Scholars of the Middle East have long searched for what they have described as the “roots” of sectarianism. But the idea that there is a stable category of religious division treats the Arab world’s religiosity as a monolith that runs uninterrupted from the medieval to modern era. In this free talk, Ussama Makdisi counters this position by drawing attention to the now-obscured Arab tradition of anti-sectarianism, an ethical stance that promotes a cohesive and emancipated political community that transcends religious difference. This tradition can be seen, Makdisi argues, in calls for unity and equality between Muslim and non-Muslim Arabs during the dramatic transformations of the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire, and in the twentieth-century secular Arab nationalist and socialist currents of the Middle East.
Please register on the American Academy’s website at the URL above as well as expressing your interest in attending through Facebook. Thank you!