Adab and Modernity

A “civilising process” ? (sixteenth-twenty-first century)


Adab is a concept situated at the heart of Arabic and Islamic civilization. Adab is etiquette, ethics, and literature. It is also a creative synthesis, a relationship within a configuration. What became of it, towards modernity ? The question of the "civilising process" (Norbert Elias) helps us reflect on this story. During the modern period, maintaining one's identity while entering into what was termed "civilisation" ( al-tamaddun) soon became a leitmotiv. A debate on what was or what should be culture, ethics, and norms in Middle Eastern societies accompanied this evolution. The resilient notion of adab has been in competition with the Salafist focus on mores ( akhlāq). Still, humanism, poetry, and transgression are constants in the history of adab. Contributors: Francesca Bellino, Elisabetta Benigni, Michel Boivin, Olivier Bouquet, Francesco Chiabotti, Stéphane Dudoignon, Anne-Laure Dupont, Stephan Guth, Albrecht Hofheinz, Katharina Ivanyi, Felix Konrad, Corinne Lefevre, Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen, Astrid Meier, Nabil Mouline, Samuela Pagani, Luca Patrizi, Stefan Reichmuth, Iris Seri-Hersch, Chantal Verdeil, Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan.

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Biographical Note
Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen, Ph.D. (1992), Sorbonne Université, is Professor of Modern History at that university. Among her many books: The Mulid of al-Sayyid al-Badawi of Tanta (AUC Press, 2019). She coedited, with Francesco Chiabotti, Eve Feuillebois-Pierunek and Luca Patrizi, Ethics and Spirituality in islam: Sufi Adab (Brill, 2017).
All interested in the early modern and modern history of the Middle East, adab, the history of Islamic norms and ethics, the history of education, Middle Eastern literatures and the confrontation between Islam and modernity.
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