Toward New Democratic Imaginaries. Istanbul Seminars on Islam, Culture and Politics

This volume presents a distinguished collection of essays by some of the leading social and political scientists and philosophers of our time, concerning a crucial contemporary issue: are Islam and democracy compatible and can we move past the ‘Islam vs. the West’ division towards new political pastures?

Over a period of 7 years, thinkers and activists from all over Muslim world, Europe, USA and India have gathered annually in Istanbul’s Bilgi University, under the auspices of the Reset DOC Association, to address these general topics. Ever since 2007, these conferences have witnessed crucial societal transformations: the Arab Spring of 2011 and its ensuing repression in Egypt; the successful constitutional transition in Tunisia; the outbreak of the Civil War in Syria; politics after Al Qaeda and its lingering legacy; the Gezi park uprisings in Istanbul and Turkey in the summer of 2014, transformations of Turkish politics throughout this period and the contested presence of Islam in Europe.

The articles collected in this volume combine deep analysis with moral and political engagement in an attempt to think beyond frozen binaries such as Islam vs. the West as well as Islam vs. democracy and modernity. 25 essays of around 10 -15 print pages each, equalling 342 pages.

Editors:Seyla Benhabib, Yale University, USA; Volker Kaul, LUISS Guido Carli University, Italy

Published by Springer International Publishing AG

Table of contents

Preface by Giancarlo Bosetti, Director of Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations
Introduction by Seyla Benhabib

Part. I. Struggles Over Political Legitimacy: The Arab Spring, Al-Qaeda, and Gezi Park

Volker Kaul, “Foreword: Contemporary Conflicts, Political Legitimacy and Islam”
Nilufer Gole, “The Public Visibility of Islam and the European Politicsof Resentment. The Minaret-Mosques Debate”
Lisa Anderson, “‘Creative Destruction’: States, Identities and Legitimacy in the Arab World”
Michael Walzer, “After the Arab Spring”
Faisal Devji, “Politics After Al-Qaeda”
Ilay Romain Ors, “Genie in the Bottle: Gezi Park, Taksim Square and the Realignment of Democracy and Space in Turkey”
Murat Borovali and Cemil Boyraz, “All Quiet on the Kemalist Front?”
Fuat Keyman, “Rethinking the ‘Kurdish Question’ in Turkey: Modernity, Citizenship and Democracy”

Part II. Islam and Democracy in the Global Age

Volker Kaul, Foreword: Islam and Democracy
Nasr Abu Zayd, “The ‘Others’ in the Qur’an: A Hermeneutical Approach
Khaled Abou El Fadl, “The Epistemology of Truth in Modern Islam”
Irfan Ahmad, “Democracy and Islam,”
Abdelmajid Charfi, “Islam: the Test of Globalization,”
Fred Dallmayr, “Whither Democracy? Religion, Politics and Islam,”
Nader Hashemi, “Rethinking Religion and Political Legitimacy Across the Islam-West Divide,”
Akeel Bilgrami, “Islam and the West: Conflict, Democracy, Identity”

Part III. Multiculturalism, Interculturalism and Multiple Modernities

Volker Kaul, “Foreword: Political Models Accommodating Pluralism”
Charles Taylor, “Interculturalism or Multiculturalism?”
Kwame Anthony Appiah, “Misunderstanding Cultures: Islam and the West,”
Alain Touraine, “Many Cultures, one Citizenship”
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, “The Constant Mediation of Resentment and Retaliation,”
Richard J. Bernstein, “The Spectre Haunting Multiculturalism”
Alessandro Ferrara, “Reflexive Pluralism,”
David Rasmussen, “The Emerging Domain of the Political,”

Part IV. Gender, Culture and Islam

Volker Kaul, “Foreword: Gender, Equality and Multiculturalism”:
Asma Barlas, “Uncrossed Bridges: Islam, Feminism and Secular Democracy,”
Katajun Amirpur, “Women’s Problems as a ‘women’s only’ problem? Debates on Gender and Democracy in Iran,”
Nouzha Guessous, “Women’s Rights in Muslim Societies:Lessons from the Moroccan Experience,”
Amel Grami, “The Debate on Religion, Law and Gender in Post-Revolution Tunisia,”
Ayelet Schachar, “Faith in Law? Diffusing Tensions Between Diversity and Equality,”




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