37th & The World

Haris Durrani on Muslimness, Orientalism, and Imperialism in "Dune"

February 27, 2023 Georgetown Journal of International Affairs (GJIA) Season 3 Episode 6
37th & The World
Haris Durrani on Muslimness, Orientalism, and Imperialism in "Dune"
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Show Notes

Art never exists within a vacuum: it is always embedded within a broader historical context and political interpretations. Frank Herbert’s 1965 science-fiction epic Dune, currently in the midst of a two-part film adaption, exemplifies this dynamic. Dune narrates the story of a humanity dispersed across the stars 20,000 years into the future. It focuses on the young nobleman Paul Atreides as he acts upon a prophecy to control the planet Arrakis and its valuable spice—which makes space-travel possible—with the messianic command of Arrakis’ indigenous Fremen people. Far more than a pulpy adventure tale, Herbert incorporated environmental science, history, religious thought, and political philosophy from the nearly two-hundred books he consulted to write Dune, resulting in a rich tome with commentary on religious and cultural synthesis, resource-based geopolitics, and colonialism and anti-colonial resistance. In this interview, GJIA covers these themes and more with Haris Durrani, a Ph.D. candidate in history at Princeton University who is also dubbed, the “leading post-colonial Dune scholar of our time.”

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