Speakers Series: From Orientalism to Islamophobia

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Pinni B building, lecture hall B1097 (address: Kanslerinrinne 1, 1st fl.)

University of Tampere
Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social Research Programme (NSR)

Speakers Series 2017-2018, Spring

An open lecture by Dr Mahmut Mutman (IASR)
From Orientalism to Islamophobia

This lecture begins with an introduction to Edward Said’s work, Orientalism, and then moves into a discussion of Islamophobia by emphasizing the emergence of a new image of Islam in the post-oil crisis world. Its underlying premise and promise is that Islamism cannot be understood without taking this historical context into account, even though it is not on Islamism itself.

A close critical reading shows that Said’s argument tended to reduce orientalism to an error of representation. I suggest that orientalism (and neo-orientalism) might be better read as a series of political, cultural and scientific and disciplinary practices, i.e. performative acts which “world” the Oriental world, if we employ Heidegger’s concept of worlding. My discussion of the concept of worlding emphasizes that, in the case of Islamicate world, the Western worlding initiated by colonialism and maintained by its nationalist reversal, has led to a further consolidation of Islam, which appeared as an overdetermination of social and economic antagonisms. The situation was exacerbated by the “oil crisis” in the West and the exhaustion of nationalist project of modernization.

The emergence of a new, “unrestrained and immediate” image of Islam in Western media in the late 1970s and early 1980s should be seen a precursor of today’s Islamophobia. Emphasizing that what is at stake here is not an ideology in the sense of a doctrine, I demonstrate that Islamophobia must be understood as a new unfolding of racist discursive and affective formation (hence in comparison with what was once called “negrophobia” and anti-Semitism). I then go through the constitutive features of Islamophobic racism and underscore its strong affective dimension, which is irreducible from the concept of terrorism and the new assemblage of security. Last but not least, I argue that “jihadism” should be seen as an internal component of this assemblage in a discussion of the concept of leaderless jihad and network or complexity theories.

What is the Speakers Series of the University of Tampere?
 - The Speakers Series is a series of Studia Generalia Lectures in the  Study of Society organized weekly by the University of Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social  Research Programme (NSR). The lectures are given by the Research Fellows  as well as the distinguished guests of the IASR and the NSR. For the  programme, please check the IASR website www.uta.fi/iasr/lectures/.


Additional information

Research Secretary Marjukka Virkajärvi, 050 318 6697, Marjukka.Virkajarvi@uta.fi