• Encounters with Modernity in the Arab World

      Rabbat, Nasser (2014-01-01)
      My aim is to identify three stages of the encounter with modernity as they unfolded in the Arab World over the last two centuries, with the hope of understanding the driving forces that helped define and redefine Arab concep­tions of the modern. The narrative begins with the intensi­fying interaction with Europe in the early nineteenth cen­tury, which spurred the start of the cosmopolitan phase—a period illustrated primarily by the Levantine culture of the coastal cities of Egypt and the Levant. Conceptions of modernity then largely transitioned to a nationalist phase with its powerful dream of a supranational identity. This Pan-Arabism spread across the Arab World from Morocco to Bahrain, setting the stage for the present day’s phase: a reli­giously-imbued and at the same time a neoliberal capitalism best represented by the rich oil countries of the Arabian Gulf.