Recommend to your Librarian

The Arab Nahdah

The Making of the Intellectual and Humanist Movement

Abdulrazzak Patel

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

Explores the influences that triggered the Arabic awakening, the 'nahdah', from the 1700s onwards

To understand today's Arab thinking, you need to go back to the beginnings of modernity: the nahdah or Arab renaissance of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Abdulrazzak Patel enhances our understanding of the nahdah and its intellectuals, taking into account important internal factors alongside external forces.

Patel explores the key factors that contributed to the rise and development of the nahdah. He introduces the humanist movement of the period that was the driving force behind much of the linguistic, literary and educational activity. Drawing on intellectual history, literary history and postcolonial studies, he argues that the nahdah was the product of native development and foreign assistance and that nahdah reformist thought was hybrid in nature. Overall, this study highlights the complexity of the movement and offers a more pluralist history of the period.


Introduction: Perspectives, Paradigms and Parameters
1. Contemporary Interpretations of the nahḍah: Tradition, Modernity and the Arab Intellectual
2. The Reintegration of Pre-modern Christians into the Mainstream of Arabic Literature and the Creation of an Inter-religious Cultural Space
3. Guardians of the Pre-modern Arab-Islamic Humanist Tradition: Legends without a Legacy, a tradition without heirs
4. Language Reform and Controversy: the al-Shartūnīs Respond in Defence of the Pre-modern Humanist Tradition
5. Arabism, Patriotism and Ottomanism as means to Reform
6. Arab intellectuals and the West: Borrowing for the Sake of Progress
7. Education, Reform and Enlightened Azharīs
8. Enacting reform: Local Agents, Statesmen, Missionaries and the Evolution of a Cultural Infrastructure

About the Author

Dr Patel graduated from the University of Exeter with a PhD in Arabic and Islamic studies in 2007. He then worked as a Teaching Fellow at Exeter before moving to the University of Oxford in 2008 where he has been pursuing a program of research from his doctoral work and been working on a major new project on the rise and development of the Arab nahḍah. He has already published several articles on the subject in the top journals of his field.


"Abdulrazzak Patel's The Arab Nahḍah: The Making of the Intellectual and Humanist Movement is an important work which will likely continue to gain recognition as a new classic within modern treatises on the Arab nahḍah… hugely informative and thoroughly enjoyable."
- Mohammad R. Salama, The American Historical Review

Also in this series