Genealogies of Peace: Friendship, Enmity, and Self through the Mirrors of Western and Muslim Political Thought


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Political Science


Political figures, thinkers, and activists invoke world peace as humanity’s universal goal and transcendental ideal. While such appeals may appear ethically desirable, they conceal the hierarchies and hostilities that the idea of peace enables. This dissertation gives a genealogy of “peace” through canonical texts from Western and Muslim political theory and through contemporary discourses about Islam, mapping the concept's historical lineages, political functions, and discursive effects. It argues that the concept of peace is constituted through polemics and effacements that turn on the exclusion of an Other. Demands for world peace through friendship and unity intensify exclusions and transform particular enemies into “enemies of peace.” Against this dominant and pernicious notion of peace, this project ultimately recovers an alternative understanding of peace as an ethic of letting be and care of the self.