Trends and Issues in Contemporary Arab Thought
This book focuses on contemporary Arab thought during the past twenty years, especially since the 1967 Arab defeat in the Six Day War. Well-known Arab writers are studied, and their unprecedented and anguished exercise of self-examination and self-criticism is explored. A number of Arab thinkers are presented for the first time in English. Here is an account of some of the most recent intellectual trends in the Arab world. As the writers grapple with the Arab desire for social change, with ideas of freedom and equality and social justice, and with the problem of accommodating Arab culture to modern times, their will to preserve their national identity is displayed. The role played by Islam in the current Arab discourse is analyzed as Arab intellectuals creatively interpret their present predicament in order to make it meaningful in the present day.
Arab thought is seen here to be in crisis as it reflects this reality and questions the legitimacy of Arab political regimes. Much of the present turmoil in the Arab world can be better understood in light of this insightful treatment of contemporary Arab thinkers because it shows how the Arabs themselves feel, what they think about their own contemporary life, and how they envision their future.
Issa J. Boullata is Professor of Arabic Literature and Language and Assistant Director, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University.