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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2021

Representation and Ethics: The Making of the Islamic World from a Place of Exile

From the book Claiming and Making Muslim Worlds

  • Abdulkader Tayob


I use Edward Said’s metaphor of exile to identify an archive that offers an alternative discourse in the study of Islam. By drawing on Western and Muslim traditions, this archive occupies a place of exile that does more than constructing a representation of the Muslim world. Like Said’s work, it continues the critique of Orientalism. In addition, it includes a deliberation on ethics that has generally eluded the dominant discourse on the making and unmaking of the Islamic World. I contrast this archive with a post-Orientalist discourse that sometimes takes a deconstructivist approach to Islam, and sometimes one that emphasizes agency. The use of agency draws attention to Muslim imbrication in the social, political, and religious fields, but fails to account for political and economic hegemonies. Such strategies side-step the continuing dominance of Western political power games in Muslim societies and states. I therefore turn to scholars in exile and propose that their interest in critique and ethics offers a different way of imagining the Islamic world. Their questions and concern offer a different perspective to ‘post-Saidian’ Islamic Studies.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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