Theoretical paradigms are both instruments of ontological clarification and objects of hermeneutic scrutiny. The latter function keeps the former provisionally intact while ultimately preventing the total calcification of outmoded epistemologies within intellectual formations. This becomes especially crucial when the epochal character of a body of knowledge shifts from being in the nature of “innovation” to that of “canonization,” or “tradition.” All schools of thought, including the most foundational, must be subjected to healthy skepticism even as they retain some degree of relevance to the present moment.

After Said, an essay collection edited by Bashir Abu-Manneh, is executed in such a forward-looking fashion. Reconsidering the legacy of the late...

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