Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism

‘Les extremes se touchent,’ goes a well-wrought French phrase. The value of this insight has not escaped a growing number of contemporary critics of what can be called a kind of marriage between postmodernism and religious fundamentalism. Recent writers like Meera Nanda in her book Prophets Facing Backward (2003) have explored the relationship between postmodern critiques of science and the rise and proliferation of religious fundamentalisms, arguing that the critique of scientific rationality that postmodern thinkers put forth as a left-wing attack on social domination and power goes hand in hand with right-wing political and cultural projects. [1] Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont skilfully picked apart the nonsensical approach of postmodern thinkers to science and mathematics in their book Fashionable Nonsense (1999), revealing postmodern thought as lacking any understanding of science or scientific rationality and therefore possessing no real ability to make a substantive critique of it. [2] These writers share a common concern to defend reason and science from the dismissive approach of postmodern thought. And there is something to be said for this new defence of rationality, the Enlightenment and even science as a means to revive a left political discourse that can reclaim the political project dedicated to political equality, human rights and social justice.

View the full article here

Socialist thought provides us with an imaginative and moral horizon.

For insights and analysis from the longest-running democratic socialist magazine in the United States, sign up for our newsletter: