This is the personal website and blog of Dr. Masood Ashraf Raja and features his public work. Raja writes and speaks frequently on issues related to political Islam, US-Pakistan relations, and on other issues related to global social justice, equality, and democratic norm.
Please feel free to join our community and participate in our conversations. For further communication, Raja can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video Clip: Discussion on Humanities 2014, Pakistan
ISIS: Ideology, Symbolics and Counter Narratives, Routledge, 2019.
Relying on a thorough understanding of the role of ideology, discourse, and framing, this volume discusses ISIS as an Islamist ideological organization, and examines its philosophical scaffolding within the material conditions produced by neoliberal capital. As Raja asserts, it is this nexus of specifically retrieved Islamic history and the current global economic system that creates the kind of social identity ideally suited for ISIS. The combination of the historical narratives and the contemporary means of communication enables ISIS to frame and spread its message, recruit its adherents, and replicate itself.
While many scholarly and journalistic works on ISIS provide a wealth of information, not many elaborate on the terms that are often invoked in these writings. For example, scholars often use the term “Salafi-Jihadi” but they do not provide a comprehensive explanation of such concept within the same text. This book not only provides an explanation of the instructive terms used to explain the ISIS phenomenon, but also asserts that only one school of thought in Islam [The Sunni Wahabis] is likely to be the ideal target for ISIS recruitment. This claim, of course, does not rely on an essentialized pathology of Wahabi Sunnis, but provides an explanation of the Wahabi Islam as a proverbial “slippery slope”, as an absolutely necessary first step for an individual’s transformation into an ISIS fighter.
Written in a clear and direct style, this volume provides scholars and lay readers alike with a deeper understanding of ISIS and its strategies of recruitment and self-sustenance.
The Religious Right and the Talibanization of America, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016.
This highly original book suggests that the practices of Taliban and the American far right, two very significant and poorly understood groups, share common features. This commonality can be found in the philosophical basis of their ideological beliefs, in their comparative worldviews, and in their political practices. As Raja argues, the Taliban are much less the product of an irrational fundamentalism, and the radical right in America is much more the result of such a mindset, than Americans recognize. After providing a detailed explanation of his theoretical concepts and specialized vocabulary, the author develops a discussion of the subject in this brief but penetrating book. This is a book that should attract a wide readership among both academics and the general public.
(Co-edited with Hillary Stringer and Zach VandeZande). Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013.
“This brilliant collection of essays not only breathes new life into the field of critical pedagogy, but leaves this reader wanting more.” -David Gabbard, Bilingual Education Department, Boise State University, USA.
Constructing Pakistan: Foundational Texts and the Rise of Muslim National Identity 1857-1947. Oxford University Press, 2010.
Muslim literati … selected for analysis well represented the … aspirations of the Muslim community in their times. –Basharat Hussain Qizilbash, The Nation, Pakistan, September 10, 2010
Raja’s research merits introspection and contemplation of the many issues it either raises or answers about contemporary Pakistan. –Aliya Anjum, Dawn, Pakistan, September 26, 2010.
A . . . lucid and thought-provoking book. –Muneeza Shamsie, Journal of Postcolonial Writing.
The Postnational Fantasy: Nationalism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction. (Co-edited with Jason W. Ellis and Swaralipi Nandi). McFarland Press, 2011.
In twelve critical and interdisciplinary essays, this text examines the relationship between the fantastic in novels, movies and video games and real-world debates about nationalism, globalization and cosmopolitanism. Topics covered include science fiction and postcolonialism, issues of ethnicity, nation and transnational discourse. Altogether, these essays chart a new discursive space, where postcolonial theory and science fiction and fantasy studies work cooperatively to expand our understanding of the fantastic, while simultaneously expanding the scope of postcolonial discussions.
Once Upon a Country, (Novel), Trafford, 2002.
The Eastern Breeze, (Poems), Appledot Publishers, Pakistan, 1999.
Masood, your presentation on Pakistan and Three Cups of Tea was most informative. Our audience was huge (for us) because everyone wanted to hear you. And they all went away with such laudatory comments. We will have to make arrangements for you to come back.” – Nancy McGrath, Our Lady of Elms High School, Akron, Ohio.
Recent Public Talks
- Humanities and Ethics of Care. Biodiversity Day Pakistan, Bahria University, 2016.
- Postcolonialism and Literary Studies in Pakistan. National University of Modern Languages, Peshawar, June 2016.
- Humanistic Education and Neoliberalism, Fatima Jinnah Women’s University, April 2015.
- Postcolonial Studies in Globalized Capital: NUML, Islamabad, March 2015
- Introduction to Postcolonial Studies, Postgraduate College for Women, Rawalpindi, July 2014.
- Humanistic Education. FC College University, Lahore 2014.
- Humanities in the Twenty First Century, Faisalabad Agricultural University, July 2014.
- Scholarly Publishing, National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, July 2013.