Bernard Lewis to Discuss Future of the Middle East

Bernard Lewis, the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies, at Princeton University, will visit on Tuesday, Nov. 21 for a discussion on “What Next in the Middle East.” The program, to be held at 4 p.m. in Pickford Auditorium, is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing. (Books will be available from Huntley Bookstore.)

In a landmark essay The Roots of Muslim Rage (1990), Lewis wrote that Christendom and Islam as civilizations have been in perpetual collision since the advent of Islam in the 7th century. In that essay he coined the phrase “clash of civilizations,” which later received prominence by Samuel P. Huntington.

Lewis, the author of widely read scholarship on the Middle East, is considered by many to be the preeminent historian on Islam and its historical development within the Near East. On the future of Islam, Lewis proposes that “if they can abandon grievance and victimhood, settle their differences, and join their talents, energies, and resources in a common creative endeavor, then they can once again make the Middle East, in modern times as it was in antiquity and in the Middle Ages, a major center of civilization.”

He received his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of London and served as the newly appointed chair in Near and Middle Eastern History at the School of Oriental and African Studies from 1949 until 1974. That same year, Lewis accepted a joint position at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study, also located in Princeton. After retiring from Princeton in 1986, he served at Cornell University until 1990. He remains active in his work on the peoples and region of the Middle East.

Lewis’ publications include The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror; The Shaping of the Modern Middle East; The Muslim Discovery of Europe; and The Political Language of Islam; Race and Slavery in the Middle East; Islam and the West.