A POLITICS OF THE SURFACE

Description: Analyses of the latest form that Islamic militancy has taken in the Middle East continue to be preoccupied by a narrative of depth. Whether it is a deep sociology, power politics or ideological genealogy that is invoked, ISIS is seen to represent the consequence of a profound history. I will argue against this form of analysis to suggest that more important to its brutality might be the shallowness of militant practice and identity in ISIS.

Faisal Devji

Faisal Devji is University Reader in Modern South Asian History at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, where he is the Director of the Asian Studies Centre. Dr. Devji is the author of four books, Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity (Cornell University Press, 2005), The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics (Columbia University Press, 2009), The Impossible India: Gandhi and the Temptation of Violence (Harvard University Press, 2012) and Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a Political Idea (Harvard University Press, 2013).