Publications & Research


book coverPrinceton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from Al-Banna to Bin Laden, with Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Princeton University Press, 2009

This anthology of key primary texts provides an unmatched introduction to Islamist political thought from the early twentieth century to the present, and serves as an invaluable guide through the storm of polemic, fear, and confusion that swirls around Islamism today. Roxanne Euben and Muhammad Qasim Zaman gather a broad selection of texts from influential Islamist thinkers and place these figures and their writings in their multifaceted political and historical contexts. The selections presented here in English translation include writings of Ayatollah Khomeini, Usama bin Laden, Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, and Moroccan Islamist leader Nadia Yassine, as well as the Hamas charter, an interview with a Taliban commander, and the final testament of 9/11 hijacker Muhammad Ata.

Illuminating the content and political appeal of Islamist thought, this anthology brings into sharp relief the commonalities in Islamist arguments about gender, democracy, and violence, but it also reveals significant political and theological disagreements among thinkers too often grouped together and dismissed as extremists or terrorists. No other anthology better illustrates the diversity of Islamist thought, the complexity of its intellectual and political contexts, or the variety of ways in which it relates to other intellectual and religious trends in the contemporary Muslim world.

Journeys to the Other Shore: Muslim and Western Travelers in Search of Knowledge, Princeton University Press, 2006

The contemporary world is increasingly defined by dizzying flows of people and ideas. But while Western travel is associated with a pioneering spirit of discovery, the dominant image of Muslim mobility is the jihadi who travels not to learn but to destroy. Journeys to the Other Shore challenges these stereotypes by charting the common ways in which Muslim and Western travelers negotiate the dislocation of travel to unfamiliar and strange worlds. In Roxanne Euben's groundbreaking excursion across cultures, geography, history, genre, and genders, travel signifies not only a physical movement across lands and cultures, but also an imaginative journey in which wonder about those who live differently makes it possible to see the world differently.

In the book we meet not only Herodotus but also Ibn Battuta, the fourteenth-century Moroccan traveler. Tocqueville's journeys are set against a five-year sojourn in nineteenth-century Paris by the Egyptian writer and translator Rifa'a Rafi' al-Tahtawi, and Montesquieu's novel Persian Letters meets with the memoir of an East African princess, Sayyida Salme.

This extraordinary book shows that curiosity about the unknown, the quest to understand foreign cultures, critical distance from one's own world, and the desire to remake the foreign into the familiar are not the monopoly of any single civilization or epoch. Euben demonstrates that the fluidity of identities, cultures, and borders associated with our postcolonial, globalized world has a long history--one shaped not only by Western power but also by an Islamic ethos of travel in search of knowledge.

Enemy in the Mirror: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Limits of Modern Rationalism, Princeton University Press, 1999

A firm grasp of Islamic fundamentalism has often eluded Western political observers, many of whom view it in relation to social and economic upheaval or explain it away as an irrational reaction to modernity. Here Roxanne Euben makes new sense of this belief system by revealing it as a critique of and rebuttal to rationalist discourse and post-Enlightenment political theories. Euben draws on political, postmodernist, and critical theory, as well as Middle Eastern studies, Islamic thought, comparative politics, and anthropology, to situate Islamic fundamentalist thought within a transcultural theoretical context. In so doing, she illuminates an unexplored dimension of the Islamist movement and holds a mirror up to anxieties within contemporary Western political thought about the nature and limits of modern rationalism--anxieties common to Christian fundamentalists, postmodernists, conservatives, and communitarians.

A comparison between Islamic fundamentalism and various Western critiques of rationalism yields formerly uncharted connections between Western and Islamic political thought, allowing the author to reclaim an understanding of political theory as inherently comparative. Her arguments bear on broad questions about the methods Westerners employ to understand movements and ideas that presuppose nonrational, transcendent truths. Euben finds that first, political theory can play a crucial role in understanding concrete political phenomena often considered beyond its jurisdiction; second, the study of such phenomena tests the scope of Western rationalist categories; and finally, that Western political theory can be enriched by exploring non-Western perspectives on fundamental debates about coexistence.


“Spectacles of Sovereignty: ISIS Executions, Visual Rhetoric, and Sovereign Power.” Perspectives on Politics 14(4). Forthcoming, December 2016.

“In Praise of Heresy,” The Immanent Frame: Secularism, Religion and the Public Sphere, Social Science Research Council, Forum on Saba Mahmood, Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report.  February 18, 2016.

“Humiliation and the Political Mobilization of Masculinity,” Political Theory 43(4), August 2015: 500-532.

“ISIL and the armchair Islamist: How execution videos sell a fantasy of masculinity,” Quartz, August 13, 2015.

“Making the World Safe for Compatibility,” Political Theory 38 (3), June 2010: 424-441. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Symposium: Understanding Suicide Terror, Perspectives on Politics 5(1), March 2007: 129-133. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

“The Comparative Politics of Travel,” parallax 9 (2003): 18-28. Oxon, UK: Routledge.

“West’s Lessons in Decadence Fuel the Making of a Martyr,” The (London) Times Higher Education Supplement, August 1, 2003. London, UK: TSL Education, Ltd.

“A Counternarrative of Shared Ambivalence: Some Muslim and Western Perspectives on Science and Reason,” Common Knowledge 9 (1), 2003:50-77. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

“Jihad and Political Violence,” Current History, 101(638), November 2002: 365-76. Philadelphia, PA: New York Times, Co.

“Killing (for) Politics: Jihad, Martyrdom and Political Action,” Political Theory 30 (1), February 2002: 4-35. London, UK: Sage Publications.

“The New Manichaeans,” Theory & Event, 5 (4), 2002. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

“Contingent Borders, Syncretic Perspectives: Globalization, Political Theory and Islamizing Knowledge,” International Studies Review, (Spring 2002): 23-48. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

“Premodern, Antimodern, or Postmodern?: Islamic and Western Critiques of Modernity,” The Review of Politics 59 (1997): 429-59. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

"Comparative Political Theory: An Islamic Fundamentalist Critique of Rationalism," The Journal of Politics 59 (1997): 28-55. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

"When Worldviews Collide: Conflicting Assumptions About Human Behavior Held by Rational Actor Theory and Islamic Fundamentalism," Political Psychology 16 (1), March 1995: 157-178. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.


“Visual Rhetoric, Retaliatory Humiliation: ISIS Executions, Performative Violence and Sovereign Power.” Oxford Handbook of Rhetoric, ed. Keith Topper. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Forthcoming.

"In Praise of Disorder: The Untidy Terrain of Islamist Political Thought," in Radical Futures Past: Untimely Essays in Political Theory, ed. Romand Coles, Mark Reinhardt, and George Shulman. Lexington, KY: The University of Kentucky Press, expected publication 2014.

“Cosmopolitanisms Past and Present, Muslim and Western,” in Islam and Theory of Statecraft: Mirror for the Muslim Prince, ed. Mehrzad Boroujerdi. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2013.

“Der Blick auf die Jahrhundertwende: Islam als Religion der Vern unft,” in Staatsdenken in der islamischen Welt, ed. Zapf and Lino Klevesath, pp. 59-86. Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos 2012.

“Extracting ‘Gold’ from Paris: A 19th-century Egyptian Journey in Search of Knowledge,” in Changing Conceptions of the ‘Other’: Travel Writing in the Mediterranean from the Ancient World to Contemporary Society, ed. Silvia Ross, Pat Crowley and Noreen Humble, pp. 114-133. Oxford, UK: Legenda Press, 2011.

“A View Across Time: Islam as the Religion of Reason,” in Comparative Political Theory: An Introduction, ed. Fred Dallmayr, pp. 55-69. Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.

“The Comparative Politics of Travel: Theôria, Talab al-‘Ilm and the Search for Knowledge,” in When Worlds Elide: Classics, Politics, Culture, ed. Karen Bassi and J. Peter Euben, pp. 301-30. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009..

“Changing Interpretations of Modern and Contemporary Islamic Political Theory,” in Oxford Handbook of Political Theory, ed. John Dryzek, Bonnie Honig and Anne Phillips, pp. 297-313. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006.

“Traveling Theorists and Translating Practices,” in What is Political Theory?, ed. Stephen K. White and J. Donald Moon. London, UK: Sage Publications, 2004, pp. 145-173.

“Mapping Modernities, ‘Islamic’ and ‘Western,’” in Border Crossings: Toward a Comparative Political Theory, ed. Fred R. Dallmayr, pp. 11-37. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 1999.


Review Essay on Beyond Rights Talk and Culture Talk and Political Theory and Feminist Social CriticismPolitical Theory, 29 (6), December 2001: 888-895. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Review Essay: “Journeys to ‘the Other Shore,’ Political Theory 28 (2000): 399-420. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Book Review of Larbi Sadiki’s The Search for Arab Democracy: Discourses and Counter-DiscoursesInternational Journal of Middle East Studies 37 (1), February 2006: 134-36. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Book Review of Overcoming Tradition and Modernity: The Search for Islamic Authenticity (by Robert D. Lee), American Political Science Review 92 (1998): 443-44. Baltimore, MD: American Political Science Association.

Book Review of Gender Politics in Sudan: Islamism, Socialism, and the State (by Sondra Hale), African Studies Review 40 (1997): 186-88. East Lansing, MI: African Studies Center, Michigan State University.

Book Review of Islamic Fundamentalism (eds, Abdel Salam Sidahmed and Anoushiravan Ehteshami), Review of Politics 59 (1997): 643-47. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Encyclopedia/Dictionary Entries

“Fundamentalism,” The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, ed. Gerhard Bowering, pp. 179-188.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

“Comparative Political Theory,” The Encyclopedia of Political Theory, ed. Mark Bevir, pp. 260-61. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2010.

“Jihad,” Cambridge Dictionary of Political Thought. New York: Cambridge University Press, expected publication 2017.

“Islamism,” Cambridge Dictionary of Political Thought. New York: Cambridge University Press, expected publication 2017.