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Committee Members

Ava Chamberlain (Committee Member), Awad Halabi (Committee Co-chair), Donovan Miyasaki (Committee Co-chair)

Degree Name

Master of Humanities (MHum)


Nearly two centuries have elapsed since the early 19th century modern Arab nahda. In contemporary Arab-Muslim accounts, there can be no downplaying the fact that after nearly two centuries, the Arab nahda has faltered at achieving its desired objectives. If so, what explains its faltering? Numerous well-read explanations on this bulk in Arab and Western literature; however, I argue that the most important factor behind the faltering of Arab nahda to date is the faulty form of Arab rationality dominating nahda discourse since its inception: ahistoricity. The entirety of Arab discourse treats the past as ahistorical and sacral to be repeated while seeking to extract from it already-possessed or realized solutions to the Arab problems of the present. I conclude that any hope of resuming nahda's progress is by no means assured without a nahdazid mind, one that assumes a healthful awareness of the past which is based first and foremost on a historical consciousness of and critical relation to it.

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