In the words of Gilbert Achcar
(see below), “Maxime Rodinson (1915-2004) was the last survivor of an
exceptional group of French Orientalists—in the pre-Saidian non-pejorative
meaning of this term, i.e. scholars of Islam and the Arab world—who lived
through most of the twentieth century and rose to fame in the 1960s, a decade
that saw the emergence of an impressive contingent of French thinkers whose
names loom large in the social sciences of our time. The group of brilliant
Orientalists to which Rodinson belonged, and which included other luminaries
such as Jacque Berque and Claude Cahen reclaimed the field of Arab and Islamic
studies with impeccable erudition, scientific rigour, and a critical solidarity
with the peoples they studies that made their writings largely free from the
deficiencies of the colonial ‘Orientalism’ of yesteryear and their own time.”
I happen to be reading Maxime Rodinson’s
work afresh after many years, having first been introduced to him by Professor Juan Campo when I was an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara. While I still have
several of his works in English from that time, I recently picked up a new
edition (Zed Books, 2015) of Marxism and the Muslim World (Foreword by Gilbert Achcar), originally published in 1979
(French ed., 1972). I thought some of (the younger among) you not familiar with
his work might appreciate this list of books in English by Rodinson
(most of these titles were published earlier in French):
- The Arabs (London: Croom Helm, 1988)
- Cult, Ghetto, and State: The Persistence of the Jewish Question (London: Saqi Books, 1991)
- Europe and the Mystique of
I.B. Tauris & Co., 1988)
- Islam and Capitalism (New York: Pantheon Books,
- Israel and the Arabs (Harmondsworth, England:
Penguin Books, revised ed., 1982)
- Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? (New
York: Anchor Foundation/Pathfinder, 1973)
- Marxism and the Muslim world (London: Zed Books, 2015)
- Muhammad (New York: Pantheon Books,
1980) [I realize this biography is controversial in some quarters for transparent reasons,
nonetheless, it remains a sympathetic portrait from an avowed Marxist.]
Wikipedia entry on Rodinson is here. An interview with the Middle East Research and
Information Project (MERIP) conducted by Joan Mandell and Joe Stork is here (as noted there, his parents
died at Auschwitz in 1943).
various species of “Orientalism,” pre-Saidian and otherwise (including its role
in ‘postcolonial’ and ‘subaltern’ studies), please see:
Aijaz. In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures (London:
Akeel. “Reflections on Edward Said,” the final three chapters from Bilgrami’s
book, Secularism, Identity, and
Enchantment (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014).
Vivek. Postcolonial Theory and the
Specter of Capital (London: Verso, 2013).
Robert. Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents
(Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press, 2006).
Maxime. Europe and the Mystique of Islam
(London: I.B. Tauris & Co., 1988).
Edward W. Orientalism (New York:
Pantheon Books, 1978).
Daniel Martin. Reading Orientalism: Said and the Unsaid (Seattle, WA:
University of Washington Press, 2007).