Civilizations: Clash or Concert?
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ new volume of its annual publication, Al-Abhath, a refereed journal which publishes articles and reviews in the fields of Arab and Middle Eastern studies, consists of 11 essays in English, two book reviews in English and one in Arabic, and four essays in Arabic on topics as diverse as religion, history, power, culture, poetry, economics, and environment.
“This volume brings together a constellation of eminent scholars and international authorities in the various ancient, classical, medieval, pre-modern, and modern aspects of the theme, ‘Civilizations: Clash or Concert?’” said journal editor Asaad Khairallah.
Most articles in the volume take a comparative approach while addressing a variety of topics. Contributors include Princeton Professor Glen Bowersock, who argues that religion “can foster coalescence rather than conflict; University of London Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, who makes a case for studying misunderstanding among cultures; AUB Professor Tarif Khalidi, who submitted a comparative study on the historian and Quran scholar at-Tabari; Penn State Professor Djelal Kadir, who discussed the fate of empires that have passed through Baghdad; Damascus University Professor Sadek Jalal Al-Azm, who argues that Islam and secular humanism are compatible; AUB Associate Professor David Wrisley, who focuses on identity construction against the background of crusader ideology; AUB Professor Abdul-Rahim Abu Husayn and Brown University Professor Engin deniz Akarli, who study the complex interplay between general laws and communal law in Mount Lebanon under Ottoman rule; University of London PhD candidate Dennis Kumetat, who studies arms and oil deals in interwar Iraq; Stephan Milich, a research assistant at the Center for Near- and Middle Eastern Studies in Germany, who examines the works of Iraqi poet Saadi Yusuf, who lived in Western exile; Santa Cruz Professor Edmund Burke III, who warns of an imminent environmental crisis in the Middle East; Lebanese American University Professor Samar Moujaes, who argues that while Orientalism introduced the East to the West, some of its adherents, such as Ernest Renan, also helped widen the gap between the two cultures; and finally, Columbia University Professor Muhsin al-Musawi, who addresses the relationship between Arab intellectuals and power and their failure to connect with the masses because of their elitist, Western-influenced thought.