Shi'ism

Shi'ism

A Religion of Protest

eBook - 2011
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Harvard University Press

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.



Book News
"The way I write about Shi'ism crosses the rigid boundaries between the sanctimonious and the sacrilegious, carefully balanced to pave the way toward a hidden path to its body and soul." This is a quote from the preface, in which Dabashi (Iranian studies and comparative literature, Columbia U.) outlines his primary contention that "Shi'ism is predicated on a rather perplexing paradox--that it is morally triumphant when it is politically defiant, and that it morally fails when it politically succeeds." This study does indeed cross boundaries, to begin with, examining the psychology of the religion (including a "schizophrenic split" under colonialism, "its politics of desperation going one way and its aesthetic of emancipation another"). Dabashi looks at the religion's language and the language used to speak about it and studies Shi'ism's doctrinal foundation, history, interaction with cultural modernity, and contemporary contestations. A section of b&w photos (and a map) support this groundbreaking work. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Blackwell Publishing
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 protestùsuccessful 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 in 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 modeùreminiscent of its traumatic birth in early Islamic history. Hezbollah in Lebanon claims Shi'isni, 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'ism: 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.

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011
ISBN: 9780674058750
0674058755
9780674049451
0674049454
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xviii, 413 pages, [15] pages of plates) : illustrations, maps

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