The first in-depth study of the collaborative intellectual exchange between the European and the Arabic Republics of Letters.
Beyond Orientalism reformulates our understanding of the early modern Mediterranean through the remarkable life and career of Moroccan polymath Ahmad Ibn Qâsim al-Hajarî (ca. 1570-1641). By showing Hajarî’s active engagement with some of the most prominent European Orientalists of his time, Oumelbanine Zhiri makes the case for the existence of an Arabic Republic of Letters that operated in parallel to its European counterpart.
A major corrective to the long-held view of Orientalism that accords agency only to Europeans, Beyond Orientalism emphasizes the active role played by Hajarî and other “Orientals” inside and outside of Europe in some of the most significant intellectual movements of the age. Zhiri explores the multiple interactions between these two networks of intellectuals, decentering Europe to reveal how Hajarî worked collaboratively to circulate knowledge among Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.