Islam Without Europe - Traditions of Reform in Eighteenth-Century Islamic Thought
Ahmad S. Dallal's (Georgetown University in Qatar) lecture on "Islam Without Europe. Traditions of Reform in Eighteenth-Century Islamic Thought" was held on 16 July 2018 at Freie Universität Berlin with an introduction by Islam Dayeh (Freie Universität Berlin, Zukunftsphilologie).
Scholarship on the Islamic eighteenth century has traditionally argued that this is a century of disarray, stagnation, fragmentation of tradition, and decline. This widely accepted scholarly view asserts that the eighteenth century is a century of political and economic decline and intellectual stagnation. According to this view, an era of political and intellectual revival and reform ensues in the nineteenth century primarily as a result of the growth of European influence in, and the resulting intellectual challenges to, the Muslim world. More recently, some revisionist historians convincingly criticized notions of a comprehensive social and economic decline in the eighteenth century, and put forth the thesis of alternative and simultaneous Enlightenments that were not restricted to Europe. These studies often invite historians to shift the focus of research from the sphere of culture to that of political economy. In so doing, however, this approach fails to identify what, if anything, is original about the Islamic eighteenth century.
In this public lecture, based on his book "Islam without Europe. Traditions of Reform in Eighteenth-Century Islamic Thought" (2018), Ahmad S. Dallal offers a revision of both traditional historiography of the Muslim World in the eighteenth century and of the more recent attempts to revisit this historiography.