help understand then the. The flexibility and the sort of slipperiness of these terms of race and nation, and this becomes very clear back. This is in 1960, still eight years before independence. This is a this is one of these conversations I mentioned. In Mauritian Creole, between Sandra and Gabby, where they're discussing political independence. So Gabby begins. What's your opinion, Sandra? On the speed with which my country is. Advancing towards winning its independence. Sun drunks thinks you think Mauritius is capable of winning its independence these days. Are you crazy? His response? It's not Mauritius that I'm Speaking of, but Africa, and so they enter this conversation. Weren't you born in Mauritius? This response is quite is is quite illuminating here. Don't you know that everyone in our country has three nationalities? Indians have 3 nationalities, whites have 3 nationalities, Muslims have three, Chinese have. What can recreos do? Who don't have three? What do you mean it's it's simple. My friend. Indians are descendants of people of India. Therefore they are Indian by descent. They are Mauritian by birth and British by citizenships whites. The same French by descent, Mauritian by birth, British by citizenship, Chinese the same with some the same. So what are we to do? We have African descent. You have the right to make a claim to a Creole king like any other race on this island. Gabby, you are the first who have ever Marrett who is happy. To claim descent from zoo. So I can conclude here, just to say that these these categories to this day, these categories are very much intertwined to raise the nation and I'm happy to to talk more about. It in the Q&A. Thanks.

Speaker 1: Thank you, Professor Robert. I'd like now to invite the discussion for today's for this panel professor quit and Parsons at Georgia University in Washington. Please, professor.

Speaker 8: I realize I am standing between you and all the good things at the end of the day, so I'm going to break with tradition, just not thank. I'm kidding. I'm going to do a lot of things, but very quickly and I am keeping an eye on the time but I'm but huge thanks students student to Satan and Sara and Salah and especially and I want to echo what Sandra Richards said yesterday. She's still here. All right. About the teju. Olaniyan scholarship by a professor of English and. There it's quite moving to see this fellowship. I didn't know who I met him a couple of times, but Taiju was one of sort of now disappearing generation of Africanist scholars who also were obsessed with in good ways and and excited by Irish literature of the 20th century in the early 20th century. He and passed away just before him. My colleague, my former colleague Harry Garuba, 2 Extraordinary W African writers who had a real affinity for Irish literature. So it was great. Teja's face here and know about this. This fellowship I also want to thank obviously the conveners Jeremy. Jeremy, there you are. And my colleagues, Ryan, today it is great to have colleagues in in Doha, and it has been a good collaboration so far. It's it's good to be here. This is impressive. There's a lot of work goes into this. I understand that I think we all know that we feel. And I want to. You know, back what? Back up what Dale said earlier, Daley or that we we feel welcomed, we are excited to be here and to be here in person. So thanks very much and of course umm good luck to Jeremy and Rogala. With the journal. Finally, though, and thanks for our panelists and this afternoon, this has been a mammoth session. And I have a very unenviable job. Do not envy me of trying to sum up five papers. 5 excellent papers across disciplines. I'll be responding from my own discipline literature to a variety of papers. So and. And this panel. I think you know, approached a more contemporary history or. At least a history of things that are closer to us in time than what we've seen so far over the last over yesterday and today. Moving from Stephanie's 12th century all the way up to contemporary WhatsApp conversations. And so we were quite dizzyingly moved up to our contemporary moment, hot off the digital presses, Gary Dale and Rob's work all touches on the multifaceted. Sovereignties off and the Indian Ocean in their local their subnational sub regional super regional. Super national forums and we heard from them a series of vignettes about types and varieties of sovereignties, scaled on top of each other. Sovereignties that slipped that trip that fold on top of each other according to time, place, occasion, audience and a whole lot more. These were each in their own way. Master classes in trying to capture a wide array of expressions and subjective experiences of sovereignty in the sort of late 20th century Indian Ocean and Meghan Ferretti's paper papers were necessarily less focused on the theorization of forms of political power. Or rather, on the forms in which power and objection subjectivity, rather than sovereignty, if we can separate those things from each other, it's hard to do, are mediated, and offer this this sort of I was glad that feareth reminded us of Meg Samuel's terms of term of amphibian aesthetics and and. Remind us of the sort of the slipperiness of that particular those particular forms, so I'll go in order, and I'll try to try to do it pretty quickly. I have a couple of questions. I've had a million questions, but I won't bore either our panelists or you with all of those. So I'll try to do an order and fairly quickly. First of all, I will say that I'm I'm very disappointed that you didn't show golf to golf. To golf and. We would have appreciated a little bit. Of a show but. You know, as you pointed out that we don't know what the gulfs are. I was thinking of. A long time ago I went to the theatre in New York and Ian McKellen was on stage and he was talking about playing Macbeth. There's a famous line in Macbeth tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And I just butchered it on purpose there, because McKellen says that's not how I say it. It's tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, and the emphasis is on the repetition of it. And it's a gulf to Gulf to Gulf, that constant movement, that constant sort of repetition of that movement itself. You know, and just my disappointment that you're not showing us. They're not showing us clip. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we'll we'll. Have to we'll have to come back, one of the sort of questions I had for you is that you make this argument that, UM, the narrative and the formal features of film and of the moving Image archive offer us a key. I think you say resource for understanding this sort of circular archipelagic. Or archipelagic mobile logic of of the Indian Ocean world and and I guess I sort of wanted to ask a little bit more about that and it comes in part from megs paper is. Could you talk? A little bit more about how that moving image, besides merely it being a sort of a, you know, a slice of movement, you know projected on celluloid or put on celluloid and moved out. But how that how it's actually film aesthetics that capture something particular about about circularity or the elegiac form of the archipelago? And so I'm going to ask you another question here about, you know, in a way sort of pushing on this question of archipelago that you that you that you raised and so one of it is just the sort of the form itself, right? So how is it not a novel? How is it not poetry well? Is that the sort of the moving image form has a particular ability to capture the sort of the allergic forms of the archipelago, and you also talk about about these these films being inherently archipelagic a a smattering of tiny islands in the cultural Atlas of the world cinema. So far, largely invisible to the international image. Market an academic film study and you give us a sort of a list of 6 characteristics that are, each of which is sort of in a minor key, right. This idea of the of the elegiac, and I guess I wanted to ask. Is the archipelagic always in a minor key right? Is archipelagic itself in a minor key and I'm not sure. I'm not sure whether that's how far you were going or. Whether you wanted to. Go that far? Or would you sort of walk back from that in some way? Are these are these necessary relationships between the minor key and the archipelagic? And that seemed to be subtending. Your argument in some way you ended and this is my last question for you, I promise you ended by talking about them. Dudley Andrews. And the idea of the Atlas of World cinema and this sort of brings me to megs and makes presentation because. That sort of pulled me. Back a little bit and I thought is that necessary the horizon of expectation of the outers of the of the audience or of the films itself? I mean, is that the sort of the end point? Or is that a red herring in some way? That idea of the? Atlas of world. Should it be our horizon of expectation? And that, as I said, leads you to megs work, which approaches exactly this question of horizons, of audience and readership and more. And and Meg, we had a we was already mentioned, we had a great question from the audience yesterday about and the relationship between sort of Indian Ocean conversations and African Studies. And how these can be integrated and obviously here at the African Institute is the place to to try and make those conversations happen, I think, MEGS. Tries to do exactly that, right? And it doesn't. You know, how can we articulate Indian Ocean studies with African Studies? And there are quite a few makes, I think, explicit moments in the panel today and also robs work as well. Thinking about relations between and the Afro Asian Relations and Mauritius and in particular. But I think none more so than megs. Fresh and provocative reading of the week. Living of the world literature, legible anglophone works of Ivan War and Abdulrazak Gurnah into the contemporary cultural scene of the Swahili coast, and when I read the Dragonfly Sea, I too wondered about its reception in the Lamu Archipelago and I liked the way that you. And you offered a sort of a qualitative answer to that rather than the quantitative answer, because I think in part also it's it is it is a recent it's. A recent novel. But I was. Also wondering about how well we can align as you did a novel and a poem. Right. So the speed of composition of transmission of translation, the economics of publication, all of these mean that a wide gulf, maybe an ocean, I know. Golf. I mean golf. I mean, literally, golfer. No, I don't that a white golfer remains. So will the novel necessarily or inevitably be oriented towards a global market, that sort of Atlas of world literature, not world cinema. Obviously, that's not to say there can't be local publishing in novels in both East and West Africa in particular, and South Africa, but that's a much more sort of, you know, globally oriented in part of because the language question. But I do think there's a kind of a misalignment and a really productive misalignment between the novel form and these much shorter forms that. Have, in part didactic work to do, and part you know, sort of community building. Work to do so. I guess I wanted to invite you to talk a little bit about that, that sort of formal problem of aligning an Indian Ocean sort of publication world that's rooted through London and New York with these sort of very local and and vernacular forms of writing. As Firat points out in his introduction to this special issue in Indian Ocean, Circularities Firth points out that we could think of Joseph Conrad as the first novelist of the Indian Ocean. That's a pretty complicated legacy, obviously, right. Uh, formal brilliance and profound racism, but also a linguistic choice. A man from Poland writing in English, publishing in London and and and, and a choice about publishing power. So it feels, I think, difficult, but also necessary to draw. The war and Gurna and the novel back from the sea to the literal or even to the continent. But it's a but it's still it's still a sort of difficult work to do. Dale, I I my my favorite ever definition of sovereignty of sovereignty wasn't the word that we used but the the the phrase. It taxed it, imprisoned it killed. Which one wonders what the purpose of the tax was. I suppose it was just to pay for the imprisoning. And the killing was basically it. But I mean, a really a fascinating paper about the tension between the Sultan and in theory, the absolute ruler and Imam and an interesting story about a successful negotiation of sacred and secular power and cooperation as you ended. But but what I wonder, was wondering as I was listening to your paper, was just this sort of structure or similar. Structure elsewhere, and if so, how and why now does exist elsewhere, and if so, how and why not? Are there traces of this tension over sovereignty between monarchy and imet imamat anywhere? Else, and that brings us then back to the question of the interior and the coast, or Pearson's work on the littoral, right. It seems like a very particular version of a littoral, a different form of government between coast and interior. Is it an isolated island or is a part of an archipelago or radically different coasts and interiors? And yet, as you say, it's not an interior. That is, by any means isolated. From the ocean or the world beyond it. So I guess what I want to ask was this very particular story. How does it and where does it become generalizable or is it, does it become generalizable throughout the Indian Ocean world, or is this one of these moments where we encounter a limit to the idea of mobility or or or circulation? So asking so you know what happens when we move beyond the coast of Oman and I'm moving quickly because I see an eye and I'm keeping an eye on the time and to Garry's paper. I love the end of your paper, Gary. And the the question of observation. It's like as if somehow we can know the world by seeing it. And what happens when we know that when we go and see the world is that we get given a version of it, right and that version then becomes sort of what is printed, what's reproduced. But your your notion of the of the Indian Ocean as a socialist. See, it was been quite eye opening. Uhm, in a longer version of the paper you talk about imagining a sailor being able to hop from one city to another. From these socialist cities around the ocean. And this new universal. But at the same time, of course, these are there are different characters of Socialisms, right? These are different socialisms in different places in many ways. And I wonder if you could talk a little bit about how the socialisms differ across these. What do you say 9 to 14 sites? And how could we think of them as a unified system? Is there a sort of conceptual capaciousness as you as you spoke about or are these non unified, are these sort of you know archipelagic right? Are these islands of of related socialisms you talk about ideas circulating they don't circulate like goods, they're not like clothes. But I also didn't know quite how you said they do circulate or whether they circulate. So I kind of wanted to hear a little bit more about that. I'm throwing questions at them. But you know if they if they weren't so interesting anyway, I'll just, I'll just end on this one, Gary, I I really I was really struck by that. The idea of the circulation of misinformation. Line of the false and forced solidarities between China and and Zanzibar that are being put together and creepy right. And and to think about to what extent are they nonetheless, solidarity.

Speaker 0: Right.

Speaker 8: Right. If we think about this kind of, you know, solid, if you think about this kind of Equipe as as an organ of misinformation that produces forms of solidarity, do they still, are they still solidarities like, do we think, do we still think about that in a way of sort of, you know, understanding Afro Asian relations as a felt experience? Even if that felt experience is being driven by, you know, particular sort of propagandistic idea. Rob, finally and well actually the connecting. Gary and Robb's papers are of course, newspapers. Right. We think of them as a technology of spreading ideas. But how far do they spread? Right. So was pepei available outside of Zanzibar, you know, to the extent that. Into which Mauritian papers were also available outside of Mauritius. So if we think about these as a forms of mobility of ideas, what are their limits? What are their geographical limits? So newspapers, as sources both filled with ideas from abroad. And I think Gary's are very much filled with ideas from abroad and yet locally circulated. And if we think about that as a relation, as a relational and space between ocean and locality, I think I'm not sure that the Mauritian Papers are quite as shot through with this sort of like distant view. That quote and others are shot through with, but I was also really interested in the motivation of political narratives. So melicia nisma as this sort of really fungible idea, the Afro Asian detente, not again. To use that term as solidarity, but as expedients right as you talk about the way that aspiration. From Ohio and ESMO was spoken about on both sides to mean very different things. It's. A A reach of aspirational language and its limits almost like the creolization of the idea of Afro Asianism on Mauritius, which of course, as you said, did not send a delegation to Bandung. So it does seem to be a limit case for the dreams of ideas of the global South. In some way, right when and he sort of goes back to the question that asking Gary is that when these become the sort of fungible, the motivation of fungible ideas, of solidarity, then at what point do we understand these as, as as being failed, mobilities and ideas? I'll just end very, very quickly with a couple of observations. So we gathered to talk about mobilities and immobility is not as opposites, of course, but as dialectical relations. And we hear so much about mobilities and circulations in the Indian Ocean, but what do immobility yes and the way that each of these paper has in each of these papers has actually spoken about inabilities of ideas. It is. What does it help us think about? And I'm thinking about Burkhardt's discussion this morning of jumping rather than circulating about these sort of, you know, erupting, disrupting moments that are connected and yet disconnected from each other. And I want to maybe give fear out an answer and think about a different archipelagic method. Right. And a method that and I don't just mean an intention to island spaces, it's not spatial at all, except insofar as it's yet another. Again thing of Burkhart. Do you have another metaphor? We'll just throw one out here. But a metaphor on method that pays attention to the disconnections over connections that can sometimes leave behind the work of tracing physical connections and dwell on the comparative method dwell on relations between incompatible objects, and Natalie Milius and literary theorist has brilliantly theorized about the comparison of incompatibilities. And the work that that sort of, you know, allows and also forces the critic to do and the position of the critic, if we pay as much attention to the immobility of goods, people ideas as their mobility. And remembering here the work of Isabelle Hoffmeyer and Dilip Menon, and others who've argued that mobility has, of course, its limits. What is? What if it's the wrong thing that moves in Isabelle's great example of this is when S when racist, South African slapstick gets picked up in India is like, what do we make of that story? Of movement and mobility of ideas across an ocean, right? Is that the sort of again to use? That word, the limit. So immobility may push us towards asking irreverent questions or say in robs. In Garry's cases towards understanding the irreducibly local politics behind the use of a word or an idea that may ostentatiously wrap itself in the in global or transnational or oceanic garb. So an archipelagic method. Might see islands of similarity, but doesn't chase down the connective tissue so much as trace the different sovereignties of these particular ideas and I. Think our panel. Gave us a sense of what that kind of. Contrapuntal punctuated methods might look like and I will get out of the way and let them answer some questions, but also I assume we'll have time for a few from the audience I don't know. I didn't say that.

Speaker 6: Thanks very much. On that point. In fact, we are running a bit behind schedule. We have a wonderful performance at 5:00 and we will all make our way. Over to the Africa Hall. Satan will give us some more details on that. Unfortunately, this is the last time we'll all be together here, at least for now, at least in the context of this conference. So as much as we would like to offer the opportunity to take questions and and discuss further, unfortunately, I believe the only thing we have time for at this point is to give. The presenters the opportunity to respond to Collins. Generative and thoughtful comments and questions. So we'll allow each of the presenters to respond and then we will begin to. Make our way over. To the Africa Hall. Thank you.

Speaker 4: You want to go.

Speaker 6: In whatever word you choose. Right.

Speaker 4: In the interests of expediency, this end will begin and be brief. The the question you pose, sorry vision issues, it's not you. Thank you very much for the help. OK, the question you pose is a very good one because you're posing what I was posing when I was to discuss and how do you? OK. You present a case study. How does this help us understand events in the Indian Ocean and? My response, without being facetious about it, would be to say you changed the question because there is only 120th century theocracy if we. Do what was not done for Oman for many years and not just look at texts often from another time and place and stop with that. You're not going to get very far, but as you pose the question I thought OK, let me do a tour of different places that I thought of the two yemens. You had an imminent in the Yemen, which we don't. I'm not going to compare here. And you could say certain things about its rise and then it's its fall where the Ebaum's family remains respected, but mostly in exile. Yet there have been certain. Bad weather is everybody is aware in the Yemen, but what I would look at there to begin and I'd look at the peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen, the former country where you'd see the limits of how you change things because Pedro has some people. Would call them would would say we've abolished that very much like we we heard in a paper here on this panel, we've abolished religion. We're good atheist country, we're really successful at it, but yet you can look at. Such popular publications like the The Petrie Armed Forces magazine to show what they're doing with training people, and while they're saying here, it's everybody doing this and that eating during Ramadan, you'll notice that in every cubicle for the for the. Soldiers at the Military Academy. They've got a prayer rug draped over the barriers. The dividers between the different things, which would suggest either that. They wrap themselves in prayer rugs when they go to bed. Or maybe they're using it to pray. So you deny, which is easy to do things. And as you pointed out, the visits to China, you'd look at the Great Leap forward and say, boy, this is wonderful, everybody's well fed and well educated and everything. And you go on. But what you would? Do for a question and then I stop is to. Say, what are the patterns of religiosity when people say has happened in many parts of the area when you're going beyond issues of religion, then you have something you can start comparing and do it. And this this is what comparison is balancing comparison, it's not juxtaposing. But you look at some common thread in which you can say what's happened here, what's happened there, and there's a lot of people in the area just living their lives in the Indian Ocean, who are doing the same thing. If they're reflective about about what they do. I got to stop.

Speaker 2: Thank you, Colin. Indeed, very generative questions and I'll I promise that I will continue to think through them even later to start with the I think the IT was the 3rd question is the belonging to the Atlas. Of World cinema, the horizon of expectation? Absolutely not. The kind of the the reality is that from what I have seen so far in terms of the. Film portfolio. I've been looking at, there is still a significant dependency on funding from various euro cinema institutions and you know pretty much constrained to the global Film Festival. Circuit, right? But yeah, I think the horizon of expectation is definitely cannot be, you know, like being confined. To to that to the current festival global festival circuit logics, right? Is the. Is the is the elegiac, the minor, you know, is it the? Does it always have to be that that's a great question. I again, I would want to say no, it doesn't have to be like that. Force. There is a strong, you know, emission of that, right. But perhaps we could also think about that in not only as a kind of victimized minor position. Or as such. But something like along the lines of minor transnational Creole cosmopolitan. Even since you invoked Irish literature, for me the greatest sort of example of thinking. About a certain minor cognitive mapping is Joseph Stephen right, like belonging to Dublin to Ireland to that concentric? Sense of being in the world. So I think these elements certainly appear and you know, it's interesting if we would think about the minor, is a musical term. One of the slides that I. I skipped used the word contrapuntal, which you invoked. That also complicates, perhaps gives us certain ways of thinking about. The notion, just the notion of elegiac minority voice or sensibility, right. And finally, what what is in in the formal capacities or affordances of the moving? Image for the Indian Ocean, I think the quickest answer that I could give is that there is in a way the form. Enters into a productive mimetic relationship with the various movements, connections these connections, and and so on, that we have been sort of trying to cover over these two days, right? But I definitely agree that it can. It's not we can, you know, it's not about a continuum of mobilities. And so on. There are interruptions, disruptions, connections. And for me, perhaps the cinematic. Equivalent of that which I would like to see more and more and that's why from the Gulf to Gulf, I think it does, that is montage right? That but I'll I'll stop here for the moment. Thanks.

Speaker 5: Yeah, those are three great questions and we could spend a lot of time discussing them, but for the sake of time, I'll just tackle one or two. First of all the, you know, you asked a great question, were these relationships, these solidarities, real and authentic or just? You know a farce because the Chinese hid away the truths. The Great Leap forward and the many millions who died as a result of that and yet still set themselves up as a model to be emulated, and the short answer is yes, we can see that there were genuine warm relationships between Karume officials of the of the Zanzibar regime and and the Chinese, who came over as advisers and experts who are. Working in agriculture, they're digging wells. They were sharing the same living conditions of the locals, and that way kind of endeared themselves to. Not just Karume who love the low cost of these projects, but also to many local people who, uhm, you know, we're impressed by their efforts and because of this the Chinese are able to displace the East Germans and the Soviets, both as the premier patron power of. Of Zanzibar by the end of the 1960s, you know, so we can ask a what if question if Karumi had known about the disasters of collectivization, well, the the good news is, is that the zanzibaris. Wisely chose not to try and collectivize. They rhetorically kept pushing collectivization for years and years, but held back from forced collectivization. So one other question that you ask I'll I'll touch upon briefly is how do these ideas circulate? That's a great question I've been asking myself and. You know, for all the different settings and societies there are different answers to that question. I mean, if you look at Burma in the interwar period, it began with the translation of Marxist texts into into the local language, and students at the at the University of Rangoon sitting up reading groups and reading marks. Marxist. And then discovering a kind of parallel set of ethics between socialism and Buddhism. Which is actually contrasts often with the experience, like in Mozambique where you have masamura, Michelle seeing socialism as an antidote to traditional beliefs that he wants to just many of them just eradicate anyway, but the. In Somalia, I'll give just one a couple more examples. In Somalia, socialism began through the exchanges of Somali military officers going off to Moscow for training, and they came back. And in Zanzibar it was students who went. Earth to Cuba, China, Eastern Europe, London. So we can speak of these hubs. Basically, I would say Cairo was one London, Moscow, Beijing, Havana. So I'll just leave it there, but it's a it's a fascinating set of questions. Thank you.

Speaker 3: Thank you for your questions. I think I appreciate your your framing as a productive misalignment because. I think. My thinking in terms of. Intersections was really less about, uhm, looking for. For alignment and. Questioning the extent to which we can entirely understand these as separate spheres. Where do they? If they do touch one another and. You know as to these sort of. Local forms being. More didactic or more about community building, I would just say that certainly the didactic novel is alive and well in in Tanzania and specially. Literature generally, and I think that's part of why I was interested in. Juice and this onions conversation, you know, as a translation of gurna, because I think in some way, they're kind of assimilating his, his novel into a didactic frame. Kind of re envisioning it within those terms. As you know a set of. Concrete political lessons or something? And it's also, I'm not sure how well this was legible, but was also kind of the impulse behind my move at the end of the paper to think about this leap to the WhatsApp community and to these other social media spaces that I think. In some ways, and I and I still need to to theorize this better, I think our. Are are doing this kind of world building or world forming work of the novel and our that the space of? The space is created by by the external forms of social media are bringing together maybe or bringing into juxtaposition forms that wouldn't on their own happen, so that in that sort of dialogic space you have something different happening and and novel to use, you know, I mean that that there's an element of emergence or novelty.

Speaker 0: There that.

Speaker 3: I I want to. Relate to the to the genre of the novel.

Speaker 7: Thank you. Thank you for those questions. I'll just talk briefly about this question of limitations. That or the sort of idea that these terms, even these, you know, ostensibly emancipatory. Registers that people were speaking with had limitations. I mean, I think. There's two things that I want to say that the 1st is that. Yeah, yeah, I completely agree. And I think it really pushes back against. I mean this is I'm speaking to a room, who would would would agree with this, but the limitations of the notion of cosmopolitanism as as sort of prima facia virtue, right, you know, the utopian sort of. Yearning that is in the language of cosmopolitanism. We know from people who study the Indian Ocean that it's shot through with contradictions and power asymmetries. And. Just cannot be taken at face value, which is why it's, you know, even though it's sort of shocking at first, it's it's actually not quite so hard to understand why why the language of decolonization and evaporation. Solidarity could easily just be sort of folded into what appear to be actually quite reactionary. Political move? It's it's complicated by the fact that Mauritius, there's actually a long standing retrocession movement of, you know, it wasn't quite as pronounced in the 20th century, but of of urges to to return to full. Particularly after the British take control, nearly 19th century the you know there's there's there's pushes to fold Mauritius back into the French Empire. And so the the, the suggestion of. Of of particularly members of the PMSD to sort of push for continued affiliation with the British Empire was by no means like out of the realm of it was, you know, it seems really kind of a kind. Of class like. Now because of a kind of inertia that we think of, you know, towards decolonization, but and Fred Cooper's talked about this in African. Politics. You know that politicalization more specifically. And it was actually on the other side as well. It posts the 64 revolution in Zanzibar, Ramgoolam, who is not Prime Minister yet but is effectively anointed. He's the leader of Labour. He's going to be the Prime Minister. Ghost in your array goes to the British and says I'm scared about something like this happening here. Is there a way that we can have some sort of occupation? It never happens, but the idea is floated and the British are the ones who shoot it down saying it's this is this is actually potentially more inflammatory so. Yeah, I mean, there are the limits are sort of the limits are there and the contradictions are there and it seems sort of shocking. But I think ultimately. Yeah, it's that's that's like the world we live in, in the Indian Ocean, is these contradictions.

Religious Discourse and the Public Sphere: Dynamics and Influences (Mar 2018)


CILE 6th Annual International Conference March 17, 2018

"Religious discourse in the public sphere: principles and realities"

Moderator: Brothers and sisters. I'm again here. I hope I'm not boring you so. But first of all, I would. To convey the apologies of Professor Ray Jureidini due to some health circumstances, he is not able to make it. He is supposed to be the moderator of this session, but it's with great pleasure that I accept this and I'm happy that you are here and I would like to start by also will welcoming. Our distinguished speakers in this afternoon or in this second session we have with us outstanding scholars, speakers from many countries and. But something which I would like to offer in this session that it is a practical and applied session where you will be perhaps excited to learn about, you know, case studies in various from various angles and different methodologies. And I'm sure you will be. Excited to listen and hear and interact with our distinguished speakers. With this brief introduction, I would like to introduce briefly also so that we can have time because the buyers, all the buyers of our distinguished speakers, are in the booklet, in the conference booklet. So I'm not going to repeat them, but it's with great pleasure. I would like to introduce the 1st. Speaker, our professor emeritus, Professor Dale Eckelman. He's from the states, from the United States of America. And he he is one of the most prominent anthropologists who is, you know, concerned and also, you know, deeply and well versed in the field of, you know, the theology and the religions. And he is very familiar with the Arab and Middle Eastern world and also. The Muslim, you know, prisons and existence in the in the West. So without further ado, I would like to invite our Distinguished Professor, Dale Eckelman, to to deliver his, you know, lecture and then we will move to the second speaker. Professor Dale, please.

Dale Eickelman: Thank you very much that they I immediately will deny being a theologian. I will leave that to anybody else you choose in the room. Having said that, the most profound long term transformations least in my view, in the Muslim world today, occur through the actions of middle class professionals and religious intellectuals. They take charge of their faith, organize people, popularize ideas, and seek to persuade large and diverse audiences they rethink religion outside traditional boundaries, even if they deny they're doing so. They master rapid technological ships. Organized movements and affinity. Groups and work often as teams with different skills. That's one thing that comes with being middle class is I'm using the term behind the scenes and recognize the institutional challenges of persuading diverse audiences. I was delighted to hear. Sheikh Abdul Fattah speak today because in his language with the background that I think you would agree might be a little bit different than mine. He very clearly set out much of what I'm going to say in a very different language. Mainstreaming results in presenting Islam as an integral and acceptable part of civic life, participation in mainstreaming best thought of more as a process than as a specific outcome requires the development of concrete skills and aptitudes. Again, think about what Sheikh Morocco. Was saying this morning the outcome of mainstreaming increased levels of civility and tolerance, or its very opposite is far from certain. Since the rise of digital communications, the mix of how people communicate had received the common good. Al Maslaha Dalama has been significantly transformed. One path to understanding how the digital age shapes ideas and practices is to look to the distant past and how. Earlier, big ideas took hold and then to look at how the digital age affects how we think today. So let me go to 7th century Arabia, this distant as perhaps we can get. To the ties that bind the multiple and layered bonds of loyalty and obligation that range from parents and kin, spouses, town and tribe, and the wider community of believers in 7th century Arabia, the Koran added the firmest tie, Al Orawa Luka. This tie linked individual believers to God. At least in principle, this firmest link proceeded, but did not replace. Other times, Al Urwa and Woodka in the 7th century, with its emphasis on equality and personal responsibility among believers, was remarkably modern in the high degree of commitment. Involvement and participation expected from the rank and file members of the. Yet to the original audiences in 7th century Arabia, the firmest tie again did not always appear more immediate and compelling than tribal and kin. Loyalties. Upon Mohammed's death in 632, the period of the so-called ryda, or apostasy, many tribes. Considered themselves released from submission to Islam. In other words, ties of tribe and loyalty negotiated by the early Islamic community were incompletely realized. Akabri records hadith in which a member of the many Rabia met with Musaylimah bin Habib or Museum. Al Qaeda tab, also from the Benny Rabia. The visitor asked the Mosima who comes to you and mosima answered Rahman. In lighter and shadows misleading my replies in shadows. The visitor then says I testify that you are a liar and that Muhammad is telling the truth, but a liar of the rabiah is better for us than a true prophet of the Mudar, which, of course, is Mohammed's tribe. Of course, the conditions in which the firmest tie was realized and actually took precedence over the other ties have been a core question throughout Muslim history. The first news in the 7th century of the firmest tribe was spread solely by word of mouth, with reliable information and the equivalent of today's. Fake news, often hard to untangle. To make a leap of many centuries in a different context, in the summer of 1789 in the French countryside, rumors spread about vengeful aristocrats bent on the destruction of peasants property. These rumors were absolutely untrue. The great fear is this period is now. Known in France tipped France into revolution with the flurry of fact free gossip and. Today, of course, rumors fly much faster. Word of mouth is buttressed by an array of digital and electronic media, and the search for reliable accounts is more difficult than ever before. The smartphone. I'm just going to show you a smartphone. This is a dumb phone, may level the playing field between the producers and consumers of ideas and practices, but it also makes for short attention spans. If we look at the most profound changes in how ideas get communicated, there's three major drivers that have influenced how ideas move through society and across geographical and linguistic boundaries. The 1st is the greater ease of travel travel can be for the Hajj, as well as visits. To regional shrines for commerce or for labor migration, or from the necessity of war or regional conflict. Pilgrimage and migration for economic purposes. Have equally profound effects, not all of which are intended on the religious imagination. As the late safaris Haq Ansari observed over 2 decades ago, the boundaries between the West and the rest are no longer exclusively territorial. A second driver is mass education, which has meant the spread of literacy enlarged to large numbers of people, women and men throughout the world. I vividly recall traveling in small towns and villages throughout the Arab world in the 1960s in Afh. A small town in southern Iraq, Diwaniya Province in 1968. An afternoon male habit was to sit in a coffee shop where a literate tribal leader read aloud the afternoon newspaper that arrived from Baghdad. I saw similar scenes in Upper Egypt and southern Morocco the same year before. The wide spread of literacy in small towns and rural areas in some regions, even the Arabic spoken word failed to reach many Arabs. If they possessed only their regional dialect now of course the more widespread mastery of formal Arabic allows more people to talk back in public space than was possible in an earlier era. 3rd the new communications media have become increasingly interactive in the past. The proliferation of video cassettes and CDs combined with satellite broadcasting loosened the hold of state of state broadcasters over the imagination. Of large numbers of people. Before Internet and mobile communications were widely available, the proliferation of photocopiers and fax machines allowed competing messages to be readily communicated independently of authorized channels and distributed among networks of like like minded people, cell phones. And especially smartphones combined with the wide array of means of communicating via the Internet. Make the older, top, bottom controlled of messages less effective than it was in an earlier era. In the 1970s, the humble audio cassette, easy to duplicate, concealed and smuggle, facilitated the rise of new and dissident voices beyond the written, printed and photocopied word. Since the advent in the 1990s of the Internet age, communication has become even easier. And over the last 15 years, Platts platforms such as Facebook, introduced in 2004, Twitter 2006 and what's up 2009 have further facilitated the competition over religious and political authority? Religious innovation does not advance through technological change alone. One needs people adept in seizing the opportunity. The technical innovation offers, and the ability to work with others in new and not fully predictable ways to mainstream religious innovation. Mainstreaming involves 4 major skills. First, it requires intellectuals who take charge of developing ideas and using them to persuade large audiences, especially where organized non governmental movements are strongly discouraged or monitored. The second set of skills is the overt public organizing of people and communicating effectively. States, including both open and totalitarian ones, depend on middle class professionals just as successful. Religious and civic movements try to. Sell the ideas and practices of certain ways of putting faith to work in society. There's a country neighboring to here. I'm not going to name it where I know the Chief Police censor. He would go to book fairs to determine which books should be censored in his country. However, he had the books and he had what I called. In my field notes. The censors book club so that his friends, a wide circle of friends, could read the banned books that they would get from him. It's nice to see sensors helping distribute words that are supposed to be banned. Unfortunately, not all sensors. Are intellectuals? 1/3 related skill is working quietly behind the scenes to further an interest or cause where weak forms of civic empowerment are linked to strong forms of structure, such as in some countries where major state sponsored initiatives are underway to use the Islamic studies. Curriculum of primary and secondary schools to create a template for inculcating values of critical thinking, gender parity and religious tolerance. A final skill is that of publicity trumping secrecy. Trump is a good verb in English. It's recently been discouraged in use, but I leave that to the translators to explain publicity can overcome suspicion. It contributes significantly to normalizing new ideas and practices. It also encourages the objectification to maldor of religious ideas and practices, ideas that were primarily implicit become explicit. One result is that certain questions come to be foregrounded in the consciousness of large numbers of believers. Questions such as this, what is my religion? Why is it important to my life and how do my beliefs guide my conduct? Objectification does not mean seeing religion is a uniform or monolithic entity, although for some that's precisely what it is. Or they say it is. These explicit and objective questions are distinctly modern ones, even if some people legitimate their practices by asserting a return to the past, the digital age has profoundly affected the meaning and context of the public sphere and religious belief and practice within it. Just as writing and print created often and unanticipated new forms of community in the past and transformed authority and social boundaries, so has the digital age. Increasingly open and accessible forms of communication make contests over the authoritative use of the symbolic language of Islam. As with other religious beliefs and practices, increasingly global and open, the struggle over people's imaginations now involves both. Heightened competition and contest over both the interpretation of symbols and a struggle over the control of image of the institutions, formal and informal, that produce and sustain them. To conclude, the mainstreaming of Islamic ideas and practices contributes to increasingly public Islam, in which religious scholars self-described religious authorities, non religious intellectuals such as the late Sadiq Jalal Adam of Syria. Sufi orders mothers, students, workers, engineers and many others contribute to civic debate in public. In this public capacity, Islam makes a difference in configuring the politics and social life in large parts of the globe and not just among self-described religious authorities. Thank you very much.

Moderator: Thank you Professor Dale, for this in-depth presentation and also for abiding with the time excellent.

So I would like to move on to the our second speaker, our distinguished speaker in this session, her Excellencies Lulua. Russian al hater. She is the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of. Here and we are. It's a great honor to have her with us, and we know she is very busy. She is also engaged in lots of activities, but she managed to make it. Thank you very much. So the floor is yours. She will. She will speak about media in the media, the Arab Spring and. There could have been public sphere. Luria please. Feel free to stand or to go to the podium. Over there or.

Lolwah R. Al Khater: I'll just use the podium.

Moderator: No problem and you have the pointer with you.

Lolwah R. Al Khater: I just click right. In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful. I'm glad to be amongst you this year. I have, and indeed my joy is doubled because the invitation came from Kyle. I would like to commend the founder of Kyle. Those in charge of Kyle.

[Untranslated Arabic]

The staff, if you could allow me, I'll be speaking in English. Good afternoon. As Professor Eichelman was about to put on the translation, I think I switched to English.

It's a great honor to be here with the distinguished panelists, and I was telling Professor Eichelman moments ago that his work has actually enlightened my research. And for that, I'm. Actually very grateful. Uhm, just before I start, I wear multiple hats, so I had the hat, the official hat. But then I had the research hat and I would like to say that I'm here today mainly on my research capacity rather than the official capacity. Therefore, any views? I present today only represent my own views and do not necessarily represent the views of any institution that I'm affiliated with. With that said, maybe I should start with the main course and that is my presentation today titled the Arab Spring, and they could have been public. And this is. Basically more or less a case study and the case study, I focus on Egypt between the 11th of February 2. 1011. Just after the fall of Mubarak and May 2012, that is just before the election of Morsi and there is a very mythological reason for choosing this time. Cream for my argument. Forget everything you know about the trajectory of the Arab Spring. This is very important because the time frame I'm talking about is before. Everything else that happened post 2013. That was the Arab Spring back then. Look at it. Tahrir Square, Occupy Wall Street, everyone around the world was celebrating the Arab Spring. That was the spirit back then. And if you look at the photos here, you can see a woman wearing, then a rob and a stall. With another sister wearing the cross, and likewise you have a priest and a Sheikh next to each other. Once again, that was the spirit. Just forget anything else that you know about the trajectory of events later on. Now the time frame. Why did I choose this time frame? Two very mythological reasons. One, the moment that followed, overthrowing Mubarak through a peaceful and civil movement inspired the public imaginary. That non coercive action could be as effective now, whether we believe in that or not right now, that was the sentiment back then and the other reason is that. And the aftermath of the fall of Mubarak, all non governmental actors actually engaged in the public sphere and. And we'll talk a little bit more about this. And then the other reason is basically to avoid the debate that followed the election of Mursi for a reason. It's not relevant at all to the arguments I'm going to make. And of course, this is a descriptive analysis and not a normative 1, so I'm not necessarily adopting the views I'm going to present. What I'm trying to describe and understand the dynamics back then. In terms of the methods, I focused, when it comes to the material on the evening talk shows and I focus mainly on the elections, the presidential elections 2000 and. 12 and how that was described in the media back then. Now I would like to draw your attention to I'm not sure this pointer doesn't have like a light or something, but then I'm not sure if you can see on the screen the circle, the white, the the red circle. Again, that was the spirit I. Mean you have. A liberal presenter. But then the lady who's doing the. Sign language has you know, the not even the hijab. The ABI as something we didn't see prior to the Arab Spring. UM. And then this is the presidential elections 2012, and the manner of the prudent manner I should say, of covering the elections in 2012 and the evening talk shows and the media outlets was just astonishing. I mean, everyone was literally given a chance. To engage equally to, they were given the same time they were given the same opportunity. You would see mercy debating with Shaffir. You would see hemmed Selim Alawa debating with Amir Moussa. Even those who are not known to the public were giving the opportunity. To engage and to speak to the public about the public good of the Egyptian nation. What is the public's fear that we're talking about now? I'm very grateful once again to Professor Eichelman because he gave us a chronology, and actually I have. A quote from him. Here, so the result of advances in communication and transportation has been challenged has been challenges to authoritarianism, the fragmentation of religious and political authority, and increasingly open discussions of issues related to the common good, and that we have certainly seen. During the Arab Spring, so while the state preserved its monopoly over coercion in the name of the public good, other societal actors, these would be political parties, traditional powers like the Muslim Brotherhood or even the new youth activists, those. Claimed equal rights to self representation through rational reasoning of what this public good actually means and how it is to be realized. So the public sphere I'm talking about here is this equally accessible. Space in which universal public reasoning about the common good of the nation is taking place. As I say, the arguably could have been public sphere in Egypt. How is this public sphere new? I mean, again, people have been talking about the print media and the kind of public sphere it created, the cassette with the the sexual movement in the 80s and early 90s. That was also that created some sort of a a public sphere to debate what is public good and and so on and so forth. How is this new in the aftermath? Of the Arab Spring or the time frame that I have specified. Well, one thing is the scale of the public participation, which included all sects regardless of their religion, gender, education or social status. Now this is unprecedented and in the Third Point I'm going to elaborate a little bit more on this. And then this. Is distinctive in the sense that the political and the moral authority of the public participation is again unprecedented for the first time. There was this common sense that the public matters, and of course now we can compare this to another phenomenon which is more of a global phenomenon. The disengagement from the the political debate all. The other, and that's why many political scientists talking today are talking today about the need to bring politics back in, because people are resorting to their own identities, ethnic identities, religious identities to substitute this political belonging, which we saw in a certain period with, for example. Socialism and capitalism and so on and so forth. So for the first time, politics was kind of back in, at least for a moment. And then the Third Point is, and this is very important, the merge of previously isolated spheres into a universal sphere. Let me give you an example. In Tunisia, after the Arab Spring. No one had anticipated that we would see this intensive presence of selfism in Tunisia. No one had imagined that, and of course some of the superficial accounts were like, oh, this is the immediate result of Islamists trying to take over the public sphere. It cannot be. This sociopolitical presence is rooted in the society. The difference is the following. For decades, regimes have confiscated the public sphere, and they have played the mediation role. They've been the mediator between the different silos that have always existed. So there was a confiscated. Public sphere and on the margins of that public sphere, different actors, different parties, different communities were pushed to the margin. So what happened in the aftermath of the Arab Spring is that suddenly. This mediator, the state, the regimes. Did not exist or withdrew for a moment, and suddenly those different silos merged together. And this is the once again, could have the public sphere. And the examples. Can go on. The new conditions resulted new dynamics. Different actors engaged willingly. In the political process and public debate, in accordance to terms generated outside their own worldview. Now, while we might agree on the willingly engagement and the equally side of things we might. Question the rational engagement of the different actors. And I would argue in favor of that, that there was a rationalization process that was taking place. And I'll give one example. Islamists had to enter a public reasoning process subjecting their own religiously deliberative premises to be negotiated within a national framework. They found themselves part of a public debate, having to appeal to different audiences that don't necessarily share the same premises that they have. And that's why they had to rationalize. That's why we saw figures, some of them for example, are Salafi figures or emby figures or other Islamist figures. Who would? Argue, for example use quote and quote secular arguments to justify religious positions. To give one example, I remember very well the question about the dress code. It was always. Like asked and media outlets, even though they had much bigger problems, but for some reason that was the question always. What is the dress code the the appropriate dress code and beaches for example? And then one figure, I remember, Salah Ismail, but others as well. We're using more or less secular arguments in the sense they were saying, listen, the majority. So majority of the people in Egypt are Muslims are conservatives. Ask them. Right. Have a survey and let's find out what they think. This is not a religious argument. This is an argument outside the religious worldview, and this is the rationalization process that was taking place that was unfortunately missed in the midst of that debate that was taking place. Back then, so some of the overlooked implications in the midst of this ideological and political polemic, one is. One of the characteristics is mediating differences. And this is one of the. Overlooked, I would say gains from the Arab Spring, and we have probably missed it. That there was there was unprecedented universal consensus, not on the principles, not on the ideas, but on the mechanisms of how to negotiate our differences and how to negotiate our identities, and so on and so forth. And that was very clear. The discussion was always about freedom of expression. Who has access to the media, universal suffrage elections, constitution, all the debates? Screen them, survey them, do content analysis. You will find out that those are the keywords that kept coming up again and again and again. Telling you that there was some sort of maybe unspoken consensus that, yes, we agree, this is how we need to mediate our differences. The other point is the following. Of course, whenever you mention this point, people some people. We'll jump in and say, but wait a minute. Those Islamists are trying to use democracy. To reach power to reach authority once. They do that. Remember the analogy of the ladder? They're going to what's the expression? Throw the ladder or whatever, or take it with them. Something like that. Right. But then how can we mythologically approach? This because this. Question. If you think about it as a question of intentions, right, that this was their intention. Now how can any scholar Mythologically analyze intentions? If someone has an. Answer please. Let me know. It's almost impossible unless you are analyzing some sort of historical events and then you can, you know, have your speculations. Otherwise, forecasting the future is is just forecast, I mean. It's not scholarly work, right? But here is the important part. What I would call private justification versus public reasoning. And we kind of need to live. With this duality. Under the nation state setting where you have multi faith and multi ethnic societies or communities. You will always have this duality. Of private justification and public reasoning, and this is hardly unique to any community or any religion or any political party, et cetera. Why do I say this? Because, I mean, if we take one example. Why does it matter if I, within my own circles, have my own justification based on the book? But when I engage publicly? I engage in accordance to the legal framework and the national framework. Should this matter, we need to ask this question if I am the personal level. Wear the hijab. For example, because I'm convinced that this this is a religious obligation. But then when I justify it publicly, I say, well, this is freedom of of my own freedom. Does this really matter? We need to to ask those questions. And this is hardly unique to Muslims. If we take the cops in, in, in Egypt, for example, when it comes to the question of divorce. Now, how does the Coptic Church justify it to its community based on the Gospels based on the? On the book on the Holy Book. But then, interestingly enough, if you look at the statements made publicly by priests and others in the media, when asked about this, they say our reference is the Constitution. And here is the interesting part. Not only the Constitution, the article that states that Sharia Islamic Sharia is a source of legislation. Because according to Islamic Shariah, the peoples of the book have the right to resort to their own Sharia. This is the justification I've heard repetitively, and you can check it out from people who belong to the Coptic Church. They use it publicly, but then privately they have all the rights in the world. To have their own justification for their own community. So these points were hugely overlooked in the analysis during the the Arab Spring and the period I'm looking at. And I'll conclude with this example because I I think I've taken so much time. This is just one, one example of how this rationalization process can be manifested. Like in like publicly in. And different occasions and incidents and I. Have used the. Extremist example here. This person. Is this interview is happened in 2011? The 11th of March. Just after the fall of Mubarak. This is a Buddhism or? The former member of Al Jamal Islami, who was involved directly in planning the assassination of Sadat. This interview happened 20 and less than 24 hours after his release. But then here is the interesting part. How did he quote, UN quote? Justify? Again, this is a descriptive analysis. It's not a normative analysis. I'm not saying this is good or bad, I'm just describing. So what he said is the following. He he was asked several times by the horseman as Shadily. He he was asked. Why did they assassinate Sadat? The answer I was expecting, the answer Muna Shangri said she was expecting is that they thought they accused said that of apostasy and that's why they decided to eliminate him. This is not what he said. He said all channels of expressing opposition were blocked. And the only way for change According to him was resorting resorting to violence. I'm not again adopting this. I'm just saying this is what he said. Now this is a very different justification from saying that Sadat was apostate. Very different. And then she asked him. She said, OK, so this means you could repeat it again. He said no. Post January Revolution, this is not possible. What was his justification? He said. Because now we have other means of change and he referred to the Constitution and he referred to freedom of expression and he referred to elections and he referred to many things. What's the main take away from this conversation? The discourse. Through having an inclusive public sphere as possible. There was apparently an opportunity at one point post the Arab Spring. I would say we probably missed it. Is this possible? Is it possible to reproduce the same conditions? Very difficult. Not least because of the dynamics we have in the Arab region, but because of how media and social media and new media works, who controls it. Who owns it? Who can manipulate it? And we've seen traces of that in the very GCC crisis that we went through as well. Think I've taken so much time. Thank you so much for listening.

Moderator: Thank you very much for your in depth presentation and motivating talk. I would like to move on to the third speaker, Yusuf Sahin. I would like to introduce him not as a student but as a young scholar from Egypt who is doing his masters degree here in Muslim societies and civilization. And he is going to address a very interesting case study that is about the issue of our codes in the social media. Yusuf, please.

Youssof Salhein: Peace be upon you. At the outset, the lower you have rope sold into an old wound, like perhaps to ask about a summer now, what was his reason? If he could go back to Egypt, I don't know. They've got the most, the most merciful, all blessings are due to our prophet peace. Be upon him.

[Untranslated Arabic]

… talked to the prophet. Peace be upon him. Say in in translation we have not sent before you any messenger, but we revealed to him that there is no God except me. So worship me. And then the chapter went on to give stories and narrations of prophets and their progenies, and then it there was a conclusion of Mariam and her son Jesus. And then Allah Almighty said and translation this is your nation, one nation and. I am your Lord, therefore worship me. So the belonging of the Muslim to the Omar or the nation, this is an understanding that transcends time. Geography, let alone trans. Borders and trans tribes. This is the concept of affiliation. It is a comprehensive and wide concept of the nation of monotheism from the time of Adam till the day of judgment. Now, in terms of the digital amount, we mean the Group of Muslims. Using the Internet, Simply put. Included in this definition are those who used the web, even if they were dead and come. And then, if those who are alive that do not use that, this is excluded from that definition. Thank you, Doctor Mathers. I know you don't like definitions, but this is the definition that I put forward I. Say and emphasise that we all agree that social media platforms and the virtual world has brought about a revolution and information and immediate is not a parallel. Well, virtual world, but rather it contributes to a large extent. In bringing about a change and a direct influence on the true and real world, I think we agree to that. Thus the paradigm that I suggest is to classify. The cycle and the stages of the reactions of the digital umm and three stages which could be added to, but for the sake of time I will give 3 stages and give examples. The first stage. Is paving the way. And feeling the pulse and preparing the world opinion and view. And this happened in the announcement of Jerusalem on the 1st of December last year, there were leaks of news that Trump wants to announce Jerusalem as the capital of the Zionist entity. The reaction started that there are concerns, fears and hashtags launch and. Hashtags started flowing. Palestine or Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, and Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine forever. Even launching threat Jeffrey. He's a Yemeni, living in Egypt supportive of Sisi, this Sheikh. America, we are unlike you. You killed the Aboriginals and you confiscated their land. And I warn you that there is 1.5 billion Muslims who will not stay silent. So this is a threat also. There were suggestions by some people such as Doctor Mohammed El Baradei saying if this were to happen, we can do such and such. Political embargo or stopping pouring billions of dollars in the US? That's another example. And in light of condemnation and another reaction. Some normalizers get Saudi writer and him said Palestinians don't care about you Arabs and they are taking care of themselves and some youth rejecting normalization. Gathered these people of normalizers on the Internet, and they launched that in video clips under the hashtag the. Shameless and Trump, on the 16th of December announced that. And then we had an avalanche of news which is natural. With that anger, voices grew stronger and theorization and conferences. Have come about and blaming Arabs also. For example, covert from Algeria, Ahmad Jarba. Published poetry in his own voice, accusing King Salman that he has sold out. He sold Jerusalem to the West and. I deny that because I didn't perform Hajj and Umra so thus until now I am in denial of that. So you're not evil. See no evil till now. Shamar Suleiman tweeted from the US in English, saying your embassy is valid, just like the occupation that you are trying to legitimize. Ahmed Matrika, the soccer player, said. I don't accept the Zionist entity it. Doesn't exist, thus it doesn't have a capital, so he dealt with it as an occupation that has no right to the land, nor the capital more than that. Doctor named Ali Fareed said decisively. There's nothing worse than those who say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, except those who say that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. And then he said. With stupidity. The stupidity with the stupidity of the latter, the former got victory and the latter would not get victory unless. He undermines the Sykes Pico results in his mind so that it would be broken down in reality. Here he attacks nationalities and he said that. We have been confined in the realm of nation state. Thus we we try to defend Jerusalem as the capital of nation state. Omar Westin also. Also published something saying the same thing. Speaking of the campaigns that insight, burning the flags of Israel. So he said, we have to burn all the flags, not only the flag of Israel, but we have to transcend the flags which represent nation States and deal with Palestine and Jerusalem as an Islamic pure Islamic issue. Also some other reactions. For example, timin baruti satire poet from Palestine said sarcastically on Twitter. Let Trump see whatever he wants. Let him say that Jerusalem is the capital of the Zionist entity and let him say that the sun is a piece of falafel another. Activist saying warning of the Arab leaders are stupid, just like cigarettes are stupid and useless. And you find caricatures and cartoons that are sarcastic and satirical. Also, statements by sheikhs such as shekel kardai of a religious nature, saying that the issue of Jerusalem and Palestine is not a mere issue relevant to the Arabs and the Palestinians, but rather it's an issue relevant to the Muslim. Oh my. In general, and there were such. Statements also as well. Also silence was a reaction. You find scholars and preachers who talk about politics and support the politics of their own states, such as in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, completely deafeningly silent. They did not say anything in terms of the issue of Jerusalem or Lhota. Eastern Ghouta and Syria so that they don't lose their followers and those I call. Secular preachers. This is one stage of the second stage includes. Calls and taking up a practical position. This is. Called an English. Call to action, such as the signature campaigns. Avaz is a well known website, gathers signatures electronically and take ups up your name and raises that to the UN to take some resolutions. Of decisions or reactions. Many campaigns of signatures were launched in support of Jerusalem. Also the renewal or call for a boycott, whether it is political or economic or individual boycott of products from the Zionist entity. Also you see campaigns. Of changing the image and prayer and calls for demonstrations, such as in Tunisia. And before the syndicates syndicate of journalists in Egypt and support of Egypt, and they were caught by the authorities and arrested and campaigns to burn flags, and you'll find initiatives for spreading, spreading awareness. There was an hashtag called. Right or wrong, to document the historical nature of Islam in Jerusalem, Latifa Mohammad launched that. Latifa and Mohammed launched that also Mr. Hassan Nasrallah came out condemning. The Trump announcement then, he would say. With all enthusiasm and I call all the Muslims to launch, to launch what? To launch millions of tweets to undermine the decision of Trump. This is his call. The youth took up that on social media network. And they made fun of him and his call, and also on YouTube the 3rd and final stage is the fragmentation and for get fullness and dissipating or in all important. Events you see soccer matches come about and people those get busy and the tweet. People on Twitter get busy with them or being busy with internal battles within this same issue, alpha. This is an example on that. This is a presenter in BC, she tweeted, saying the timing chosen by Trump of this announcement did not come in vacuum, but came after his direct visit to Saudi Arabia. And a wide spectrum of to eaters from Saudi Arabia. Allocated their life to cost her and criticize her, and they were busy with that away from the main issue and also getting busy with the leaks of the media in Egypt such as Ashraful Holy, who is supposed to be part of the security apparatus in Egypt. Would direct and compel the? The media people in Egypt as to how to talk about. Jerusalem he was directing them and commanded them. How to do that. And then things dissipate away and they are being forgotten once again. We may go back here. In the beginning, if another thing happens. So now we are in the stage of for get fullness and dissipating of the reactions. So they are three stages receiving the event, reacting to it, and then the reactions which are practical and call to action and taking a positions and then forgetting. And fading away. This, in my view, is just like rain when it comes down slowly and then it pours down. And then the the there are products being produced and then it. Vanishing and the products would be the produce will die. So we begin with an event. We react to it. We try to take up our position, we forget and then another international event comes about. We get a reaction to it and we go on this vicious circle endlessly. So we take away from this. I'm about done. So we learn from that is that in most times the digital Umar is a reflection of the reality of this nation meaning. In general, they take up reactions to international events, but they are not proactively involved, and initiators and originators of events. So everybody is between two schools, the school. Of despising social and media and digital world and saying that this is all useless and those youth are wasting time and they are stupid and silly people just like me or exaggerating and it's value has an Osceola for example. What he said about. Destroying the decision of Trump through millions of tweets, this is exaggeration in honouring that. So social media networks and virtual reality is a tool that could be misused. For example, it could be used in cursing and. Letting out steam. Or it could be used for something useful and and so don't despise anything that is of a good nature. Also do not despise. The media most democracies now are managed by Twitter and the Secretary of State was sacked by a Twitter and by a tweet. So don't undermine it. And also the Arab governments. Launch armies to control social. And media and digital world after what happened in the Arab Spring. So we should not suffice ourselves to electronic jihad, even though I say there is an electronic jet, for example, look at Hirai Adorai, spokesman of the occupation army of the Zionist. Entity. He has a mission which he is doing successfully. He fights on social media outlets. He reaches out to the Arab world and he's successful in that. Lastly, we should prepare ourselves with all tools to spread awareness on social media. But this is not enough. We also need to have jihad on the ground to liberate the land. And finally I say, oh Allah, guide this nation. So that the people of guidance will be successful and those who are misguided to come back to the faith and to be rightly guided. Thank you all so much.

Moderator: Thank you. Can you please pass the microphone off the microphone, please? Thank you. Thank you very much. Youth for your courage. Kyle here is that freedom of expression, but yes. And Kyle activities, we are proud to have speakers. They can feel free to speak their own mind, you know, without any restriction. And it's up to you how to interact with them. And they're. Responsible for what they say. Now, without without further ado and last but not least, of course, is the role of Professor Ibrahim Mohammed Zain. He is a distinguished professor in Islamic studies and comparative religion. I've known him for three, three decades or two decades or more than that. I really always enjoy talking to him and going to his office, interacting with him and but today his role is to talk about, you know, Facebook accounts and of course, his presentation is also somehow a case study. Professor Ibrahim Zinn. So the floor is yours, please. Thank you.

Ibrahim Mohamed Zein: [Untranslated Arabic]. Peace be upon you. All blessings and his mercy. First and foremost, please allow me to extend my gratitude to Kyle. For this. To this successful conference, I have listened to Sharon Nuro in the morning and I was over the. Moon and later on the first session tackled the issue of philosophy and it elevated us to this car. If I might say. Please allow me to speak in English now.

This session which as I'm part of it, I mean is is supposed to be speaking about particular cases. And and and the learned speakers before me actually said so many important things, and I agree with most of the things that they have said. And in my case, I have a very, very particular thing. I mean, they were speaking about particulars, but I, in my submission, I'll be very, very particular. And I would like to tell you the. Story behind this very, very particular submission of mine after I wrote the the abstract. I have two of my daughters. They are staying with me these days. And last night I was talking to them that how I go about. And make a presentation about Facebook. And I was supposed to analyze 2 accounts as you know, and I gave them the abstract of mine. And I was supposed to focus on a very important. Critique of modernity, which is a critique of. The prejudice, or actually the prejudice, against the prevailing prejudice. And how Muslims actually would be using Facebook? To mediate that kind of critique of the prevailing. I had a very nice discussion, and that discussion actually has been reflected in what I'll be presenting. To you. So I have to acknowledge the fact that most of the ideas which were contributed after I wrote the abstract. But the details of how to go about and analyze the two Facebook accounts actually were done by my to. Interesting I guess notice. Which was the first experience I mean of Maine when I'm writing a paper. Usually I shut myself. And I don't talk to anybody and I write, but this time, to my surprise, and and perhaps next time, whenever I wanted to do any kind of public speech, perhaps it's very important to listen to young people like my two daughters. Now the first thing is the structure of my presentation. I'll be I apologize for the typos in my written. Text. So the first thing I'll be talking about is the general introduction on religion and the Internet. And the second thing is about specific introduction on Facebook as a source for data or religions and social cultural values. I'm I'm using the Internet only as a source for data, not as a methodological I mean tool. The third thing is how to study these two accounts, question mark and then the question of the prejudice against the prevailing prejudice in two selected examples. And finally my concluding remarks. Now the first thing is that I would put this statement forward that clearly the popular inception of the Internet, the World Wide Web in the 90s, in the middle of the 90s. Ushered in Al Farouq's concept of a citizen of the religious world community. This concept actually has been developed by Farooqi in the 60s and and he was. Presenting this that if we wanted to talk about religion in the public space, we've got to keep in mind. That we have to participate in the public space. As a citizen of the religious world community to make sense to others now it means religion is not a private matter and it shouldn't be discussed only inside church, mosques and synagogues. This new citizenship. Is by and large a virtual one, and certainly is the outcome of the computer mediated communication. Now the second statement is religion and technology might not be confined to research on religion and globalization. This might lead to a new category of membership that transcends boundary of 1 religion into forming a citizenship. Of the religious world community. Now the framework within which I'll be discussing the two accounts. Is that citizenship? Of the religious world community. Now specific introduction. On Facebook as a source for data on religions and social cultural values. The first assertion I would say a distinction has to be made between Internet as a source of data and a powerful method of research. Now, in my submission, I'll be focusing on the first one. In this submission, I opted to utilize the data from the Internet. I'm not using the Internet as a method. The second assertion is the way Facebook as a vehicle for social media allows the human agent. To be both. Public and private, and we would see this in the two examples. I selected. More to the point. To be shaped and shaped, the computer meditated. Environment and allow offline life to be affected by online one. That was, as I said, that was kind of exchange of ideas between me and my two daughters, and I think some of these things actually made a great sense to them. And that part of their sensibility in approaching and using Facebook as one of the vehicles of social. How to study these two accounts? Question Mark and I think it's a very difficult thing. I never seen any article actually written about this so, and I felt well. Perhaps I might be the first one to do so. This is what I might be wrong in this assumption, but since this is a preliminary inquiry into the subject matter of prejudice against the prevailing prejudice on the Internet. Comma, while we aspire to create a new citizenship of religion world community. Personal anecdotes and biased selections are inevitable at this stage of research. Well, that's my. I mean my assertion I might be wrong. The second assertion, it should be noted that the phenomenology of religion will certainly guide this preliminary investigation in order that a reasonable level of object of objectivity can be maintained. This is how actually approach the two accounts and still. I I think I might not be. Correct in what I I I I assumed in these two assertions. Now the question of prejudice against the prejudice, the prevailing prejudice. In the selected examples I have these two selected fellows with whom I have shared friends and both of them were my friends and perhaps. I knew them for the last 30 years. Imtiaz Yousuf is a professor of comparative religion and he is the director of the. Islam Buddhist Center in Mahidol University in Bangkok. Now the two selected posts. In in his Facebook account. One of them is the yellow fish carry. And the second is, knowledge liberates. I'm sorry. For the typo. Knowledge liberates from ignorance. Now these two. Posts the selection of them was based on one of them. Is having so many likes, I mean the the time span which I decided to focus on is only 12 days. And and I realized that yellow fish Curry had the most likes. During this short period and the second one has the most comments. As it will be shown later, now one of you would be asking where is the prejudice against the prevailing prejudice in this post. The first one is very simple. You have got to keep in mind that Professor Imtiaz has. I mean, as his friends, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, Christians, whatever religion you think of are there. And of course some Muslims. He had that yellow fish Curry post which he made. And that's why it got most of the likes. My feeling is that. He is a male Muslim. So a male Muslim shouldn't be. Making Curry isn't it shouldn't be a cop. So most of these who were non-Muslims were surprised and showing their actually prevailing prejudice. Again is which actually he was making his own prejudice by showing that he can cook. And he is a good cook. Perhaps this is one way of seeing the dynamics of. The prevailing prejudice. Or a prejudice against the prevailing prejudice. The second thing is knowledge liberates from ignorance. This post actually was about. A book. Which was written in India, the Muslim India, the Mughal India, where Tariku tawari, where the author actually was giving the biography of Buddha. And the book. Was telling the Muslims that all the way we are talking to judeo-christian world, having dialogue with them. And in return we are not getting anything. I mean the most important part, I guess in the Muslim world is to have dialogue with the Buddhist. Not the judeo-christian world, because the Judaic, Christian world all the time, they ignored us. And and it would be better for us now to turn our. I mean eyesight. To 10 W. To then east, instead of turning West and that type of dialogue perhaps would be more important and more fruitful. So what was there? This is our prejudice prevailing prejudice. As a Muslim, we would like always to talk to ahlul Kitab. And we feel that Ahlul Kitab are very closer to us, ignored the Buddhist. But he felt that Muslims before this, and that's why Islam actually was making ill roots in Southeast Asia. It was because Muslims in India felt that it is important to know. Buddhism as a religion. And to see how to have a kind of an understanding of the sensibility behind this religion and that's why Islam one. I mean, so many Buddhists to become Muslims and I just would like to say this, that the biggest Buddhist temple in the world. Is in Indonesia. Now the second. I think I have to skip this because otherwise you would tell me you have only three minutes. This is this. That's the empty eyes. And this is actually the he is hyper active during the week and posting things. And this is the carrying thing which he made. And that's the other post. OK, well, I'm not talking about somebody who doesn't exist. I mean, he is. Yeah. Now this is the second person, Suleiman Sudhir Key Ali. He is a he is a Sudanese. And these are the information about him. Perhaps I don't have to. I've got to. But these are the two posts that I selected. I'm not going to comment on them. Perhaps if you are interested in this during the breakout we. Talking about it now, let me go to the concluding remark of my. I would like to give this that admittedly social media in general and Facebook in particular have invaluable data on religion that might help us to understand the process. Of a citizenship. Of a religious world community in the making. The second thing I would like to. Share with you. Is that? The study on the interaction between offline and online computer meditated communication will allow us to understand how our own personal identities have been affected and shaped by this type of interaction with Salam alaikum Barakat.

Moderator: Thank you Professor Razin. So now without without any summary with regards to the what our distinguished speakers have said, you have heard them all and now I open the floor for question and answer and discussions. But also again I would like to remind you. To be brief and direct, and if you have comments, so also please, please please be brief. Thank you. So please raise your hand. And introduce yourself briefly. Your name perhaps will be will be enough, and your institution so we'll start our discussion. Is there anyone who is interested to comment or ask question or? Yes, here.

Questioner #1: Salaam alaikum. [inaudible] Sudan, a doctor.

Moderator: Doctor Ibrahim Zain. English or Arabic but. I speak in Arabic now. I think that. It's turn to English now.

Questioner #1: Here Azam jarina. Because it is managed by. The western. And in the western room, the CIA and you know, so here ever and any.

Moderator: Half one, half one.

Questioner #1: OK and here I think all religions do ban ESPN upana any. Espionage and any encroachment to any human rights. Do you agree with me, Doctor Brian, this is my question. Thank you. Doctor muridi.

Questioner #2: Qatar University I I'd like to start from what Miss Little Charter have ended, which is the developments in the public sphere with regard to the to the social Media Act. With him, and I'd like specifically to ask her concerning the electronic army that is being invested in by certain government in the region and also beyond the region, in fact, to have a a control on the discourse on what's going on in this sphere. What do you think about this? What do you think the repercussions of this these developments because? Probably I I'm I'm not as pessimistic as my colleague over there with regard to what social media is providing, I am On the contrary, I am on the other side, probably trying to be in the middle. It's it's it's it has these pros and cons like every medium like radio and television like newspapers. You may think of social media is in the same it's a tool. It's not an agent, it's a tool. Where we can invest in it and use it in the Education, empowerment, enlightenment of people. Or we can use it otherwise. So my question here is with regard to the electronic army in these new developments, because they are in fact new, especially with the blockading of Qatar and and and and and and the Twitter issue. Which has enormously, I shall say, affected the discourse about about Qatar, for example, in citizens of the Gulf. Region we know some governments are investing a lot, so this is a question to Miss Lulua the the the the question to the other question is to Dale Eckelman and other colleagues is is, is, is regarding they they're also viewpoints what they presented. I mean I I've captured a few areas but I'm I'm still not very. Kind of, I shall say. Clear about the how they see the the power of these networks in empowering the public, if I may say. And Doctor Ibrahim gave an excellent example about how his daughters view the social media networks and how they he improved a lot on his presentation. Because of how they analyzed things for him, because they see things from a different zoom lens from how he sees the world and how he sees social. Yeah. So my my question to to to, to to all colleagues in the in the panel is, is, is, how do you see these social networks empowering or otherwise these citizens of the world now and also in the in the future which.

Moderator: We can take response from our panelists and then we'll take another round of questions if you wish. So please.

Dale Eickelman: Like to comment or start Professor Dale, please. Professor Dale first by answering you. Saying what? We don't know in terms of social networks, we can say in the past how they've grown. My favorite example is a slightly older example, which is Facebook, which began by being something where you had to have as an address an e-mail address, an address at one of approximately 9 different. Ivy League schools in the United States. This didn't last for long. I forget what the figure is now, is it? Like 1.5 billion people? Who cares? It's it's a longer number than you're going to see in most of these. The interesting question is, what are the ties of networks? If we look at the spread? Of ideas, for instance. Rashid rida. We're talking with people in this region at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. You can map out in charts who are the disciples. How do they communicate? Obviously, much more slowly. And get a sense of how ideas travel now. What we know about the social networks you're talking about is how much more rapid they are and how much they can change. And then the question is, are these deep networks or exactly what does it mean to be a Facebook friend? Are you going to marry somebody because they're Facebook friend? Probably not. It's a different level of engagement. And what does it mean? And the related related question, when you talk about armies electronic armies the first time I heard that phrase, I believe was with Bashar al-Assad. In the early 21st. Jury when people use the power of social media to distort messages or to track people down, then you get something else. One very quick example. When I talk to teenagers in the Sultanate of Oman. They know when it's time to stop using the electronic media. They know the government is listening. And as soon as it becomes dangerous to talk about certain things, then you go back to something more reliable face to face, communications and other things. Electronic armies for most people or the electronic communications and networks. Our one tool among many. They can distort. You can begin doing rumors much more quickly than than 1989. You can say that Chahal. Buti layer Hamon, he's, he's now dead. So I can say anything about him is meeting. I'm making this up, by the way. So please. Meets every Wednesday night with Sarah the beautiful Mossad woman in the Golan Heights, and she tells him what to say in his very powerful television sermons. You can say something like that. And if you say it without smiling, somebody in Syria some time ago might believe you for a while. Social networks, electronic social networks are very dangerous. You can ruin a person's reputation overnight, or you can create doubt. About what people are saying and we're at the stage now where we can't be complacent about these, the networks of rasheeda were easier to follow, much easier, or the Telegraph of a much earlier time, or Gamal Abdel Nasser speaking on the radio, the voice of the Arabs. Was a master of Top Down communications, but now we don't know the limits of these things. But as several people have said, what we do know. Is that the social media can create excellent ties, as my colleague has pointed out, if they can also destroy.

Moderator: Thanks, professor. Dora, please.

Lolwah R. Al Khater: Thank you, professor for your question. You referred to the GCC crisis. And if I'm not mistaken, I'm not sure if I have the figures right, but there was a hashtag attacking Al Jazeera. And someone decided one of the institutions decided to do an analysis. You can look up the report that exists online to do an analysis of the real tweets, like real people tweeting. And then the bot. And it turned out that 20% only 20% of the tweets were real, authentic tweets. The rest, 80% was just bots producing meaningless tweets just. So this in fact speaks to the point Professor Aikman was pointing at, which is the difficulty to, I would say, discern the fake news from the real news, reality from fiction and so on and so forth, with the excellent example you made about, for example, Cheryl Booty. Or whatever. So yes, this is an issue that we've seen. Like multiple times, apparently there is a pattern and in the GCC crisis it became very obvious. Now if I am just to go to the theoretical level, I would say we're we're looking at 2 notions. 1 notion would be the authority and the other one would be knowledge and knowledge production, right? And with traditional media. There was this. Fragmentation of authority when it comes to religious authority or political authority, right? What we're seeing now is fragmentation. Of authority altogether. There is no center of gravity, and the social media. This is very important regardless of all the manipulation strategies and so on and so forth. No center of gravity. But then fragmentation of the public space itself that this social media creates just to give you one example. Why is it? In the Arab Spring that the Facebook was. The main medium. But then in the GCC crisis, it is Twitter. We took him about two different spaces, two different audiences, and sometimes they talk to each other, but sometimes they don't. And within those like media that themselves you would find. Another layer of fragmentation again. And and I'm not sure to what extent, I mean this fragmentation can go on. The other point would be knowledge, knowledge production and again like Scholars, Authority, authority historically had to do with the power of producing knowledge and distributing knowledge. Now everyone with this phone can produce knowledge. Regardless of whether it's good knowledge or bad knowledge. Worthless or not. And so on and so forth. So no one can anticipate. The future of. That I should say I'm not an optimist myself, about about the future of of these patterns we're seeing. So I'm not sure if this is an answer.

Moderator: Thank you. So, Professor Zain, please. I'll use first no problem, so just start.

Youssof Salhein: I think that. This is. A philosophical kind of. The idea that it is. A circular kind of a prison. And there's one God in the middle. Everybody sees this. God. He doesn't see all of them. Or in Egypt, you know, the Egyptians are millions and no, not all of them can be censored. However, a lot of them are arrested because of the social media. As a deterrent and others. Will be. Uh, indeed. Uh, Skype. For example. Mustard has an account on Twitter. And he tweets from within the Saudi regime. He will talk about issues. He's an insider. He uses conjecture and he follows up issues. But by and large, technology is is a hard issue. He uses certain protection methods and so on and so forth. Technology is hard to be controlled. Thank you. 100% I mean. Professor Zane. Yes, the gentleman who talked about his people, espionage, I think that. Whoever controls the content of the Facebook, indeed, they have an avalanche of information for those who use Facebook. Doesn't mean that we need not to use it or use the Facebook. I've used it for the last five years. I had an account or an account was opened for me. This account. Was used by me in order to lease with my students with my friends and also want to get acquainted with issues. That I hold dear and want to know my insight and. So on and so forth. So I do not deny I do not substantiate the evil or the goodness of Facebook, but I think that it doesn't represent a threat on me. In particular.

Ibrahim Zein: I mean, my submission was was was very limited. As I said, it's very particular thing. I I was looking into this critique of modernity because you've got to keep in mind that modernity is the one that privatized religion took religion out of the public space. And the guys under which that was done. This idea of prejudice. That religion is a kind of an unfounded prejudice. It's not factual. I mean the method of knowing. For for modernity, I mean, histologically speaking was that. I mean after Count did this critique of pure reason, whatever cannot be seen. Whatever cannot be verified through empirical methods should not be given. The I mean should not give it be. Given the right actually to be part. Of the public space space. Because it's not rational because it's not empirical. And religion actually was moved. Because of this. I mean, the new Kantian and whoever followed that, used that argument against religion because religion is not rational is a prejudice. Now a critique of modernity. I guess a very powerful critique of modernity was this prejudice against the prevailing prejudice of modernity. And I think the Internet is especially the Facebook. Would give you the chance. Would give you a kind of a platform. To criticize the prevailing prejudice by advancing your own prejudice. I mean, if they wanted to call it. A prejudice is. OK. But in advancing your own prejudice, actually your message can be heard in a public sphere. So this is what I felt. I felt that it's good for Muslims. I have these two, whom I selected are two Muslim activists. And the two posts of the other guy whom I selected would show that would show he himself. Being a Muslim activist. Was posting. On the social media. His own prejudice against the prevailing prejudice. And I think. It did make a lot of sense. Whoever going to listen to the interaction between him and those who were listening to him would see that this is a new space which has been open. Even for religion actually to advance its own argument and and perhaps to substitute the the the dominant argument of modernity. Answer your question or not.

Moderator: Yes, thank you, Professor Suleiman and.

Questioner #3: Shukran professor Zaid.

Moderator: Little Arab, I will say this in. Arabic. Then I'll translate.

Questioner #3: The Arabs should not everything that is announced is said and not everything. That is said should be said haphazardly. Not he will interpret that right now.

Speaker 10: To ability to publish and reach out to masses without thoroughly thinking and analyzing what they are writing. I give an example when lover museum in Abu Dhabi publish map and remove Qatar from the map. So when I start looking at the posting and so on, all of it is emotional and so on. And this is where the power of knowledge come. So what I did on my own initiative. I'm just giving this as an example, so I end up writing a letter in French to the lower management saying that by doing this you are disrupting the French value of freedom of expression and the global and noble message of lover and its message. Send it and then later on of course for other reason and political reach out and official channel and so on. South. My idea is I encourage everybody before they post anything they need to investigate and learn what are the laws, what are the regulation, what are the. Like for example in America. If two people. Argue and one of them is the African American. And there is a heated discussion. The African American will. Tell the other guy. Is it because I'm black? So the idea is you start attacking that. Oh, this is wrong because you are prejudice. So the idea of prejudice can be used as a proper tool. To make sure people are aligned and so on with the proper norm, and so on. And the same thing me as an Arab American living in the US for 21 years, whenever somebody do anything. Is it because I'm Arab? I give you an example. One day, one of my coworker came to me and said, draw me, your name is hard. Can I call you? Can I call you John? OK. So I replied back to him. I said. Craig, your name is hard. Can I call you Mohammed? So immediately he spanned back saying, oh, I like my name. So then I reply back. I like my name too. So this is the idea we need to apply logic as we reach out to social.

Moderator: Media, thank you. Thank you. Rami Suleiman please.

Speaker 6: Yes, it sounds like I'm I'm. I just wanted to see if I can hear a little bit since maybe this might be the best panel for it. I mentioned in my morning remarks that added element of identity and I I was hoping to hear it. I I know Sheik Abdul Fattah model talked about young people today. Facing that duality, I mean the dichotomy of what is in reality and what they're being told. A lot of that is still processing the context of the past and not really giving or translating into the modern context. But I wanted to ask Doctor Brimson more specifically. Maybe Sister Lulu as well could add and brother use of on. Identity, right. They're in self censorship, right? So you gave us an example. It was a simple example of a professor or a friend that you have who lives in a majority Buddhist country in Thailand. And it was very something very innocent that he was writing about. But. Let's take a flip side and say had he mentioned something on his Facebook about the Rohingya crisis. Where Buddhists are, you know, uh, killing Muslims. What would the work percussions then be? I mean for his professional, you know, advancement, I mean, later on, maybe he can't get promoted because the the thing about the public sphere is that it's not just the here and now. Sometimes the things that we right now don't bite us. Now they'll come back later on and bite us. The girl in France who made just a few Facebook comments about attacking niece. When she was in. Highly advancing in the competition, the voice, the France version of the voice late on the media was causing an uproar about what she had posted. After the attacks and she had to withdraw somehow because of that pressure. So I really would like to hear this thing about identity and about are we self censoring just to be accepted? Are we self censoring just you know, to not appear too religious or even moderately religious? I mean, can we not be ourselves anymore because. Of this. Expansion of the public sphere and anything related to religious discourse could come back and haunt us.

Speaker 11: OK. Thank you very much so far. So many wonderful sessions that. The really good involvement and very interesting thoughts of making provoking ideas. But let me just take us out from the concept of what the Facebook or Twitters and all those kind of tools as the doctor was saying. They are merely tools. They were there, they were not there a few years ago. Now there are no there are more new tools coming up like WhatsApp and and they will still take a huge chunk of our audience and our freedom of speech. And so on. I think it's better than rather than just trying to see how can we eliminate or try to tackle those kind of tools, is that how can we utilize them? One thing that we, me and other group of researchers are involved is because we are quite interested in the concept. Of mentioned that about the information or the Islamic information, or who is the scholars or who is the methodology that you can determine whether this information is accurate or not. We are involved with research. That is that are researching how the widespread of false Islamic information on Twitter and multimedia and other things, and we have noticed from a A Bible study on the Hadith itself and how can the widespread of hadith varies be so easily circulated? Or Twitter like somebody can just send a tweet over hadis and then. Is Unauthentic and it's really spread throughout millions of people. So our team who are IT specialists, managed to discover or find out the two that it can resend for those persons who are circulating this Twitter that will come immediately. Another tweet from the source that they're making to tell them. That this tweet that you have just sent, it's unauthentic, it's brief, and it will quote for them the reference number of the collections and so on. So this is quite a serious issue because we're not only talking here about aspects of Harris, but talking about Islamic information that could be really misused. And done in a wrong manner. So what's your take on this? I would.

Moderator: Love to thank you. Thank you, Doctor Zacharia so. We'll invite our distinguished speakers to respond briefly. Thank you, Professor Dale, please.

Dale Eickelman: Thank you for reminding us on briefly several comments here, including Mr. Baez. Remind me of something very important when we talk about different media. The the media we're talking about dissolve the lines of formal speech and intimacy. They go so quickly between the two that it's hard. We give an example. There's a colleague of mine in got her now an American. Who, in my judgment, many of you will know, I'm not going to. Mention his name. Rights when he publishes academic books, he is focused. He is brilliant, he's very carefully checked, but he was one of the early users of blogs where anybody could, TuneIn and look at them, and he had applied to go well. I'm going to give his secret away to Yale University. He was at a different university and in his blog he was very upset about matters that related to what was going on with Palestinians and. Israel, as you know, Israel and Palestine are domestic American issues. Most Americans and Congress cannot separate the domestic implications from the international ones he lost he. Could not be further considered for the job. Of course the universities would say things, but the root problem was taking a blog which he thought was just with friends, informal conversation electronically. And not realizing that 15 years ago that these blog comments were just as real as anything else. And as you mentioned earlier, who would have thought that the semi literate 140 character statements? On Twitter would become the major way of hiring and firing people in the so-called leader of the free world. Now, leaving aside my political bias there, standing back, what interest? This May is the way in which there's this merging of formal statements with informal ones and letting them go out of control, and I think it's enough to identify what's going on right now and then to find ways of going against it. How simple? It's an example. Somebody mentioned the Yemen. Here you go back to when the Egyptian. Army was in the Yemen. There is a there was a British intelligence officer, not a very pleasant man at all, but he did one thing that I sometimes think about. He started a rumor in the Yemen that the Egyptian currency had become. The value. And as a result, nobody wanted to give food to the Egyptian army. This was a more powerful way of stopping the British than anything else. This was like 1789. The power of Romer not on radio, not on anything else to get things done. But now, with electronic media, you can even get close to starting wars with 140 characters. We will catch up, but the question now is because everything speeds up. It's the question is whether we can catch up in time to be as sophisticated about looking at false statements or statements meant to persuade by any dirty or clean way possible. If we're going to be able to catch up to protect ourselves. In general against people manipulating us.

Moderator: Thank you, Professor Eckman. So any other response from the panelists please. Later on, please.

Lolwah R. Al Khater: Just a quick comment as. A matter of fact, it's. It's a point of and, and I think it's speaks to all the comments that were made here. It's dismissing the context in social media. Context is always dismissed. Heidar Isaac. Whether it's time, whether it's play space, whether it's the circumstantial context. It's all dismissed and that's why something you've written 15 years ago can haunt you back later on. But then, without the context and the circumstances, very recently, as as part of the, you know of this prelimbic in the GCC crisis, there was one photo of soldiers. Standing next to a dead body. And then it went viral, saying those are Turkish soldiers in Qatar who killed a Qatari citizen. Something like that. But then it turned out it was taken from another context in another country in a different time, a very different time.

Speaker 0: Well then this.

Lolwah R. Al Khater: Is scary because who is going to verify and check every single photo and every single tweet and every and it scares me. I mean, if any of the students, for example, or the scholars decide to. Right. And additive through social media about whatever the GCC crisis, the Arab Spring, whatever event. How? How can they do that? How is this possible? So this is something to and it speaks it's very relevant to the discussion about the authentic hadiths and and so on and so forth. Now having alternatives, just like the one you suggested is good, but then how do you make sure that it reaches every single person who would receive the original message? And there is another question. It's a very technical. But it has its structural implications as well. The question of language content analysis in English is very advanced, with the artificial intelligence etcetera. But then in with the Arabic context content, beg your pardon, it's not that advanced. So again, I'm I might make a statement an ironic statement. How can a computer system detect this? And so on and so forth. So.

Ibrahim Zein: Just one thing. And just to answer your about Imtiaz, actually Imtiaz, if you go to his, I mean Facebook account, he wrote an article on the Rohingya and he was campaigning for the rohingya's rights. And I think he made a very clear stand on the issue and most of the monks in Thailand, perhaps because some of them were his students, were really enlightened by his statements on his face. So I I don't think he shield away from making himself clear to these people. And I just just would like to add one thing that empty as he looks Indian. And I mean, he is. He's from from the subcontinent, the Indian subcontinent. And when he was making the Curry, actually he was making Thai Curry. And the prejudice was this. Here is a male Muslim. OK. And another prejudice, who is an Indian, but he's capable of making Thai Curry?

Moderator: Thank you, Professor Razin. Now with your permission. Because of the time constraints and our session, the time for our session is almost over. So I would with your permission, allow our distinguished speakers for one minute Statement, final comment or statement if you wish. So feel free to start. Professor Ackerman Woodlawn. Would you like to start first?

Dale Eickelman: This has been a. Fascinating and unexpected sort of conference. We have had examples of. Every type of speech pattern here we talk about new media. Sheikh Morrow, if I may, for the last time, invoke your style of speaking a style which you also can how can I say it? Be ironic about irony is very helpful, I think. To us to recognize how easy it is to use new messages in old forms of delivery, or to use new forms of delivery for other messages. I if I am frustrated about anything in this conference, it's that we have placed a number of things in focus to talk about, to conjoin, to put next to one another. We haven't had the time. I think to look at the inner cassette, the implications of these different things, that's something which will come in stage 2. But there's a French anthropologist, Claude Levi Estos, who uses a phrase I like, say, bona Ponce. There are certain ideas that are good to think with, and we've heard a number of them here today, both from the panels and from the questions. Thank you.

Lolwah R. Al Khater: Just wanted to thank everyone for organizing this Conference Center for Islamic Legislation Ethics, College of Islamic Studies and HPU and the distinguished panelists. It was an honor to speak next to all of you. Thank you.

Speaker 8: I second. What Miss Lula has said, Miller rewards you all I ask Allah. To set free the person who has established Kyle, this important Research Center, Dr. Tarek Ramadan, I call on Allah and I ask you all to pray for him in your prayers so that Allah will set him free.

Moderator: Our panelists, and with your resilience and patience, I would like to thank you all and and thank you very much and inshallah, yeah. Have a good day ahead, Sarah. Marika.

Speaker 8: Rahim, in the name of Allah, the gracious to merciful peace and blessings to Prophet Muhammad, his household and all his companions, and those who follow him till the day of Judgement. The final. Remarks was habit of Doctor Tarek in each and every annual conference with the center, and he would always start by thanking and praising everybody who took part in making the conference success from the speakers to the interpreters. To the volunteers, to the members of Karen, to the technical team, to the staff of Kyle Center. And all the distinguished guests and those who watch. And we second that notion and we thank everybody for their great efforts. But we cannot replace Doctor Tarek. And nobody can do that in my view. So I will not try to take on that mission today. The issue of our. International conference. And its theme is something dealing with Doctor Tarek and it is so near to his heart, and especially in his dealing with the West and the communities of Muslims in the West. Dr. Tarek Ramadan is the first voice that has embodied the role of Islam in public discussions and discourse. In the West and in France in particular. And even though some preachers and intellectuals were before him in Europe, however, doctor Tarak was not an Islamic voice in a narrow sense, but rather. He would give a point of view of what is Islamic regarding everything in the public sphere. He would call the Muslim communities. To come out of their intellectual and social sequestration and to be present in all fields and to be engaged in all the deliberations in the public sphere, in all spheres of life and in all aspects. So that was indeed the habit of Doctor Tarek. And he is. So Doctor Turk Ramadan is so. Because he would call him to be engaged in different fields of activities in society. In social affairs to environmental issues and animals rights. To economy and famine in the world. Reaching to the beautiful of artistic expression. And wars and displacement and the issues of men and women, et cetera. And against this background, there was the establishment of Kyle Center. Research Center for Islamic legislation and ethics, with all its research abilities, Dr. Tariq Ramadan is the pioneer of theorizing for the Islamic presence in the West. He has written quite a lot to speak about the issue of diversity and multiplicity, showing the possibility of Muslims. We living in harmony in Western countries and secular states. And and characterizing the individual roles which Muslims can play in those Western societies, and he considered the true diversity is the one that allows for each culture to crystallize its own thinking and views over common values such as human rights. And general concepts such as modernity as historical process. And he sees that the role of facing the hegemony of ideological modernity is because of the grassroot movements and the international organizations, through contributing in the general discourse.

Speaker 0: And then you.

Speaker 8: And doctor Tyler Kamadan would never consider religion as an element of privacy and sequestration. He would see religion rather as a heritage, a humanitarian heritage, universal, one that instills for social justice and ethics. And it is a source of inspiration. For Muslims in discussing of principles and values that compels them to take part and be engaged in all spheres of life in order to realize a common living. And among the main tasks undertaken by Doctor Dark, Ramadan is the contribution contribution in determining the status of Islam in modern societies among the western societies. And he wouldn't. Call for special privileges for Muslims in those societies or for amending the laws and constitutions. He would not even see in most of. And what is different encountered in the principles of Islam and he would not even call for the review of the principle of secularism, but he would call for social justice and really exercising secularism, which is which means the neutrality of the state in terms of. Religious affiliation of its citizens and that they do not interfere in religion, and it doesn't mean forbidden religion from entering into the public sphere and then. He would see. That the citizenship of Muslims and N pluralistic societies and their effective contribution therein would not be achieved except through Muslims reconciling with with themselves and with their memory and. Not hiding their religious identity because this is the condition of reconciling with the other and citizenship will not be achieved through assimilation and melting. In the society and hiding their identity. Talk this discourse. Is what has brought life and revived in the youth the faith. That Muslims cannot succeed in those pluralistic societies without having to hide their religious identity and to abandon their principle. And doctor Tariq Ramadan has embodied in his own person the paradigm of a religious person who announces his affiliation to Islam and exercising its principles with being open to society and to be successful in his international. Profession. Many youth look at him as a role model that should be emulated in his defence of the honour of the Muslims with his behavior and with. Is speaking eloquently about the truth and and meaning of Islam and. He is, for them, a Muslim who was liberated from the colonization, living in a pluralistic society in many forms, and through him many Muslims have come to believe in the possibility of Muslims gaining their identity. The religious identity and the pluralistic societies. However, some secular extremist currents in France specifically reject extremely any existence of religion in the public sphere, and thus they thought and saw in doctor Tariq a threat that should be faced. From the beginning. So they tried to dethrone him by so many ways, and we believe that doctor Tarako Ramadan is today paying the price for the role that he has uptaken and for the faith that he has revolved in the hearts of the youth. And this is evident. In the treatment that is given to him, he was imprisoned under strict supervision in an isolation and he was prevented from his reaching his principle. Right. He was not allowed to talk to his people. His sickness was not recognized and there was no health care provided to him or that with many claims against him without any evidence directed to him. And the media campaign against Doctor Tarek, which has. Tried him and convicted him even before the trial. And they doved in trying his thoughts and intellect and slandered. His persona and has cast doubt on his intellectual abilities, is an evidence that what is targeted here is not the provision of Doctor Tarek and what he is accused of specifically, but rather his intellect and what he symbolizes and also. Generation of youth who are of his style. So the purpose is to remove what they have of faith in the possibility of. Muslims, women, their identity and creating a feeling that this is just a mirage, this is something impossible and that there is no hope in reconciliation. So the Muslim has two choices only either. To remain marginalized. Or to abandon his identity and to assimilate in society. And that takes us to the religious discourse in the public sphere, which is something very linked to. Courage, Dr. Tarek Ramadan is not the first one or the only one who. Who pays the price for this courage? And he wouldn't be the last one either. And with all what he has struggled and suffered because of accusations and claims also he. Kept on going. Speaking and struggling for the cause of tolerance, we in Kyle Center take Doctor Tarek as a role model for us. Our work will continue with the will of Allah and God and. We will not despair from hope in Allahs will, and this will not undermine our will. So I thank you all once again and the last thing that we see is all praises do to Allah, God, Lord of the Worlds.

April Seminar: “Tangier 1947 -- Two Speeches: Independence and Women's Education.” (2017)

The audio source is the Tangier American Legation (June 1, 2017): Source

Seventy years ago, on 9 April 1947, King Mohammed V delivered a speech in Tangier calling for Moroccan independence. Two days later his daughter, Princess Lalla Aicha Alaoui, gave her own speech calling for the education of women. On April TALIM’s annual seminar, held in partnership with the Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP), focused on “Tangier 1947 — Two Speeches: Independence and Women’s Education.” Presenters considered the historic nature of the speech and its reverberations in Moroccan society to the present day.

Opening remarks by TALIM President Dr. Dale F. Eickelman, Professor Emeritus at Dartmouth College (14 min)

Next, a presentation by Dr. Bernabé López Garcia on “The Events of April 1947: A Spanish Perspective” (33 min).

Dr. Assia Bensalah Alaoui, Ambassador-at-Large of HM King Mohamed VI, speaks about “The Primacy of Education, Especially of Women, in the Progress of a Nation.” In addition to her prepared remarks, Amb Bensalah Alaoui shared moving personal anecdotes about how King Mohammed V’s push for girls education enabled her and her sisters to go to school.

Dr. Karim BEJJIT, Professor from Abdelmalek Essaadi University, discussed the nuances of US support for Moroccan sovereignty and King Mohammed V in light of Cold War relations with France and Spain.

Dr. M’hamed BENABOUD, from Tetouan Asmir Association, discussed Spanish archival materials outlining the intrigue behind Franco-Spanish efforts to delay or obstruct Sultan Mohammed V’s visit to northern Morocco. He drew links between how Lalla Aicha in her speech was an archetype of the modern Moroccan citizen who would form the state her father sought to create.


John Davison: Welcome to the first of our podcasts from the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies, or Talim, which is a U.S. National Historic Monument in the heart of Tangiers Old Medina. I'm John Davison, tellings director. Each year, Talim organizes our April seminar. Around the date of Sultan Mohammed, the 5th's historic 1947 speech in Tangier. Tallinn's April seminar this year was held in partnership with the office Sharifian de Fostat and the American School of Tangier. Its theme was Tangier 1947, two historic speeches, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the actual Tangier speeches of Sultan Mohammed the 5th, and his daughter Princess Lala Aisha. Doctor Dale Eichelmann telling board president and emeritus professor from Dartmouth College, introduced conference presenters and moderated the seminar.

Opening remarks

Dale Eickelman: Thank you very much John, much of today's program will be in English. What I can guarantee you is because of where I was born, there used to be standards in American radio where you had to have an accent which was not regional. And it really was regional. It was from the part of Illinois where I was. Born and from Iowa. But it's clear and in the Midwest, we're known to speak slowly, so you're lucky. I'm not from the Bronx in New York City. I'm not from the Deep South, so it's a little bit easier, at least to understand. And this is one of the somebody said to me recently, oh, this is not. In academic event, actually it is the best sense of the term because you have a number of people here who do good academic work, but they also know how to speak on Claire to reach wider. Audiences and to say why things are important and that's the importance of what we have today, because we're beginning with what in world history might look like a microdot. And I recently was looking at the CIA archives. The CIA was just formed in 1947, partly from the old OSS Office of Special Services Strategic Services. And it's interesting seeing where Morocco. Figured, Oh yeah, they have an independence movement, but we have to look at what's happening with the partition of India into India and Pakistan and. And so you had interesting things where the quest. Thing is, how do you convince people how to talk and realize things? And it's one event here where on my left Banana Bay, Lopez Garcia gave a presentation here several years ago looking into the Spanish and French. Archives and what was available locally of the American Archives about this, this. That's what you you have this wonderful break. But Mohammed, the fifth made from the French at the time where the French. Very nervous about his coming to Tangier. There were riots in different parts of French Morocco. The Spanish were afraid that there would be riots if he stopped at certain places on the train. Along the way. Pre taji. They assure you, but we're still pre Taji vey. And. And when he came here, he departed from his. Kept and that's the main story that was fascinating to many of us. Less known was the fact that his daughter gave a talk about the importance of women's education to the national movement, which scandalized many of the. Old guard in Tangier. And and one of the things we're doing now with the title that we have to talks as as it's as as our announcement says is to is to look at the importance of that again. But we're not stopping there. I will introduce each speaker very briefly right before they speak. But we have a progression which we're following, which will include people speaking in a more general way about the importance of women's education. And we will have Bettina Bay looking at the details of what happened in 1947 and giving us a good base as to what went on here. I know when I teach students in the United States, it's hard enough to get them to know where. Marco is they're pretty good at that. But when I give map tests to people, I sometimes find that Iran moves right next to Lebanon and sometime once oily, a student told me that Iran was a neighbor of France. Geographically, that's the furthest I have seen. Iran's move, of course you conceal. That's out of the Arab world. But that that's a problem that we have to deal with. A very important thing I have to say because as we're doing more and more outreach and involving youth. I am very excited that part of our program today will involve presentations by students, Moroccan students from the American School of Tangier doing ethnography. I'm an anthropologist. So whether you know it or not, students. You're doing ethnography. Of interviewing. Present at the 1947 speech or speeches. Who will talk about that activity here? It's very exciting event and I'm told indirectly by by John Davison that it was very exciting for the students too. To see how much there was to learn by speaking with people of an earlier generation. Now if you. Look at the bottom of your program. You will see 3 icons. Now let me just tell you the importance of those, because this is one of the sorts of things that we are trying to do on the left of taline in our little icon, you will see the icon of the American School of Tangier. This is our way of formally. The importance of that AST is doing to this particular program. Now on the left of to the right. I'm sorry of the tallying. You will see the symbol of the office and the full spot, and you might ask yourself. What do phosphates have to do with taline? And the answer is persuasion that we have done with OCP to say here's what we're trying to do. Here's the sort of support we would like. It's a hands off sort of thing, which is the best form of sponsorship, so you will not hear me trying to say to you use more phosphates in your laundry. That's not my job, but OCP is giving back to the. Community in a way that we had. That we give back through our work, for those of you not familiar with Talim, we are a not a governmental organization. We as Tennessee Williams might have said in Tangier, we depend on the kindness of strangers. In other words, donors from the United States, Europe. And increasingly, Morocco to to get things done. If anybody really wanted to challenge me, we would bring out the lease agreement we have with the US Department of State. We pay officially in my name $10. In Moroccan currency, to rent the building that that release Suleiman gave to the United States in 1821, policeman did not give us money for the upkeep of the building, unfortunately. And we have sources and methods to find money to to get that done on an ongoing basis as any owner of a building in Morocco should go. No, I am especially delighted. To introduce on my right, our first speaker, Berta de Lopez Garcia, whom? I have known since 1995 and I have read him rather than rather than just recite his many publications, let me give you a sense of how he works with Morocco. In 1995, in Fez, I brought the first foreign study program to the American Language Institute and amongst various things we had, I thought it would be a good idea to have because many of our. Students were his hispanophone. To have, because I had heard Bender Bay Lopez Garcia come and make a presentation and his wife was at the time, director of the Institute of Cervantes, out here in, in Tangier. And they came and I had mentioned this to the then governor. Affairs. Who? In my view, a real intellectual where you usually don't expect to see lots of real intellectuals in the Ministry of the Interior, but they do exist and this is Muhammad thereof, who is, is now retired. So I can give his name and and he said, I would like to come too. I believe in keeping government things at distance and I said fine, but you have to come as you know. We won't do anything special. We won't even give you a special chair to sit on. It'll just be an academic thing. OK, fine. Well, we got. I'll use the word. This is good English lesson for some of you trumped the word used to mean something else happened. That meant you could not do that. And that was the president with the World Bank coming to Fez. So Button Bay gave a private presentation. On the elections in Morocco, municipal elections, as I recall, one of them of the earlier in the 1990s, it was not a pretty picture. And I think Bernard Bay also was a little bit surprised. To see the governor listening and commenting, he was not the governor during the elections, which made it easier, but everything happened as it would. But burner based standard of writing is to say, does this make sense to people of the? Country that he's talking about and with No Fear of going into very delicate sorts of situations, his scholarship is wide and there's another part of scholarship I think very important. As a young. Student in Morocco in 1968 and thereafter. I would go to Spain to meet my colleagues. There were very few academic institutions. Were starved of resources. I would be astonished to see Jesuit priests very, very, you know, directors of. That just asking me to send them books in their field because they had no money, even for books. That's a long time ago. It takes a long time to build up academic things, but then a based students now are located at a number of different Spanish. Universities that are making serious contributions to the study of Morocco, and we will see why his students are so serious by seeing what what he has to say now. Now, procedure wise there's one. One thing. I'll tell you about I used to work as I said, for better or worse in. Radio we have a kind of a sense of time there and you will see at certain points are very. Something that works better in a radio studio than here. Time cards. Everybody has 20 minutes and just so you know, 5. 21 and then there's even if your English is weak, I have discovered many people know this sign. And when that comes up, it's something I learned from Oman. You never cut anyone off. It's very rude, but I would be known to stand up. And you go in front of the speaker. With the sign to see whether whether their vision is still good, and you do what you can. And of course that's an approximate sort of thing. And in this case it’s easy to do. But because we want to leave enough time for everybody involved as allotted, it’s one of the ways of doing it. So we have, in my judgment, Spains's most distinguished contributor to North African studies and one who has formed the next generation of students from Spain and elsewhere to do work and. And I await avidly to hear your presentation. Bernade.

The Events of April 1947: A Spanish Perspective

Dr. Bernabé López Garcia: [Untranslated]

The Primacy of Education, Especially of Women, in the Progress of a Nation

Dale Eickelman: Now we have a transition, which is a very pleasant one. Let us say I I just think of some journalists I would know, say, OK, that's wonderful. So what? Who cares what happened in 1947? Well, to talk everything that has happened since 1947. We have Doctor Asia bensalah. Allowing whose degree is in law but as a good intellectual, a good intellectual, very attached obviously to Morocco, she she will make a presentation which will show. What happened since 1947, the primacy of education, especially of women, in the progress of a nation. Now I have a full CV here which I guarantee I will not read word by word, but the important part of it is let's say the commemoration of a long and distinguished career which earlier included teaching and participating in conferences. But most currently her formal title is ambassador at large. Of His Majesty Mohammed the 6th, the King of Morocco and president of a number of different associations which warms my heart because I see they include Japanese. The association of that Moroccan Japanese friendship and the Office of Economic Cooperation. For the Mediterranean, the Middle East. As somebody who is president of an NGO, these things are as good as the people who put energy into them. And I think you have already shown a lot of energy by rediscovering the north and making the long trip to come up here, which which makes me. Very happy. She's a writer also on issues that include food security. Which from my work in the Arabian Peninsula is very much very, very much on the minds of many people and predictably, and the reason she's been invited here, work on the role of women in Morocco. Please join me in welcoming letter.

Dr. Assia Bensalah Alaoui: So good morning everybody. Thank you very much, Doctor Eckman. I'm really, really happy to be here and I did make the trip with pleasure. Just two small remarks before starting here I'm talking. Not with my hat of a diplomat, but I'm taking back the hat of the Professor of university to have the freedom of speech and. The second remark is about the very nature of this presentation. It's not an academic person because this you can find plenty of information of figures of whatever. Especially these days we are totally flooded by information, so rather I would share with you rather. Personal impressions and my involvement in the support of education at large and of women in particular, so thank you very much. You know, for this very special moment. And Professor Barnabee, thank you for writing up all the context. And of course, you have given a great appetite for our audience about all what happened in this very great day. Very grateful. Or Morocco, of course, for the region, but very special for women. And very particular to me as well because. Of late, Muhammad. 5th, which was known at Sidi Mohammed bin Yousef, gave the strong advice to my late father to send his girls to school. My father had come in 1944. He was the child of a very big city around, you know, in in the region of Taza. And he was called by the French. To quiet him up all the contest. What was happening in Rabat saying whether bringing a rural tide, he's going to master the situation. Apart from that, my father was a very religious man who he said I don't speak to anybody. I don't go to the palace. If you do not take and remove all the tanks. And all the military apparatus. And I would like to talk first to His Majesty the Sultan when he received him. Of course. My father started complaining, saying Your Majesty. I am overwhelmed by. Girls, I have 20 children, but only two boys. So the king, you know, started laughing, he said. Hash because he wanted to go to make the prayer, so they established directly a very personal relation. My advice is that you should send your girls to school. This is what you have to do. This is an order and of course it was a huge support to my poor mother who was the last one having only 5 girls. She had no boy and the father was extremely reluctant. And my my mother had this very beautiful saying, she said. Education is women's lasting beauty. She was she was illiterate, extremely intelligent, and she had been supported, and it's probably thanked to that that even if I came later that. I have the pleasure and the honor to address you today. So line is the list of the benefits. Of this historical moment, we know it. The semantics are there, you just have to look at the words, the fight against. Ignorance. Poverty to go to light, to lighten up intelligence to find the ways. To bless them up, and of course to find culture. Knowledge at large sciences, the old ones as His Majesty said very correctly, to lighten up the souls, the faith and the ethics and the new ones to find tools for a better life in old fields. To a civilized world. With more openness to the world, and I'm very happy that we have very much capitalized on this aspect for women in particular, what was extremely important is that. His Majesty the Sultan has joined action towards. Because he has given us the example of his. Own daughter and veiled. And he gave. At once to old Moroccan women, two precious things at the same time as a voice and a face. And this is absolutely extraordinary and critical for the sphere of symbols because the. Fight that we own Moroccans have to continue even today is to upgrade the mindsets because even when you write extraordinary texts, they are not implemented. If people are not ready to make this giant stride and upgrade. The mindsets so for women, this example coming from above has legitimated the presence of women in the public space. So it gives it not only. Not only visibility. And the last invisibility and that's why. What a lesson. For the people who. Today want to confine women behind fences behind the look of everybody. So we see how 70 years ago the vision. And the pioneer of His Majesty was a really defining moment for modernity. For progress. Because thanks to education, women is going to win not only visibility but autonomy. She's going to recover the full mastery of her own body. Of her own faith and she is going to win progressively more autonomy. Through financial autonomy, which is the real thing, because then it makes of you an actor, a free actor of your own society, of your own country. And then. You have all the implied benefits, not only for you as a person for a woman, as a person who can emancipate and get liberated, but for her kids, for the family. For the education of the children, for the education of the small society, by concentric circles up to. The society at large and to the country. So this breakthrough. Has taken place. In a moment where education had stop. For what we used to call the Muslim girls in Morocco in special schools, starting by just 82 in 1914 and again up to 11480 in 1946, which means just one year. Before and scattered in 50 schools across Morocco to raise up in 1952 to 20,000, the double of what they were there in 198 primary. Schools. So it was very timidly progressing. And fighting against precisely this vision of society and the old turbans that Mister that professor was mentioning, and who were reluctant to see this visionary revolutionary speech of the king and of the Princess. But beyond these figures, what is interested? You see, is that where these little Muslim girls? Right. It was mainly vocational training. It was meant to provide to poor girls some kind of skills so they can improve. The income for their own families, and so it was toward teaching them embroidery and craft and so forth. And maximum was about, you know, to accomplish the primary school very, very few were getting to. The general teaching. And most of these were what was called the Section C, which is devoted to that, and with the double standards. Special vocational training only enough for the poor girls and perhaps a more general for the the others. But the main objective is to prepare Good Housewives, good future brides for the new generations, because they were very much appreciated so they could. Be you know of a better presentation to all. So the independence came. And with that, of course, the huge pressure. To try to answer this wish of his of the Sultan to open up school to all Moroccans. Boys and girls. And here we had to face, of course, to face the huge pressure of members. And the unfortunately for quite a long time, we were under this pressure of the urgency just to be able to open what you used to call Lanie Scholar in October without major incidents. Make sure that you build infrastructures that you train. That professors. And this was a huge a huge pressure on all, which means as well that not so much importance was granted to the content and to the curricular and. To the programs. They were doing their best, but unfortunately. It was not, and I must admit that as well, the two first decades of independence were very difficult ones, extremely difficult ones. You had to build everything, just name it in a country where you didn't have the human. Courses where you had little financial resources. Everybody remembers the crisis of 1963 and we had some kind of authoritarian, we must admit to face all the contests by political parties and by the students. Do remember that. The 70s were the years of contest where the human the representation of the. Which was totally silenced. And that's where we started to have the rise of Islamists behind the scene taking over the contest and channeling the discontent of Moroccan youth. So education is absolutely critical and unfortunately. During this period. Lose any Diplo. Let's call them like this, because now history has established that. Unfortunately, you know, during this period financial as well restrictions were so high that it was extremely difficult to give much priority to all the sectors which were considered as being subversive as well. And what happened is that we had this terrible move of Arabization with lasting negative effects because it was not properly handled. Not only it was very conservative and contrary to the values of openness. And the ambitions of the country. But it was not properly carried out. So I as a professor, because afterwards I was going, you know. To embark on teaching, we were confronted to the problem that the whole region is going to face, and I'll say a word about it later. That we were facing 2 problems, problems of quantity and unfortunately not being able to answer the demand. So no generalization, no democracy per say for the access to school. And especially for women and for girls, because the discrepancy was. Still very high and. We were facing a major problem of quality. So that's how when through my career and I'll say a word about it later, I really embarked on not really activism because I was too busy to do that. I had a very, very, very present husband who was, you know, like, and you had gone and doing. 100 things at the same time, having a senior post very close to the late Majesty Hassan, the second very heavily involved in the real development of the. Country and I had to face breakfast, lunch and dinner and still go to university and prepare my own career. So it was really all the problems that all women know and face today, but which were at the time not very much appreciated, because when people wanted me and. Saw me wake up at 7:00 in the morning to go to university because I married at 17. Everybody was saying, what do you want? Do you want to? Go to the Sputnik. You're married. Your husband is a minister. You have a very well position. Why should you take all this head? Tools to try but. This is another story. So when Muhammad the 5th, the 6th, our present king came, it was a really, really turning point. Why? Because first of all, he raised awareness about empowerment of women from his very first. Speech saying lay your hand. It's unacceptable that half of Moroccan population can be sidelined, so we had really the. Trading mark of the new. I'm going to defend human rights at large and women's rights in particular, so he found out, unfortunately, that the problem of education was a terrible one because Morocco was heading was striding towards political. Economic liberalization about huge reforms and the system of education was totally inefficient. To provide all the skills, all the necessary human resources to face this modernization efforts these. Progress that were initiated through all the flagship reforms that you all know, and especially here in tangia, you have the Tangier Med ports, and now all that's happening in Tangia is a real revolution. But as well, human rights amendment was a cultural revolution. Extremely difficult to implement because you had to go through training all the judges, all teachers, all people. But above all, we had to teach women their new rights. And this is one of a very, very big battle that I wanted to lead is legal literacy. You cannot implement your right if you do not know what your rights are about. You really have to be convinced and you have to make sure that you are giving to understand your rights. And have the corresponding obligations and duties, because rights don't go without duties. So that's the problem here. So I won't go, you know, through all the mighty figures I have brought for the legation to precious documents that I will leave you here. You probably have them. I don't know. But they were circulated in limited things, so I got them from the High Council of Education. And you have all the figures. And all the movements. The only thing that we can deplore, that it's only in 2013 that universal access to school was secured. And unfortunately. To urban girls. Because in rural areas we still have 41.6% of girls from 12 to 14 who do not have access to school and 46%. 1517. In 2013. The pupils in primary 47.6 were girls, but still with this discrepancy, so I won't overburden you with figures. The only thing that we have to keep in. Mind is that pre. Schooling, who's extremely important especially for poor backgrounds. Because they give them some straw. At this very early age, to be able to develop the tools to progress yourself, So what is happening is that as I told you all my life I was going, you know, to be totally addicted to improving education. And they had many opportunities to do it in my lifetime and. To start with, as a member of Icarda, Icarda is the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Land Area. Because I had written my PhD about World Food security, so I was on the board of Encarta, whose headquarters were in Syria for eight years. And I was absolutely appalled by the hardships that women were undergoing because they are the first providers of food security and they are the first victim of food insecure. Not to speak of illiteracy and of the very hardships that they had to go through so I could advocate with the World Bank you have mentioned. The World Bank. I was very close friend with James Wolfenson. So he picked me up. He said you are contesting too much. I would like to have you in the Mina Council of advisors. I say bad for you. Because why aren't you helping ruling women making their life easier so they can send the little girls to school? Because the little girl in the country has to fetch water to bring wood to take care of the small brother and so forth. He said no, it's very difficult, you know, to spend hard money on soft projects. Soft projects are the future of the country and the social development is the human rights implementation. So you see this mentality. So I had to struggle all my life. You know for. That and especially I had as well the opportunity to do it afterwards within a larger perspective for the Arab region because I was member of the board of trustees of the UNDP for the Arab region and we. Were the ones. Behind the Arab Human Development report, which had depicted the three deficits in knowledge in freedom and in women's empowerment, and unfortunately, the women had the three pains accumulated because they were the poorest, the most ignorant, and the less free. So we have started through this report about knowledge to advocate very, very strongly for women. Literacy and even the movement for adults literacy. Adult women who were very eager to improve this, and I accept it as well to be part of a committee which has been established by UNDP about. Quality assessment of higher education in the Arab region and a very tiny, tiny, tiny reward is that we succeeded to introduce the culture of auditing into universities, because this is not. Something that French left us with. It's much more Anglo-Saxon. So now just to end up and not bore you with all my personal stories. My new battle is that I'm learning from my daughter. My daughter is the Secretary General of the Foundation for Environment Mohammed six, with Princess Leila. And their battle is education to environment and their battle to get the little girls all across Morocco to contribute in this education for environment because you have to start that early and they have launched tremendous programs like who's going to write the best. Article on preserving environment and it's the girls who come first and win the prizes in the rural remote areas they are talking about environment. So this is my. Up that with generalization of Preschooling in Morocco as the Vision 2015 thirty is proposing and started already to implement it and with all the inclusive, sustainable development with the fight for this progress. We can produce the Eco citizen as well and women will be really at the forefront of this fight. Thank you. For your attention.

US-Moroccan relations in the 1940s: A New Beginning

Dale Eickelman: So many things and the the, let us say, the distance between the former international zone and the capital of the former Spanish protectorate go is narrowing quite a bit because of a lot of things going on in tech. Now Doctor Bridget is there will be. I'm speaking ironically now for those who don't know me, there will be a film made about his move from Casablanca last year to Tetuan. The film will be called Escape. From Casablanca, modeled on an old film Grade B film of the United States escaped from New York. Casablanca has more to offer than that film, but as I say, a dramatic assadi, in my view anyway, is a university which is coming together very nicely and and doing things. His background is lots of interesting post. Docks that are appropriately international, Fulbright being among them, but others, including one from the Netherlands and I first met Doctor Karim when. He that that's the other film that will be made escape from Tabuk University in Saudi Arabia, where he spent a year. And he has a blog describing his experiences there, which if it's still posted, you will not see it. From the Saudi cultural mission, so you've got to you've got to go to his blog and his topic is I have to borrow. From the program with my apologies, US, Moroccan relations in the 1940s, a new beginning, and as you may note, our presentations are cumulative. We learned via our Spanish colleague doctor about an Abay Lopez about how the Americans were observing. What was going on and contributing various symbolic acts that encouraged Mohammed the 5th to do a little bit more, to the discomfiture of the French. So, doctor, doctor Karim.

Dr. Karim Bejjit: Thank you for this. How can I describe it? Yeah, it's a great introduction with references to Casablanca and textbook. I've been talking about different cities in my presentation and different nationalities, but since you mentioned Casablanca, I would like to bring this.

Dale Eickelman: It's an option.

Dr. Karim Bejjit: Back four years ago, in commemoration of the. 5th anniversary of the Alpha Conference, the US consulate in Casablanca, in collaboration with Musk. Hassan 2 Foundation organized a conference which was attended by Abdulhadi Tazed, late Moroccan diplomat James Roosevelt junior, the grandson of President Roosevelt. This, which I think you some of you might remember the director of Italian and Chancellor, current director of the. I want to chair that conference which took place in foundation discussion, to foundation and our faculty seek to university. The speakers talked about the importance of. That the significance of that historic meeting in relation to the total discourse of the World World War 2, but also to discuss the political implication for US Moroccan. Nations of the meeting, which took place between President Roosevelt and Sultan, have been on that night. How did that single meeting, the political revolution of Morocco toward independence? How much credit can be given to the clean the the liberal and progressive thoughts? Voiced by President Roosevelt of that dinner meeting and building the political class, both the Sultan and the nationalist movement to oppose French policies in the years that followed, even today in a record, has provided no vivid description to the long and friendly conversation between the two leaders. Then they can given. By Roosevelt's own son, Elliot, in his memoir tonight as he saw it, is quite famous text, and it's always referred to as the one that we had documented the, you know, the the reality between the Sultan and the president. I have one quote of that taken from the book, but I'm going to sum it up because I know I have a very limited time, but the meeting was attended by Prince Hassan and the late King Hassan the 2nd and the Chief of Protocol and the Grand Vizier. And of course, the President Roosevelt, and more importantly perhaps, in this conversation at least the Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain. And the the the course of this conversation, which I'm gonna, I used the last part of this because it's it's going to be long and maybe not that interesting it's details. But the interesting passages obvious the symptom express the key desire and quoting from the book to obtain the greatest possible aid in securing. There is land modern educational and health standards. Father pointed out that to accomplish this, the Sultan should not permit outside interests to obtain concessions which would drain off the country's resources. And it will go on. And of course, Churchill, every time is not happy with. With this course of conversation, it tries to drive the conversation sidewise and other directions. And you can see from the perspective that the author that he was keen on outlining the perspective of Churchill and, you know, Churchill's idea of the Empire and colonial empire. Then, then the interesting passage. Further balancing his floor remark carefully enough that the post war scene and the pre war scene of course would differ sharply, especially as they related to the colonial crash. Churchill, Kraft and again plunged into conversation along different lines politely. The Sultan inquired. More specifically, what did the father? I mean differ sharply and so then the President said the the reference, the President's final dropping, any remark about the past relationship between French and? Combined into self perpetuating syndicate for the purpose of dredging reaches out of colonies one time to raise the question of possible oil deposits in French. Well anyway. So the conversation went on very sympathetic between the two leaders and Churchill was. The odd one out there. And and conclude this scene in in the following terms. It was a delightful dinner. Everybody with one exception, enjoying himself completely as we rose from the table, the Sultan assured Father that promptly on the hills of the wars. Flows. He would petition the United States for aid into development of his country, his face the sultans face, glowed a new future for my country, blaring biting at his Cigar, Britain's Prime Minister followed the Sultan Artif. The dining room is look easy scene to put on stage. Aside from Churchill's annoyance, Elliott's account leaves the reader with no ambiguity as to where the president's sympathy lay in the following years. This became a contested story, and one that U.S. officials and diplomats often don't. To Allie French fears and suspicions yet from American nationalists in the early 1940s, already inspired by the liberal value. Professor The Atlantic Charter and the four freedoms voiced in Roosevelt speech in 41 the old status quo guaranteed by the Protector Treaty of 1912 was inadmissible. France, after all, had lost its imperial grandeur and was now dependent on the Allies for help to liberate his own. Territories year after the alpha meeting, Moroccan nationalist leaders would present a manifesto calling for independence under the Sultan. The French response to these new radical demands was no repression. The resident General Gabriel Gabriel PO, ordered the rest of the nationalists and the crackdown on all ensuing protests. The Nationalists, who had contacted US consuls in Tangier, Rabat and Casablanca to intimate them of their claim. And to enlist American support were told that US official policy for the time being had applied as a priority, the pursuit of current war efforts and would not encourage any distraction from that goal. The reserved response of US diplomatic agent did not dissuade the nationalists from continuing their campaign. On the morning of. January 11th, 1944 two nationalist leaders, Mohammed Lizardi and the list Mohammadi, who later became the first Minister of Interior in the. In the cabinet in the first cabinet of independent Morocco paid a visit to the American Consulate in Rabat and were received by the Vice consul during Donald's demo. The purpose of their visit was to submit a copy of the Independence Manifesto and interestingly enough, a letter intended for President Roosevelt. The Vice Council, who had nuclear instructions as to how to deal with a similar situation, could only point out, quote the impropriety of transmitting communication from political groups in a foreign country to the President of the United States and the Court. The letter, which of which a cup is preserved in this very library. And I I I would like to say this library is very rich and it has a lot of interesting holdings and they just need to be used by students and scholars. So you know, we call on students to, you know, make extensive use. That according to you know, two statement from that letter and I I could have like posted on a you know PowerPoint presentation. But I'm sorry I didn't have time for that. However, I think the statement is clear addressing the President, the signatures. Said knowing your high sense of justice in your great love of liberty, we are convinced that our movement will find be noble and sympathy, not only near Your Excellency. But also with your government and the Great American democracy, you did ask the signal on Earth come into our country and you encourage us thereby to continue the struggle to the side of the allies, for our freedom, the liberation of France and the triumph of the humanitarian principles for which the allies are making so many sacrifices. This was in. In 1940, four 919. Sorry 11. January 1944. Now what was? The Sultan's position VIS A vis this whole process, how much support was he willing to give to the nationalist movement in the light of the many constraints imposed to him by the terms of the Protector Treaty and the repressive policies of the of the general residency. Until then, the margin of maneuver available to him was limited. And discrete action seemed advisable strategy to. Word open French reprisal. The nationalist move in January 1944. However, enjoy enjoyed the full support of the Sultan, which Liezi did not fail to communicate to vice consul demon the Sultan, according to American official records, had since his meeting with Roosevelt kept pressing. American officials for clear statement, as well as concrete actions in support of the Moroccan clause. While the American administration had no disposition to support Moroccan nationalist and undermine French interest, U.S. officials were not blind to the fast, deteriorating situation. North Africa and the rising wave of nationalism across the region in the aftermath of of the war, or were two their focus concentrating? On restoring the international status of Tangier and and Spanish control over the city. Delegations from France, Britain and Soviet Union, Soviet Union and the United States had held several meetings in Paris in August 1945 and agreed. To a new and provisional. Regime for Tangier that guaranteed the international character of the city and the rights of power. Signatories of the 1923 statute. The United States was invited to take part in the administration of the city by the Government of France and Brit. In his response to the French ambassador in Washington, the acting Secretary of State stipulated, and that's an interesting quote that the quote, the collaboration of representative of the United States at Tangier, in the Provisional Administrative administration of the Zone, shall not be deemed to modify. Or a bridge in any manner. And this is a point that the Professor noted early. In the morning. The following #1 the position of the United States #2 the status of its representatives. 3 The establishment authority and powers of its extraterritorial jurisdiction, and 4th any rights accruing to United States and its national and resources and from treaty custom. And usage as they existed throughout the territory of the sheriff in Empire prior to the introduction into the Tangier zone of the administration, resulting from the above mentioned convention of 1923 and the protocol of 1928. In other words, they did not recognize. Either the the 10 year Statute of 1923 nor the Protector itself, and that point was made clearly early, so they in a sense you might interpret this as recognizing the sovereignty of the Sultan even before independence and at the same time guaranteeing their privileges and their status. That occurred. You know that dates back to the first treaty and the the one that was renewed 50 years after that at 1836. The French authorities had already been notified by the Sultan's desire quote to recover the exercise of his rights of sovereignty. This was in a letter from the French ambassador to the Secretary of State that as early as 1945, the Sultan wanted to also. Reestablish his sovereignty of attention. The visit of Tangier in 1947 was inscribed with this new dynamics of post war politics. The arrival of new Resident General Eric Labonne in early 1946 signaled a new policies to appease the tense political situation Morocco and introduce new reforms commensurate with the rising demand of nationalist movement. Across north. It should be remembered that nationalist figures from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia had succeeded in establishing contact and securing support from the newly created Arab League in Cairo and from its First Secretary general, after Haman has ambition, the declared attachment of Moroccan Morocco's political elite to their Arab and Islamic roots. Threatened France influence in Morocco and their policy and the policies that it endeavored to pursue in Morocco, Lebanon's agricultural and educational reform policies, as well as political reconciliation program, could not contain the demands of the nationalist for a political process culminate. In in Moroccan independence, the Sultan visit to Tangier in April 1947, though long envisaged, came at a propitious time and added new momentum to the active agenda of the nationalist movement. The details of this journey were recorded both by the historian Abdullah. Ferrari, who served in several capacities in the Royal Court in 1940s and the nationalist leader Al Faisal, the two major Moroccan references that you know, described the process of the journey in detail and from the Moroccan perspective. In his memoir of Sultan Mohammed the 5th, Algieri notes that the 10 year journey, which lasted from Wednesday to Wednesday, 9th to Sunday to. To to think I'm getting tired. April was a historic event that further demonstrated the unanimous support and loyalty and loyalty enjoyed by the Sultan in the Spanish and international zone of his Kingdom. So I'm not going to go through the. The course of the trip from from Rabat to Asia land and from Asia to Tangier, but I'm going to jump straight to the following day. The following day, Thursday, April 10th, he received in his palace in Manduria representative foreign powers as well as dignitaries from Muslim and Jewish communities. The first of these diplomatic officials again, it has already been referred to was the American Consul General in Tangier, Paul H Allen, who had just been nominated. As already stated, U.S. ambassador to Syria, he would never go to Syria. He would. Go to Pakistan. He would die in 1949, but there's so so much in the diplomatic correspondent in the Department of State that he played a very important role in in the American policies in North Africa. The Sultan then received the representative of Great Britain, Spain and France successively and made the following statement translated from. You're very Texas and Arabic in in this informal that the Sultan said in this informal meeting and in the presence of representative of friendly countries. We're pleased to extend our sincere thanks to you for the affection you have shown us and to the Moroccan people on this historic occasion. This is not surprising since the bonds of affection. I've had since ancient times were built by our noble ancestor. Doctors, you are well acquainted. They said that Morocco participated in the last war and contributed its sins and all its means until the final victory was achieved. And since nations are now demanding rights that suit the present time is only a right for the Moroccan people to obtain their legitimate rights and to achieve what we hope for and what the Moroccan people yearn. To like all other nations. End of quote. After these reception, the Sultan gave speech. Actually, there were 5 speeches altogether, 6 speeches, 2 by the Sultan, 3 by Prince Hassan, and one by at least one that I know of by the by Princess, 2 by Elisha. So there were. Very busy during those four days. The Sultan speech I think you already know about, that he reiterated Morocco's demands for at least a status that leads to independence that breaks up with the old Protector Treaty and also. Renewing and emphasizing the ties with the Arab and Muslim world, these were the key key issues in or key points in his in his speech. The speech also called attention. To the strong bonds that how do you know that the royal family with the Moroccan people and made repeated references to the necessity for Moroccan people to attain their legitimate right? Most significantly, the speech made no ceremonious reference to the work of the French colonial authorities. You mentioned that in the introduction and the mission was interpreted as the Sultans. Disposition, disposition to resist the imposed policies of the residency. The escalating events that followed in ancient years and French hardline policy to curb the Sultan ascendant influence and popularity among the Moroccan population and its political elite only served to radicalize his position with the French. Colonial establishment, besides infusing public enthusiasm and confirming his sovereignty over the northern region of the country, the sultans visit to Tangier enable him to reach out to the international community through its diplomatic agents represented in Tangier and receive extensive media cover. Which both in local and foreign newspapers, if during the Alpha Conference the Sultan emerged as a head of state struggling to secure American recognition and support for his country's cause, the 10 year visit acclaimed him as a popular and legitimate sovereign who inspired hope and confidence. Among these people in the future, on Friday, the Sultan headed to the Great Mosque, Jamal Cabir, of Tangier, and delivered lhotka to the excited worshippers. It wasn't even known to the, you know, the people in the mosque that he was going to be the imam on that particular day. So they were all very excited. While the sermon did not contain any clear political message apart from exhortation to hold to the teachings of Islam, it endorses image as a devout and religious leader. The outcome of this extraordinary royal visit to Tangier for the colonial authorities in Rabat and the Parisian official circle was extremely disappointing. The apparently lenient policies and Bill of Reforms of Laban did not appeal, and this is again a point already stated earlier. Did not appeal either to the French colon nor to the nationalist his expectation, at any rate, were centered in achieving independence by reference to the Casablanca event, the massacre in Casablanca, the Senegalese soldiers, or all happened like a couple of days earlier, and could have. Being the cause for the sultans anger and wrath against the French residents, OK, the last two minutes I would like to spend to the. Political attitude or or response to this visit and what happened after that. Contemporary US diplomatic correspondence revealed that the situation the country was being watched carefully from the letters and correspondence of Tangier were bad as a blank agent with the Department of State. They were following the movement of the French and the Moroccans. They were a little bit I'm I'm I'm. Going to be. Summarizing some of that, they were very well. Worried about the nationalist movement being penetrated by communist elements? And that was not totally fictitious. There were numbers, according to the late Foreign Minister. Bush that he was talking about some of his colleagues at the time were influenced by, you know, Soviet propaganda and was were trying to take the nationalist movement to some direction. But this was not. The mainstream idea of the of the nationalist movement, then. The Department of State asked the. Agents, their agent in North Africa to hold a meeting in Paris to discuss North African situation and to come up with recommendation how U.S. Department of State, what course Department of State should take in relation to that. So the conference only took place on 17 June 1947. That's not long after the visit. The 10 year visit of the Sultan and. Representative US missions in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and France were present. The report of the offending presented by Ambassador Jefferson Gaffery was detailed and contained a road map to resolve to resolve the crisis that was fast developed in North Africa. Paul H Allen chaired the meeting and they had this suggestions for the Department of State. Something like long range plans and according long range plans to guide both North African protectorate, Morocco and Tunisia toward Dominion State. Such plan, they pointed out, should have a different time frame and should involve. And create actions to. Establish quote without a delay, without delay a solid basis for mutual trust between the Moroccans and the French authorities. These actions include quote again, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, rapid amplification of the school program, Administrative reform, initiation to democratic ways through the municipal elections, and of court now. Since I think I have only one minute, I I can manage to summarize the rest. You know, after 47, the French hardly paid attention or to this to this recommendation. Their policies in the in the late 1940s and even early 50s were still overwhelmed by steadfast belief in great Imperial friends and their plans for the future of North Africa gave no consideration to the people's aspiration for independence. The war in Algeria would go on for another decade and half. At the official level, however, U.S. government continued to tolerate French policies and often use this political support to offset the criticism and condemnation of several UN members state. But we have to remember that in post war contacts US had so many common interests with. That far outweigh their occasional differences, such as US claims to extraterritorial rights and privileges there. There was a conflict between France and and the United States, and they took it to the International court which, whose ruling was satisfactory to both parties anyway, the. The damn region in the China War, in French and cheerful prospect. Compel the US government to support French economically, militarily and politically. The establishment of US bases without prior consultation or consent of the Sultan all suggested the strong ties that bound France and the United States and the broad framework of their collaboration. But starting from 1953, after the French deposed. The Sultan U.S. government was itself under pressure from Arab and Asian countries in the UN to take foreign position against France. In the General Assembly, in the end, France had to reverse its colonial policies and reinstate the sovereign increased demands of the nationalist movement. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Princess Lalla Aisha’s Historical Speech in Tangier of April 1947 in the Light of the Varela Archives

Dale Eickelman: Our final speaker for this morning is somebody whom I keep thinking I know and I keep learning more about him. At one point in our exchanges to bring Mohammed bin. Abode here. When he was telling about his struggles in learning German, I said, well, you had a German cultural mission in Tetuan in World War 2, which for some reason left in 1945. Why didn't you study there? And I've learned since that since he's because he was only born. In 1950, so he's had the struggle with German since. The other thing I've learned. Is that it? I I knew he had studied in Edinburgh. But I had not made the connection that he was a student of William Montgomery Watt, who is one of the most distinguished. I use the term with great respect to Orientalist that that the world had at that time Orientalism is sometimes decried as something quote bad, but I think it's useful to look at everything in its own time, and what was a formidable figure, and he shaped what you were doing. And here in private correspondence which no longer is private, I've referred to Muhammad as our generations, Mohammed Daoud. For those of you not born in Tekwan, one of the I can't say books, but. There is a 4K history. Of text one and I believe 12 volumes 1314. I don't know. I've read enough of them to get a sense of the style, especially the early book showing the tight relations amongst the the intelligentsia. If you wish of Tetouan. Early in the 20th century and how they stayed together over the period, certainly of the Spanish protectorate and beyond. Mohammed does many things with many people. He won a prize in 1983 for a book in Arabic, which is an interesting choice for somebody who has a PhD from Edinburgh. But Mohammed has been one of those people wanting to see Arabic used as a serious language both of history. Of intellectual production that's today Saudi. Sorry. I'm stumbling because when you write in Roman characters, it gets hard to. Metals. Let's not talk about the metals. They're there. Bad cheating. King. There's there's a number of them. But the most important thing, I think, is what he's doing is in linking written history, something that Muhammad Daud is a local historian, did well in an old fashioned. But Mohammed's way of doing things is a little bit different. He's he's vice president of the Tetuan Asmir Association. And most importantly, I think for somebody interested in local histories and how they relate to other. Things he's not forgotten. The material part. He's very concerned with the historical preservation of Tetuan, which you know, as we saw in all of our different presentations is something where you don't just enact the law and say we're going to preserve things. It's a constant struggle to do. And to do. Well, so with that in mind, his presentation is as vast as anything else that he has done. Princess Lala Aisha's historical speech in Tangier of April 1947 in the light of the Varela Archives. I'll explain the importance of those archives in a moment.

Dr. M’hamed Benaboud: Thank You for your flattering introduction. Professor Dale Eickelman. I'm very flattered to be introduced by him and I'm very thankful to the director of the Old American Legation for having invited me to participate in this event at Tangier is a very special place for me because I was sent to the American school when when I was only six years old. And I spent. The whole week. Crying for my mother to come in the dormitory and I studied the, the, the the elementary school was at the old building and the. The jig up to 4th grade and then fifth grade. We moved to the new building, which is now an old building. And so I'm very, very thankful to him. Speaking Professor Dale Eichelman spoke about his own English and said he speaks very slowly and I would like to add that those who speak very slowly think before they speak and those who speak very fast speak without thinking. So you. Conclude the theme that I chose is Princess Lalla Aisha's historical speak at Tangier on the 11th of April 1947 in the light of the Varilla archives. Now Varilla was general. Varela was the resident general at the of the Spanish protectorate at that one, and. These archives date from 1945 to 1951, so they cover a very important period. And they are available in the archives of the City Council of Caddis and Nadia, razing this morning asked me where did you find those? Where do you have? You know. Where did you get those archives? I told them I have them in my computer at home. So actually, I spent the last month in Germany and. Just in and it was there that I wrote this paper and I had the archives right there in my residence. Another secret is that I wrote half of the paper before I could find the right archives and then change things so. This is very interesting for me because these archives are the archives of the Resident general, the ruler of north of Morocco, and the Sahara. And they were secret. And they reflect how well informed the Spanish administration was, at least here in Morocco, not so much in the Middle East. So I discovered some new things, details about the famous trip which are very interesting from the official perspective of of the most powerful Spanish general of the time. So which I will summarize very quickly, I will. The first part is on the trip, the second part. Is on the speech of Lalitha so. I can't read 18 pages in in in 15 minutes, so I I will just describe them very briefly and I hope I will give them to Professor. I command to have them published in one of his journals. So Elisha delivered her speech. Now just to get some facts straight, Mohammed the 5th. Traveled through Arbaa to Asila. We spent the night on the 9th of April. He then continued to Tangier on the 10th where he gave his famous speech on the 10th of April and on the 11th the hereditary Prince Hassan the 2nd. And Leisha gave their speeches. The text of the the Arabic texts of both speeches have been published, and I got them from the archives. So they were very well informed, as well as there's a Spanish translation. But I I I analyzed the Leisha speech from the Arabic text, which I got from the. These archives. They give us some extra information on the details because what you read on the newspapers and what the Professor Lopez so beautifully so I said, delivered her speech intensity after two days after her father and delivered his historic and delivered his historical speech and. It was very much in line with her, with her father's speech. You know, the the basic ideas I analyze. I I present an evaluation of the of these documents. In other words, what is the value of these documents for studying this event? So I won't go into these details. There are several very interesting facts which sprang out from these archives details, and there are the following. I will try to very brief. Description The first point is that Eric Labon, the French resident, did everything he could to stop S Mohammad Singh from going to Tangier, the Casablanca Senegalese soldiers events is very well known and the the, the the idea is that the situation is not secure, so you shouldn't travel to Tangier. It's dangerous. The second point is that he told them the Spanish authorities won't allow you to to cross the the part of the Spanish protectorate from Alabama to Tangier. And so he did everything he could, he told them, you know, but then, Muhammad, fifth was determined. And here we see his nationalist position. So he agreed to delay the trip, but not to not to cancel it altogether. So he delayed it. And the the the date was set on the 9th. Before that, there's a report here and I can show you some of the the the documents. You have a lot of newspaper articles from these archives. You have reports. This is a detailed description of the trip in Spanish. More papers. You have many letters by the Spanish resident general to the French resident general and vice versa. And you have reports from Paris and other places which they they were very well informed, the Spaniards. He he wrote him, Eric Labon wrote Mohammed 5th the letter and told him that he could go to Tangier, but that he must go by sea and that the French resident general had agreed with the British and the Americans that this would be OK. But Mohammed fifth said no, he wants to go by land and. He said let me hear from the. Spaniards that they won't. Allow me to go. So he wrote. The the Spanish resident was embarrassed he couldn't if he said no, then he would have a problem which he didn't want. He wanted to pass it on to the French, so he told him. On the contrary, I'm delighted that you're coming and but I have one condition and that is that Eric Labon must not accompany you after. Harbour, which Mohammed faith in you know, found very nice, he said. You know he didn't want the French general to represent any authority in the Spanish. Yeah. So the Spanish. So a a Commission was sent Spanish Commission to about to negotiate how this would be organized and then the Spanish general resident wrote Mohammed 5th and told him because Mohammed to. Spend the night in the tent in asila, he told them. No, we have a palace in the Sunni Palace. Once the Spanish Government, then it would be more appropriate. Or your residence, Muhammad the 5th. I'm not going to discuss the details of the trip with. If you find that one who represents me now from Morocco, and I want him to send me and it is he who is going to organize these details, and I I will not talk to you about how I'm going to organize my trip to Tangier. This is very important. So the French, they they didn't. Especially what was going on between South Mohammed 5th and the Americans as we see. From these reports. So the khalif and he told them he wants to be met by the the khalifas by all the parties, the judges and. All the kids and all that. And that was what happened. It was the failover and the self organized the whole trip. The description another point from these things is that when he reached the description at harbor, there's a a report in which he says which says for General Barilla that the masses which came from the mountains and everywhere so many that. You see people all the way to the. Firmament. It says it's it was just impressive. Thousands and thousands of people. And at Asila, it was the Sultan and the Khalifa decided who the Sultan was going to receive first or not receive. So the first to be received was the American representative in both Asia and Tangier about his his his, his train. And they didn't understand why. But then they said, well, Morocco is the first country to to recognise the United States of America and the All American relegation was the land was given by the Sultan of Morocco is is so the legation is mentioned in these. Archives and they built their, which is considered perhaps the first embassy of the United States, and it's a National Monument classified by the Americans as a National Monument. And so he was he organized a very important dinner at Asila and. In Tangier, for example, the first people in representatives you received on this train, where first, the American representative, then the presenter of Belgium, then the Spaniard, and then came the the French and the last one was the Dutch, so the. French were just before the. This one and so there. There's a detailed information of all the people who received him, the national leaders from northern Morocco, from southern Morocco, the judges you know, and so on. Now going to so these details are very important. There were three points that he stressed. And that Lola Isha stressed as well in her speech. One was that the Sultan of Morocco was the Sultan of all of Morocco. And that's why he insisted on going by land and stopping at Tasila. And as a matter of fact, there's a letter which in the Spaniards referred to a blog in noon. They said he's very close to the Sultan and they talked to him and. He told them. He's happy about the reception that assailant tells you, but he's not very happy about the fact that. He that he did not include other parts of Morocco, especially that one, you know, so this this is information. That they got. So these little details are very important because there is a letter from Eric Labon on the 19th, 9 days afterwards, in which he thanked the Spanish Resident general, tells him. Thank you very much for the splendid organization and reception at Iceland, Tangier and so on. But then there is another report. Which came from Paris and it says that the French are very unhappy with the Sultan's trip, and they consider that the Spaniards were behind it. And then Varilla answered, saying that the Spaniards did not invite them, that, you know, they had nothing to do with, with, with initiating the trip. So. So there was a lot of tension. Beneath, but on the surface it was all you know. Great. As far there's it's very interesting that there's a text of the the the letter in Arabic, there's the speech. Sorry. And there's the King Mohammed's speech as well. And there is some very nice pictures in the newspapers, you know, which I. Have here you know just her picture in in her speech. This is Cindy Mohammed. And then there's her own speech as well. And and the full text. So I analyzed this to. And these are some of the main points in in this text, so the document refers to the stone first. He he wanted to cross Morocco, as I said, and and the speeches were as successful as the trip itself. And and. And here's the the. The The Her Highness, the reformist Princess Elijah at Darrell Mason. Attention on the 11th of April of 1947. This was the title of the speech which was printed at as Mohammedia. So the the Arabic text is here. So here the Princess considered the importance of the. Present the the, the future and and the past need so the history was a glorious history of Morocco. The present is a very important but it's the future that she was concerned about. And Elijah stressed the need for Moroccans to unite their forces. There were three points that she stressed and that Mohammed, his strengths as well, one that Morocco was one nation and it was a sovereign and a United Nation, NS Tangier, everything to the South. We had One South. For all of Morocco, and this is important because in his speech at azila, the Khalifa stressed the fact that he was the Khalifa representative of the southern, and that the southern was the king. Of all of Morocco, which was very. Important. So he was the king of all of Morocco. And the third? Is that not only was Morocco nation, it was a recognized nation and that there you have his reference to the Arab League, by the way. My father was the representative of the Halifax mission at the Arab League at the time. So they had direct links with the Arab League through the Khalifa, and the second point, which which I think is very. Important is that Elijah is presented as a very modern, open minded intellectual. She summarized her Arabic speech in French and then in English, so they were recognized by the Arab League. And there's a reference to Morocco as a nation among. The Arab nations and to Islam as the religion of Morocco and of the Moroccans, and that they're, you know. And there is there's another point that is important in case they didn't get the message, the Americans were there and that's why he the American, was always the first to be received. You know, this was very important. So she refers to such themes, which have been discussed this morning by Professor benami, education, the role of women. The the need to. To develop the the Moroccan nation politics are not cited directly, but they are implicitly present throughout the speech so, and it is important that Elijah presents herself as a role model for women at the time. You know, she was a modern nation. They weren't occupying A backward nation. She she was an open minded, you know, lady. And she was defending the rights of the margins for nothing. Them independence and the Americans were there to support Morocco in case the French and the Spanish did not get the message. So you know, there was, there was a lot of movement, a lot of of tensions beneath, but everything was smooth on the surface. It's like a duck, you know, you see the duck moving very slowly, but the feet under the water going very fast. So this is very important. The biggest success is that the population was, you know, totally as, as I said, I mean in in the Spanish text people, you could see them, you know, going up all the way to the firmament, you know, so this is all I have to say thank you very much.

Dale Eickelman: Listening to Doctor Ben Abboud is like listening to a fine performance of jazz. You never know exactly what's going to come next, and you never know whether he'll draw on the resources of his own family or foundation or those of the good General Varela or lots of things in between. I hope that you will. Agree with me. That the different presentations that we've had today from those of the most experienced scholars who have spent many, many years understanding Morocco from. The near neighbors to the north, to the Moroccans, reminding us that the what is Zona del Protectorate? Was a strong Cultural Center in its own way, and coming back very much in in that Morocco of today to think about not only the past, but what's happening, what's happening in in future times, but each of the presenters. That represents a different aspect of culture and relationships and relationships to the legation.

The Emerging Shia Crescent Symposium: Understanding the Shia (Jun 2006)

Transcript Source

Video Source


Reza Aslan, Research Associate, Center on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California

Dale Eickelman, Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations, Dartmouth College

Noah Feldman, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations


Lisa Anderson, Dean, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

June 5, 2006
Council on Foreign Relations
New York, NY


Richard Haas (president, Council on Foreign Relations): Well, good morning. We’re only seven minutes late.

This morning’s event is titled “The Emerging Shia Crescent: Implications for the Middle East and U.S. Policy.” This is part of a series of policy-oriented symposia that we’ve been holding here at the council. Recently we had one on Iran and U.S.-Iranians relations. We have obviously this one today. And the idea is to analyze what we think is an important phenomena and, if there are clear policy prescriptions, to try to draw them out.

This is an on-the-record event. It’s being webcast around the country and the world.

It is in three parts. This is the first, on the question of understanding Shia. Then we’ve got the second session after a break, about whether this all ought to be a cause for a concern. And then thirdly, the last session, over lunch, will be on the clear implications of all this for U.S. policy in the region.

As you can see, looking at your program, we’ve assembled—at the risk of some immodesty—I believe, an extraordinary array of talent and expertise on this subject.

Let me just make one other point. Several people raised the question of the title, use of the words—phrase “Shia Crescent,” which has taken on certain consequences because it’s been used in certain ways in the region. It’s not meant in any way to suggest there is a threat one way or the other. Indeed, the entire purpose of this set of meetings is to examine what is behind the rise in Shia power, to the extent that there is such a rise; how to account for it; and how to think about it. So there’s nothing in the title of the event in any way made to foreshadow or preordain the outcome.

With that, let me turn it over to Dean Lisa Anderson, who is the dean of an institution up the road, and she will take it from there.

And again, the way the day is set up is, we have these three sessions, and we’ve tried to block enough time between and among them so you all have a chance to talk over these issues with one another.

But Lisa, over to you.

Lisa Anderson: Thank you very much. I’m delighted to be here and delighted to be with all of you.

Lisa Anderson, Reza Aslan, Dale Eickelman, and Noah Feldman discussing critical issues for understanding Shia, such as intellectual tradition, thought, and identity.

I am instructed to remind you that you should turn off all wireless devices—(chuckles)—there’s a long list of them: cell phones and BlackBerries and so forth—and again to remind you, as Richard said, that this is on the record.

Now, we have a long, you know, robust agenda for this morning.

And with us this morning to start us off are three quite remarkable people who will be offering their perspectives, really, on sort of the beginning of this kind of discussion.

Reza Aslan is a research associate at the UniversityofSouthern California Center on Public Diplomacy. He’s taught Islamic and Middle East studies at various places, writes fiction, is a regular op-ed editorialist, and author of “No God but God.” His book has been translated into six languages.

Noah Feldman is already well known to this audience. He is an adjunct senior fellow here at the council, professor of law at NYU Law School, served as advisor to the coalition provisional authority and writes what seems to be about a book a year on law, religion, Middle East and other issues, is a regular to the contributor to The New York Times Magazine.

And Dale Eickelman is the Richard & Ralph Lazarus Professor of Anthropology atDartmouth, past president of the Middle East Studies Association and currently adviser toKuwait’s first private liberal arts university, the American UniversityofKuwait. He’s author of numerous books and articles that have shaped the way we all think about Islam.

Reza, why don’t I start with you and start with the sort of basic question. Most people in this audience know the answer to this question. But just to make sure we’re all on the same page, what is Shiism?

Reza Aslan: Well, when talking about the origins of Shiism, it’s a difficult topic to deal with because in some sense what we refer to as Shia thought or Shia religion represents trends of thought that have existed from the very beginning of the movement of Islam, in fact, even predates Islam in some ways. But I think it’s very—it’s easier when talking about Shiism and particularly the difference between the Shia and the majority Orthodox Sunni community to divide it into three different categories—politically, religiously and ethnically—because, of course, Shiism arose as a distinct movement within Islam primarily as a political movement, as a political identity, as most of you know, regarding the question of the succession to the Prophet Mohammed.

The Shia, or the Shiat Ali, which means the partisans of Ali, were just that, partisans of a particular movement that believed that the succession to the Prophet Mohammed should rest within the prophet’s immediate family, if not within his clan.

So when we talk about that original split between Shiism and what will eventually become known as Sunni Islam, we need to recognize that at first there was very little religiously that separated these two groups. This was surely political separation. However, once the Shia political aspirations were more or less denied and the Muslim community transformed into an empire, a distinctly Arab empire, the Shia slowly began to withdraw from the larger political implications of their movement. And it was at that point, particularly after a very important date, 680, and the events at a place called Karbala in Iraq, in which the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed and the scion of Shia leadership was massacred by the Umayyad, the Arab empire at the time, that Shiism began to withdraw from society, particularly politically, and began to become distinctly a religious sect.

And what was sort of interesting about this, particularly from a religious studies point of view, is that Shiism is one of very few religions in the world whose origins are sort of defined by ritual, not so much by mythology. It was the lamentation rituals, the mourning rituals that arose out of this massacre at Karbala, that began to give Shiism its distinct religious definition, and only later on did the theological implications, almost the theological definition, I would say, of Shiism was formed as a result of these rituals that had already very organically been going on for quite some time.

The last thing that—so now we have this—what began as a political split became very clearly a religious split. But now at this point, from about 680 onward, Shiism comes to represent essentially the protest movement within the Islamic world. It is the non-state version of Islam. In essence, it becomes quite appealing, particularly to non-Arabs, though this is, at this point, still primarily an Arab movement. As Islam began to spread beyond the Arab world, as it began to spill into Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent and into North Africa, it—Shiism became an opportunity for non-Arabs to become Muslim, to adopt the identity of Islam, and yet to maintain some sort of separation from what they saw as a domineering and sometimes oppressive state ideology.

“In the Shia world…although there were moments where it looked like the scholars might decline, they kept going and they kept producing interesting and provocative scholarship. And more importantly than that, they maintained an important institutional role in their society,” said Feldman.

Lisa Anderson: This sounds, to an uninitiated ear, a lot like Protestantism in Christianity. Is that—I mean, again, is that a way for us to understand this is—is it comparable to that split in Christianity?

Reza Aslan: Well, I mean, I actually think it’s quite an interesting historical parallel insofar as the Protestant movement also began as a protest movement, a protestant movement against the official sanctioned state religion, that of Christianity. And so in that sense, there’s very much a lot of historical parallels between the Shia movement and the Protestant movement.

Theologically speaking, ideologically speaking, it’s sort of the reverse because the Shia, because of the fact that as it began to be adopted by non-Arabs, by Central Asians, by people who were once Christians or Manichaeans or Jews or Zoroastrians or Hindus, this sense of syncretism began to really take hold, and Shiism began to develop and flower into a wholly new kind of expression of traditional Islam. It very eagerly absorbed these local and cultural and religious practices and made it very much a part of its own.

And as such one of those practices was the idea of the devotion, devotion to the prophet Mohammed, which is something that traditional mainstream Sunni Islam tends to eschew in some sense, this idea of coming to Mohammed as a figure of devotionalism as opposed to as simply a messenger of God, somebody who should be revered, of course, but to whom devotion in the sense of almost—I mean, I don’t want to say worship, but almost in the sense of that kind of idea began to really take hold within Shiism.

Lisa Anderson: One of the distinctions that’s often made between—and you sort of imply this, I think, between Shia and Sunni Islam —is the relative emphasis on the rule of law in Sunni Islam, and that for Shia, this is not as significant. And so I’d like maybe, just almost as a segue into some questions for Noah, you to tell us a little bit—we talk a lot about the rule of law, you know—the question is, what law?

Reza Aslan: No, that’s an excellent point, and I think a lot has to do with the issue of power dynamics. Sunni Islam—and by the way, Sunni just means tradition—traditionalist. So in a sense, the idea of Sunni Islam is very much tied to the development of Islamic law, which, while it has its primarily foundations within the Koran, the bulk of Islamic law, particularly in the Sunni world, involves the Sunnah, the traditions of the Prophet.

Within the Shia world, because they were so removed from any kind of political power and because in many ways they separated themselves from the larger ummah, the larger Muslim community, and of course, the clerical institutions of those communities; and also, because within Shiism there was a great deal of emphasis on the charismatic leader, the imam, the true successor to the Prophet Mohammed, who, by the fact of his very birth had a spiritual connection, an esoteric knowledge, if you will, of things that go beyond simply tradition or law—the idea of law and particularly the role of the traditions within the law played a different role in Shiism than it did in Sunni Islam with the result that Shiism was able to adapt and to evolve, I think, at a far greater pace than traditional Sunni law.

Part of the reason for this is a word that gets thrown around a lot. You hear it actually quite a lot these days in this notion of ijtihad, which is a source of law that means independent juristic reasoning. The idea is that a qualified cleric has the ability to use nothing more than rational conjecture in order to interpret Islamic law. This tradition existed both in Sunni Islam and in Shia Islam. However, within the Sunni world, it began to fall out of favor slightly; sometimes we talk about it coming to an end in Sunni Islam. That, I think, is a false way of presenting it. But it did fall out of favor within the Sunni Islamic legal traditions, whereas in Shia Islam, it not only remained major source of law.

But I would say that it remained the major source of—the primary source of law, which, of course, allowed for a great deal of innovation and adaptation. And I think we see this very much playing out in the modern world with regard to countries such as Iraq and Iran, in which we see a great deal more political experimentation and perhaps an even easier time of reconciling traditional Islamic values and ideas and traditions with modern conceptions of democracy or pluralism or human rights or what have you.

I think the Shia legal tradition has a bit of an easier time with that reconciliation than most traditional Sunni schools of law do.

Lisa Anderson: Noah, I don’t even have to ask you that question. That’s a question. You know, we start more than a thousand years ago. Do these traditions—are they lively today in this sort of way?

Noah Feldman: There’s no question that Shi’ite intellectual tradition is extremely lively right now. I think the key point here is that the scholars/clerics played a major role in both Sunni and Shia Islam, but in the 19th century—second half of the 19th century, first half of the 20th, in the Sunni world the scholars really declined. And it’s a whole complicated story of its own, which is not our topic today, of how that happened, but it did happen.

In the Shia world, by contrast, although there were moments where it looked like the scholars might decline, they kept going and they kept producing interesting and provocative scholarship. And more importantly than that, they maintained an important institutional role in their society. So if you look at the world today, what you see is that essentially Shia clerics have much more organization and much more influence over ordinary Shia believers than do most Sunni clerics over Sunni believers.

Now, there’s a particular religious component to this and then there’s an institutional component, so I’ll just mention them quickly. The religious component is that under the contemporary reception of Shia doctrine, each individual Shi’i is supposed to choose for himself one cleric who will be his model of emulation. There’s, you know, an Arabic term for that, the marzhak dapliv (ph), but it’s essentially the person to whom one chooses—whom one chooses to emulate. And you actually have free choice to choose one of the great scholars as the person whom you’ll emulate. That means that that person has real influence over you. And this is not an institutional model that exists in exactly the same way in the Sunni world.

So the most obvious example of this is Ayatollah Sistani today, in Iraq, whose name we all know and whose website we’ve probably all visited, Sistani.org, who has enormous influence over people all over the world who choose to ask him questions. And in theory, his answers are binding on those people.

The second component is that the various Shia scholars are organized into institutional schools in certain actual locations, and the two most important or famous in this century are Qom, in Iran, and Najaf, inIraq. And they have been both up and down at different points in history. Right now there was a lot of hope a couple years ago that Najaf was going to rise, and in certain ways maybe it has, in terms of the individuals there, but it hasn’t really risen because the country is in such a shambles. Qom, it was said, oh, it’s about to decline. It actually hasn’t declined in quite the same way.

So those remain important centers, and in those centers you have a lot of very smart people who are lawyers and philosophers and theorists, sitting around and arguing about ideas. And that can be pretty exciting to see.

Lisa Anderson: Does that then suggest the dynamism in the Shia world is largely a result of this sort of intellectual life, or are there other elements that we need to be thinking about if we think about the relations—well, the Shia in general and related to the Sunnis?

Noah Feldman: I think the key player in the answer to that question is Ayatollah Khomeini.

I think what happened under—in Khomeini’s own move is that he took the clerics out of the seminaries and said that what they had to teach was relevant to actual political action.

And in the process of doing that, he really accomplished two huge changes in—that are directly relevant to today’s dynamism in the Shia world. I think the first thing that he accomplished is that he made the clerics into political actors, into active political actors, and thereby made Shiism itself into a political force, which, if you look at the old textbooks, is described—it’s described in the opposite way. Shiism is described as a quietistic denomination where you just sit back and let the government do its thing. And after Khomeini, the opposite could now reasonably be said.

And the second thing that he did is that he further consolidated in his own theories the importance of the most respected senior ayatollah as a crucial figure in what was going to happen in the Shia world. And even though other senior scholars didn’t agree with him—so today—in today’s version, again, Sistani wouldn’t agree with the idea of Khomeini that the person who’s authorized to rule ultimately is the best jurist—it’s the rule of the jurist, the idea that if you’re the smartest jurist and the most pious, you’re qualified to actually tell people what to do—even though Sistani doesn’t agree with that, nonetheless, the idea that this central figure has a big role to play has sort of rubbed off, even on people in the Shia world who would disagree with Khomeini’s actual formulation.

Lisa Anderson: I want to ask you a question, which is, as I did before, really to Dale, but I want you to answer it and then we’ll—you did something interesting when you were talking about place. On the one hand, there are these two major centers, one inIranand one inIraq, that are associated with development of Shiism. But then you said “Sistani.org.” To what extent is—are these discussions located in these places? And to what extent are these discussions transcending those in this new media and—

Noah Feldman: That’s a deep question. I think that it’s really in play right now. You know, if you look over on the Sunni side, I think it’s pretty clear that except for a handful of places where people are training good scholars, it’s all—the Web is hugely important. You know, serious scholars are disseminating things on the Web. Non-serious people are disseminating things on the Web. Everyone’s arguing on the Web, and it’s become much—was already decentralized. It’s become further decentralized.

On the Shia side, if you want to rise through the ranks of the Shia clerics, you still have to study, in a system that is—it has got—it’s like a university. It’s tiered. You have to go through all the ranks in the university. And that’s still necessary to accomplish significant influence in the formal religious sphere. But there are moves to decentralization. So it’s significant that it’s not, you know, “Shiism.org.” It’s Sistani. It’s personalized to “Sistani.org.” So I think that still matters. And the people who are around him still matter. And who becomes the head of the hawza, or the clerical establishment, in Najaf after he dies, which I hope will not happen too soon, will actually really have, I think, practical import.

At the same time, you know—and here I should just mention Muqtada Sadr, because we—he’s a sort of weird counterexample to what I’m saying—there are people who—like Muqtada Sadr, who come from fancy families of academia, as it were. I mean, he’s from a very important family, who’s—and his father and grandfather were significant figures in—especially his grandfather—significant figures in Shia religious life.

He himself, though, is a young guy—he’s around my age—and he’s not risen up high through the ranks, nor does he have any prospect of doing so.

So he’s been trying to generate political authority for himself and religious charisma by going outside the traditional organization and sort of being the kind of angry young cleric on the ground. The web is less central, obviously, for him, but it’s another—like the web, which is a form of decentralization. Muqtada al-Sadr is trying and has done pretty well of trying to create an alternate route to authority, a kind of charismatic rout to authority outside the institutional route.

Lisa Anderson: Okay. Dale, where are Shia? What are the important places, including perhaps the web, that we should be thinking about?

Dale Eickelman: Okay. Let me start by looking even at the title for this conference, which I have not fully adapted with enthusiasm, the Shia Crescent, which, I presume, has replaced the Islamic Crescent, at least this week, as a focus of interest. The problem with a title like that, I think, it’s neglecting the extent to which one is becoming decentralized in some ways, but on the other hand, as both Reza and Noah have pointed out, you have in Shiism something that is not so much defined just by doctrine, but by a convergence of a certain type of institutional identity, very strong, practical sense of ties with whom one follows his religious leader to talk about personal issues, family issues, household and community issues and just about everything else. And then on the other hand, an identity shaped sometimes by rituals, which allowed many, many different interpretations and other things.

I did a very easy sort of exercise and went to a chart which should show you how one should distrust certain types of figures. I went to a very open source, www.cia.gov, figuring that the open source, CIA, would tell us where the Shia are. And it’s fascinating when you look at it in detail because for the places that are politically very sensitive such as Lebanon, they fudge, they say nothing; they abrogate the Shia with lots of other Islamic sects and do nothing.

The Yemen is a tricky thing that only people schooled when I was in the mid-20th century would notice. What you do with the Zaidi Shia who have no ties with Shia, really, in the rest world? It’s something unique to (Oman ?). The CIA fudges it; they don’t bother saying anything. They just say they’re all Muslims, and they move on from there.

In some places, the figures are very useful. There seems to be a good faith effort to show where the Shia or least how many Shia there are in Iraq, something that has been of concern for many, many years, when people know the figures are very, very awkward. But now it’s plus or minus 5 percent, at least for the CIA’s public figures.

Likewise, Iran, 89 percent. But that reminds us that there’s a lot of Sunni there, as well as representatives of other religious traditions in rather significant communities—Jews and Christians, amongst others. Nineteen percent or so for Pakistan and Afghanistan . A very, very interesting figure to watch because, number one, it’s a significant minority; number two, it’s a political flash point where there’s numbers of riots, and so forth; and number three, where there’s very active Shia groups, especially the Ismailis, trying to reach out in very many different ways to improve the level not only of Ismaili communities, who are Shia, but many other communities as well.

And this brings me, I think, to the more important thing than trying to figure out where things are, and still use CIA.gov, the World Factbook, as a place to begin, but then be extraordinarily critical of using other things. There’s another site a student brought to me called advocate.org, that claims to tell you where all the sects are in the world. And as somebody who has spent years and years in the Sultanate of Oman, where my estimate of the number of Shia is under 1 percent, but really nice people, they came up with 80 percent because somebody just didn’t know how to read all these funny figures and decided to get on with it. But may God help us when such figures then become part of somebody’s policy decisions.

But what one has now is a combination, I think, that is unique to the Shia way of practicing Islam. It’s this combination I was talking about of intense local ties that are highly flexible in terms of retaining people’s confidence in very different situations. Quite often in Iraq, although no one knows this better than myself, sometimes it’s the Shia who provide community and government services where there is no government to speak of, at least for their own communities.

Now, combined with that, one has attempts of many Shia to recognize that part of the modern world requires explaining yourselves not only to your followers, but to others, which means, quite often, a Web presence, which can be a very, very strong sort of thing. It may be certain Shia groups based out of London, for instance, that also play a role, a very strong role in Iraqi politics.

It may be groups inIranlearning to represent themselves in other languages and to try to spread. They have a hard doing it. As I’ve talked with Indonesian clerics, for instance, they’ll have people from Iran come to them from time to time—and they’re polite because the Iranians who come are Arabic speaking and the senior Indonesian clerics are Arabic speaking, so they have a language in common—but after that, it doesn’t go anywhere.

The late Raholish Madgi (ph) told me that in 1985, he was trying to explain to the Indonesian security services exactly what the difference was between Sunni and Shia, and after the first week of such lectures, the occasions was the first time that non-Muslims were allowed to come in to talk about Islam to groups, and most people I noticed didn’t wear nametags, just like Washington. So then I’d start asking, “Who are they,” when they were giving us photographs, and I found out it’s—(name inaudible)—then a major security service. But he said, “Oh, we’ve gotten very far. I’ve now told them that the Shia are not Sunni,” and that was a start. But he said, “That’s about as far as we ever got, and they’re not going to be likely to have much influence here.”

The important thing, however, is that for outreach to other Muslims, the Shia community, including the Ismailis, tend to mute the religious element of it so that they can do what they do well—intellectual propagation, if you wish, first-class, world-class universities and public works services. For other groups, there’s a little bit more limitation to the other.

But on the other hand, when I have gone to seminaries in Iran and elsewhere, the level of debate and contestation, the really exciting joining of intellectual issues with the issues of the day, is something that I rarely have seen elsewhere.

Lisa Anderson: Let me draw you out a little bit on this.

You pointed out, as we know, but I think it’s worth making more explicit, that the—what we’re calling Shiism is actually very internally complex, that there varieties of schools and sects and so forth within Shiism. To what extent are we seeing something that’s developing that is a more self-conscious, transcendent identity as Shia as opposed to Ismaili or Zaidi or any of the other internal divisions?

Dale Eickelman: We’re seeing lots of some groups, at least, claiming an overall mantle of authority.

Here you have a paradox, I think. Groups such as the Ismaili do not claim to represent all Muslims. They do some things, they do them very well, period. With other groups with a strong territorial base and a lot to lose if they don’t defend themselves, as in Iraq, one has a strong emphasis on holding up one’s own and trying to speak for other groups with whom one might come into a coalition, plus lots of outside forces that sometimes help push you into a certain thing. Example: When you decide to have a parliament and you say you’re going to allocate—this is why the CIA, for instance, won’t say too much about what they might know about the statistics for Lebanon, where numbers are very, very tricky sorts of things. If you have a parliament where you say X number of people are going to be Shia, X are going to be Sunni, that forces you into boxes. Think back to what the League of Nations would do in places such as Alexandretta in, I believe it was the early 1930s, where you’d have local elections where thugs would go around and try to convince people to be either Arabs or Kurds or Turks so that you could boost the numbers and then have territory allocated. In a somewhat analogous way, one has now the problem of creating something for the purposes, perhaps, of representation, but if that box is a big abstract box, then there’s something very concrete that allows people of smaller groups to try to claim the mantle of authority to speak for that group. That can go either way. Sometimes it can work for the good, sometimes it can be a very, very dangerous thing to do.

Lisa Anderson: One more question to you, but this is really to all three of you, and then we’ll open it up to questions from the audience. This question of how people choose, if you will, their identity—in other words, are they going to be Persian, are they going to be Shia, are they going to be Ismaili, you know, all of that seems to me, judging from what you’ve said and what we read in the papers, very much in play.

So what are the kinds of things that are shaping those decisions of how people deploy various identities that are available to them? And most particularly, you mentioned, Dale, social service delivery as something that groups do, presumably that is in part to encourage people to identify with those sorts of groups.

So what are the sorts of things we ought to be thinking about, about how people make those choices of, you know, the priority of their various identities?

Dale Eickelman: If I were an Ismaili inChitral, Pakistan, a very remote area, perhaps I would get a little better chance at a scholarship or a little better chance to get outside of my own community to make something of myself. I think I would foreground that part of my identity.

If I were living in Basra and a very insecure sort of situation—it’s not just individual choice—but I might want to go with the group whom I felt might be able to protect me and give me the resources, so that I could just survive, more than another.

Those are extreme cases. In most cases, in the ones I know a little bit better, that I’ve seen amongst Shia in Oman and, to a more limited extent, in Iran, it’s a combination of things. If your father, your grandfather and so forth have had—have followed the teachings of one individual, you may very well go with that same family or group, and talk with your community. It’s not like an election, where you can switch political parties, but sometimes there are switches, and sometimes you will vote with your feet and join some other group.

In a sense, as one Mustahid (sp) said to me in Iran, “We’re more democratic than you. We talk about our decisions and then we move forward.”

Reza Aslan: I think that’s very interesting. I think Dale brings up a very good point in emphasizing geography and context in how one defines oneself as either Shia or Sunni or what have you.

Nowadays, because we are so embroiled in this emerging Sunni- Shia conflict, we tend to think of these two identities as very distinct and separate and even at odds with one another.

But I think it’s important to recognize that throughout history, this has been a much more fluid issue of identity than it has been quite recently. Particularly to the Arab world, it’s—I mean, Shia and Sunni intermarry. There is—it’s often the case where identity has far more to do with one’s tribe than it has to do with one’s sect. And in many ways it has been a direct result of outside forces and this attempt by, particularly, the Western powers to impose a sense of identity upon primarily colonized peoples that has solidified this real difference.

I think Iraq is a wonderful example of this. Really, at the beginning of the war, when we started seeing some of these conflicts, I and a lot of other scholars were saying stop talking about this as some kind of civil war between Shia and Sunni; that sense of identification is not nearly as strong as other ideas of identification, particularly tribal notions. And yet, in a very strange way, a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy has occurred insofar as there’s been so much emphasis on the division of Iraq in these sectarian lines that Iraqis themselves have begun to absorb that identity, and precisely that conflict that we were so afraid of has in some ways come to pass.

Noah Feldman: I disagree a little bit at least with the end of what Reza said.

I mean, I think that right now in the Middle East, two things are—two related forces are driving this identity game, and they’re both related to destabilization. One is a sense of insecurity—and this is especially true in Iraq. And I entirely agree with Professor Eickelman, that if you’re looking around for someone to protect you because the government can’t, you need some big strong group to do it, and if that turns out to be a religious denomination, so be it. If the tribes were bigger and more effective, people might look to those.

The other, though, is participatory politics. And participatory politics drive people to look for new identities. And there are identity entrepreneurs out there who present themselves and say: Here’s an identity, latch on to this one. It will get you stuff, or it will give you security, it will give you a political role, or it will give you dignity.

And we’ve got people doing that not just in Iraq, where the destabilization on both fronts is very extreme, but also in Lebanon, where there has been political doubt, and that always leads to the greater strengthening and rise. And of course, it started in Lebanon—Shia identity as a powerful identity in Lebanon really began to rise politically during the civil war there, another form of instability. The so-called dialogue that’s been taking place in Saudi Arabiahas involved for the first time Shia leaders in Saudi Arabiafrom the eastern province, again a kind of participatory politics. It’s not like an election, but still some form of participation.

And just to close this thought, you know, in Iraq, in Baghdad, within about 48 hours of the fall of Saddam’s statue, there were bedsheet posters all over Baghdad that said, in Arabic, “Not Sunni, not Shi’i, Islamic unity.” Now, those were very ambivalent posters. On the one hand, they were saying let’s be united, let’s transcend our particular ethnic identities. On the other hand, the people who wrote those banners were already worried that the implicit division between Sunni and Shia in the country was about to burble up. And they weren’t—I mean, at this point, believe me, the United Stateshad no role to play, realistically, in the country. We were offering no form of stability, security or anything. So I don’t think it was a imposition from without. I think that everyone sort of had this instinct that as destabilization emerged and as new political formations were created, these identity lines were going to be important ones.

Reza Aslan: Well, I guess what I just wanted to emphasize is that a lot of these identity politics and these conflicts within these identities have far more to do with the geopolitical fragmentation that has occurred in that region as, in many ways, a direct result of colonialism and Western aggression, than with a real theological or ideological conflict. Now, I’m not saying that that does not exist, nor—it has existed. It’s existed for 14 centuries. But I think nowadays we have a tendency to see some of these conflicts taking place between Shia and Sunni communities as representing an ancient and inherent animosity between these two groups. That’s not necessarily the most productive way of thinking about it. It does, I think, have far more to do with some of the geopolitical issues.

Noah Feldman: I agree on the geopolitics, (one word ?) on this. But if you look, for example, again in Iraq now, you have Sunni insurgent groups, some of them Iraqi, but some of them from outside Iraq, who are—they’re called—they don’t call themselves, but they’re called Takfiris. They’re called Takfiris because takfir is the action of declaring someone else to be an infidel. These guys declare Shi’is to be infidels. Now again, if you go back through the historical sources, you can find some arguments made by classic Sunni scholars to say that Shi’i are infidels.

That’s not crazy as a theological matter. But it’s also largely not been the norm among Sunnis pretty much all of the time, for the last 1,3(00) or 1,400 years, because for practical reasons it wasn’t a good idea to declare people infidels when they lived next door to you or whether they lived across the border. But these folks are using this theological justification to justify killing innocent Shia civilians.

So, again, I agree that this is generated by geopolitics in a complex way, but it’s also embedded in and connected to religious tradition.

Dale Eickelman: Let me jump in with a brief historical analogy that might help us remember—help us, remind us the extent to which these things are historically situational. In what is now Bangladesh, in the last 19th century, there were big attempts in an Islamic rival, and it was a very interesting sort of thing because you’d have preachers competing with one another trying to show that they can speak Arabic better than others. And since virtually nobody knew Arabic, quite often both of them were slubbing it and just trying to deceive the villagers.

But the point of the exercise was that from that point onward, villagers who didn’t know what Hinduism was or what being Muslim was had to start choosing sides as then the Hindus would start responding with their own preachers. And soon a villager could not be just going to shrines as they had, not worrying too much about whether they were Muslim or Hindu. They were taught what it was, and it got worse and worse, of course, as time went on.

And perhaps what we’re seeing now in Iran is something that we’ve already seen in the Balkans and elsewhere. Once upon a time, it didn’t matter too much. Now your life is at stake if you don’t choose sides and choose it right. And the analogy with Lebanon, I think, is perhaps the bloodiest and the one that would come to our attention best of all—Lebanon during the civil war. Sorry.

Lisa Anderson: Tempted as I am to continue being the only questioner—I have a whole list here—in fairness to everyone else, I’d like to give the audience an opportunity to pose some questions. Please wait for a microphone—Professor Bulliet will be first—and identify yourself, if I haven’t done it already.

Questioner: Yeah, Richard Bulliet, Columbia University. A couple of quick notes. First, no one’s mentioned the Shiite population of Turkey—a very substantial portion of the population. When you talk to Turks and ask them about Shiites in Turkey, what is universally told is that they are very much on the left and they are very secular and they do not play a major religious card, and yet it’s right next door to Iraq. So that’s one element. They also are not of the same sectarian identification as the Shiites in Iraq and Iran.

The second point is that when I go to various parts of the Muslim world and I talk to Sunnis, what I’m struck by is the almost universal profound ignorance of Shiaism among Sunni Muslims, and accompanied by a level of popular disdain and hatred that I only can compare to what we had in this country toward blacks in the white community before the civil rights movement. And I think that when we talk about Shiaism in its various complexities, which the three of you have done very well, I think we have to also keep in mind that for many, many Sunnis this is not a complex community, this is simply an inferior community, and that it has been that way for a long time. The ease of marriage between Sunni and Shi’ite is not obvious; there are countries where they cannot easily intermarry. In the Ottoman Empire, it was prohibited for Sunnis and Shiites to intermarry.

So I think that just to talk about Shiism without talking about Saudi views, Bahraini views, Sunni Pakistani views, Sunni Lebanese and Christian Lebanese views, which are absolutely poisonous, is a mistake. I’m not going to talk about Iraq because I don’t know the current situation in Iraq. But in other countries, this hatred of Shiism is very profound on the Sunni side.

Reza Aslan: That’s a very good point, Professor Bullet, and thank you so much for bringing that up, because it has a lot to do with how Shia identify themselves and the very consciousness of what it means to be a Shia is to be this persecuted yet righteous minority surrounded by a persecuting and unjust majority. It has had a profound effect not just on the development of Shiism as a religion, particularly the conceptions of martyrdom, et cetera, et cetera, but very much the way that Shia define themselves.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten into a cab somewhere in the Arab world, and of course they ask me where I’m from, and I say that I’m Iranian, and then that essentially means that I’m Shia. And now, I will say that I have had both experiences.

I have had cabdrivers who have begun just the most disgusting litany of lies about, you know, Shiism and who have actually pulled over and tried to convert me back to Islam right there and then, as I’m sitting in the back of the cab.

On the other hand—

Noah Feldman: That was in New York, though, that that happened. (Laughter.)

Reza Aslan: That was actually inNew York. Right. That was right here.

On the other hand, I will say that I’ve had the opposite experience to—not just people who have said, “Well, we’re brothers regardless, and—“ et cetera, et cetera, but who very specifically bring up Khomeini and bring up Iran, which they may disagree with in some sort of religious way—I have to say, by the way, this was before the Iraq war—who—they may disagree religiously or ideologically, what have you, but the notion of Khomeini as this paragon for an anti-Western identity and this exerting of strength, of Muslim strength, regardless of whether it’s Shia or Sunni, really created a bridge in a lot of my discussions with Sunnis in the Arab world. So that’s very important.

The other—I’m sure Noah and Dale will talk about this as well, but—I think it’s very common for Shia to be considered the secularists or the Marxists or the leftists; that that, I think, throughout, particularly modern Islamic history, has been a fairly common thing, to associate Shiism with Marxism or with leftism.

Noah Feldman: Partly, I think, because of your—I mean, this is also true of—if you were Christian Arab, you’re more likely to be an Arab nationalist or a left—I mean, again, it’s probably if you’re a minority. And I think, just in response to Professor Bullet’s point, this point is extraordinarily well-taken, especially for the Gulf, over any country where there are people—where there is a substantial but oppressed Shia minority.

The question of Iran, as Reza suggests, sort of throws this off a little bit, because Iran might be a geostrategic enemy if you’re sitting elsewhere in the Gulf, but on the other hand, it’s a country that’s accomplished a lot in certain respects and has this revolutionary tradition.

And I think you saw this ambivalence in the Arab League meetings recently when the issue of Iran and the bomb arose. And on the one hand, is this an Islamic bomb, which might be more useful than the Pakistani bomb has turned out to be for other Muslims, or on the other hand, is this a bomb associated with a distinctively Shia power, which might in some ways threaten Sunni dominance? I mean, these are—and I think both of these things were at work in a very ambivalent way.

Lisa Anderson: Zach?

Questioner: Zachary Karabell, Fred Alger. On the point of Iran, there was a conference two weeks ago in Sharm el-Sheikh, and the prevailing sort of Sunni-Egyptian, to some degree, Gulf attitude was that the net effect of the U.S. invasion ofIraqwas to hand Iraq to Iran.

Now, three years ago, most scholars and most people who knew about this region thought it was unlikely, given the past centuries of history, that Iraqi Shias would have any real affiliation, except maybe some scholarly, with Iran. I’m wondering, from all of you, whether the result of the past three years is literally to change that identity, so that it’s not Iraqi Shias and tribal, but it is in fact more of a Shia—I mean, would Muqtada al-Sadr really approve or like to be answering to Iran, or is it a convenient allegiance because it provides him with resources?

And clearly the Sunni attitude now or a lot of the Sunni attitude is, oh, this is now just a—it’s going to be a Shia Crescent, regardless of whether we think that’s an appropriate title. So I’m curious as to whether this has really changed or whether this snapshot will prove untrue in the greater scheme of things.

Noah Feldman: Well, I mean, it’s a long—there’s a long tradition within Iraq, in fact, of thinking of the Iraqi Shia, who are Arabs, as in some way Iranian. And in fact, for a long time, the identity cards that you carried if you were an Iraqi said that you were—there were only two categories for Muslims. You were either an Ottoman—it said on your card “Ottoman,” which meant a Sunni, or “Persian,” which meant Shia. And of course they were not Persian, they were Arabic-speaking people.

And when things are relatively calm in Iraq, elites do intermarry, actually, relatively freely, and people start talking about how we can transcend identity. And then when things get tense, suddenly you start hearing again this idea that all of the Iraqi Shia are really in league with the Iranians.

Added to that is the fact that Muqtada does have support from Iran and lived much of his life in Iran; that the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq—a name that was not invented out of whole cloth, a name that was invented in Tehran, because it sounded a lot like, you know, some kind of a—it’s got all the key words there: “Supreme,” “Council” “Islamic” and “Revolution.”

You just have to change one letter and you’ve got something that sounds like it’sIran. Right? And they are very closely tied to Iran. So, you know, this issue recurs.

And I agree with you, I hear the same thing, not just in Iraq but in the rest of the Sunni Arab world, about this allegation of loyalty to Iran. But I think it can be, in certain ways, overstated, in that these Iraqi Shia do not want to answer to Tehran, but are also constrained by the fact that they are funded by Tehran to some extent, and we’re going to go home eventually and the Iranians are not going anywhere. Right? So if you look 20, 25, 30 years down the road, they have to maintain some kind of close relationship with Iran. And quite probably we’re not going to leave them in the geostrategic strength where they could fight a war against Iran, so they need to be on (good ?) terms.

Lisa Anderson: Either of you, comment?

Reza Aslan: Well, I think we all know that the invasion of Iraq has completely changed the power dynamics of the region. I think Iran is unquestionably the new power in that area. And it has done a marvelous job of taking advantage of the changes. It has used the withdrawal of Syria from Lebanon to essentially fill the power vacuum there. It’s used the cut in funding of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Authority to really play a far larger role, I think, in the future of any Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. Its greatest enemies, the Saddam Hussein and Taliban, are gone, and it’s done a really wonderful job of making sure that its security interests are guaranteed in the new Iraq and the newAfghanistan .

So, I mean, I can understand where this fear would come from, but, you know, I think it’s the new realities of power in that region. And in many ways I think that the U.S. government would be far better off as soon as we kind of kind of acknowledge it and move forward.

Lisa Anderson: Go ahead.

Dale Eickelman: I just find it fascinating that the one area in which, as I understand it, anyway, theUnited States does have direct negotiations with Iran is our ambassador inIraqhaving them concerning matters specifically related to Iraq and Iran and nothing else. In other words, there’s even a recognition in a highly polarized and politicizedWashingtonthat this is one area so crucial that absolute realpolitik has to outweigh every other type of battle that might be going on in Washington .

That’s a start. I think it might be very nice to recognize that Iran has—is—has been pointed out already quite often, simply realistically done, filled a vacuum left by inconsistent and often very contradictory policies that the United States—that have been led by the United States.

ASLAN (?): Iran is no longer a rogue state teetering on the verge of another popular revolution, and it’s time to stop thinking of it as such.

Lisa Anderson: Dick.

Questioner: (Off mike)—I think this lady behind me—

Lisa Anderson: Wait. Mike.

Questioner: I think this lady behind me has—(off mike).

Lisa Anderson: Go ahead.

Questioner: (Off mike.)

Questioner: I’m Suleiman Khan fromIndia, a Shiite. I’d like to just make one observation here, which is—I think takes off from what Professor Bullet earlier said: that we have not mentioned a very important part of the world for several reasons, from—in which there is a very large presence of Shiites, and that is India. And the population of India, of—which is nearly a billion or just over a billion, it’s—the Shiite population is estimated to be between 15 to 20 million people. Now that is not an insignificant number. It may be a minority in India, but as far as their role is concerned, in the past, in terms of scholarship, in terms of the clerics that they have produced, in terms of the books that they have written, which are used, such as “Ahmad ul-Islam” (ph) by Ruf Hamad (ph); Saddin al-Ali (ph); such as the “Abhatat al-Anwar,” which is in 24 volumes, published and republished and republished in Iran.

It is important not to forget India and the role that is played by the Shi’ites in India in respect to a secular state, as a part of it, their role earlier on in the freedom movement, which was—one could say was secular in the sense that they did separate or did manage to separate certain areas completely from religious practice to—from what was political practice and recently in what has been happening.

But what is, nevertheless, important, and the reason why they should be considered also a part of this entire thing, and therefore, with all humility, I would say that as far as the crescent is concerned, it’s a wonderful title to have, but one doesn’t know where the first horn is and the second horn is, and where the biggest part of the crescent is. I mean, I, by training, am a mathematician, so I try to think in terms of figures, and I just couldn’t make out where is the fattest part of the crescent.

So the question is that—the question which ought to be taken into account is how do the Shi’ites of Pakistan and India—Bangladesh is a very, very small minority and hardly any there—but how do the Shi’ites of Pakistan and India, who are related to each other by marriage, by all kinds of people who have traveled between the two countries, how do they relate to the Middle East? What effect will their policies now have, begin to have, because there is growing polarization.

I mean, this is something that will spill over into the other sessions, but I would like to present, you know, this question to you. And I would say that this is an important point that ought to be borne in mind, and what would you say to that.

Thank you very much.

Dale Eickelman: I think you’re bringing up a very interesting point, and one of these concerns things such as these figures that I’ve been waving about. Twenty-six million might be a minority for India, but in terms of the scale of most of the Arab world, it’s a rather significant sort of figure.

You also bring up inter cross-border sorts of things. One thing that would strike me, as somebody who very much has a view from 40,000 feet ofSouth Asia, is that almost never does anybody talk about cross-border Shia ties resulting in violence of any sort. It’s been a force for everything except that type of politicization.

I think as minorities in India go, there’s probably more of a tendency in India than elsewhere, given a real attempt to—despite religious conflagrations from time to time, to abide by a rule of law, and that means that Sunni and Shia, when people think of themselves in these abstract categories, tend more to work together.

As for other things, what we know basically is the sort of thing that we see from propaganda—I, for one, try to follow the various video casts of al Qaeda to see how they try to at least appeal to wider audiences, and there’s attempts to link everything from—(word inaudible)—to Chechnya, to events in Southeast Asia and everyone else, to bring them together.

The response to these sorts of things I don’t think has been very strong in—certainly not for India or anywhere else. But the extent to which there are such appeals to things specific to the Middle East, including control of Jerusalem, the Palestinian issue, and so forth, I haven’t seen too much of it from the Indian Muslim community. On the other hand, Hindu right wings, some of the nationalist parties, are virulent in terms of the threat from Islam. So far, fortunately, the effects, so far as I can tell, on the Indian subcontinent of this sort of propaganda has been relatively limited.

Lisa Anderson: Okay.

Questioner: I’m Augustus Norton fromBostonUniversity. I have an observation and a question. The observation is that one aspect of identity that we haven’t talked about is class, and class is very important in the Shia community. When we look at the big communities in the Arab world, in places like Lebanon—not geographically—I mean not absolutely big, compared to India, for example, but certainly big proportionate to population—places like Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, what we find is that about 40 or 50 years ago these communities were being mobilized by the parties of the left. And in fact, the Communist party was the most successful mobilizer of Shia communities in the Arab world. In fact, the impetus for the Da’wa party in Iraq was precisely the desire on the part of the clerics to have a counterweight to the Communists.

In fact, if you go back and look at the materials that were being used to mobilize people in the ‘50s and ‘60s used by both clerics and communists, they are remarkably similar. So I mean, they were appealing to people largely on a class basis, appealing to ideas about exploitation and so on, and we still see significant aspects of class mobilization today. And I think Muqtada al-Sadr is a good example of this. In fact, if you look within the context of Shia politics inIraq, we find significant class tension within the Shia community, especially between Muqtada’s Mahdi Army, for example, and Dawa and some of the other Shia parties.

That’s an observation, but my question has to with education—patterns of education. And each of the speakers in their own way alluded to the importance of “ijtihad” and the importance of emulation and the role of Shia scholars and so on, and what I’m wondering is how the patterns of education may have changed in terms of where people are going to school. My anecdotal observation is that many places—many Shia villages that I happen to know—in the past, when people would go to Najaf in the Arab world, these people are now going to Iran. So I wonder what we know systemically about changing patterns of education, because this is absolutely crucial.

And if I may, just a final observation on “ijtihad,” or independent judgement. I’ve had the privilege of sitting down in meetings with leading Shia thinkers and Sunni thinkers, and what is extraordinary about these men, and in some cases women, is—the Shia men and women—is the extent to which they draw very broadly from all kinds of literature. I mean, you can be sitting down talking with a Shia scholar and he might ask you what Dale Eickelman’s been writing recently. I mean, they’re reading political science journals, they’re reading newspapers, whereas the Sunnis are much more narrow. So I mean, there’s a kind of creativity that’s inherent in this kind of independent thinking that really is something to marvel at sometimes.

But in any event, to go back to the question, what do we know systematically about changing patterns of education?

Lisa Anderson: Dale?

Dale Eickelman: I wish I could really sound like Dr. Pangloss and say that the more educated you get, the more liberal you get. Unfortunately, I know enough of the subject to know that that isn’t the case.

Of the things that we can say, the more educated you get, the more able you are to listen to a wider range of appeals. If—

Questioner: But that doesn’t answer the question. The question is, where are people being educated?

Dale Eickelman: Where are people being educated? Quite often—at least from areas I’ve seen—anywhere where they can get the scholarships to go out. In the case of Iraq, I very strongly believe that if you can get across the border and go to Iran, quite a few people probably are.

There’s a small elite. The ones I’ve met in the United States tend to be Green Zone Iraqis who find their way to the United States, where they can do different sorts of things, but it’s rather hard to get out.

As adviser to a university in Kuwait, we are trying to develop a small scholarship program for bringing—for bringing—making a place for bringing Iraqi students out, but it’s extremely hard to do because it's the same sort of problem you have of selecting people as you would have from, let us say, Dagestan or somewhere like that. It’s catch as catch can.

In other areas it’s an easier sort of thing. All I can say, and very much for the record, is that theUnited States still has a long way to go to reconcile our national interests with a consistently inept visa process, which discourages people from seeking higher education in the United States. It’s very hard to link despite the best efforts that we have. So one place I can say they’re not going in numbers is theUnited States, but believe me, that’s a boon to Great Britain, Australia and other places. Perhaps that’s what we want to do in education, is have a coalition of the willing to divert people to other countries. I hope that policy changes, but unfortunately they’re not able to come to us, where I still think we have quite a bit to offer in terms of education.

Lisa Anderson: Noah, go ahead.

Noah Feldman: I’d just add one quick word on this. Right now, the preeminence of Qom is—remains unchallenged. And one of the many disappointments associated with Iraq—not the headline one, obviously, because there’s a lot more important things—is that in just in the first few months after the fall of Saddam, Najaf really began to open up. And people were starting to come across the border and start to say exciting things there, and there was this sense of this center, which had really declined tremendously from its historic preeminence. You know, Qom doesn’t really become a really important center until the 1920s, really, but that obviously hasn’t happened. And I think the reason is not that people wouldn’t feel free to say what they wanted there if they worried about getting shot. And obviously there’s not scholarship money either, whereas with the rising price of oil there continues to be scholarship money available for study in Iran.

Reza Aslan: And this, you know, influx of Shia scholars and students into Qom might on the surface indicate that this distinctly Khomeinist version of Shiism, which really is a religious innovation within Shia thought, is becoming the primary ideal of Shiism throughout the world and that that is what a lot of these students are being fed. And that’s not necessarily that case.

Having been to Qom and having spoken to a lot of the clerics there, I—what we tend to not hear in the U.S. is the very vibrant and profound dialogue taking place, not just, you know, as what is traditionally part of Shiism, this idea of dialogue and debate and discussion, but specifically about this idea of the Velayat-e Faqih, the Guardianship of the Jurist, the religio-political ideology that is at the center of the Islamic Republic of Iran. There is a great deal of debate, particularly with the younger clerics, those in their 30s, about—it’s about, you know, the viability of this idea, both as a religious and a political idea.

And I think it’s not—I mean, I agree with Noah. I mean, I was very excited about the idea that Najaf would become, you know, the center that it has historically been, and particularly because it would challenge Qom for ascendancy in the Shia world. But I do want to emphasize that we needn’t be necessarily alarmed that because Qom has maintained its ascendance, that this necessarily means that this distinctly Iranian Khomeinist version of Islam is becoming widespread as the dominant form of Shiism and Shia political thought.

Lisa Anderson: Thank you.

Dale Eickelman: A 10-second addition. I think one advantage—if one were a young Iraqi faced with an educational system that hasn’t been very functional recently, it’s easier to get over to Iran, not only because of the money, but because of the language. The chances of finding a place where one can work in Arabic without having to learn a second language is much higher there—and then to learn Farsi at a certain speed—than it would be in many other places which one can think.

Lisa Anderson: Okay, thank you.

Right here.

Questioner: Nancy Bird, Council on Foreign Relations. I was wondering if the panelists could comment more on the intra-Shia divisions, particularly in Iraq. We’ve heard about Muqtada al-Sadr going a different path. But also particularly in Basra recently there’s been a great deal of violence between Shia groups. and I was wondering if you could talk about how this intra-Shia violence might lead to more instability in Iraq.

Lisa Anderson: Noah, that’s yours.

Noah Feldman: Okay. Well, like every local conflict, this conflict, the Basra conflict of the last couple of weeks, can be read on multiple levels. It’s partly between rival gangs for control over neighborhoods; it’s partly between two larger militias, the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades—so the militia of Muqtada and the militia of the Supreme Council—for who’s going to control local institutions like police forces. So that’s a slightly higher level. It’s partly between the politicians in Muqtada’s political apparatus, such as it is, and the SCIRI political apparatus for who’s going to be most influential. And last, but not least, it’s about their jockeying—those two parties jockeying for control of the parliament itself, because as you know, as probably everybody here knows, the prime minister, who comes from the Da’wa party, a third, and over time increasingly smaller and less influential party, essentially became prime minister because Muqtada wasn’t prepared for the prime minister to come from SCIRI. And Muqtada himself didn’t have sufficient political influence to generate a prime ministerial candidate from within his own political apparatus. So Da’wa was kind of a—they’re Shia, but they’re to some extent—they’re not really neutral because they’re closer to Muqtada, but they’re a counterweight that Muqtada is putting up over and against SCIRI.

And all of these levels are at play simultaneously, and what you’re seeing here are sort of flashpoint moments of violence that reflect tension up and down the system, again, from the level of control of neighborhoods and blocs, to the control of local municipal institutions, to control ultimately of the national political apparatus.

Lisa Anderson: Please.

Questioner: Thank you. Rita Hauser. Reference was made before to class, and I would like to come back to that, because at least my experience in Lebanon, which, like our prior speaker was extensive, I represented most of—as a lawyer—most of the wealthy Christian and Sunni families over a long period of time.

I never represented a wealthy Shia family. There was some wealthy Shias, certainly; there was some elites, but the overwhelming pattern was that the poor, the downtrodden, the lower class was Shia and were looked at that way by both the Christians and the Sunnis, and the dialogue was very reminiscent of other kind of downtrodden people. And when the politics of a region is in upheaval, the downtrodden often rise up. That’s a characteristic.

I think that’s very much the case of Hezbollah, and I don’t know Iraq—anywhere as well asLebanon, but I would suspect the same pattern is true. And I’d like to hear some comment about class and poverty and all of that.

Reza Aslan: Well, I mean, I think you’re absolutely right. That is the case in places like Lebanon and places likeIraq. Although, I think it is interesting that the reverse is true in other places, like, for instance, in the subcontinent, where Shia families tend to be the land owners, the higher class in some cases.

I guess you disagree with me. Yes, go ahead, please.

QUESTIONER: Mahnaz Ispahani: It’s a very mixed portrait. I mean, you have in certain parts—

Lisa Anderson: Wait, wait. Let’s get a microphone—

QUESTIONER: Mahnaz Ispahani: Just saying it’s a very mixed portrait in the subcontinent. You have some land-owning classes in very specific parts—there’s Pakistan or north India—that you have extremely poor Shia communities. You also have founders of Pakistan being Shia; you have national leaders being Shia today. And yet, you have no Shia ever leading in the Pakistan army, and you have routine Shia massacres, as you know very well, by largely jihad groups using this illogical notion of infidelism, et cetera.

So I think it’s quite a complicated picture and particularly in Pakistan, and I just use this opportunity to clarify one thing. When we started talking here about the Shias of South Asia or of Pakistan in particular, Mr. Eickelman, you started to speak of the Ismailis, who are actually a very small, very global and very unique sect of Shias.

But the mainstream Shias across the Muslim world are Twelvers, and nobody really referred to Twelver Shias because that really is—there are sects and schisms and many sects. And in fact, Ismaili Shias are the ones who most effectively use a relationship with the state and with governments to be able to be so successful, which the other Shias are not able to do as well.

Mr. ___: Mm-hmm. Thank you. It’s well said.

Lisa Anderson: Anything else on class?

Mr. ___: I think it’s said.

Lisa Anderson: Okay. This is the last question.

Questioner: Hi. My name is Moushoumi Khan. I’m an attorney.

I have a question on what do you think the implications for the Sunni-Shia conflict—I actually don’t think there is that much of a conflict—is for Western Muslims? As a Muslim-American, you know, I grew up not really knowing whether I was Sunni or Shia or understanding what the differences were.

And this weekend, I went to a conference on understanding Sunni- Shia conflict within the context of Iraq, and not a person participating even dealt with the question whether they’re Sunni or Shia, including the participants in the audience. And yet as a civil rights attorney now, I’m really seeing a disturbing trend where Muslim-Americans are starting to face the conflicts of what happens, you know, when there’s a bombing, then a—(word inaudible)—mosque here in New York feels threatened. So I’m really wondering, what is the effect of these larger conflicts on Western Muslims, particularly within the U.S.?

Noah Feldman: To me, it really turns on whether the sort of low- level—you could call it a civil war; I don’t have a big stake in whether it’s called a low-level civil now or not—but whether what’s going on in Iraq right now becomes a full-blown civil war.

Every day, we’re getting closer and closer to it. I used to say every day we’re getting a little closer. Now, every day it’s not a little closer; we’re getting a lot closer to it every day. It that blows up to—if it—let’s just say if it continues to grow at the rate that it’s growing now, we are going to have a conflict that is going to push Muslims throughout the world, including in the West, to think of themselves to some degree as Sunni or Shia, just because you’re watching television and it will no longer be, you know, X kills Y. It will be this many Shias killed by Sunnis, this many Sunnis killed by Shias, and already this is the way the reports are, I think accurately, depicting what’s often happening.

So I think that will have an effect.

And I think one of the great worries in the Gulf is that traditionally oppressed Shia communities will use this as a mode of galvanization to challenge traditional authorities much in the same way that the Lebanese Shia community galvanized itself politically during the years of civil war. And so I think there’s a fear that this oppressed class could rise up. With respect to the West in particular, that would be the dynamic. It won’t be a class dynamic in the same way, but I think you will see deepening rifts within Western Muslim associations as people do to some extent feel that they need to take sides. And I think that will be yet another one of the many tragic knock-on effects or externalities of the conflict that’s brewing.

Dale Eickelman: Thank you for the very—the autobiographical fragment we gave, including what you did last weekend, because I think this is pointing to something that’s very important, is when people in the Muslim community, in my judgment, or elsewhere, begin seeing reports of these conflicts, quite often, unless they’re professionally following these things, the next question is, how do we explain this, especially how do w explain it to others? Because the default position for most Muslims is to say “we’re all one” and to downplay all sorts of differences. And when the differences occur, then the question is, how do we do it? And whether it’s Ibadi Muslims from the Sultanate of Oman who find that they get chucked out of mosques in Arizona by Egyptians saying, “You can’t lead prayers because you’re a heretic,” or something like that, then what happens is you call upon your own leadership to explain in English and in Arabic who are we, how do we relate to the rest of the world.

And this is one of the long-term things with rising education that I think is happening in the Sunni and Shia community, and for that matter, with other communities. So that divisions, for instance, of Twelvers and Ismailis and other things become a little bit easier for people to understand, both parts of the movement, and then those trying to understand what’s going on.

Reza Aslan: And I think at the same time—and with hopes to end on a positive and optimistic note—the American-Muslim community is in a very unique position. By most accounts, Muslims are the largest religious minority in the United States. And while we have here—we don’t see the same kinds of ethnic isolation that we see inEurope. The vast majority of Muslims in the U.S. are solidly middle class; I believe some 60 percent own their own homes. And really, since September 11th, because this country has—you experience, you know, Islam at almost—in every way, in all of its beautiful diversity in this country. Since September 11th, there has been a real attempt—and I’ve been very much a part of this attempt to put aside those divisions of sect or ethnicity or even the major divisions between Muslim-Americans and American-Muslims, particularly the African- American community, which makes up some 30 percent of the Muslims in the United States, I have been a part of a number of groups that have come together to try to build these bridges, to really separate a lot of these traditional divisions that we see in large parts of the traditional Arab and Muslim world, and to carve out a distinctly American-Muslim identity that is based on unity out of this kind of diversity.

Now, I think Noah’s right, if the situation in Iraq worsens, and especially if it begins to spill beyond Iraq into the rest of the Gulf region, then you’re going to see some of those stresses occur in this country as well.

At the same time, I think what’s unique about American Islam is really what’s unique about religion in America, and that is this sense of individualism. I jokingly say sometimes that regardless of what religion you are, if you’re American, you’re more or less Protestant. And that’s true of Muslims as well, very much so. And I think that hope of creating a sense of unity that could in many ways become a model for Muslims throughout the world really rests within the American-Muslim community here.

And I can tell you from firsthand experience that that identity is already being formed and is already playing a large role in not just the way that the U.S. government begins to address the larger Muslim issue, but also the way American Muslims are reaching out to Muslims in the Arab world and beyond.

Lisa Anderson: Thank you very much. I want to thank all of the panelists for having sort of set of the table for the rest of the day. We now have to decide whether everything you’ve said is a cause for concern. That is the title of the next panel, which will start in about seven minutes—

Staff: No, we’ll make it 15 minutes.

Lisa Anderson: Fifteen minutes. (Applause.)


Dale Eickelman on the Transformation of Islam in Contemporary Societies (Mar 2010)

Dale Eickelman, specialist in Islam, talks about the transformation of Islam in contemporary societies.


How Islam is Transforming

Siscu: What does this transformation consist of? Or, does it exist? Is Islam transforming?

Dale: I think, such a transformation exists. 10 or 12 years ago, I would have used ‘reformation’, thinking of The Protestant Reformation. Now I would not say that, and here's the reason why. Even for the Protestant Reformation, nobody called it that at the time. Martin Luther. Had his points that he put on. The church door. But he never said; I am you, the former. It's people after him who said this began the Protestant Reformation. What is happening now in the Muslim world? In my view is much the same thing. Nobody calls themselves a reporter. What? What is happening though is you have rising levels of education. You have a change in media, the old type media is one person with a microphone. The talk and you would listen to the. Now is that everybody can talk Internet. DVD's. Everything else. And and I think this is this. Is the major. Difference and it has only happened in the last 50 years or so. Have the move. From just higher education to mass higher education education, less mass. And this makes. All the difference I think in how people think about their religion, what it means to their life, what it means to their society. This doesn't. Mean that overnight. Big things will change that Iran will become different sort of place of the night. The road will be very uneven. But the long term change I think is now because it will be different sorts of places because the the countries. Differs so much. One is Indonesia. People keep forgetting about Indonesia in this part of the world, but there are more Muslims in Indonesia. Than anywhere else in the world, it's a very large place, and since the 1990s they have proceeded to have genuine democratic elections and a strong participation of people in this society and the leading political parties. Islamic that does not mean fundamentalist. The people who say they are guided by the principles of Islam, but they do not exclude Christians. For Hindus, the other major parts of the population, another place that you do not, none of us think of is a Muslim country, but it has. The second largest number of Muslims of any country in the world is India. There it's going hand in hand with with the Hindus and obviously you have other communities very, very. Few Jews, but lots. Of Christians and there it is. Both the Hindus and the Muslims who have to. Learn to be more to the center and they. Are doing it. As opposed to extremists? Of your immediate neighbors for the north of Africa. I would say that Morocco will be the same. The monarchy will continue to be very strong, but below the surface I think you're going to find lots more participation, not only in government but in education that gets more focused so that. People can more realistically think about doing things rather than just going overseas to work. And now these these are and. And then there's another place that we should think of. There are large numbers of Muslims. The United States, Spain. The Netherlands. United Kingdom and elsewhere we do not think of these as Muslim countries, but in these countries Muslim leaders can have a strong voice. That goes back to their country and regions of origin, examples Tariq Ramadan, who is now making his career in Europe, the United States. Was unwilling to accept him, but has now apologized. Another example would be from Tula Gulen, a major Turkish religious leader who since 1998 has lived in the United States. But because of the web, because it forms of communication and the global nature. The Turkish community, the United States works as well for them as if he were in Istanbul. I'll start by saying this. If I ever were. In a government, I would want to be Minister of Education. Why? Because if I made a big mistake, nobody would know about it for 15 or 20 years. It takes that long to make educational change. When after the Egyptian revolution of 1952, the mall, Abdul Nasser said, we're going to have primary school education for everybody. One it could not happen overnight, but it did happen. But that took years to, let's say, 78910 years after that tiny minority of people who were in secondary school. Keep in mind that NASA went to a Military Academy that was only the secondary. Because there was no. Other place for military to go. Increased dramatically in numbers. University expansion came. Even later, it takes a cycle of maybe 20 years for this to happen. Your neighbor loco had exactly 55 zero university graduates on independence in 1956. University open school opportunities expanded people in local communities built schools themselves, thinking it would change their world leader in this book by located. However, it is in the late 70s and 80s that you've got large numbers of people. With good secondary education or with university education. With the language to be able to talk back. To talk back to religious efficience so it takes time. But once it starts, it can't stop another plane, two places to watch absolutely are Iran and Turkey. I don't think Turkey is going to have another military coup, both they if they had in the past, they can't. But the society has changed too much. That's really. The major economic changes in Turkey have not been the old sort of things we state it's been small business, might making arrangements, international global, working in textiles, working and other things that have made the difference, Iran. A few years ago, I would have said the same thing as beginning to happen there. Iran reminds us that a dedicated. Of dedicated for thoughts. Use that word. And control of government. Slow down, change and make government work for itself, that the economy is in ruins, but the one thing that remains is. Is one of the most. Has more really good educated people than any other country, region or country. The region of the Muslim world, Iran also is is a place where. When the government changes, or like the old German Democratic Republic just dries up, then change is going to happen very fast, I think. And in a positive way.

The Internet’s Influence on Islam

Siscu: Do you talk about Al Jazeera and the new media? Do you think Al Jazeera and this new media Internet, these new media communications will help in this transformation of Islam?

Dale: They have already not by themselves, but they have, by the way. I was one of the first people to visit Al Jazeera, and now they have tours for journalists. There are so many. But when I visited, they had no one and they gave me tapes, but many of their programs there was no CD yet in the 1960-1996, but I used them in teaching so for their advertising they would say. That somebody is teaching an entire course of us at Dartmouth College, so I told them no, not quite. But, what they would do is something that was without precedent in the late 1990s. They would have programs like Unity Japan markets, the opposite direction and what that. Program would do. Would be to bring people with contrary points of view. For instance, you would have somebody very well known Syrian philosopher Sadik. Allow them. Who would explain what secularism is? Which was never done before anywhere in the Arab world, on television, in public. With him, with. Chief, you sit outside the down. A very conservative Muslim brother who has a wide. Following I am. Not one of his followers, sure, but. They had to explain in public anywhere I went in the Arab world if people did not have satellite television to see things you could buy it set. And the way I would know that I just go into a little shop of Vega in Morocco and I'd say I want to see this program with sagittal Adam and and Kadali. I already had a copy, but it was to see whether they knew about it without faith. In Morocco and Egypt. United Arab Emirates, Syria, they'd say. Did you bring your own empty CD's or do we sell you one and they would have it ready the next day. So that would mean that people who could not pay subscriptions for satellite television, people who were not middle class still would be able to see the. Same things. So yes, these these forms of communication dramatically change. There have been studies in each saying that. Every computer. Up to 100 people use that computer in the course of a week. Internet cafes, they're not very good often, but they're not expensive. Morocco very much the same thing. If you can't own a computer and a telephone line at home, and many people can't Internet cafe.

Siscu: And this changes the mentality? Does it transform Islam?

Dale: It offers an… the Internet does everything, it for some people, it offers hope. For others, it offers information for new ways of thinking. Uses of learning about violence on Internet I think is. Is finished because I think most of the security services large. When people watch and this limits some of the excesses of earlier times but not everywhere, the police and the users of Internet are constantly in a battle to see who. Knows their technology better.

Islam and Politics Compatibility

Siscu: Are they compatible, or not?

Dale: Another good question, I could answer in one word. My opinion, yes. They are compatible. To say why? I'd say many Muslim religious leaders are now saying very sophisticated things, they just say 'we think about the Quran's words for God guiding our religious life, providing for our personal life, we should also think about Islam as offering us a way of thinking about our politics', even if the word democracy of democratia, which is of course a new word in Arabic, does not appear in the Quran. The spirit of consultation of the space by means of words and actions rather than by force, can predominate. Will it happen overnight? No.

One Muslim fundamentalist I know who's been a friend of mine for many years here. I'm using the word fundamentalist in the way he would have used it in 1990, has said to me; 'The best model', and he has said this in Arabic, 'the best model for democracy in the world is the Middle East.' I'm sorry 'is the United States of America'. And I would say 'when did you start working...', I knew him well, 'when did you start working for the United States government?' And he said 'no, I mean it because one way that's a model. Look the Americans did not give equality to everybody overnight, the American Constitution said that everyone's equal, but it took over 200 years for women. To get the vote. Slaves to get them quote. And for certain minority groups, African Americans, to really get an opportunity to vote as well in all of our places. And so it's if it takes the United States 200 years, why should we expect to have? One of our leaders say you're going to be democratic tomorrow and to have everything become democratic in one day. It takes time to build up the institutions, the trust and everything else. It can't just come from the top. It helps. If the top facilitates, but that's not enough.'

Future secularism in majority muslim countries

Siscu: When will Islamic countries be able to be secular, where religion is more like it is in our society? I suppose it would take a while. It seems like Turkey is the first country that is trying that.

Dale: I remember a conversation I had in Casablanca in the 1980s, and at that time, Moroccans were aware that their elections were not always open and in some areas were very unopen, but the same people would speak in great detail about the French elections. And when I would ask them as a foreigner who writes some Morocco about Moroccan elections, conversation would stop, but then they would go on and talk about the French elections. Why? Nobody cares about the French elections, but they would show that they understood what you need in terms of preparations, campaigns, trust in institutions and everything else for them to work. So they knew a lot about democracy and elections, but at that time they felt that they could not actually they did not have the opportunity to do it.

Since then, I would say Morocco is a very interesting place, sometimes in an effort to make things more open. For instance, 1 election 2002, where the Moroccan. States used proportional representation. The rules for how to count ballots were so complicated that I could not understand them in Arabic. So I said OK, that's me. I tried them in French, I still could not understand them and that evening I sat with the governor and the governors in charge of interpreting the rules for the staff. And I said the men totally bilingual and French and Arabic, and I said. I guess it's me. I don't understand. And he said I don't either.

Somebody in the government explained how this would. Have worked well but. Acknowledged that the mathematical formulas were so sophisticated and so complicated that they did not have the people who could make. The sorts of counting and decisions that they needed at that top because the Moroccan at the Marcus at that time set to show that we have shuffled the transparency or transparency we will give the elections very quickly. The results they could not not out of playing with them, but simply because there were so few people who could who could figure out the formulas when it came to be the time, and I'd say in this case because Morocco is open, we can see more about what it takes in terms of transformations.

If you're having a small village election with 800 ballots, perhaps it's a little bit easier. But when you're talking even about a small country. Morocco has 34 million inhabitants, not that small, but smaller compared to others, it takes a lot more work to make things believable and really open and democratic. It's starting, but it's not going to be... It's not going to be very fast.

Fear of Islam

Siscu: What do you think about the people who are afraid of Islam. Because they see that the terrorists, Al Qaeda and other terrorists, use Islam as the justification, they base their action in Islam.

Dale: A lot of people are in uncomfortable with different things. I am old enough so that I can refer how everybody was uncomfortable with Soviets and comments, and if you. Wanted to ruin the. Career of somebody, you would say. You think they are a communist? Than that, their career would be. I had to sign it when I began teaching in the United States, the statement in the City of New York saying I was never a member of the Communist Party. I did not want to sign. It, but I was. Politely told I said I've never been, but I don't like this sort of thing. I was told. Well, here's your choice. You can have a job. Or you can be unemployed. And I would regard that as pressure. A lot of people have been. I think very frightened by things. They don't think they know what and and these days Islam is. One thing that people don't I think that if most people eat a Spanish or French or American or others look around. They will find. Lots of Muslim associations, Muslims in the workplace, Muslims at different levels and and they will see that Islam is not just one thing and Muslims are not just one thing, but there is a resistance. To trying to learn more or feeling that one should change more, I've seen this with other sorts of things before. In American history, it was the Irish who regarded as the revolutionaries the unreliable, the ones who could never participate fully in society. Later it was the Catholics. It was in the elections for John Kennedy in 1964. One slogan used in the American South was the vote for John Kennedy is a vote for the Pope, suggesting that the Pope would call everything now. That may sound comical. Looked at from today, but it reminds us. How there are people who will play on prejudices and try in their own way to to shape conversations? So people don't. Many people are comfortable with stereotypes. That's unfortunate, but they're. Been reasonably optimistic because I've seen this sort of transformation in all in other areas too.

The future of Iran

Siscu: On the topic of Iran. What is the future of Iran? Do you think it is possible that there will be a change of power in the country?

Dale: For the long term. I think that Iran will be a better place, but. Watch what I say because long term means I can't give a date. A few years ago, I would have said that the nature of the change in the Iranian economy and other things would mean that the government is stepping aside and allowing private initiatives and commerce and many other things. Some would are. You that when you let people be good traders and good, good businessmen, businessmen and traders don't like extremism, they don't like militias. It's very bad for business, and smuggling is good for business sometimes, but not violence and I'm less. Optimistic now because the the. Revolutionary Guards are not. It's not just an organization. It's an organization with extended complicated networks of family to religious clerics and others who don't want change. These can stay for a very long time. But sometimes things happen overnight. I know this is a bad analogy for a non Spaniard to use in Spain. But a few years ago, many of us thought how is it that Spain changed so fast after the death of Franco? It's the same thing going to happen with Morocco. Now that this is a 19 with the death of King Hassan. That and. The answer my Spanish colleagues gave was a very good one. If you look at Spain in the last years upfront though. Businesses had changed. The economy had had had massive transformations. Some parts of the state remain frozen almost in time, but everything else had moved ahead so quickly that then it would look as if the political part had moved fast to the. Was really a model and I might. Add Spain has been a. Model in different ways for Morocco for many years, not just the big picture, but the smaller one. Regional Tony has been has been a model as well. Not saying that we must do what Spain does. Bunch of having people in Morocco. Speak to me showing. That they know much more than I do about. About the way Spain has moved towards regional autonomy in some regions. And there was once an American senator who thought that anthropology was astrology, which is why he invited me to dinner. I think he was disappointed that I. Put them. I couldn't predict the future. I think you'll see some positive things, but it's like the peaceful transitions in Indonesia of the late 1990s. Nobody predicted that they would be peaceful. Nobody knew. But once they started the way that the Indonesians, including the military. Decided to handle things, things went smoothly. I'm an optimist, so I think that we will see some good surprises, but. Not all surprises are good ones.

Interview With Muhammad Shahrur (1996)


The first interview was conducted by Dale F. Eickelman who in 1996 met Muhammad Shahrur in Damascus to ask him about his personal and intellectual biography. Professor Eickelman was one of the first Western academics to discover the significance of Muhammad Shahrur’s writings within the context of the emergence of a Muslim public space in the Arab and Islamic world.[1] The interview took place at D§r al-Istish§r§t al-\andasiyya, the engineering firm in which Shahrur is a senior partner and where he does his writing. Professor Eickelman told me that the interview was conducted in a combination of English and Arabic, with the choice of language left to Muhammad Shahrur. In practice, he switched to Arabic in discussing theology and technical points in Qur'anic interpretation, using English to discuss the more general aspects of his life and career. The language switching was facilitated by the presence of ‘§diq Jaw§d Sulaim§n (‘SS’ in the interview transcript), an Islamic activist, who accompanied Dale Eickelman to Damascus. Sulaim§n, a former journalist and senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman, was also interested in Shahrur’s work, although from the vantage point of a fellow participant in Islamic reform. I wish to thank Dale Eickelman for allowing me to include in this volume his interview which has not yet been printed or published elsewhere.[2]

Coming of Age in Damascus

DFE: When we first spoke about your family and youth in Damascus, you mentioned an occasion when your father took you past the shrine of MuÈyÊ al-DÊn Ibn #ArabÊ, in the ‘§liÈiyya quarter of Damascus where you were born and raised.[3] Why did you begin with this episode?

MS: The episode took place after the 1967 Six Day War. My father and I were passing by the shrine. He pointed to it and asked me, ‘Do you know who defeated us?’ ‘No,’ I replied. He said, ‘The man who is buried under this shrine’. He told me that Ibn #ArabÊ ruined our ability to reason. He turned our focus away from the physical world to a hallucinatory one existing only in our minds.

DFE: How old were you in 1967?

MS: I was born in 1938, so I was twenty-nine. I had graduated from the university in 1964, three years earlier.

I: Is your father religious?

MS: He’s a conservative. People call us conservative. He prays and fasts. He went on the pilgrimage in 1946, and I went with him, when I was eight years old.

DFE: Did he speak with you often about religion?

MS: No. He talked mostly about how to be honest and truthful. He thought that to worship God is good, as was honesty with people, work, and following the objective laws of nature.

DFE: How would he say ‘the objective laws of nature’ to a young child? This sounds like a phrase you might have learned later in Russia.

MS: Objective knowledge? He used the example of a stove. If you want to warm yourself, don’t recite the Qur'an, but light a fire in the stove. This is how he explained the idea to us. Anyone could understand his example. He still explains things this way.

DFE: What role did your mother play in your early life?

MS: In 1953, I wanted to drop out of school. My father had no objections, but my mother was opposed to it. She was illiterate, but she quarreled with my father and cried. Finally, to secure peace, he said, ‘Okay, go to school’ [laughter]. She insisted that I continue, and he finally agreed with her.

DFE: Why did you want to leave school?

MS: I was attracted by money. I worked, earned money, and liked it. At the time, I considered school as a kind of confinement. You had to go every morning, sit on a chair all day, and then go home. I thought that working allowed more freedom.

DFE: Did you have religious lessons in school?

MS: Yes.

DFE: What did you think of them?

MS: My interest for each subject depended on the teacher. My religious teacher was good, although he didn’t pay much attention to prayer and fasting. He knew that he had to teach us the main framework of Islam and he was good at that. He wore a suit like anyone else.

DFE: As you look back on your youth, would you consider yourself particularly interested in religious issues?

MS: No [laughter]. I was not particularly interested in religious issues. But my family is religious. In our neighborhood, we were considered quite odd. Our father was strict about not fasting and praying. He fasted and prayed himself, but considered religion as more than this. He was more concerned with how people treated one another and how to deliver goods or work to people. He emphasized this all the time.

DFE: After you finished primary school, did you have a choice in your studies?

MS: We could choose between humanities and science, and I chose science. I liked it, and think that I have a scientific disposition. I was good at mathematics and physics, and understood them easily.

Studies in Moscow

DFE: Why did you choose the Soviet Union for advanced studies in 1958?

MS: I didn’t choose. There was a competition for twenty-eight students to go to Russia as part of a cultural agreement, and I wanted to continue my studies abroad.

DFE: How did you find life in Russia?

MS: At first, everything was odd and strange. I didn’t know Russian, and Russia was a new society for me. It took me four to six months to adapt to my new circumstances. Then I enjoyed it. It was a new experience and gave my life a new scope. I had never been outside Damascus and was only nineteen years old, a very young man in Russia.

I was very curious about Russia. I asked about the October Revolution and how it came about. I learned Russian quickly, and read a lot of books that weren’t on the syllabus. Russians were obliged to study Marxist philosophy, the history of the Communist Party, and political economy. Foreigners from the United Arab Republic, as we were at the time, were exempt from this requirement. We had no examinations on these subjects, but I studied them anyway. I read books on the history of the Communist Party, Marxism, and the work of Engels, although no one obliged me. I discussed philosophy with many people. This was my hobby, and physics and mathematics helped me to understand more.

DFE: What were your living conditions like in Russia? Were you living with Syrians or with Russians?

MS: Syrians and Russians together. I lived only the first year with another Syrian. All the other years I lived with Russians. They are good people, ordinary and direct. I liked them as people and enjoyed their company. I married a Russian in 1963, a girl from my institute. We lived together in a student hostel and she had a son by me in 1964, the year I graduated.

DFE: Did you speak about religion with Russians or Syrians?

MS: With both, but from a philosophical point of view, not about prayer or fasting. I asked questions like: Does God exist? What is morality? Why do we need it? I asked about the existence of God. Marxist philosophy is atheistic. This was hard for me to accept, especially because the Russians sometimes advanced arguments which I could not answer. I felt defeated and disappointed when this happened. I believed in God and read the Qur'an, but I could not convince them and they could not convince me.

How could I convince them? When I was in Russia, a Qur'anic verse ran through my head: ‘Say: God’s is the argument that reaches home. Had He wanted, He could indeed have guided you all’ (Qul: Fa-li’ll§h al-Èujja al-b§ligha, fa-law sh§" la-had§kum ajma#Ên) ( Al-An#§m, 6:149). I didn’t know how to explain this verse repeatedly coming to mind. At the time, I hardly knew the Qur'an at all.

I read newspapers a lot, especially a newspaper called Za rubezhom.[4] It translated stories from foreign news broadcasts and periodicals into Russian. I liked reading. I took a book with me and read wherever I went, because my Russian was like a Russian’s and I enjoyed Pushkin and poetry.

DFE: How long did it take you to become fluent in Russian?

MS: One year and three months.

DFE: Were other Syrian students also interested in talking about religion?

MS: No. We gathered as friends on Sundays and feast days. We talked about lots of things, including philosophy, religion, and politics. At the time, Syria and Egypt were combined in the United Arab Republic and the Arab world was turbulent. There was the Algerian revolution for independence and troubles in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Africa. We were wrapped up in politics and proud that we were from the United Arab Republic.

So I was astonished when the United Arab Republic broke up. In Russia, I repeatedly told my friends that Arabs had no theories of society. I felt that we Arabs needed to understand concepts of freedom and society. On this issue, I was influenced by Marxist philosophy. I understood from Russia that people need concepts about society, so that if a man in Casablanca and another in Damascus were asked a question, they would give the same answer and take the same stand. This is what we call ideology or culture now. In Russia I called it theory. I felt that we were all in urgent need of theory. This made me read more books on how to formulate theory. I also felt that theory without strength and progress means nothing.

DFE: You speak of a strong sense of Arab identity during this turbulent period in the Arab world. How do you feel now about the idea of Arab nationalism (#uråba)?

MS: It’s a good idea, but overwhelming. It’s romance.

DFE: What did it mean to you in 1958 and 1959?

MS: Romantic meanings only.

DFE: You called it ‘romantic’ then?

MS: Yes. You see, we are Arabs. We have one culture and one language. We express Arab unity in poetry but not in theory.

SS: Did Arab unity have any political implications for you?

MS: No. Only the union between Syria and Egypt had political implications.

SS: When you say you were astonished, were you also frustrated or pained?

MS: Yes, I was convinced that it was wrong that some political parties were banished and that democracy was abolished. It must be revived. In addition, Lenin’s definition of party was useful to me. He defined the party as an objective expression of thought. This made sense for me. Until now it makes sense that a party is an objective expression of thought, that common thought gives birth to parties, that parties were born from thought. I still think that this expression is valid.

DFE: When you arrived in the Soviet Union, Nikolai Bulganin was Prime Minister (1955–58), and he was replaced by Nikita Khrushchev about a month after your arrival. What did you think about the Soviet system at the time?

MS: In the first two or three years of my stay in Moscow, the Soviet system had a great impact on me. I knew that the Soviet Union was a backward nation in 1917. Then they built a strong army and won the Second World War. Later, when I went into the Russian countryside and saw Russian peasants, I was astonished by the many government lies. Then I stopped believing in the Soviet system. There was something fishy about it. There is a Communist Party slogan, which I put in my third book: The party is the mind, heart, and conscience of the people ( al-Èizb huwa #itq wa-·amÊr wa-sharaf al-sha#b). It disgusted me, I felt sick when I read this slogan. I put my views in my compact for national action (mith§q a l-#amal a l-waãanÊ). All parties and universities, scientific research institutions, a free press, and all organizations together express the mind, conscience, and honour of the people, but no one party. It’s impossible.

Arab Nationalism and Theories of Society

SS: Let’s return to the notion of #uråba. At the time did you think that the Arab world would unite?

MS: Yes, the pan-Arab world. For instance, we supported the Algerian revolution. For us, that was the immediate concrete application of #uråba, so objectively we had to support Algeria. The Algerian issue concerned all the Arab countries, as did the 1958 revolution in Iraq. These events were concrete. I thought that Iraq would join the United Arab Republic. These were the immediate implications of #uråba. However, we didn’t think about theory at that time. Our thoughts were driven by events. After the break-up of the union between Syria and Egypt, I realized something was wrong with #uråba Islam, although I didn’t yet know what it was. We had to look at where we went wrong.

SS: You say that you still believe in the Arab nation. Do you mean this only in an emotional sense or do you see in pan-Arabism a practical means of uniting the Arab world on the basis of a common culture? Do you see pan-Arabism as the basis for a political movement?

MS: I believe that it could serve as the basis for a political movement, to bring Arabs together with one language, one culture, and one state. This remains my ambition. I hope by my writing to contribute something useful to the Arabs in their fight for unity. We have to give up romance. My writing doesn’t deal with romance.

I call [the earlier period] the romantic one.

DFE: Your studies in the Soviet Union gave you fluency in Russian, a solid basis in civil engineering, a love for Pushkin, a wife, a son, and frustration that the Russians could talk theory but you couldn"t.

MS: Exactly. When I returned to Syria I repeatedly said that we had no theory. I vaguely understood in 1964–65 that any ideology that doesn’t include a theory of knowledge is not really complete. At that time I realized that the first step was to formulate a theory of human knowledge and consciousness, the relationship between things outside yourself and things in your mind ( al-#al§qa bayn a l-wujåd fi’l-#ay§n wa-ßuwar a l-mawjåd§t fi’l-adhh§n). This relationship is the main issue in philosophy, and how to improve our understanding of it will remain the main issue until the Hereafter.

DFE: In the 1960s did you think of theories of society primarily in terms of #uråba, Islam, or both?

MS: After the break-up (infiߧl) of the union between Syria and Egypt in 1961, I realized that we needed a theory of society for the pan-Arab movement.

DFE: And religion?

MS: No. Religion at that time meant to me only to believe in God or atheism, because I was confronted with Russian atheism and Marxism. Does God exist or not? I didn’t go into details because the main issue confronting me was atheistic philosophy. I had to defend myself and my beliefs. I didn’t think about praying or fasting. You see, the main issue—whether God exists—was so big a problem that I forget about fasting and everything else.

DFE: So Islam was not then central to your thought?

MS: No.

SS: And theory was?

MS: Theory for #uråba, for pan-Arabism. Arabs needed a party system with a theory so that they could understand words and the universe.

SS: You didn’t think that Ba#thist ideology was adequate?

MS: The Ba#th party recognized that it had no theory to its credit. They offered only revolutionary principles ( al-munãalaq§t al-thaw riyya). The unionists ( al-waÈdawiyån) now say the same thing.

Professor F§"iz Ism§#Êl K§mil[5] says that we have no theory. After the 1967 Six Day War, when my father pointed to the shrine of MuÈyÊ a l-DÊn Ibn a l-#ArabÊ, I knew that Ibn #ArabÊ was a philosopher. I realized then that the principle of making theory had to come from inside Arab culture in order to change Arab thought. Islam and the Qur'an are at the basis of how Arab culture is formed. Islam defines our thinking, our way of doing things. All the books written through the fourteenth century, our social and scientific consciousness, had been worked out through the philosophy of Islam. I realized that even Arab atheists are Islamic in their culture.

SS: So it was Arab identity and #uråba that led you to an interest in Islam?

MS: Because Islam has shaped our culture. I believe in God. I was never in my life an atheist. Not even for one minute.

DFE: Did you ever have doubts?

MS: Yes. When I was in Russia, when I began to read the Qur'an, I knew that I had to eliminate my doubts. How? I wanted to see the Qur'an’s credibility. Abraham himself had doubts and from his doubts he came to certainty. I read about a theory of doubts in René Descartes’ On the Method of Seeking Truth in the Sciences (arÊqat al-wußål il§’l-ÈaqÊqa). It is good to have doubts because you reach truth through them.

Return to Syria (1964)

MS: When I returned to Syria, I was appointed as [teaching] assistant after a competition at the university. The Faculty of Civil Engineering was founded 1961. There were few engineers in Syria at that time and the faculty needed them. My registration number in the Syrian Syndicate of Engineers is 750. That was the number of all engineers in Syria at the time, not just civil engineers.

DFE: Did you return with your wife and child in 1964?

MS: No my wife was still a student. She joined me after she finished her studies in 1965. Unfortunately, she did not bring our son, Leonid, with her. She was a pioneer, the first or second Russian wife to come to Syria. She lived here one year and couldn’t stand our different environment. Finally we agreed to divorce without a quarrel. I told her, ‘Keep Leonid because you are the mother and he will be happy with you. It would kill you if I kept him here. I still provide for our son. It’s my obligation.’ Two months after my first wife returned to Russia, I married my present wife, ‘AzÊza.

DFE: Were you active in politics or discussion circles when you returned to Syria?

MS: In politics no, but discussion circles yes, on Arabness, #uråba, until 1967.

DFE: Why just 1967?

MS: The 1967 war had an impact on all Arabs in different ways, but it affected the consciousness of us all. I was then twenty-nine years old.

DFE: When did the idea to write The Book and the Qur'an first come to you?

MS: The project began to form in my head after 1967. I became convinced that our problem was in the Arab understanding of thought and society. The problem was ourselves, not America or the West. I was convinced of that.

DFE: Did you intend from the outset to develop new interpretations of Islam?

MS: Yes. I wanted to understand Islamic culture thoroughly, to see where we went wrong in order to correct our consciousness. There was an incident which was very clear and upsetting to me. At the first Friday sermon in Damascus after the Six Day War, the preacher in the mosque said that the reason for our defeat was women. ‘[Our] women are cruel, naked’ ( al-nis§" q§siy§t #§riy§t). The people sitting there in the mosque believed him. How can we say that the disaster occurred because God was punishing us for the conduct of our women? I rejected that explanation, but not all people did. They were astonished but they accepted the idea that God might be punishing us.

DFE: How do you know?

MS: They remained silent. They were astonished at the sermon but said nothing. ‘Oh no, it’s women. God is punishing us because women are not wearing head scarves.’ I said to myself, ‘How could that be? Israeli women are in bikinis and they defeated us’ [laughter].

After the sermon I became convinced that something was wrong with our shared understandings, since the preachers were blaming our problems on the two or three tons of textiles used to veil women. You see why I thought that there is something wrong with our worldview. One of my friends told me that the first Friday sermon in the Prophet’s mosque in Medina after the Six Day War concerned the rules for divorce (aÈk§m al-ãal§q) in Islam. I became convinced that our thought was wrong. We had to revise how we reason.

DFE: Did you express your ideas to other people in 1967?

MS: Only the idea that our worldview (dhihniyya)—our mentality or way of thinking—was wrong. We were living in another sphere.

DFE: Did you write anything down?

MS: Not until I went to Dublin in September 1968. There I was alone.

DFE: Were other Syrians with you?

MS: Only four. One was my business partner. The four of us had been accepted at the Imperial College in London, but after the Six Day War, Syria broke diplomatic ties with Britain and we went to Dublin instead. In September 1969 I received my master’s degree and in July 1969, §riq, my first son by my second marriage, was born.

I learned about a new world in Dublin: Western schools, Irish society, a new university, a style of life different from Syria and Russia. As always, I read more, including Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World. When I returned to Syria, I brought new ideas about logic with me.

DFE: Did you begin writing in Dublin?

MS: In my last year there, 1972. I wrote four or five pages about idolatry ( al-shirk). I began to read the Qur'an and to understand that al-shirk is remaining static or unchanging in one’s thinking. That was my first conclusion, that our thinking was static, that we were dead. When I returned to Syria in 1972, I still only discussed my ideas with people and read books. I was expanding my understanding. I began to read such things as commentaries on the Qur'an (tafsÊr). Much of what I read was not convincing.

In 1980, during Ramadan, I began to define the difference between a historically specific act ( al-fi#l) and the notion of action in general ( al-#amal). This was the first distinction which I recognized. It took me all of Ramadan to sort out the Qur'anic verses related to these two terms. As I see the distinction, fi#l refers to a specific act. No generalizations can be drawn from it. ‘Amal refers to a more generalized, objective activity or category of activities, like ‘good deeds.’

At the time I didn’t even know that there was a concordance of the Qur'an. I had to extract all the related verses on my own. Although I asked Arabic-language experts for guidance, they did not tell me the distinction between fi#l and #amal. I discovered it myself. Similarly, it took me two years, from 1980 to 1982, to understand the difference between the two elements of the Qur'an: the book ( al-kit§b), which is the subjective element, and al-qur"§n, which is the objective one. These two elements together constitute the holy book, the tanzÊl al-ÈakÊm. The Prophet is the messenger for a l-kit§b, and the rules of jurisprudence, of what to do and what not to do must be subject to interpretation (ijtih§d) within the limits set down by God. Al-kit§b is dynamic and has such a close relation to social life that it must be reinterpreted to apply to different places and historical periods.[6] Al-qur"§n is objective truth, prophecy. It exists independently of human knowledge or consent and is unchanging.

Think of a fresco at the Vatican. The fresco is fixed, objective. But as the viewer changes position, he sees the fresco in a different way. Each time we move, we see the fresco in a different way. The mullahs want us to stand still and see the fresco as it was in the seventh century. We want to move around and see the fresco in a dialectic between text and context. Our interpretation of the fresco as we move around is subjective. With the kit§b we can use interpretation, and interpret how a verse complies with objective truth. The qur"§n involves prophecy, which is objective truth. I was perplexed when I looked at the Qur'anic verses containing these two terms, kit§b and qur"§n. I looked at their meanings interactively and then understood them.

SS: With whom did you first discuss your ideas?

MS: Primarily with the linguist Ja#far DÊk al-B§b.[7] In the 1980s, we had long discussions on the meaning of kit§b.

DFE: In the early 1980s political events and economic conditions in Syria obliged some people to leave the country, and your business was reorganized. You also found yourself more free to focus on writing . . .

MS: Yes, and in May 1982 I discovered the difference between kit§b and qur"§n. It was very surprising to me. I told my family about it. My father was the first to understand the distinction. He became interested, asked me difficult questions, and forced me to answer them.

DFE: After 1982, you began to discuss your ideas with others, especially Ja#far DÊk al-B§b when he returned during summer from his teaching post in Algeria.

MS: I showed him what I had written. I kept the manuscript in my house. I gave it to my son for safekeeping, saying: ‘Look, this is my first book. The manuscript is in this envelope. Now I will prepare a second book.’

After discovering the difference between kit§b and qur"§n, I discovered the meaning of tartÊl, a term usually referring to the slow, elegant recitation of the Qur'an: ‘Or add to it; and recite the Qur'an in slow, measured rhythmic tones’ (aw zid #alayhi wa-rattil a l-qur"§n tartÊl[an]) (A l-Muzzammil 73:4).[8] I discovered the distinction between comprehension (through inz§l), which is the phrasing of objective truth or doctrines in a manner which humans can understand in a particular historical setting, and the delivery of revelation (tanzÊl), the objective transmission from God to humankind via Gabriel. TanzÊl exists outside of ourselves, like radio waves, which exist whether or not we are aware of them. Inz§l is the act of explaining the tanzÊl.

I also discovered the distinction between the ‘record clear’ ( al-im§m al-mubÊn) that makes matters clear for a specific place and time—these actions collectively constitute an archive of human deeds—and the ‘tablet preserved’ (a l-lawÈ a l-maÈfåí), which are the general laws of existence—life, death, resurrection. To understand these distinctions, I had to reread each Qur'anic occurrence and write out all the verses on the subject. At the time I had no computer. I bought one and began word processing only in 1987.

DFE: When did you consider your manuscript finished?

MS: The third version, which I completed in 1988. I read it out loud to some of my former students who were interested in my ideas. We gathered weekly in a friend’s house. [A former student] read the text and I would interrupt and comment on various points.[9] I made final corrections to the manuscript in October 1989.

I delayed publishing until then because I felt that my section on Islamic personal and family law ( al-aÈw§l al-shakhßiyya) was anemic.[10]

Let me explain. One day an idea occurred to me when I was lecturing at the university on civil engineering on how to make compaction roads. We have what we call a proctor test, in which we sample and test the soil used in fills and embankments. In this test, we follow a mathematical pattern of exclusion and interpolation. We have two vectors, x and y, a hyperbole. We have a basic risk. We plot a curve and put a line on the top of it. This line is the upper limit, and there is a lower limit. Then I thought of the concept of ‘God’s limits’ (Èudåd All§h). I returned here to the office and opened the Qur'an. Just as in mathematics we have five ways of representing limits, I found five cases in which the notion of God’s limits occurred. What they have in common is the idea that God has not set down exact rules of conduct in such matters as inheritance, criminal punishments, marriage, interest, and banking practices, but only the limits within which societies can create their own rules and laws. Thieves do not have to have their hands amputated. That is merely the maximum punishment allowed.

I have written about ideas of ‘straightness’ ( al-istiq§ma) and universal moral codes and ethics. The idea was at first only a footnote in my last chapter, but I saw that it applied to my main argument, so I corrected everything I wrote about Èudåd All§h in the book in order to be consistent. Then I considered my argument sound. Ja#far returned to Syria in February 1990. I showed him the text and he said, ‘Congratulations. Now your argument is strong.’ On April 1, 1990, I gave the book to a specialist in Arabic grammar and style, who corrected only the mistakes in written expression. He took about a month. Then we sent the book to censorship for approval and then it went to press.

DFE: Did the censor change anything?

MS: Nothing.

DFE: What were the first reactions to the book after publication?

MS: This was a most amazing time for me. My publisher, \usayn al-#^d§ of D§r al-Ah§lÊ, and I had an argument. I was publishing at my own expense, as I still do, and he wanted to print only 1,000 copies. He said, ‘No, maybe it won’t sell.’ I told him I was paying the expenses and could decide for myself. So we agreed on 2,000 copies.

The Book and the Qur'an was a bestseller at the September 1990 Damascus Book Fair. I was an unknown author, yet 400 copies were sold right away, and the entire first edition was sold out by December, only three months later. Then we reprinted, and the Lebanese publisher, Riyad a l-Rayyes, asked \usayn a l-#^d§ to provide 1,000 copies, a special order for Oman. D§r a l-Ah§lÊ keeps reprinting the book and it has now sold over 10,000 copies in Syria alone.[11]

DFE: Riyad al-Rayyes asked for 1,000 copies for Oman?

MS: Yes, we printed the books, which al-Rayyes shipped to Oman. Riyad told \usayn that the Sultan wanted this number to distribute in Oman.[12]

DFE: So the first sign you had of interest in the book was that it sold out quickly …?

MS: And by December 1990, the preachers began to attack it in the mosques of Damascus.

DFE: What were the principal arguments against the book?

MS: That I was against Islam. I was pleased [laughter]. I was pleased because I knew that my book was controversial. I knew that I was introducing a new theory. If it was not criticized, I would have doubted myself. ‘Dr. Shahrur has done nothing.’ Silence would have been a bad sign. The accusations began that the Zionists and their agents supported the book. Some religious authorities asked [a prominent Syrian religious figure] to request the government to withdraw the book. The government refused, saying to my opponents that it would not ban the book because it was published in Syria, but that they had the right to answer the book’s argument in print. To date, seventeen books, from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, have been written against my first book.

DFE: What was the personal effect of the attacks against you in the Friday sermons?

MS: From the first sermon after the publication of my book, Jam§l Qaßߧß, who is now the person who checks my writing for Arabic style, knew about the book. He didn’t realize, however, that Muhammad Shahrur was his neighbour. He just knew me as Muhammad, but thought that Shahrur was someone else [laughter]. He telephoned me to say that he wanted to meet me and discuss my book. At first I replied that I was busy because I didn’t recognize his name. Then he said, ‘My name is so-and-so, the son of so-and-so.’ I replied, ‘In that case, you are my neighbour!’ Only then did we recognize each other.

Style and Method

DFE: Moroccans, Pakistanis fluent in Arabic, and others have explained to me that you differ in style from other interpreters of the Qur'an. You gather all the verses related to a given subject—what you call tartÊl—and write about them as a unit rather than as they occur in the Qur'an. How did you develop this method?

MS: From the Qur'an itself. As I told you, I discovered it after learning the difference between kit§b and qur"§n. Second, I realized the meaning of tartÊl is identical to arrangement (tartÊl), so I immediately gave the term a concrete application. As I told you, I also discovered the difference between comprehension (inz§l) and reve lation (tanzÊl). Some things are objective and common to all, like air and the first principles embedded in nature and the human condition. Others relate to the circumstances of society, which can be modified.

SS: What were the main criticisms against you? What was said in the mosques?

MS: First of all, I knew that the preachers were ignorant of philosophy and logic, but I didn’t know the extent of their ignorance. What I write touches at the foundations of conventional belief: the difference between kit§b and qur"§n, between a ‘record clear’ (im§m mubayyin) and a ‘tablet preserved’ (lawÈ maÈfåí), and what I said about women. One preacher said that women must be veiled. He said: ‘Do you accept that your mother can be nude, that a daughter can be nude in front of her father?’

SS: Did they speak in terms of veiling (Èij§b) or equality (mus§w§h)?

MS: Only Èij§b.

SS: What do you consider to be the main points of difference between your interpretation and the classical one?

MS: My approach is totally different. For example, in all classical writing the authors have not considered the credibility of the sayings of the Prophet. They only state that various witnesses said certain things. The result is the total reality of the Qur'an and the total unreality of their writing. I begin by reflecting on this distinction.

SS: Would you consider, for instance, your idea that inspiration (waÈy) occurs within nature and not just as prophecy a great departure?

MS: Yes, a person can have a moment of inspiration about issues on which he is thinking. You are thinking about atomic energy and then you do something else, but your mind is still thinking about atomic energy and inspiration may come to you. It is absurd. Inspiration came to Newton when he saw the apple dropping and the land attracting it. He had some unconnected ideas in his mind, but after he saw the apple fall the conscious connection happened. This occurred to me, yes.

SS: I think that your acceptance of evolution is another major point of departure.

MS: Yes, because of the stories in the Qur'an ( al-qißaß al-qur"§niyya) which reflect the process of evolution. They are meant for teaching: ‘Listen, people who lived at the time of Noah did not live in a society like ours. They lived in another era and we gave a revelation related to their circumstances. Islamic revelation began at the time of Noah and evolved through the time of MuÈammad.’ I explain why this is so in my writings.

In the current era, humanity no longer needs revelation. Let us say that you have a child in school. Once she is four or five years old, what do you teach her? Only A, B, C, D. Later she goes to school and gets a diploma, a bachelor’s degree. She will be much older. She spends, say, fifteen or sixteen years learning. After that, she will conduct research on her own. I consider that Noah is at the A, B, C level of human society and that MuÈammad came to humanity at the bachelor’s degree level. Humanity now goes it alone. We discover the universe by ourselves. We can now, because we have graduated.

DFE: So prophecy and revelation are now finished?

MS: Finished. People can now do it by themselves. And the principle of moral law is closed. The Qur'anic story proves this: ‘Legislate for yourself, discover the universe for yourself, and you will have legislative authority. But don’t forget My [God’s] limits. That’s all.’ Therefore I say that Islamic legislation is civil legislation enacted within the limits set down by God.

Islam and Civil Society

DFE: This brings us to issues perhaps best developed in your third book, al-Isl§m wa’l-Êm§n [Islam and Faith]: Islam, Freedom, and Civil society.

MS: Democracy operates on two levels and is as basic to belief as prayer. The Qur'an (42:38) says: ‘And those who respond attentively to their Lord, pray regularly, and conduct their affairs by consultation among themselves, and give charity out of what we bestow on them’ (wa-alladhÊna istaj§bå li-rabbihim wa-aq§må al-ßal§t wa-amruhum shår§ baynahum wa-mimm§ razaqn§hum yunfiqån). This is one of the Meccan verses. In the Meccan period there was no state, yet the Qur'an mentions democracy, which I consider the equivalent of shår§, as a concept of belief. Its application is historical because it’s not an absolute. You have to adapt the concept of democracy to social and economic conditions and the level of development. The Prophet applied democracy according to the social forms of his own tribal period. The main theory of democracy is in the Qur'an, the same concept (nafs al-mafhåm).

Some people criticize democracies because they make mistakes, and they conclude that democracy is not good. Mistakes in democracy don’t give us the right to abolish it. When the Prophet asked people to go to UÈud, he didn’t want to go himself. But most of his followers said, ‘We have to go’ and the Prophet replied, ‘OK, vote on the decision.’ They voted to go and were defeated. The Prophet didn’t blame them by saying: ‘See I didn’t want to go but you went anyway.’ He didn’t blame anybody. He taught that mistakes do not give us a right to abolish democracy.

They make mistakes, but don’t abolish democracy.

DFE: The other day, one of your university colleagues said, ‘I have read Muhammad Shahrur’s book. I respect it, but I cannot agree with it. For me Islam is prayer, fasting, and obedience."

MS: I think that this view of Islam indicates a lack of comp rehension.

DFE: Our friend was suggesting that Islam has nothing to do with democracy and civil society, that Islam is separate from state and political authority.

MS: As an ideal, Islam is separate from the state. Do you think that Syria is an Islamic state? Islam is a charter for humanity. Society by its nature is Muslim. Therefore, the state is a contract. It is a contract for governing, and the contract is Islamic. That means that I vote for you, for your programme. If you fulfill your programme, you have fulfilled your contract. If you do not, I will not vote for you again. In this sense, the state is Islamic, contractual. In this situation, Islam asks only one thing: don’t exceed the limits set down by God. Do whatever you please, but don’t oppress people. There is a contract between people and the state. And in legislation, don’t exceed the limits of God.

The ideal of Islam will not be subject to vote. ‘Honour to your parents.’ How do you vote for it? ‘Be a good liar.’ How can you vote for it? It’s impossible. Nobody will accept this because it is against morality.

DFE: Ernest Gellner has said that the religious tradition in which fundamentalism is the strongest is Islam and that Islam prevents the growth of civil society.[13] How would you reply?

MS: Gellner understands Islam as it was understood by al-Sh§fi#Ê, from the point of view of fundamentalists themselves. He has not studied the concept of Islam as a philosopher—from the source itself, as civil society, as spirituality, as morality. Gellner understands Islam as presented in Qur'anic commentary (tafsÊr) and Islamic jurisprudence ( fiqh) and most of these structures are now absurd.

DFE: Gellner writes that Islam is so pervasive and powerful in the Muslim world that it has blocked people from developing the sorts of reasoning and civil society that have emerged in the West.

MS: I agree with that. It is our fault and the West has exploited our weaknesses neatly. The West is smart. We didn’t criticize our method of knowledge and reasoning when Napoleon came into Egypt. Instead, we turned our backs and said that we have to preserve our identity and our own sciences. Some of our religious scholars meant by this everything that was developed in the first three centuries after the death of the Prophet, that the knowledge and reasoning present in that period constituted the core of our identity.

America, England, and France didn’t create anything new in the Arab world. They just read it well, accepted it as it was, and exploited it for their own ends. America didn’t do anything new in the Arab world but she knew our mentality and how we do things. The Arab world was created before England and before America but they exploited us.

Now, if you have a new mentality according to my thesis, you will have new people. Then it will be difficult for the West to exploit us. We’ll have a new method to deal with other people. We’ll be scientific and have a civil society, and people will learn to deal with us in a different way.

I hope that the Arab world will change by itself. We cannot afford not to remain as we are, and I hope that the British and American attitude to our region of the world also changes. If our society and habits of thought change, then we can match the rest of the world. I know that. Pragmatism will help [laughter]. That’s right.

DFE: Let us consider another type of change. Your first book took eight years to write. Now you have completed a third book, and envisage a fourth. How has writing and publication changed how you think about yourself?

MS: I am changing and my thinking is making progress. I am now beginning to see the product of my thinking over the past twenty years. I have developed my method of analysis, and therefore I write more quickly. Recently, for instance, it took me only two weeks to write an essay on the difference between birth-givers (al-w§lid§n) and caregiver-parents ( al-abaw§n), and its implications for Islamic ideas of the family. It took me only two weeks sitting here.[14]

SS: Do you think of yourself primarily as a university faculty member, as the proprietor of an engineering firm, or as a writer?

MS: I am all of these things, but my main activity now is philosophy. Because of my experience in engineering, I have associates and an assistant, so I make executive decisions only. My duties at the University of Damascus take one day a week. In the university, I am a teacher, a professor. But outside of the university, people consider me a thinker.

SS: That’s right, but do you consider yourself a . . . ?

MS: An amateur! I am an ordinary human. I am afraid of one thing: that one day I will be hit by old age, and I will not be able to develop my ideas any longer. I prefer to die before that happens to me. I discuss my ideas even with my children. I don’t feel bothered that they criticize me, saying ‘You are so modest that you speak with anybody. Anybody can ask you a question, and you give longer replies than they expect.’ I answer my children, ‘So what? That’s the way I am."

I am afraid to consider myself as a thinker. Even if I am invited to some place, I purposely go a bit late in order not to sit at the front. I want to sit at the back, where nobody will notice me, so that I can pay better attention to what others say.

DFE: Now that your work is published and your ideas better known, you"re invited to places such as Morocco and Bahrain, and journalists and diplomats pay attention to your writings. Your publisher told me that he once asked you to prepare a public talk explaining your ideas in one hour, explain everything you believe in one hour, to attract people to reading your work.

MS: I honestly can"t. Sometimes, I develop one small point and talk for two hours about it. But I don’t talk rubbish. Not all ideas can be explained in one hour. This is me. I can’t change myself, I can’t. [Laughter.]

DFE: What is the reaction to your public lectures in Syria?

MS: I gave the first one only last week, in northern Syria. Four years ago, at noon on May 3, 1992, I was scheduled to lecture during the Cultural Week at our university’s Faculty of Medicine. I went there about a quarter to twelve. There were about 5,000 people there. The scene was fascinating and impressive. The authorities—and they were right—felt that it was not safe for me to lecture and so I did not. More recently, the same thing happened in Bahrain.

DFE: Some people express surprise that a book exploring such basic principles of conventional belief and democracy should be published in Syria. Are you surprised?

MS: No, because I think that in Syria, objectively speaking, our society is now stable. We have an ancient civilization. And there are other writers, such as Dr. ‘§diq Jal§l al-#Aím, who also challenge conventional belief. My book is also allowed. I don’t know why, but it is. I know that my book could not have been published in any other Arab state, even in Egypt. N§ßr \§mid Abå Zayd’s writings are less controversial than mine, and we know what happened to him.[15]

[1] Publications on MS by D. F. Eickelman are listed in the Bibliography.

[2] Dale Eickelman wrote: ‘Travel to Damascus to interview MuÈammad ShaÈrår and others associated with religious book publishing in Damascus (March 14–24, 1996) was funded by the Humanities Program of the Rockefeller Foundation, New York, under a grant awarded to Dartmouth College for the project “Print, Islam, and Civic Pluralism: New Religious Writings and their Public.” The author also wishes to thank Colin S. O. Grey, a Presidential Scholar at Dartmouth College, and Christine Eickelman for transcribing the English sections of the interview’. (Transcript of the original interview, p. 1.) The footnotes were provided by Dale Eickelman and left unchanged (except where some updates seemed necessary) as they are in the original manuscript.

[3] MuÈyÊ al-DÊn Ibn #ArabÊ (1165–1240), the influential Sufi mystic and scholar who lived in Damascus from 1230 until his death.

[4] Abroad, a weekly news magazine intended for a general readership covering events outside the former Soviet Union.

[5] Leader of Syria’s National Progressive Front ( al-Jabha al-waãaniyya al-taqad dumiyya), one of the constituent parties of the Socialist Union Party ( al-Èizb a l-waÈdawiyÊn a l-ishtir§kiyÊn), which encompasses all of Syria’s recognized political parties.

[6] This point is further developed in Shahrur, al-Kit§b wa’l-qur"§n, 59–60, and in chapter 3 of this book.

[7] A prominent Syrian linguist who has worked in Algeria and the Sultanate of Oman, DÊk al-B§b first met Shahrur when they were students together in Moscow. His Asr§r a l-lis§n a l-#arabÊ (Secrets of the Arabic Language) is included as an appendix to Shahrur’s al-Kit§b.

[8] As ‘§diq J. Sulaim§n explains, rattil also means to place in a logical sequence, although this is a somewhat rare use of the term. Yusuf #Ali, one of the translators of the Qur'an, uses the term only in the sense of measured recitation. It also can refer to military formations, and Shahrur is building on this more physical and logical sense of the term.

[9] This is a common pattern for religious lesson circles. See Dale F. Eickelman, Knowledge and Power in Morocco: The Education of a Twentieth-Century Notable (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985), 91–104. Participants in Shahrur’s discussion groups with prior experience of religious studies or participation in religious orders placed particular emphasis on the ‘traditional’ structure of their meetings.

[10] Shahrur, Kit§b, 443–67.

[11] There is also an authorized Beirut edition, although Shahrur indicates that the actual print run is considerably higher than the reported figures (Interview, Damascus, March 23, 1996). Sales figures for the pirated Egyptian edition are unavailable. The book is also now available in a CD-ROM version (Interview with Muhammad Shahrur, New York, May 22, 1997).

[12] Among the other recipients of the book were members of the Council of Ministers. In distributing the book to his ministers, the sultan indicated only that ministers might find the book interesting. He makes no statement for or against its argument (Interview with a member of the Council of Ministers, Muscat, June 26, 1996).

[13] Ernest Gellner, Conditions of Liberty: Civil Society and Its Rivals (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1994), 22, 29.

[14] See Muhammad Shahrour, “Islam and the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women,” translated by Dale F. Eickelman and Sadek J. Sulaiman, in Liberal Islam: A Sourcebook, ed., Charles Kurzman, 139–42 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).

[15] Formerly a faculty member in the Department of Arabic at Cairo University, Abå Zayd argued in successive publications that the text of the Qur'an was subject to historical interpretation. Following pressure from Islamists in 1992, he was denied promotion to full professor and subsequently attacked from the pulpit at various mosques and accused of apostasy for using nontraditional methods for interpreting the meaning of the Qur'an. A mosque preacher, aided by a volunteer group of Islamist lawyers, brought a suit in the Family Court, petitioning that Abå Zayd’s marriage was invalid because he was an apostate. In January 1994, a Family Court judge ruled the case inadmissible, but an appeals court confirmed Abå Zayd’s apostasy and officially annulled his marriage. A further and final appeal to the Court of Cassation resulted only in a stay of execution of the sentence. Professor Abå Zayd and his wife were eventually forced to flee Egypt. He now lives and works in Holland. (Interview, Leiden, March 25, 1996), and Nasr Abu Zaid, “The Case of Abu Zaid,” Index on Censorship 4 (1996), 30–39.

[470] Fuller, lon l., The Morality of Law, revised edition (new haven: yale university Press, 1969), pp. 14, 17.

[473] Fuller, lon l., The Morality of Law, 5.

[474] ibid., p. 7.

[478] ibid., pp. 5–6.

[486] duben, alan, and cem Behar, Istanbul Households: Marriage, Family, and Fertility, 1880–1940 (cambridge: cambridge university Press, 1991).

[490] Keane, John, “The limits of secularism,” Times Literary Supplement, January 9, 1999, p. 12.

[491] Madan, T.n., “secularism in its Place,” Journal of Asian Studies 6 (1987): pp. 747–59.

[505] Buti, saïd ramadan al- “Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s experience of serving islam by Means of Politics.” in Third International Symposium on Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, vol. 1 (Istanbul: Sözler Publications, 1997), pp. 111–21.

[506] Nursi, said, Nature: Cause or Effect? translated from the Turkish by Ümit Şimşek (Istanbul: Yeni Asya Yanıları, 1985).