West Asia as Method

Monday, 16 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Anaheed AL-HARDAN, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
This paper will consider the potentialities of the horizontal cultural reconfiguration of the Arab world in relation to other postcolonial societies. The normative thinking of this region as the Middle (of the) East is rooted in a colonial cartography that stems from first British inter- war and later US post-world war two geostrategies. This paper will shift this geography and reason by approaching this part of the world as West Asia. Drawing from the historical moment of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Afro-Asian movements of the decolonization era more broadly, it will consider Arab thought that emerged from, and was in conversation with, this particular historical and political moment. Through this examination, this paper will explore the currently uncharted potentials of looking to other former/currently colonized peoples of Asia, and of the postcolonial world more broadly, that is inherent in the notion of West Asia and from where a historical postcolonial sociology of critique from south-south geographies and transits can be found.