The Invention of Popular Sovereignty in Modern Islamic Thought: An Outline

In the next event in the ILSP: Law and Social Change Visiting Fellows Workshop Series, Andrew F. March will present the argument of this forthcoming book manuscript. An abstract follows.

It is a standard trope of contemporary Islamic political theory that “the people is the source of all political authority” (al-shaʿb maṣdar al-suluṭāt). This has become such a commonplace in modern Islamist discourse than even Salafi parties that contest elections include this in their manifestos. But how did this commitment come to be so universal within a political theology that up until the early 20th century tended to ascribe political authority to a kind of condominium between executives, elites and scholars, and throughout the 20th century stressed the obligation to uphold God’s sovereignty? What is the scope and extent of popular sovereignty in contemporary Islamic political theory. March’s paper will outline the argument of his forthcoming book manuscript, The Caliphate of Man: The Invention of Popular Sovereignty in Modern Islamic Thought, which traces the discourse on sovereignty from the mid-19th century reform movement to the present.

Please RSVP no later than May 13. A plant-based lunch will be provided. Your RSVP is appreciated so we may submit an accurate catering order. We will send the draft paper as soon as it is available after receiving your RSVP, along with the location of the event.