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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-05-07
  • Publisher: Belknap Pr
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For a Western world anxious to understand Islam and, in particular, Shi'ism, this book arrives with urgently needed information and critical analysis. Hamid Dabashi exposes the soul of Shi'ism as a religion of protest-successful only when in a warring position, and losing its legitimacy when in power. Dabashi makes his case through a detailed discussion of the Shi'i doctrinal foundations, a panoramic view of its historical unfolding, a varied investigation into its visual and performing arts, and finally a focus on the three major sites of its contemporary contestations: Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. In these states, Shi'ism seems to have ceased to be a sect within the larger context of Islam and has instead emerged to claim global political attention. Here we see Shi'ism in its combative mode-reminiscent of its traumatic birth in early Islamic history. Hezbollah in Lebanon claims Shi'ism, as do the militant insurgents in Iraq, the ruling Ayatollahs in Iran, and the masses of youthful demonstrators rebelling against their reign. All declare their active loyalties to a religion of protest that has defined them and their ancestry for almost fourteen hundred years. Shi'sm: A Religion of Protest attends to the explosive conflicts in the Middle East with an abiding attention to historical facts, cultural forces, religious convictions, literary and artistic nuances, and metaphysical details. This timely book offers readers a bravely intelligent history of a world religion.

Author Biography

Hamid Dabashi, an internationally renowned cultural critic and award-winning author, is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. More information can be found at www.harniddabashi.com.

Table of Contents

Preludep. xi
Prefacep. xv
Introductionp. 1
Doctrinal Foundation
Death of a Prophetp. 29
Birth of a Revolutionary Faithp. 47
The Karbala Complexp. 73
Historical Unfolding
In the Battlefields of Historyp. 103
In the Company of Kings, Caliphs, and Conquerorsp. 132
At the Dawn of Colonial Modernityp. 159
Visual and Performing Arts
Shi'ism and the Crisis of Cultural Modernityp. 207
On Ressentiment and the Politics of Despairp. 228
An Aesthetic of Emancipationp. 241
Contemporary Contestations
The Un/Making of a Politics of Despairp. 263
Toward a New Syncretic Cosmopolitanismp. 277
Contemporary Sites of Contestationp. 296
Conclusionp. 309
Note on Transliterationp. 327
Arabic and Persian Glossaryp. 328
Schools of Theology, Philosophy, and Political Thoughtp. 338
Chronologyp. 344
Notesp. 348
Further Readingp. 385
Acknowledgmentsp. 390
Indexp. 393
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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