Cosmopolitanisms in Muslim Contexts Perspectives from the Past By Derryl N. Maclean and Sikeena Karmali Ahmed, eds. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013. 190 pages.)

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Amr G. E. Sabet



This book is a welcome addition to the ever-expanding literature on Muslim
cosmopolitanism across the Islamicate world. Its chief aim is to decenter the
long-held notion that cosmopolitanism was a style of thought that emerged
primarily from the heart of Europe, beginning with the Greeks, and then carried
over into the Enlightenment age of Emmanuel Kant and reached its full
manifestation in the present moment (p. 2). Rather, “cosmopolitan instances,”
which Kai Kreese deftly describes as “openness to the world (Weltoffenheit),
experience of the world (Welterfahrung), and the skill to deal flexibly with
the world (Weltgewandtheit)” (p. 33), took root in Muslim societies many centuries
ago, particularly during the establishment of the Indian Ocean’s lively
maritime Muslim community during the eleventh century ...

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