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About Faisal Devji

Faisal Devji is associate professor of history at the New School for Social Research.

Articles by Faisal Devji

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Faisal Devji

Our biggest obstacle was the Left. In its efforts to defend and at most reclaim some of the welfare state’s vanishing benefits, the Left had come to represent the most conservative and, quite literally, reactionary force in modern politics. Unable to imagine a future that was not theological and indeed monotheistic in its linear and redemptive utopianism, the Left’s dead hand had to be lifted before new forms of political thought and action could emerge. But this only happened by accident.

When as a result of the continuing financial crisis, the BRICS countries decided to cut their losses and switch from the US dollar to the Euro as a reserve currency, the immediate consequence was to wrest economic power from the grip of nation states. This made for a geopolitical realignment, where Europe’s newly buoyant currency translated not into the EU’s political dominance, but rather its greater dependence on Asian markets and industry. 

Betrayed by Europe’s abandonment of the dollar, and faced with the refusal of Asia and Africa to underwrite her debts, the United States lost economic dominance. This meant that it suddenly became possible to think about human inter-connectedness by way of a more egalitarian politics. Did this mark the victory of capitalism? If so it was a victory for Leninism as well, since what then commenced was the withering away of the state. New kinds of struggles and new forms of political consciousness could now emerge.    


Picture from Bahrain

Muslim liberals: epistles of moderation

The second letter of a group of Muslim notables to Christian leaders is a case-study in both the state of religious thinking and the democratisation of sovereignty in the global arena, says Faisal Devji.

Dubai cosmopolis

Dubai is unique: a city whose decentred multiplicity informs and accommodates everything it touches, from the role of Islam to that of global capitalism in the region. Faisal Devji presents an acute analysis of a place where tradition functions not to forge a non-existent nationality, but to accommodate and naturalise change. In this, he suggests, Dubai is a global city of the post-national future.

Between Pope and Prophet

Muslims' response to Pope Benedict's address at Regensburg is a fresh chapter in the arrival of global Islam on the world's political stage, says Faisal Devji.

Pope Benedict XVI's citation of a medieval text disparaging the Prophet Mohammed, in his address at the University of Regensburg on 12 September 2006, has allowed Muslims across the world to mount yet another spectacle of their religion's globalisation.

Back to the future: the cartoons, liberalism, and global Islam

Muslim protests over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed mark the arrival of a force challenging liberal democracy from the future: a global Islam that is inventing new forms of ethical and political practice for a global arena. Faisal Devji, author of "Landscapes of the Jihad", maps the trajectory of this ultra-modern phenomenon.

On 30 September 2005 the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a number of caricatures on the subject of Islam, Muslims and the Prophet Mohammed.

Back to the future: the Danish cartoons, liberalism and global Islam

Muslim protests over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed marked the arrival of a force challenging liberal democracy not from the past, but from the future: Islam in the global community. First published 12 April, 2006.

Osama bin Laden's message to the world

Osama bin Laden’s urgent attempt to reconstruct a unified and global Islam from its increasing fragmentation is only one form of a wider global predicament, says Faisal Devji, author of “Landscapes of the Jihad”.

In his address to the American people on 29 October 2004, days before they went to the polls in a bitterly contested presidential election, Osama bin Laden spoke of the profound similarities between the Muslim world and the United States.

Spectral brothers: al-Qaida's world wide web

A product of the global culture, modern radical Islam is the shadow of what it opposes, writes Faisal Devji.
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