In the Name of God
“Now, We and Shar’iati”
Neo-Shariati: Conditions of Possibility for a Paradigm

“Now, We, and Shari’ati” is the title chosen for a symposium to be held in Summer 2017 in Tehran, Iran coinciding with the fortieth commemoration of Ali Shariati the late Iranian thinker. The notion of “Now” refers to the “contemporariness” of Shari’ati’s thought, our time and social context. “We” refers to those who are preoccupied by the challenges faced by different generations and various trials and tribulations of life in contemporary Iran and try to share their horizon with that of Shari’ati when facing the challenges of present time.
Shari’ati was an innovative and challenging thinker. His life and thought were dedicated to questioning and challenging the dominating discourses and practices of his time. He tirelessly responded to the problems by giving a new alternative for those anxiously waiting for answers. Shari’ati’s answers emanated from a deep understanding of our intellectual heritage and were rooted in it; but at the same time, his ideas opened up new vistas to thinking about our social concerns. Today we are faced with challenges similar to that of Shari’ati’s.  He suffered much but always hoped for a better future; and now we share our historical horizon with his and share our thought with him in order to reach a new vision for our time and life–world.
At the present historical juncture the exploitative nature of capitalism and oppressive forces prevent people from determining their own lives. This in turn has led to absurdity and meaninglessness of life for many and pain and suffering for others. The ideals of “Goodness, Beauty, and Truth” have given way to greed for generating more wealth.
In this conjunction, the emergence of violent and extremist neo-liberalism, on the one hand, and fundamentalist terrorism, on the other hand, have filled our world with greed, violence and hypocrisy. This is why our world can be seen as marred by both flight away from religion and, at the same time, signs for the need to reintroduce new spirituality and higher values into our lives.
In following the tradition of liberation with a distinct Islamic-Iranian character, Shari’ati criticized the dominating discourses of his time while inviting the new generation of his time to a “return to an undistorted selfhood” as a means of exchanging the dark abyss of meaninglessness for a meaningful existence.
Shari’ati experienced many hardship and vicious attacks in his lifetime, but did not allow those who wanted to silence him prevent him from pursuing his liberating intellectual activity. This was one of distinguishing aspects of his thought. Today some criticize him without having read him basing their ideas on nothing but blind prejudice and spiteful anger. The barrage of their artillery aim at the liberating nature of his thought.
Now in this atmosphere, those with similar preoccupations as Shari’ati have come together to open up a dialogue amongst themselves and with Shari’ati so that this symposium may provide the opportunity for meaningful discourse.
On this basis the following themes have been suggested:


  • 1-    Neo-Shari’ati, The Condition for the Possibility of a Paradigm;
  • 2-    Shari’ati, Reconstituting Society and Identity;
  • 3-    Shari’ati, Liberation Theology and the Problem of Our Time;
  • 4-    Shari’ati and Historical Change in Our Time;
  • 5-    Shari’ati’s Political Thought;
  • 6-    Shari’ati, the Muslim World and the Critique of Fundamentalism.

Tehran, Iran 5th -7th of July 2017

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