On August 25th, 2021, Ekpyrosis Press sponsored a global roundtable of scholars discussing the nature and significance of martyrdom as a feature of dialectical religion. Those participating in the discourse included Syed Farid Alatas (Singapore), Dustin J. Byrd (USA), Mahjabeen Dhala (USA), Syed Sajjad Rizvi (UK), Mehdi Shariati (USA), Rudolf J. Siebert (USA), and Seyed Javad Miri (Iran). The entire discourse can be found on Ekpyrosis Press’s YouTube channel or through the link below.
This July 22, 2021, event featured scholars from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, including philosophy, sociology, theology, and history. The participating scholars were the following: Syed Farid Alatas (Singapore), Dustin J. Byrd (USA), Mehdi Shariati (USA), Rudolf J. Siebert (USA), Michael Naughton (UK), and Seyed Javad Miri (Iran). In the discourse, the participants discussed the challenges humans have faced in the past, are facing in the present, and are likely to struggle with in the future, including problem that are political, ecological, economic, and cultural in nature. This event was co-sponsored by the Global Center for Inter-Civilizational Dialogue. The entire discourse can be found on Ekpyrosis Press YouTube channel, which can be found by the link below:
On June 17th, 2021, Ekpyrosis Press sponsored the global roundtable on the revolutionary Iranian sociologist, Ali Shariati. Recently, Ekpyrosis Press published Seyed Javad Miri’s collection of essays entitled, Ali Shariati: Expanding the Sociological Canon, which highlight the continual important of Shariati’s work in the field of sociology, intellectual history, Iranian thought, and contemporary political Islamic thought. Dr. Miri joined the discussion on June 17th.
The discourse is divided into a morning and afternoon session.
Why did I write this book for a non-Iranian global audience? I think this is a very cogent question. Why should an Iranian thinker who died fifty years ago be of significance for a global audience today? The first thing I can say is that Shariati is not well known outside of Iran and a broader discovery of his work is in order. Why? Because he is one of the most significant sociologists outside of the European and American context, who can enhance our global understanding of the future of humanity as a species.
Secondly, I think he belongs to a wider tradition of critical social theory that so far has been conceptualized in a Eurocentric frame of reference. In other words, critical social theory needs to be reconceptualized in non-Eurocentric terms, and once this has been done, then Ali Shariati will be one of its global pioneers.
Another important reason that I think this book could be of importance to scholars is the question of the “sociological canon,” which is defined in a fashion wherein sociologist of non-Western origins fall outside its expansive walls. This book challenges this view and also provides a concrete alternative in this regard.
The fourth reason that I think shariat is of importance for the global audience is the way in which he reconstructs “religion” and the concept of Islam specifically. In Shariati’s perspective, religion is not solely a sacred taboo, but it could also be stupefying. In this context, the question becomes: how to emancipate stupefied individuals and societies. Shariati is not passé, but rather he must be studied along side critical theorist such as Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Jürgen Habermas, Rudolf J. Siebert, and Herbert Marcuse, and other critical theorist as well as existential philosophers.
~ Seyed Javad Miri, Ph.D.
Seyed Javad Miri’s book, Ali Shariati: Expanding the Sociological Canon, is available through Amazon.com: Here
The first book published by Ekpyrosis Press, Dustin J Byrd’s Critical Theory of Religion: From the Frankfurt School to Emancipatory Islamic Thought, was featured in Iran’s Javan Newspaper. In the article, Dr. Byrd discusses his work on the Iranian thinker and revolutionary Ali Shariati, and his enduring influence on critical and emancipatory thought, both in the Muslim world and outside of it. Within the book, Byrd argues for a dialectical approach to “authenticity,” as it was understood by Ali Shariati, especially for an authenticity-from-below, which struggles against the imposition of a false-identity on an oppressed people by their oppressors.
The book, Critical Theory of Religion: From the Frankfurt School to Emancipatory Thought is now available on Amazon.com: Critical-Religion ($28 USD paperback; $39 USD hardcover)