Roxanne L. Euben Publisher:
Princeton University Press (2008) Pages:
Paperback Description from the publisher:
The contemporary world is increasingly defined by dizzying flows of people and ideas. But while Western travel is associated with a pioneering spirit of discovery, the dominant image of Muslim mobility is the jihadi who travels not to learn but to destroy. Journeys to the Other Shore challenges these stereotypes by charting the common ways in which Muslim and Western travelers negotiate the dislocation of travel to unfamiliar and strange worlds. In Roxanne Euben's groundbreaking excursion across cultures, geography, history, genre, and genders, travel signifies not only a physical movement across lands and cultures, but also an imaginative journey in which wonder about those who live differently makes it possible to see the world differently.
In the book we meet not only Herodotus but also Ibn Battuta, the fourteenth-century Moroccan traveler. Tocqueville's journeys are set against a five-year sojourn in nineteenth-century Paris by the Egyptian writer 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 extraordinary book shows that curiosity about the unknown, the quest to understand foreign cultures, critical distance from one's own world, and the desire to remake the foreign into the familiar are not the monopoly of any single civilization or epoch. Euben demonstrates that the fluidity of identities, cultures, and borders associated with our postcolonial, globalized world has a long history--one shaped not only by Western power but also by an Islamic ethos of travel in search of knowledge.
Roxanne L. Euben is the Mildred Lane Kemper Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College. She is the author of Enemy in the Mirror: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Limits of Modern Rationalism (Princeton).
"A path breaking book. . . . [Euben] makes clear the unsatisfactory nature of the representational categories of 'Islam' and the 'West', which have come to have such dangerous weight for extremist thinkers, both Western and Islamic, in the contemporary world. . . . The arguments of this book are important, persuasive and nuanced."--Francis Robinson, Times Literary Supplement
"Thoroughly grounded in Arabic as well as Western sources, Euben has produced a remarkable book of great value both for its contribution to specialist scholarship, and for its relevance to the urgent public policy debates of our troubled times."--Donald Malcolm Reid, International History Review
"In this unusually elegant book, Roxanne Euben engages comparative political theory, an enterprise she has shaped decisively--one might well argue that she has conceived it in its present form. Here, she wears her erudition lightly, but it is very much present. She moves easily between languages and literatures, with a profound sense of historical context. She is at home in the Arabic language as few Western scholars are. There is little to say beyond praise for this work and its author."--Anne Norton, University of Pennsylvania, author of Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire
"This is a major book. It transcends the imagined great divide between East and West by examining the role of travel in shaping one's imagination of societies-both one's own and those of others. By giving equal weight to the sense of rootedness and difference in European and Muslim travel accounts, Roxanne Euben shows the fluid points of convergence and divergence in European and Muslim concepts of others. To paraphrase Claude LÚvi-Strauss, Euben's book is good to think with."--Dale F. Eickelman, Dartmouth College
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Note on Transliteration and Spelling xiii
CHAPTER 1: Frontiers: Walls and Windows--Some Reflections on Travel Narratives 1
CHAPTER 2: Traveling Theorists and Translating Practices 20
Theory and Theo˘ria 20
"Seeing the Entire World as a Foreign Land" 24
Exposures and Closures 29
Islam, Travel, and talab al-'ilm 34
The Double-Edged Nature of Travel 38
Travel as Translation 41
CHAPTER 3: Liars, Travelers, Theorists--Herodotus and Ibn Battuta 46
Ibn Battuta 63
ChAPTER 4: Travel in Search of Practical Wisdom: The Modern The˘riai of al-Tahtawi and Tocqueville 90
Authorizing Autopsy 98
Travels across Time and Space 108
Multiple Mediations 114
CHAPTER 5: Gender, Genre, and Travel: Montesquieu and Sayyida Salme 134
Montesquieu's Persian Letters 144
Sayyida Salme's Memoirs 156
CHAPTER 6: Cosmopolitanisms Past and Present, Islamic and Western 174
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