Invitation for Lecture:Islamic Cosmopolitanism

Published on 9th September 2008

Roxanne Euben, Mildred Lane Kemper Professor of Political Science and chair of the Department of Political Science at Wellesley College, will be giving our first 2008-09 Seminar Series event:  "Islamic Cosmopolitanism"


Date: Monday, September 15,

Time: 3-5pm

Venue: Rm. 200, Centre for Ethics, Larkin Building, 15 Devonshire Place


The event is free & open to the public




Contemporary debates about cosmopolitanism tend to be organized around an exclusively "Western" pantheon of figures, while Islam and Muslims have increasingly been depicted as insular and anti-cosmopolitan.


In this paper, Euben offers the outlines of an Islamic ethos of travel in search of knowledge, and argues that it brings into view the disparate practices, moments and ideas that comprise "Muslim cosmopolitanism." This suggests that a more capacious cosmopolitanism is long overdue, one that takes account of ecumenical practices and exhortations to engagement derived from a range of cultural traditions. It also suggests that propensities toward ecumenicalism depend less on the religion to which one belongs than on the dialectical interaction between a discursive religious tradition conducive to diverse enactments and specific historical, political and economic relations of power.


Roxanne Euben is the Mildred Lane Kemper Professor of Political Science and chair of the Department of Political Science at Wellesley College. She holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University in Politics and Near Eastern Studies (1995) and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. Professor Euben teaches courses in political theory, feminist theory and Islamic political thought and her research is located at the intersection of Western and non-Western political theory—a newly emerging field called comparative political theory--with a specific focus on the relationship between Muslim and Euro-American political thought.


She is the author of Enemy in the Mirror: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Limits of Modern Rationalism (Princeton University Press, 1999) as well as Journeys to the Other Shore: Muslim and Western Travelers in Search of Knowledge (Princeton University Press, 2006).  In Journeys to the Other Shore, Professor Euben challenges stereotypical associations of Western travelers with a pioneering spirit of discovery and Muslim travelers with conquest and destruction, and explores the common ways in which both Muslim and Western travelers negotiate the dislocation of travel, which signifies not only a physical movement, but also an imaginative journey in which wonder about those who live differently makes it possible to see the world in a new way.  Her ongoing projects include Islamist Political Thought (with Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Princeton University Press, forthcoming) and a third book project, Gender, Islam and the Politics of Humiliation.


For Details, Contact

Rhonda Martin

Executive Assistant to Dr. Ross Upshur, Director

Administrative Assistant to Dr. Jennifer Gibson,

Director, Partnerships & Strategy

University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics

88 College Street

Toronto, Ontario

M5G 1L4


( Tel:  416-978-1906

2 Fax:  416-978-1911

E-Mail:  mailto:[email protected]  [email protected]




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