The invention of the nation-state was the crowning achievement of the Sykes-Picot Agreement between the United Kingdom and France in 1916. As a geostrategic move to divide, defeat, and dismantle the Ottoman Empire during World War I, it was a great success and the modern colonial borders of the Arab nation-states eventually emerged in the course of World WarII. Today, as nations are reconceiving their own postcolonia linterpolated histories, Arab and Muslim states are becoming total states on themodel of ISIS with Iran, Syria, Turkey and Egypt, among others, violentlymanufacturing their legitimacy.
And yet simultaneously, examples such as the Nobel Peace Prize winning formation of a civil society ‘Quartet’ in Tunisiaallude to a growing transnational public sphere across the Arab and Muslimworld. In The Emperor is Naked, Hamid Dabashi boldly argues that the category of nation-state hasfailed to produce a legitimate and enduring unit of post-colonial polity. Considering what this liberation of nations and denial of legitimacy to rulingstates will actually unfurl, Dabashi asks: What will replace the nation-state,what are the implications of this deconstruction on global politics and,crucially, what is the meaning of the post-colonial subject within this moment?
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