From questionable stories of Roman emperors drowning their dinner guests in roses to the smoke-painted reveries of Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil (1857), tropes of decadence—decay, decline, decomposition—have flourished in modern times. Why have new, powerful tropes of decadence become so central to forms of modern culture and politics?
Amid the buzz of media reports about burkas and honor killings, a general sense has emerged among many commentators in Western countries that Islam is uniquely hostile to women’s rights. For many Muslim feminists, this jaundiced view not only obscures the existence of lively—and substantive—debates surrounding Islam and feminism that began well over a century ago, but also fuels a particularly dangerous savior narrative in which Muslim women must be “rescued” from Muslim men, often through military intervention. How do the demands of feminism relate to those of Islam, and are these two commitments truly in conflict?
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Faculty Interview: Suzanne Schneider on the Modern Middle East
In advance of her course Empire, Nation-State, Caliphate: The Modern Middle East, we sat down with BISR core faculty and director of operations Suzanne Schneider to chat about her approach to studying the history and politics of the Modern Middle East. The title of this course, “Empire, Nation-State, Caliphate” gestures at some sort of transformation. […]