Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment

Article excerpt

Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. By Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi. Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. 272 pp. $27, paper.

This mostly impenetrable book argues against criticism of Michel Foucault, the left-wing French philosopher who romanticized the Islamic revolution in Iran. The author tells us that Foucault did not, as his critics claim, fail to appreciate the fascist tendencies of the Islamist movement headed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Instead, he "contextualized" Khomeini's turn to the right as an understandable response to the violent opposition of the Marxist-Islamist Mujahideen-e Khalq (MeK). Unfortunately, the reader will not find that conclusion in so many words-or any clear, comprehensible statement, for that matter-in the 192 bloviating pages of this work.

Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran drowns in a sludge of jargon and obscurantism: "The discourse of Arab Spring devoured the Egyptian liberals and revolutionaries and denied them the impetus to articulate the significance of their uprising notwithstanding the burdens of a universal history. …

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