Ibn Khaldūn (/ˈɪbən kælˈduːn/; Arabic: أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي, Abū Zayd ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad ibn Khaldūn al-Ḥaḍramī; 27 May 1332 – 17 March 1406) was a Tunisian Arab historiographer and historian.
He is widely considered as a forerunner of the modern disciplines of historiography, sociology, economics, and demography.
Concerning the discipline of sociology, he described the dichotomy of sedentary life versus nomadic life as well as the inevitable loss of power that occurs when warriors conquer a city. According to the Arab scholar Sati’ al-Husri, the Muqaddimah may be read as a sociological work. The work is based around Ibn Khaldun’s central concept of ‘aṣabiyyah, which has been translated as “social cohesion”, “group solidarity”, or “tribalism”. This social cohesion arises spontaneously in tribes and other small kinship groups; it can be intensified and enlarged by a religious ideology. Ibn Khaldun’s analysis looks at how this cohesion carries groups to power but contains within itself the seeds – psychological, sociological, economic, political – of the group’s downfall, to be replaced by a new group, dynasty or empire bound by a stronger (or at least younger and more vigorous) cohesion. Some of Ibn Khaldun’s views, particularly those concerning the Zanj people of sub-Saharan Africa, have been cited as a racist, though they were not uncommon for their time. According to the scholar Abdelmajid Hannoum, Ibn Khaldun’s description of the distinctions between Berbers and Arabs were misinterpreted by the translator William McGuckin de Slane, who wrongly inserted a “racial ideology that sets Arabs and Berbers apart and in opposition” into his translation of the Muqaddimah. ❧
November 09, 2018 at 11:09PM
He believed that the reason why non-Arabs were accepted as part of Arab society was due to their mastery of the Arabic language. ❧
November 09, 2018 at 11:21PM
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📖 Read pages 14-30 of 592 of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
Chapters 1 & 2 are an overview of prior history of ancient Greece and the “climate theory” of Aristotle and then the Genesis 9:18-29 “curse of Ham” (son of Noah) as the early roots of racism. It then moves into the slave trade of Portugal with Zuarara, Ibn Khaldūn, Las Casas, a Leo Africanus’ writings and their effect on the roots of modern racism.
Given the politics of the day, its curious to note that so many Republican party members would simultaneously be climate deniers on the one hand, and climate believers on the other.
As I look at the title of the forthcoming chapter 3 “Coming to America”, I can’t help but think about the potential ironies of the relationship to the text and the Eddie Murphy film of the same title.
On page 21 Kendi writes:
As strictly a climate theorist, Ibn Khaldūn discarded the “silly story” of the curse of Ham.
Here he references this to The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History by Ibn Khaldūn, Franz Rosenthal, and N.J. Dawood (Princeton University Press, 1969). I’m curious exactly where the “silly story” portion stems? Is it from Ibn Khaldūn directly in translation or from the more modern book? Given that Ibn Khaldūn lived from 1332-1406 and certainly didn’t write in English, I’m curious about the original translation by which the phrase “silly story” comes about. Silly has an archaic meaning of “helpless; defenseless” (roughly around the time of Shakespeare) prior to its modern definition, and prior to that it derived from the Old English word “seely” which meant “blessed”. Given that the phrase is used to describe a passage from Genesis, it’s entirely possible that the word “silly” held the “blessed” connotation here, but it’s not obvious from the context or the reference which is the proper meaning to take. Certainly taking the modern definition on its face seems like the wrong path to take here. I wonder if Kendi could shed some additional light on his sources to clarify the issue?
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I’m trying to remember when it was last this crazy at work. Before we spent a month fighting poor planning and terrible execution on the publication of our new book It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work. Was it when we got DDoS’ed over two days and were fighting to keep Basecamp on the internet? Was it when we touched the third rail and spoke about customer data in public? Or do we have to go all the way back to the early days when Basecamp went down whenever I, as the only technical person at the time, would get on an airplane?
A bizarre story of publishing what might have otherwise been a bestseller.
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