Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Islam, Empire, and the 
    Left: Conversation with Tariq Ali, editor, New Left Review; 5/8/03 by Harry Kreisler.

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Tariq Ali, who is a writer, broadcaster, filmmaker, and a major figure in the European New Left. He is the author, most recently, of The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads, and Modernity, and is an editor of the New Left Review. He's on the Berkeley campus to deliver the 2003 Sanford S. Elberg Lecturein International Studies.

  1. Background ... influence of family ... education ... religion ... family memories of genocide
  2. Coming of Age ... no Pakistani nationalism ... freedom of expression in Pakistani university ... Oxford ... opposing the Vietnam War ... investigating U.S. war crimes in Vietnam ... importance of activism ... today's opposition to the Iraq War ... remain engaged
  3. Writing, Culture, and Political Consciousness ... fiction vs. nonfiction ... earlier nonfiction: ideological and arrogant ... political role of poetry ... vitality of poetry in Islamic culture ... dumbing down of Western culture ... discouragement of critical thinking ... underground cultures under repressive regimes ... complacency in the West
  4. Moderninity and Islam ... lost opportunities for Reformation ... materialist reason vs. monotheistic fundamentalism ... dual critique: imperialist intervention and failure to unify
  5. Resistance to Imperialism ... classical revolutions in the offing ... limits to Europe as a balancer ... resistance from within the empire ... need for political party ... economic failure without visible alternative dooms reform ... ferment in Latin America
  6. Conclusions ... advice for students: question and doubt ... democracy incompatible with capitalism

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