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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 24, Issue 2, 2021

John Harfouch
Pages 169-197

Anti-colonial Middle Eastern and North African Thought
A Philosopher’s Introduction

I argue that while recognition is important for Middle Eastern and North African philosophers in academia and society, recognition alone should not define the anti-colonial movement. BDS provides a better model of engagement because it constructs identities in order to bring about material changes in the academy and beyond. In the first part of the essay, I catalog how MENA thought traditions have been and continue to be suppressed within the academy and philosophy in particular. I then sketch one possible path to better representation in philosophy by reading Fayez Sayegh’s analyses of Zionist colonialism and Palestinian non-being. In the second half of the essay, I argue that BDS is among the premier anti-colonial movements on American campuses today because it is a materialist anti-racist movement. Insofar as that movement is often shunned and prohibited, an anti-colonial society offers a membership in exile.

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