After that, it seems Muslims just conformed to culture. According to some, our culture seems to have no history, no politics, and no debates, so that all Muslims are just plain bad. According to others, there is a history, a politics, even debates, and there are good Muslims and bad Muslims. In both versions, history seems to have petrified into a lifeless custom of an antique people who inhabit antique lands.

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Mahmood Mamdani is a major contributor to discourse on and around postcolonial theory, African history and comparative studies. With all this work in a single decade, why even mention that he won the Herskovitz Prize for the best book on Africa in for Citizen and Subject? You get the point; Mahmood Mamdani is as hot in intellectual circles as Mira Nair, his wife, is in film circles.

Mamdani begins the book, as he begins most of his books, with an acknowledgement that is part autobiography and part statement of purpose. Mamdani lifts the curtain of culture from these terms to reveal the political terms of pro-American Muslim and anti-American Muslim lurking underneath.

Mamdani categorizes history writing into nationalist and metanationalist narratives. If one were to criticize Good Muslim, Bad Muslim it would be for rushing through a variety of complicated incidents in only pages. Mamdani pulls from a cornucopia of archival sources including CIA intelligence reports, international and domestic newspaper accounts, speeches, legislation, government sponsored textbooks and vintage journal articles.

This archive enables Mamdani to cross-reference the official and unofficial stories and detect points of rhetorical strategy. The British press reported smiling mercenaries killing and torturing naked African prisoners. The Italian press reported looting and lynching. Mamdani does not limit his argument to the way the press perceives US actions and foreign policy. Mamdani links his work back to that of Fanon by attempting to explain the way terrorists might perceive the same actions and language.

Mamdani investigates the counter-narratives that rationalize extreme violence, and interrogates the arguments used to justify military solutions to terrorism. It is also in this discursive space that Good Muslim, Bad Muslim distinguishes Mamdani as a truly public public intellectual.

It is no accident that he chose as his publisher Pantheon, a Random House division, rather than his prior publisher Princeton University Press. Her research focuses on eighteenth-century rhetoric and the rhetorical depiction of the human and human rights.

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Bush p. Reintroducing history to the violence, the book begins by tracing the broad contours of the relationship between nation-state modernity and violence. Mamdani rejects violence as pre-modern or communal, asserting instead an inextricable relationship between violence and modernity p. Building on this history of violence and modernity, the first chapter offers an alternative account of political Islam. It exposes the caricatures of Muslims and Islam that are deployed to provide a moral veneer for expansionist imperialism. The subsequent three chapters offer a chronological account of the violence of U.


Connie Steel on "Good Muslim, Bad Muslim"

What is the link, many seem to ask, between Islam and terrorism? The Spectator, a British weekly, carried a lead article a few weeks ago that argued that the link was not with all of Islam, but with a very literal interpretation of it. This argument was echoed widely in many circles, more recently in the New York Times. This article is born of dissatisfaction with the new wisdom that we must tell apart the Good Muslim from the Bad Muslim.


Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror



Savage Minds


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