Monday, August 20, 2007

Mohammed Arkoun


Professor Mohammed Arkoun is one of the most prominent and influential figures in Islamic Studies today. In a career of more than 30 years, he has been an outstanding research scholar, a searching critic of the theoretical tensions embedded in the field of Islamic Studies, and a courageous public intellectual, carrying the banner of an often embattled Islamic modernism and humanism.

A native of Great Kabylia, Algeria, he studied at the Faculty of Literature of the University of Algiers and at the Sorbonne in Paris. He established his scholarly reputation with his early studies (1969, 1970) of the historian and philosopher Miskawayh. As he began to consider how one might rethink Islam in the contemporary world, his sophisticated questioning provided a welcome counterpoint to the highly ideological interpretations that dominated debate in both the Muslim world and the non-Muslim West. As the editor of Arabica, he maintained the journal‘s very high standard of scholarship, considerably broadened its scope, and played a significant role in shaping Western-language scholarship on Islam. He is the author of numerous books in French, English and Arabic, including most recently: Rethinking Islam (Boulder, Col., 1994), L‘immigration: défis et richesses (Paris, 1998) and The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought (London, 2002). His shorter studies have appeared in many academic journals and his works have been translated into several languages.

In 2001, Professor Arkoun was asked to deliver the Gifford Lectures, which enable a notable scholar to contribute to the advancement of theological and philosophical thought and was announced as the recipient of the Seventeenth Georgio Levi Della Vida Award for his lifelong contribution to the field of Islamic Studies.

Professor Arkoun has taught as a visiting professor at UCLA, Princeton University, Temple University, the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, the Pontifical Institute of Arabic Studies in Rome and the University of Amsterdam and serves as a jury member for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture . He is presently Emeritus Professor, La Sorbonne as well as Senior Research Fellow and member of the Board of Governors of The Institute of Ismaili Studies.


Mohammed Arkoun was born in Taourirt-Mimoun, a town in Grande Kabylie in Algeria. He spent his primary education in Taourirt-Mimoun and his secondary education in Oran. He majored in philosophy in Algeria and France at the University of Sorbonne. He lectured Arabic language in Paris in 1956, and he attained his PhD in philosophy at the University of Sorbonne in 1968. From 1961-1991, Dr. Arkoun was a lecturer at Sorbonne and a visiting lecturer at the following universities:

· Wissenschaftskolleg (Berlin 1977-1979)

· Prinston University (USA 1992-1993)

· Los Angeles (1969)

· Prinston (1985)

· Lofan Laneef (1977-1979)

· Pontificial d’ Etudes Arabes (Rome)

· Philadelphia (1988-1990)

· Amsterdam (1991-1993)

· New York university (2001-2003)

· Edinburgh-Gifford Lectures (2001)

· An advisor on Islamic Studies at the Congress library since 2000.

Lectures and Conferences

Dr. Mohammed Arkoun attended conferences and lectured at the following: Rabat, Fas, Casablanca, Aljadeedah, Safi, A’nnabah, Talmasan, Jardayah, Wahran, Tunis, Cairo, Tabrak, Tripoli, Beirut, Damascus, Halab, Amman, Baghdad, Almadeenah Elmonawarah, Reyad, San’a’, Masqat (Oman), Al Manamah (Bahrain), Kuwait, Zinjibar, Mumbasa, Dakar, Tahran, New Delhi, Bombay, Peking, Jakarta, Samarqand, Moscow, Helsinki, Turku, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, London, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Rotterdam, Tal Burj, Brussels, Hamburg, Hanover, Berlin, Heidelberg, Burn, Zurich, Geneva, Turin, Rome, Napoli, Barcelona, Madrid, Qurtoba, Granada, New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Denver, Birkly, San Diego, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto, Pisa, Venice etc etc.

Occupation and current activities

Dr. Mohammed Arkoun is a retired lecturer at the Sorbonne. He is also a member and a visiting lecturer at the board of directors in the Islamic Institute in London. In addition to that, he is scientific director at the Magazine ARABICA (Brill, Leiden) since 1980. He is on the board of directors of the arbitration committee for Aga Khan d’Architecture between 1989-1998. From 1995 to 1998 he was member of the High Council for Family and population. Between 1990 and 1998 he was member of the National Committee for Ethics, Philosophy of Life (Weltanschauung) and Health. In 2002, he was a member of the international jury of the UNESCO Prize for the promotion of peace and a member of the arbitration committee for the Arabic/French prize in 2002, which was established by the Arab ambassadors in France. He ist member of the scientific council of the International Centre for the Study of the People of Byblos (Lebanon). He is a member of the committee for laicism in France (2003).

Prizes and Trophies

Officer of Ehrenlegion, Officer of Palmes académiques.

Lévi Della Vida for Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Los Angeles 2002

Honourary Doctor from the University of Exeter

Publication by the writer Arkoun

In English:

- Arab Thought, éd. S.Chand, New-Delhi 1988;

- Rethinking Islam : Common questions, Uncommon answers, today, Westview Press, Boulder 1994.

- The concept of Revelation: from Ahl al-Kitâb to the Societies of the Book-book, Claremont Graduate School, Ca.,1988;

- The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought, London 2002.

in Arabic:

- Al-Fikr al-'arabiyy, éd.'Uwaydat, Beyrouth 1979;

- Al-Islâm: Asâla wa Mumârasa, Beyrouth 1986;

- Ta'rîkhiyyat al-fikr al-'arabiyy al-islâmiyy, éd.Markaz al-inmâ' al-qawmiyy, Beyrouth 1986;

- Al-Fikr al-islâmiyy: Qirâ'a 'ilmiyya, éd. Markaz..., 1987;

- Al-islâm: al-Akhlâq wal-Siyâsa, éd. Markaz..., 1988;

- Al-Islâm: Naqd wa-jtihâd, éd. Dâr al-Sâqî, Beyrouth 1990;

- Al-'almana wa-l-dîn, Dâr al-Sâqî 1990;

- Mina-l-ijtihâd ilâ naqd al-'aql al-islâmî, Dâr al-Sâqî 1991;

- Min Faysal al-Tafriqa ilâ Fasl-al-Maqâl: Ayna huwa-l-Fikr al-islâmiyy al-mu‘âsir, Dâr al-Sâqî 1993;

- Al-Islâm, Urubbâ, wal-Gharb: Rihânât al-ma'nâ wa Irâdât al-Haymana, Dâr al-Sâqî 1995;

- Naz‘at al-Ansana fî-l-fikr al-‘arabiyy, Dâr al-Sâqî 1997 ;

- Qadâyâ fî Naqd al-Fikr al-dînî, Dâr al-Talî‘a, Beyrouth 1998 ;

- Al-Fikr al-usûlî wal-stihâlat al-Ta’sîl, Dâr al-Sâqî 1999.

- Ma‘ârik min ajli-l-ansana fî-l-siyâqât al-islâmiyya, Dâr al-sâqî, 2001.

- Min al-Tafsîr al-mawrûth ilâ tahlîl al-khitâb al-dînî, Dâr al-Talî‘a, Beyrouth 2001.

in French:

- Deux Epîtres de Miskawayh, édition critique, B.E.O, Damas, 1961 ;

- Aspects de la pensée islamique classique, IPN, Paris 1963;

- L'humanisme arabe au 4e/10e siècle, J.Vrin, 2°éd. 1982;

- Traité d'Ethique, Trad., introd., notes du Tahdhîb al-akhlâq de Miskawayh, 1e éd.1969; 2e éd.1988;

- Essais sur la pensée islamique, 1e éd. Maisonneuve & Larose, Paris 1973; 2e éd. 1984;

- La Pensée arabe, 1e éd. P.U.F., Paris 1975; 6e éd. 2002; Trad. en arabe, anglais, espagnol, suédois, italien ;

- L'islam, hier, demain, 2e éd. Buchet-Chastel, Paris 1982; trad. arabe, Beyrouth 1983;

- L'islam, religion et société, éd. Cerf, Paris 1982; version italienne, RAI 1980;

- Religion et laïcité: Une approche laïque de l'islam, L'Arbrelle, Centre Thomas More, 1989;

- Lectures du Coran, 1e éd. Paris 1982; 2e Aleef, Tunis 1991;

- Ouvertures sur l'islam, 1e éd. J. Grancher 1989;

- L’islam. Approche critique, Le livre du mois, Club du livre 2002

- Pour une critique de la Raison islamique, Paris 1984;

- L'islam, morale et politique, UNESCO-Desclée 1986;

- Combats pour l’Humanisme en contextes islamiques, Paris 2002

- The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought, London 2002.

- De Manhattan à Bagdad: Au-delà du Bien et du Mal, Paris 2003

in Dutch:

- Islam in Discussie, 24 vragen over de islam, éd. Uitgeverij Contact, Amsterdam 1993;

- Islam & De Democratie; Een ontmoeting, en collaboration avec Frits Bolkestein, Uitgeverij Contact, Amsterdam 1994. -Plusieurs articles et interviews dans Revues et journaux néerlandais..

in Indonesian:

- Nalar islami dan nalar modern: Berbagai Tantangan dan jalan Baru, trans. Johan H. Meuleman, INIS, Jakarta 1994.

- Berbagai Pembacaan Quran, trans. Johan H. Meuleman, INIS, Jakarta 1997, 256 p.

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