Restating Orientalism

A Critique of Modern Knowledge

Wael B. Hallaq

Columbia University Press

Restating Orientalism

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Pub Date: July 2018

ISBN: 9780231187626

392 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $40.00£30.00

Pub Date: July 2018

ISBN: 9780231547383

392 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $39.99£30.00

Restating Orientalism

A Critique of Modern Knowledge

Wael B. Hallaq

Columbia University Press

Since Edward Said’s foundational work, Orientalism has been singled out for critique as the quintessential example of Western intellectuals’ collaboration with oppression. Controversies over the imbrications of knowledge and power and the complicity of Orientalism in the larger project of colonialism have been waged among generations of scholars. But has Orientalism come to stand in for all of the sins of European modernity, at the cost of neglecting the complicity of the rest of the academic disciplines?

In this landmark theoretical investigation, Wael B. Hallaq reevaluates and deepens the critique of Orientalism in order to deploy it for rethinking the foundations of the modern project. Refusing to isolate or scapegoat Orientalism, Restating Orientalism extends the critique to other fields, from law, philosophy, and scientific inquiry to core ideas of academic thought such as sovereignty and the self. Hallaq traces their involvement in colonialism, mass annihilation, and systematic destruction of the natural world, interrogating and historicizing the set of causes that permitted modernity to wed knowledge to power. Restating Orientalism offers a bold rethinking of the theory of the author, the concept of sovereignty, and the place of the secular Western self in the modern project, reopening the problem of power and knowledge to an ethical critique and ultimately theorizing an exit from modernity’s predicaments. A remarkably ambitious attempt to overturn the foundations of a wide range of academic disciplines while also drawing on the best they have to offer, Restating Orientalism exposes the depth of academia’s lethal complicity in modern forms of capitalism, colonialism, and hegemonic power.
Going beyond the questions of representations of the Orient, Hallaq's work expands the scope of the critical discussion on Orientalism to reexamine the epistemological foundations of modern historical social sciences. Sudipta Kaviraj, Columbia University
It is becoming increasingly evident among decolonial thinkers that colonial management (with or without colonies, with or without settlers) is a question of controlling and managing knowledge, and that power differential is implicit in agents, institutions, and languages of epistemic governance. Wael B. Hallaq brilliantly drives us, through a meticulous reading of Edward Said’s Orientalism, to the awareness that domination is grounded on epistemic sovereignty and that liberation is unthinkable without epistemic freedom. Walter Mignolo, author of On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis
This book is a brilliant interrogation of Said's famous concept, highlighting the extent which the issue of Orientalism is not simply one of problematic European authors, but instead goes to the heart of how the modern project itself constitutes subjects, knowledge, and power. In this way, Hallaq argues that confronting Orientalism means confronting the forms of violences that have marked modernity and been justified and reproduced across the academic disciplines. This provocative work raises profound and challenging questions about academia and about the contemporary self. It is essential reading and will be debated by scholars for years to come. Aziz Rana, author of The Two Faces of American Freedom
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Putting Orientalism in Its Place
2. Knowledge, Power, and Colonial Sovereignty
3. The Subversive Author
4. Epistemic Sovereignty and Structural Genocide
5. Refashioning Orientalism, Refashioning the Subject
Notes
Index

About the Author

Wael B. Hallaq is the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, where he teaches and writes about Islamic law, ethics, and intellectual history. His books, translated into a number of languages, include Shariʿa: Theory, Practice, Transformations (2009) and The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity’s Moral Predicament (2013), which won Columbia University Press’s Distinguished Book Award.