"A gripping dramatic story, brilliantly and lucidly narrated; a 'must' read for all students of alternative modernities."—Fred R. Dallmayr, author of Achieving our World, Toward a Global and Plural Democracy
"Narrated with a cool combination of theoretical insight and factual evidence, Farzin Vahdat's God and Juggernaut is the most serious attempt to date to address the philosophical predicament of modernity in Iran. He opts for the defining moment of 'subjectivity' as the litmus test of the perils and promises of enlightenment modernity in its own colonial shadow. The result is a path-breaking work of critical significance."—Hamid Dabashi, author of Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundations of the Islamic Revolution in Iran
"Analyzes Iran's intellectual encounter with modernity from the mid-nineteenth-century to the present by drawing on insights gleaned from Critical Theory. Vahdat's work provides the very kind of summary of Critical Theory and its applicability to a non-Western society that teachers like myself have been searching for since the late 1970s."—Eric Hooglund, editor of Critique
Farzin Vahdat has written a trenchant analysis of the intellectual discourse of modernity in Iran. Although there have been several recent studies about Iranian intellectuals, this volume is unique in that it focuses almost entirely on intellectual discourse among the clergy.
Vahdat first provides us with a solid foundation for understanding the key Critical Theory concept of subjectivity—especially as expounded in the writings of Jurgen Habermas. Then, he successfully shows how one Western philosophical approach does have universal applicability by demonstrating the concern of Iranian theorists such as Shariati, Motahhari, Khomeini, and Sorush with human subjectivity.
By engaging the major theoretical discourses of modernity, the author attempts for the first time in a non-Western context to address some of the central theoretical issues involved in, modernity and Iran’s experience of these issues. As such, this study can contribute to a profound understanding of modernity and its development in a Middle Eastern context. This book is an important addition to the growing body of work in Global Studies and Critical Theory as well as on contemporary Iran.
Table of Contents
The Nature of Modernity
PART ONE: Iran's Experiment with Modernity
2. The Dawn of Modernity in Iran: Positivist Subjectivity and Universalizable Subjectivity
3. The Eclipse of Universalizable Subjectivity and the Quest for a Collective Subject
PART TWO: Islamic Discourses and Modernity
4. Islamic Revolutionary Thought: The Self as Media ted Subjectivity
5. Postrevolutionary Discourses: The Contraction and Expansion of Subjectivity
Appendix 22 I
Works Cited 241
About the Author
Farzin Vahdat's articles have appeared in Critique, Journal of Iranian Research and Analysis, and Scandinavian Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. Currently, he teaches in the Department of Comparative Religion at Tufts University.
Series: Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East
6.34 x 9.28, 256 pages