Messianism and Sociopolitical Revolution in Islam

Monday, 25 March 2019, 4:00pm - 5:30pm, IWM library
This report of my work on progress follows a new theoretical approach to the sociology of revolution offered in Revolution: Structure and Meaning in History to appear next month with regard to the motivation to revolutionary action. This approach shifts the focus of analysis from the putatively general causes of revolutions to the specific motivation and consequences of revolutionary social action in historical and comparative perspective. Within this framework, major instances of Islamicate revolutionary transformation beginning with Muhammad’s constitutive revolution and the rise of Islam in seventh-century Arabia, followed by four cases of medieval and early modern Mahdist revolutions are examined in the companion volume I am working on. The persistence as well as radical transformation of the millennial motivation in revolutionary movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries will be treated in the concluding chapters. The presentation will briefly outline my conclusions regarding the Fatimid revolution in North Africa at the beginning of the tenth century and the Berber revolution of Mahdi Ibn Tumart in Southwestern Maghreb in the mid-twelfth century but mostly focus in the Shi`ite Messianism in occupied Iraq and the Sunni reaction to it in the form of DA`ESH/ISIS in the concluding chapter.

Saïd Arjomand is Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. In March 2019, he is a Guest at the IWM.

Comments by Ayse Caglar
(IWM Permanent Fellow; Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna)

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