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Noah'S Nakedness: Islam, Race, And The Fantasy Of The Christian West

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is an exercise in puncturing the fantasy of Christian West. It begins by considering a foundational text in that fantasy, Genesis 9:18-29, the story of Noah's drunkenness and subsequent curse of Canaan, usually misnamed the curse of Ham. It then moves on to three moments of that fantasy in order to show that the very possibility of a Christian West relies as much on Islam as it does on Judaism. In the same way that the story of Noah's nakedness over-reaches itself to distinguish Israel from Canaan, thereby showing the very Canaanite-ness of Israel, so also the frantic effort of Christian West to distinguish itself from 'East,' in this case the Muslim East, shows through the effort itself that Christian West relies for its very possibility on Islam. However, it is the subcultures of the West, often hidden from view, that show up the truth of Christian West.

Keywords: Christian West; curse of Canaan; Genesis; Islam; Israel; Judaism; Noah's nakedness



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