The State of Islam: Culture And Cold War Politics In Pakistan
The State of Islam tells the story of the Pakistani nation-state through the lens of the Cold War, and more recently the War on Terror, in order to shed light on the domestic and international processes behind the rise of militant Islam across the world. Unlike existing scholarship on nationalism, Islam, and the state in Pakistan, which tends to privilege events in a narrowly-defined political realm, The State of Islam is a Gramscian analysis of cultural politics in Pakistan from its origins to the contemporary period. The author uses the tools of cultural studies and postcolonial theory to understand what is at stake in discourses of Islam, socialism, and the nation in Pakistan. Among other things, The State of Islam seeks to explain how Pakistan went from being a place where the strategic battle for hegemony was fought between two secular forces -- the liberal nationalists and the Marxist cultural Left or Progressives -- to one where the national discourse has become increasingly defined by the agenda of the religious right. Toor argues how this was directly tied to the Cold War context in which political Islam was advanced, along with the marginalization and active repression of the organized Left and attempts to marginalize its alternate visions of Pakistani society.