MEC Webinar: TT21: Week 1: Hamid Dabashi in conversation about his new book: The Last Muslim Intellectual: The Life and Legacy of Jalal Al-e Ahmad

Conveners: St Antony's College Middle East Centre

Speakers: Hamid Dabashi (Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York)

Chair: Dr Stephanie Cronin  (Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Research Fellow at St Antony’s College)


The first comprehensive social and intellectual biography of Jalal Al-e Ahmad, this book explores the life and legacy of Jalal Al-e Ahmad (1923-69), arguably the most prominent Iranian public intellectual of his time and contends that he was the last Muslim intellectual to have articulated a vision of Muslim worldly cosmopolitanism, before the militant Islamism of the last half a century degenerated into sectarian politics and intellectual alienation from the world at large. This unprecedented engagement with Al-e Ahmad’s life and legacy is a prelude to what Dabashi calls a post-Islamist Liberation Theology. The Last Muslim Intellectual is about expanding the wide spectrum of anticolonial thinking beyond its established canonicity and adding a critical Muslim thinker to it is an urgent task, if the future of Muslim critical thinking is to be considered in liberated terms beyond the dead-end of its current sectarian predicament. A full social and intellectual biography of Jalal Al-e Ahmad, a seminal Muslim public intellectual of the mid-20th century, this book places Al-e Ahmad’s writing and activities alongside other influential anticolonial thinkers of his time, including Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire and Edward Said. Chapters cover Jalal Al-e Ahmad’s intellectual and political life; his relationship with his wife, the novelist Simin Daneshvar; his essays; his fiction; his travel writing; his translations; and his legacy.