Despite the West's growing involvement in Muslim societies, conflicts, and cultures, its inability to understand or analyze the Islamic world threatens any prospect for East–West rapprochement. Impelled by one thousand years of anti-Muslim ideas and images, the West has failed to engage in any meaningful or productive way with the world of Islam. Formulated in the medieval halls of the Roman Curia and courts of the European Crusaders and perfected in the newsrooms of Fox News and CNN, this anti-Islamic discourse determines what can and cannot be said about Muslims and their religion, trapping the West in a dangerous, dead-end politics that it cannot afford.
In Islam Through Western Eyes, Jonathan Lyons unpacks Western habits of thinking and writing about Islam, conducting a careful analysis of the West's grand totalizing narrative across one thousand years of history. He observes the discourse's corrosive effects on the social sciences, including sociology, politics, philosophy, theology, international relations, security studies, and human rights scholarship. He follows its influence on research, speeches, political strategy, and government policy, preventing the West from responding effectively to its most significant twenty-first-century challenges: the rise of Islamic power, the emergence of religious violence, and the growing tension between established social values and multicultural rights among Muslim immigrant populations.
Through the intellectual "archaeology" of Michel Foucault, Lyons reveals the workings of this discourse and its underlying impact on our social, intellectual, and political lives. He then addresses issues of deep concern to Western readersIslam and modernity, Islam and violence, and Islam and womenand proposes new ways of thinking about the Western relationship to the Islamic world.
|Publisher:||Columbia University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)|
About the Author
Jonathan Lyons spent twenty years as a foreign correspondent and editor for Reuters, much of it in the Islamic world. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Monash University and lives in Portland, Oregon. His publications include The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization and (with Geneive Abdo) Answering Only to God: Faith and Freedom in Twenty-First-Century Iran.
Table of Contents
1 War Without End? 1
2 Foucault's Toolbox 21
3 The Western Idea of Islam 43
4 Islam and Science 73
5 Islam and Violence 111
6 Islam and Women 155
7 What's Wrong with Us? 191
What People are Saying About This
Islam Through Western Eyes is as timely as it is informative, helping us understand the history of understandingand misunderstandingbetween Muslims and non-Muslims over the centuries, patterns that continue today. This is a book that should be read by people of all faiths, not only for edification but also for healing in a religiously fractured world.
This is a first-class book: original, significant, and a very timely contribution. Despite the importance of the topic, especially today, I can think of no other study that offers so comprehensive, persuasive, and engaging an analysis.
Jonathan Lyons joins the wisdom of a scholar with the knowledge of a journalist in a timely and necessary book. A much-needed light unto the gentiles wishing to understand the truth and consequences of the Arab Spring.