Histoire as the history: a review of the politics and implications of Islamic public pedagogy of the archetypal past
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AbstractResearch Doctorate - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The ‘Social Imaginary’ is proposed in this thesis to be constitutive of the formative grounds of knowledge and action in any society. Among other things, it establishes the subjects’ realm of what is “already known”. At the political level, power discourses and ideologies are produced, expressed, received and used in accordance with the society’s social imaginary. As a society, Islam provides its subjects with such an imaginary and, most importantly, delivers to its subjects a paradigm of thought and action based on it. As a significant force in our era, Islam’s paradigm plays a role as decisive as was the case in the mediaeval times of its origins. Despite such an important role, our understanding of the Islamic paradigm and its foundations in a social imaginary appears to be inadequate for an era characterised generally by a sophisticated level of education. The current crisis in Islamic societies, spilling over and affecting the perception of Islam in Western societies, includes its association with terrorism and the revolutions and counter-revolutions of the ‘Arab Spring’, positioning Islam as a potential threat to global stability. Such a situation heightens concern about such a lack of understanding and strengthens the need for sound and informed education to address these matters locally, nationally and internationally. Among the many perspectives that might be brought to bear on this situation, this thesis proposes that the lack of understanding of Islam by a generally literate population can be explained as resulting from the fear of taking a free and critical approach to the study of Islam. In turn, this overly cautious approach on the part of both Muslim and non-Muslim education is due to the hegemony of revivalist and/or conformist discourse in the dominant scholarship and pedagogy pertaining to Islam. There is a need therefore for an epistemological project that can serve to free the study of Islam to be treated like any other educational topic rather than one that is exempt from serious critical analysis concerning its origins, beliefs and practices. Responding to such a requirement, the current thesis aims to provide alternative foundations for the study of Islam by addressing its foundational myths by means of hermeneutical methodology, so to uncover the essential function of its own social imaginary, named as the Islamic imaginary. The thesis explores the interplay between the history and the <i>histoire</i> (myth) in such an imaginary and its political implications in Muslim polities. Finally, the thesis analyses its own findings in relation to pedagogical theory and practice concerning educational issues about Islam.
Copyright/LicenseCopyright 2015 Amir Rezapourmoghadammiyandabi
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