Author Archives: Joseph Massad

About Joseph Massad

Joseph Massad is professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University. He is the author of Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan, The Persistence of the Palestinian Question, and Desiring Arabs, which won the Lionel Trilling Book Award. His most recent book is Islam in Liberalism (University of Chicago Press, 2015). This essay is a shortened version of a chapter in his forthcoming book tentatively titled "Dead Ends: Independence, Self-Determination, and Liberation.''


This post is part of a symposium on Joseph Massad’s essay “Against Self-Determination.” All contributions to the symposium can be found here. I am most grateful for these four serious engagements with my essay. I had already learned much from the scholarship of all four respondents when I wrote my essay, which cites their important work. The essay, which is a short version of a much larger chapter that constitutes one third of my current book project, sought to provide a genealogy of the political Continue reading →

Against Self-Determination

It is often claimed that anticolonial nationalism and self-determination have a coeval history, indeed, that self-determination is the principle through which anticolonialists would achieve their declared goal of independence from colonialism.1 The story goes that not only have anticolonialism and self-determination emerged around the same historical juncture but they are also imbricated in one another, so much that the colonial recognition of one automatically leads to the colonial recognition of the other. Yet, on closer inspection, this seems to be a misleading narrative. Not only Continue reading → Continue reading →