HomeD’al-Afghani à al-Baghdadi : histoire de la mobilisation islamiste

HomeD’al-Afghani à al-Baghdadi : histoire de la mobilisation islamiste

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Published on Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Pourquoi, dans des contextes historiques et dans des configurations sociopolitiques différenciées et évolutives, des acteurs politiques ont-ils opté pour l’usage en politique du lexique islamique ? L'enjeu du présent ouvrage est d’offrir une historicisation et une périodisation « longue » de ses traductions successives afin de restituer les modalités d’élaboration et de reproduction de l’alchimie identitaire qui fait choisir le lexique islamique. Chaque contribution doit s’inscrire dans un contexte spatial et temporel clairement défini et s'appuyer sur une documentation innovante.


In the framework of the ERC WAFAW programme, under the supervision of François Burgat and  Matthieu Rey, we are issuing a call for papers for inclusion in a Collection on The History of  Islamist mobilisation.


Ever since the thunderous « Revelation » of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the imbrication of the Islamist phenomenon in contemporary political arenas and its resilience – over and against the implacable prophesies of imminent decline, obsolescence, or even « demise » – has become self-evident.

The primary aim of a « History of Islamist Mobilisation » is to provide definitive proof to support the argument, already well advanced for the contemporary period, that the political categories underpinning today’s Islamist drive for power – enabling theoretical production to translate into grass-roots mobilisation – are indeed quintessentially « Modern ». Far from merely representing the resurgence of a medieval past, as the least demanding of today’s analysts tend to assert, the resurfacing of such an Islamic idiom in our time is by no means in fundamental contradiction to the advent of a very universal modernity within the societies concerned.

A number of relevant comparative studies have already highlighted both the overarching points of convergence and the local, often national, territorial specificities at stake in this auspicious « family reunion » between « Islam and Politics ». The grey areas of one of the least well analysed political trends of our time, prevalent over several decades, have thus at last started to recede.

Before progressively extending their search further back than the 1970s, a decade towards the end of which the Iranian Revolution established its potential for mobilisation, academics, confronted with social demand under the shock of such an unprecedented revolutionary episode, essentially focused on the contemporary aspects of the Islamist object. Though the critical inventory of its various and successive expressions, both social and political, is already well documented, much rarer have been attempts to historicize the components and the active principles at work in the ‘alchemy of identity’ which, throughout today’s rapidly changing social, political, national and international contexts, is at the very core of the process, and has no doubt assured the remarkable permanence of this Islamic idiom’s attraction. When accounting for the past, the retrospective gaze has long been confined to the extraction of a long-term, but highly uncertain criminological genealogy (a cursive reading of Ibn Taymiyya serving to « explain » Sayyed Qutb, himself deemed in turn to have « engendered » Usama Ben Laden, and then again… Al-Baghdadi).

The question remains : how and why, in the eyes of key figures originating from highly diversified social and national subsets, in profoundly altered (national, regional and international) political environments, has the attraction of the ‘Islamic idiom’ been maintained ? How, in other words, has an  identity alchemy initiated in the 19th century been able to remain « serviceable » for more than 120 years, when the deep upheavals of political patterns, whether national, regional or international, have necessarily displaced its landmarks and altered its components ? The reading of the history of the last two centuries has  substantiated an hypothesis which may well contribute to better delineating our object ; Islamist mobilisation proceeds less from the socially territorialized emergence of one political ideology, conditioned behaviour patterns or attitudes or from the promotion of determined values, than from a reconciling of the necessary preconditions for the creation of many brands of political ideologies with the symbolic universe of Muslim culture, by all those who perceive the latter, above and beyond the traumas of colonial intrusion, as their cultural « heritage ».

Towards the end of the 19th century, Jamal Eddin al-Afghani was no doubt the first thinker to predict and openly denounce the potentially predatory dimension of European superiority. This ‘intellectual’ was also the first to theorize its treatment by a specific recourse to the ressources of the Muslim heritage. Four years after the dissolution of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1928, and while Egypt was still under British colonial rule, the Egyptian Hassan al-Banna initiated, through the creation of the Muslim Brothers, the first political version of Islamist mobilisation. Rachid Ghannouchi, founder of the Movement of the Islamist Trend, forerunner of today’s Ennahada, long described himself as a « defeated member of Bourguiba’s army », i.e. OF a nationalist leader who had nonetheless contributed to the downfall of French colonial rule.  Between Al-Afghani and Ghannouchi, how has the effectiveness of one and the same call for « Islamic » mobilisation been effectively sustained throughout profoundly changing Muslim societies? How has this call managed to come to terms with the diversity of major components in successive political landscapes? Between Soumaya Ghannouchi, the daughter of the Tunisian Islamist leader covered in glory at the post-revolutionary hustings, a young Salafist activist from Ansar Al-Charia, repressed by a reputedly  « Islamist » government, and/or a true-blue IS Jihadist, how is continuity to be construed ? From Al-Afghani to Al-Baghdadi, how and why has the adoption of the Islamic idiom endured through time ?

Submission guidelines

Proposals for participation should fit as strictly as possible into the layout guidelines (see below), remain within the time frame and geographical localisation of the study, respect the framework of references used and include an Abstract (Circa 2000 characters) on the core research problematic. They should be sent to francoisburgat73@gmail.com and rey_matthieu@yahoo.fr

by 7 September 2015.

More informations : https://histoiredesmobilisationsislamistes.wordpress.com/

Scientific coordination

  • François Burgat, directeur de recherche à l'IREMAM
  • Matthieu Rey, maître de conférence à la chaire d'histoire contemporaine du monde arabe au Collège de France


  • Aix-en-Provence, France (13)


  • Monday, September 07, 2015


  • islamisme, al-Baghdadi, al-Afghani, réformisme musulman, anticolonialisme, guerre froide, révolution, processus révolutionnaire, colonisation, lutte armée, expressions religieuses


  • François Burgat
    courriel : francoisburgat73 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Matthieu Rey
    courriel : rey_matthieu [at] yahoo [dot] fr

Information source

  • Matthieu Rey
    courriel : rey_matthieu [at] yahoo [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« D’al-Afghani à al-Baghdadi : histoire de la mobilisation islamiste », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, https://calenda.org/328608

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