What is the Occidentology Department?

The Occidentology Department is a pioneering research initiative to study, research, (build a framework for research) and culture its attendees in the study of the Occident (‘The West‘) from an objective standpoint. It is both a course, comprising of lectures and workshop-style tutorials, and a research group.

What does the Occidentology Department’s aim at achieving intellectually?

The aim is to study the The West and produce a comprehensive model of The West, with which to found observations and research about its history, politics, philosophy/thought, culture, society and the nature of ‘the West’ from an objective standpoint. The course will juxtapose Islam, Christianity, Pagan Rome/Greece, Communism and Liberalism and the three dominant strands of thought in today’s world. The last two emanating from the West, the first having a bearing on the historical and political development of the West, and the second and third being contributory to the West’s intellectual development.

The Occidentology Department’s approach is to study the West as many study other civilisations in the past that had also assumed their own universality (e.g. Egyptology), except that the West is a currently extant civilisation. This differs from Occidentalism (the prejudiced study of the West) and studying the West from its own prejudiced viewpoint (which assumes its own universality and neutrality). Most university subjects teaching subjects such as Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy and Political Philosophy are taught based upon such assumptions. The Occidentology Department therefore will aim to provide an ‘outside of the box’ look at Western civilisation.

What will the Occidentology Department aim to achieve with attendees?

The Occidentology Department aims to produce thinkers, academics, speakers and analysts who can employ their knowledge to improve Muslim critical engagement with the West, and improve Muslim understanding of the nature of the West. There are no specific obligations on attendees, however, it is hoped that the attendees will approach the study of Occidentology with the aim to employ this knowledge practically and in educating others. It is expected for the attendees to actively participate by challenging the content presented, helping refine the discussion and providing alternative views to help shape this pioneering course.

Structure of topics we aim to explore:

  1. Introduction to Occidentology

  • Why study ‘The West’?

  • It is currently the most powerful and influential civilisation on the planet –consequently, any activities that others do require an understanding of the West’s intellectual, social and political reality, government and domestic politics, International relations, military operations and global strategic objectives.

  • Why Liberalism?

  • It is the foundational worldview and ideology of Western civilisation;

  • to enable the reader to become aware and identify Liberalism’s manifestations in Western perspectives, philosophy and thinking, social organisations, cultural manifestations including media, advertising, social phenomena, cultural products, morality and virtues. [Example, familiar buzzwords appropriated and redefined by Liberalism: Freedom, empowerment, human rights, liberty, free market, independence, autonomy, democracy, secularism, education (as a panacea to all problems) and choice];

  • to provide the learner with a robust philosophical critique of Liberalism; and

  • to provide the learner with suggested strategies for engaging Liberalism

  • What is the West? Where did the label come from, and what is it referring to?

  • How did the West form?

  1. “Rule of an idea” – Study of the West as an

Ideological Civilisation

  • Developing a framework to study a civilisation

  • What is a human society?

  • What is an ideology / worldview?

  • How do human societies become ideological?

  • How do human societies implement ideologies?

  • What makes the West an ideological civilisation?

  1. “The rule of the Individual” – An introduction into

Liberalism

  • Why is Liberalism an ideology?

  • What is its creed and components?

  • Liberalism’s creation myth

  • The ‘original position’ – the pre-social time of bliss – and the individual’s fall from autonomy’s Eden.

  • The four humors of Liberalism:

  • Individualism (Liberalism’s creed)

  • Secularism (Individualism’s new basis for a political system)

  • Nationalism (Liberalism’s new society and state)

  • Democracy (Liberalism’s rebranded ruling system)

  1. The Beginning of Liberalism and the rise of the

West

  • Genesis – The Conception of Liberalism

  • Ancient Greece (Greek philosophy, preservation & misunderstandings)

  • Christianity (history, thinking and doctrinal influences)

  • A collision of ideas and circumstances and ‘The perfect storm’

  • Encounters with Islam – ‘Europe meets world’

  • From crucible to cradle – An accidental conception

  • The Enlightenment – A troubled pregnancy

  • The rise of Liberalism

  • Reformation, revolutions and wars – ‘Birth Pains’

  • Failure of the counter-reformation

  • Conservatism

  • Mercantilism, the Free Market & Capitalism

  • Colonialism

  1. The Evolution of Liberalism and the West

  • Intellectual and Political Developments in Liberalism (18th-19th centuries)

  • The fall of Natural right – ‘the euthanizing of religious Humanism’

  • Utilitarianism

  • Kantian Ethics

  • The rise of Secular Humanism

  • Political turmoils

  • Romanticism – the counter-reaction against Enlightenment rationality

  • Nationalism and the birth of identity politics

  • Liberalism 1.0 fails

  • Liberalism reloaded: The birth of Liberalism 2.0 (Social Liberalism)

  • Communism, and other side effects

  1. Social Liberalism

  • State gets ‘hands on’ with individuals (Fulfillment of Rousseau’s ‘compelling people to be free’)

  • Birth of identity politics

  • The politicisation of race, gender and sexual orientation

  • Looking at the consequence of actions

  • Birth of the hate crime

  • Keynesian economics – ‘The not-exactly-Free-market’

  • Neo-colonialism – Colonialism with a remote control

  1. Emergent Decay and contradictions in Western power and Thought

  • Nietzsche, the herald of Post-Modernism

  • Relativism – the secularisation of truth

  • The rise of Fascism

  • The End of history & Communism

  • Decay of Liberal society

  • Returning back to Financial collapse

  • Liberal intolerance

  • What future for Western civilisation?

  • The Four Horsemen:

  • Communitarianism

  • Social-darwinism & the neo-atheists

  • Fascism

  • Christian Religious Fundamentalism

Breakdown of Topics on Liberalism

i) Moral Epistemologies within Liberalism

  • Humanism

  • Social Darwinism

  • Utilitarianism

  • Natural Right Theory

ii) Creedal Schools of Thought on Individualism

  • Ethical egoism

  • Egoist anarchism

  • Existentialism

  • Freethought

  • Humanism

  • Hedonism

  • Libertinism

  • Objectivism

  • Philosophical anarchism

  • Subjectivism

  • Solipsism

iii) Political Schools of Thought within Liberalism

  • Anarcho-liberalism

  • Classical Liberalism (19th Cent)

  • Conservative liberalism

  • Democratic liberalism

  • Green liberalism

  • Libertarianism (18 cent)

  • Market liberalism

  • National Liberalism

  • Neoliberalism

  • Ordoliberalism

  • Paleoliberalism

  • Radicalism

  • Religious liberalism

  • Social liberalism

  • Anarchism

iv) Streams of Thought emerging from Liberalism

  • Nationalism

  • Imperialism

  • Racism

  • Fascism

  • Socialism

  • Feminism

  • Neo-conservatism

  • Animal rights activism

  • Confessional Politics – Christian Democrats