During the lecture Professor Gilbert Achcar will engage in a conversation with Eleonora Roldán Mendívil and the audience, outlining some of the arguments presented in his 2013 essay collection "Marxism, Orientalism, Cosmopolitanism". The conversation will involve the significance of Sadik Jalal al-Azm’s 1981 argument of “Orientalism in Reverse” for current Political Theory and Postcolonialism debates. “Orientalism in Reverse” poses a peculiar instance of what Edward Said unmasked as Orientalism in his 1978 foundational work of the same name. Regarding Islam, “Orientalism in Reverse” does not repeat the usual Western denigration informed by a colonial mentality that despises Muslims, but adopts instead a reverse attitude of uncritical apology, not only of Islam as a religion but often of Islamic fundamentalism itself represented as the sui generis path for Muslims to modernity. The lecture will encompass a discussion of today’s essentialist narratives about the ‘Other’ from Left to Right, as well as of Marxist impulses for a historical-materialist engagement with religions, identities and struggles for liberation around the world.
Online via Zoom: http://potsdam.zoom.us/j/65076203457