Journeys to the Other Shore: Muslim and Western Travelers in by Roxanne L. Euben

By Roxanne L. Euben

The modern international is more and more outlined by way of dizzying flows of individuals and ideas. yet whereas Western trip is linked to a pioneering spirit of discovery, the dominant photograph of Muslim mobility is the jihadi who travels to not study yet to spoil. Journeys to the opposite Shore demanding situations those stereotypes by means of charting the typical ways that Muslim and Western tourists negotiate the dislocation of go back and forth to unusual and unusual worlds. In Roxanne Euben's groundbreaking day trip throughout cultures, geography, historical past, style, and genders, go back and forth indicates not just a actual circulation throughout lands and cultures, but additionally an inventive trip during which ask yourself approximately those that reside another way makes it attainable to determine the realm differently.

within the ebook we meet not just Herodotus but additionally Ibn Battuta, the fourteenth-century Moroccan visitor. Tocqueville's trips are set opposed to a five-year sojourn in nineteenth-century Paris through the Egyptian author and translator Rifa'a Rafi' al-Tahtawi, and Montesquieu's novel Persian Letters meets with the memoir of an East African princess, Sayyida Salme.

This outstanding booklet indicates that interest in regards to the unknown, the hunt to appreciate overseas cultures, serious distance from one's personal international, and the will to remake the overseas into the conventional will not be the monopoly of any unmarried civilization or epoch. Euben demonstrates that the fluidity of identities, cultures, and borders linked to our postcolonial, globalized international has a protracted history--one formed not just by means of Western energy but additionally via an Islamic ethos of go back and forth looking for knowledge.

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37 Said elaborates: TRAVELING THEORISTS AND TRANSLATING PRACTICES 27 While it perhaps seems peculiar to speak of the pleasures of exile. . seeing the “entire world as a foreign land” makes possible originality of vision. Most people are principally aware of one culture, one setting, one home; exiles are aware of at least two, and this plurality of vision gives rise to an awareness of simultaneous dimensions, an awareness that—to borrow a phrase from music— is contrapuntal. For an exile, habits of life, expression, or activity in the new environment inevitably occur against the memory of these things in another environment.

3 Yet as early as The Epic of Gilgamesh (transcribed 1900 bce), the pursuit of knowledge and the attainment of wisdom has been linked to travel and direct experience of the radically unfamiliar. Gilgamesh, the mythic Sumerian traveler and ruler, was the man to whom all things were known: this was the king who knew the countries of the world. He was wise, he saw mysteries and knew secret things, he brought us a tale of the days before the flood. ”5 Similarly, the highly contested narrative of the life of the Prophet Muhammad includes a series of now legendary peregrinations—ranging from his nocturnal journey (isra) to Jerusalem in the company of the angel Gabriel to the hijra, the migration from Mecca to Medina that inaugurates the Islamic calendar.

They make visible the ways in which such knowledge is constituted through shifting sets of nested polarities—us and them, self and other, male and female—that are as much product as premise of a dialectical engagement with shifting terrain. Such commonalities challenge the presumption that political theory is a field not only produced by but coextensive with the West, one recently reinforced by scholars anxious to secure a certain spirit of intellectual inquiry as a Euro-American possession and establish Islam in particular as the antithesis of critical reflection.

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