Sidelining Ideology: Arab Theory in the Metropole and Periphery, circa 1977
Revisiting Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, a little more than two decades after its publication, Albert Hourani made a series of observations regarding the book’s context of inception in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as well as on the alternative directions the project could, or maybe should, have taken. These retrospective historiographical comments, included in the preface to the 1983 edition, fall into two major domains. The first comment has a disciplinary character. It pertains to the insufficiency of a “pure” history of ideas, and the need to supplement it “by asking how and why the ideas ofmy writers had an influence on theminds of others.