Orientalism and Islam: European Thinkers on Oriental by Michael Curtis

By Michael Curtis

Via an ancient research of the subject of Oriental despotism, Michael Curtis unearths the advanced confident and unfavorable interplay among Europe and the Orient. The ebook additionally criticizes the misunderstanding that the Orient was once the consistent sufferer of Western imperialism and the view that Westerners can't remark objectively on jap and Muslim societies. The booklet perspectives the eu inspiration of Oriental despotism as established no longer on arbitrary prejudicial remark, yet relatively on perceptions of actual approaches and behaviour in jap structures of presidency. Curtis considers how the idea that constructed and used to be expressed within the context of Western political inspiration and highbrow heritage, and of the altering realities within the center East and India. The booklet comprises dialogue of the observations of Western tourists in Muslim international locations and research of the reflections of six significant thinkers: Montesquieu, Edmund Burke, Tocqueville, James and John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, and Max Weber.

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18 Orientalism and Islam forerunner of France’s conception of a mission civilisatrice, introducing civilization to a backward people, in the Middle East as elsewhere. Yet it did result in the Description de l’ Egypte (1809–1828). This extraordinary publication, in ten volumes of explanatory text and thirteen volumes of engraved folio plates, containing information, accurate and detailed, on archaeology and antiquities, Egyptian society, demography, medicine, sociological issues, and geography was produced by 150 leading scholars, artists, engineers, and architects, including Claude Berthollet, the eminent chemist, and Gaspard Monge, the famous mathematician (whose name is still present in a street in Cairo) who accompanied Bonaparte’s troops.

Those two empires were further weakened by the presence within them of Arab tribes who had converted to Islam. A frequent explanation for Islamic success has been the qualities of the followers of the new faith, courage, and moral superiority. Muslim Arabs were united in a single political and religious community. More mundanely, jihad, defined here as armed struggle against nonbelievers rather than as moral striving, promised earthly and heavenly rewards; martyrs were promised a special place in paradise, while on earth soldiers kept most of the captured booty.

The corsairs, the most well known of whom in the sixteenth century is Barbarossa or Redbeard, who was given the title of Defender of Islam by the sultan, regarded themselves as warriors engaged in a holy war against Christians; they captured Christian men and women to sell at slave markets, the most important of which Introduction 27 was in Algiers. Writings of this early period recount the story of this slavery. Father Pierre Dan, the French priest of the Order of the Redemption, in his book published in a French edition in 1649 concluded that between 1530 and 1640 about a million Christians had been put in chains.

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