Jens Hanssen is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of Toronto.
Hanssen paper is a new chapter in his ongoing research on Arabic-German intellectual entanglement in the 20th century. It is about two philosophers, one German, one Lebanese, who were inspired by the Tudeh party’s (communist party of Iran) commemoration in Hamadan of Ibn Sina’s 1,000th birthday in 1952 to revive a materialist tradition of philosophy that had been and continues to be buried under civilizational accounts of cultural heritage in Europe and in MENA. He briefly explicates Ernst Bloch’s matter form discussion in his Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left of 1952. Then he examines the 2012 Arabic translation of the book to ask: What were modern Arab intellectuals’ stakes in Islamic and continental philosophy in the 20th century? He offers some thoughts on Husayn Muruwwah’s 1979 masterpiece Materialist Trends in Arab-Islamic Philosophy whose conception he also traces to Hamadan, anno 1952. Finally, he considers how this subversive materialist tradition compares to the cultural heritage discourses curated by Jürgen Habermas, Muhammad ‘Abid al-Jabiri and possibly others.