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A Little More On Hamid Dabashi, The Usurper Of The Hagop Kevorkian Chair

From Wikipedia, the impenetrable prose of "postcolonial-discourse" Hamid Dabashi: 

Among the distinctive aspects of Dabashi’s thinking are a philosophical preoccupation with geopolitics and the transaesthetics of emerging art forms that correspond to it. Dabashi’s principle work in which his political and aesthetic philosophy becomes historically anchored is his work on the rise of national cinema. There he contends that the only way out of the paradox of colonial modernity is the creative constitution of the postcolonial subject via a critical conversation with the historical predicament of the colonial subject. Dabashi argues that it is on the aesthetic site that the postcolonial subject must articulate the politics of her emancipation. In this respect, Dabashi’s major theoretical contribution is the collapsing of the binary opposition between the creative and the critical, the true and the beautiful, the poetics and the politics etc. On the colonial site, Dabashi argues in a memorable dialogue with Nietzsche and Heidegger, the Will to Power becomes the will to resist power. (Citation needed)

In an essay on Qur’anic hermeneutics, “In the Absence of the Face” (2000), Dabashi has also taken the Derridian correspondence between the signifier and the signified and expanded it from what he considers its “Christian Christological” context and read it through a Judeo-Islamic frame of reference in which, Dabashi proposes, there is a fundamental difference between a sign and a signifier, a difference that points to a metaphysical system of signification that violently force-feed meaning into otherwise resistant and unruly signs. It is from this radical questioning of the legislated semantics of signs incarcerated as signifiers that Dabashi has subsequently developed a notion of non-Aristotelian mimesis, as best articulated in his essay on Persian Passion Play, "Ta’ziyeh: A Theater of Protest" (2005). Here he proposes that in Persian Passion Play, we witness an instantaneous, non-metaphysical and above all transitory, correspondence between the signifier and the signified and thus the modus operandi of the mimesis is not predicated on a permanent correspondence in any act of representation. There are serious philosophical implications to this particular mode of non-representational representation that Dabashi has extensively examined in his essays on the work of the prominent artist Shirin Neshat. Dabashi’s political dedication to the Palestinian cause, and his work on Palestinian cinema, has an added aesthetic dimension in which he is exploring the crisis of mimesis in national traumas that defy any act of visual, literary, or performative representation.

Dabashi’s primarily feminist concerns are articulated in a series of essays that he has written on contemporary literary, visual and performing arts. There his major philosophical preoccupation is with the emergence of a mode of transaesthetics (“art without border”) that remains politically relevant, socially engaged and above all gender conscious. In his philosophical reflections, he is in continuous conversation with Jean Baudrillard, the distinguished French philosopher, and his notion of “transaesthetics of indifference”. Contrary to Baudrillard, Dabashi argues that art must and continues to make a difference and empower the disenfranchised.

In a critical conversation with Immanuel Kant, the founding father of European philosophical modernity, Dabashi has articulated the range of social and aesthetic parameters now defining the terms of a global reconfiguration of the sublime and the beautiful—in terms radically distanced from their inaugural articulation by Kant. His essays on transaesthetics, where these ideas are articulated, have been published in many languages by major European museums.

So far in his political thought, Dabashi has been concerned with the emerging patterns of global domination and strategies of regional resistance to them. Equally important to Dabashi’s thinking is the global geopolitics of labour and capital migration migration.


V. S. Naipaul has written acutely about the comical Third-World figures who ape, and sedulously parrot ("PApes and Parrots!" Parrots and Apes!" o quote some distinctly non-postcolonial discourse) the lexicon,and ill-digested ideas, from Western centers. Naipaul was writing about Black Power in Trinidad, and a vocabulary from London; Dabashi takes his cues from Paris, and what  he thinks he understands -- he's ill-educated and is not a systematic thinker nor a clear writer  -- of various Frenchmen, beginning with Paul Nizan and "Aden, Arabie" and then cutting to the chase with Derrida, Foucault, the entire list of contributors to Tel Quel, and other great figures, including above all that total fraud (see Ibn Warraq's "The Defense of the West"), the late unlamented Edward Said who, within the next decade, will disappear from view, his name kept alive only in the occasional, scornful, passing reference.

Hamid Dabashi is one of those figures. For more on him, and how thoroughly despised he is by the best people to come out of Iran, see his contretemps with Azar Nafisi, one which, he may not realize, exposes him for exactly what he is: a hysteric.