The Concert of Civilizations: The Common Roots of Western and Islamic Constitutionalism, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Concert of Civilizations

The Common Roots of Western and Islamic Constitutionalism, 1st Edition

By Jeremy Kleidosty


240 pages

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Paperback: 9781138307001
pub: 2017-06-16
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Hardback: 9781472414809
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Are Western and Islamic political and constitutional ideas truly predestined for civilizational clash? In order to understand this controversy The Concert of Civilizations begins by deriving and redefining a definition of constitutionalism that is suitable for comparative, cross-cultural analysis. The rule of law, reflection of national character, and the clear delineation and limitation of governmental power are used as lenses through which thinkers like Cicero, Montesquieu, and the authors of The Federalist Papers can be read alongside al-Farabi, ibn Khaldun, and the Ottoman Tanzimat decrees. Bridging the civilizational divide is a chapter comparing the Magna Carta with Muhammad’sConstitution of Medina, as both documents can be seen as foundational within their traditions. For the first time in political theory, this text also provides a sustained, detailed analysis of Khayr al-Din al-Tunisi’s book The Surest Path, which explains his fusion of Muslim and Western ideas in his writing of Tunisia’s first modern constitution, which is also the first constitution for a majority-Muslim state. Finally, the book discusses the Arab Spring through a brief overview of the revolutions in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, and offers some early thoughts about Tunisia’s uniquely successful revolution.


’This volume provides a highly inspiring discussion for scholars seeking to understand the roots and evolution of constitutionalism, freed from a Euro-centric straitjacket. A must-read work for both political scientists and historians looking for a new research paradigm in the globalized world.’ Bee Yun, Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea ’This book is path-breaking not only because it compares Islamic Constitutionalism, which theorizes legal practices of millennia old Middle Eastern states, with much younger Western jurisprudence. But also because it faces the paradox that orientalist and neo-colonial interventions have made it inconceivable to most people that the Middle East could ever have enjoyed rule of law. These neo-colonial interventions had the power to change reality on the ground with the consequence that the Arab Spring, that great rebellion against the new realities of Middle Eastern post-colonial authoritarian states, has now created a new set of realities. Is Islamic rule of law retrievable? And can it ever again be reconciled with Western jurisprudence?’ Patricia Springborg, Humboldt University, Germany

About the Author

Jeremy Kleidosty is currently a post-doctoral fellow on the Academy of Finland project Political Power in the Early Modern European and Islamic Worlds, at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He is working on a new book that profiles Tunisia's constitutional history and that of its constitutional father, Khayr al-Din al-Tunisi. Previously, he taught International Relations at the University of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates. He gained his PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews, Scotland in 2013 and researches constitutionalism and political theory. His work particularly aims to foster dialogue and fruitful avenues of reconciling different political traditions in a globalized world.

About the Series

Rethinking Political and International Theory

Rethinking Political and International Theory
Committed to show you in what ways traditional approaches in political and international theory may be applied to 21st century politics, this series will present inventive and pioneering theoretical work designed to build a common framework for the latest scholarly research on political theory and international relations. Intended to be international and interdisciplinary in scope, the series will contain works which advance our understanding of the relevance of seminal thinkers to our current socio-political context(s) as well as problematize and offer new insights into key political concepts and phenomena within the arena of politics and international relations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Comparative
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / General