This paper examines how Derrida’s “generalized translation” is taken up as posing the fundamental theoretical question underpinning Mandair’s book. Tracing Mandair’s understanding of translation through Saiko’s concept of co-figuration, this article examines the Kantian origins of this understanding and then details how Derrida departs radically from these origins in his account of the untranslatability of religion. Derrida, by distinguishing generalization from difference and repetition, offers an account of difference that is not simply repeated in non-Christian traditions but which is already irreducibly present within each.
This paper examines the stakes in disentangling critique from its Western operation in order to locate a position of political freedom for the critical study of the Islamic tradition. It considers how the question of the critical study of Islam is a question about the political significance of the concept of critique, and the challenge that the study of the Islamic tradition poses to the discriminating operation of Western criticism. It argues that critique espouses the very philosophical ethos of the Enlightenment itself that challenges us to adopt the “a limit-attitude” of analyzing and reflecting on the limits of the Enlightenment and the political and governmental apparatus that accompanied it.