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In this unprecedented study, Hamid Dabashi provides a critical examination of the role that immigrant "comprador intellectuals" play in facilitating the global domination of American imperialism. In his pioneering book about the relationship between race and colonialism, Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon explored the traumatic consequences of the sense of inferiority that colonized people felt, and how this often led them to identify with the ideology of the colonial agency. Brown Skin, White Masks picks up where Frantz Fanon left off. Dabashi extends Fanon_s insights as they apply to today's world. Dabashi shows how intellectuals who migrate to the West are often used by the imperial powers to misrepresent their home countries. Just as many Iraqi exiles were used to justify the invasion of Iraq, Dabashi demonstrates that this is a common phenomenon, and examines why and how so many immigrant intellectuals help to sustain imperialism. The book radically alters Edward Said_s notion of the _intellectual exile,_ in order to show the negative impact of intellectual migration. Dabashi examines the ideology of cultural superiority, and provides a passionate account of how these immigrant intellectuals_rootless compradors, and guns for hire_continue to betray any notion of home or country in order to manufacture consent for imperial projects.
Hamid Dabashi traces the full sweep of Iran's history over the past two centuries and gives an analysis of key events, cultural trends, and political developments up to the collapse of the reform movement and the emergence of the new and combative presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
From antiquity to the Enlightenment, Persian culture has been integral to European history. Interest in all things Persian shaped not just Western views but the self-image of Iranians to the present day. Hamid Dabashi maps the changing geography of these connections, showing that traffic in ideas about Persia did not travel on a one-way street.
What does it mean to be human? Humanism has mostly considered this question from a Western perspective. Through a detailed examination of a vast literary tradition, Hamid Dabashi asks that question anew, from a non-European point of view. The answers are fresh, provocative, and deeply transformative. This groundbreaking study of Persian humanism presents the unfolding of a tradition as the creative and subversive subconscious of Islamic civilization. Exploring how 1,400 years of Persian literature has taken up the question of what it means to be human, Dabashi proposes that the literary subconscious of a civilization may also be the undoing of its repressive measures. This could account for the masculinist hostility of the early Arab conquest that accused Persian culture of effeminate delicacy and sexual misconduct, and later of scientific and philosophical inaccuracy. As the designated feminine subconscious of a decidedly masculinist civilization, Persian literary humanism speaks from a hidden and defiant vantage point-and this is what inclines it toward creative subversion. Arising neither despite nor because of Islam, Persian literary humanism was the artistic manifestation of a cosmopolitan urbanism that emerged in the aftermath of the seventh-century Muslim conquest. Removed from the language of scripture and scholasticism, Persian literary humanism occupies a distinct universe of moral obligations in which "a judicious lie," as the thirteenth-century poet Sheykh Mosleh al-Din Sa'di writes, "is better than a seditious truth. "
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