Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents

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Overlook Press, 2006 - History - 409 pages
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“Orientalist” have come to take on the most negative connotations. But what is Orientalism, and who were the Orientalists, and how did Western scholars of Islamic culture come to be vilified as insidious agents of European imperialism? In Robert Irwin's groundbreaking new history, he answers this question with a detailed and colorful story of the motley crew of intellectuals and eccentrics who brought an understanding of the Islamic world to the West. In a narrative that ranges from an analysis of Ancient Greek perceptions of the Persians to a portrait of the first Western European translators of Arabic to the contemporary Muslim world's perceptions of the Western study of Islam, Irwin affirms the value of the Orientalists' legacy: not only for the contemporary scholars who have disowned it, but also for anyone committed to fostering the cross-cultural understanding which could bridge the real or imagined gulf between Islamic and Western civilization. Dangerous Knowledge is a both riveting and entertaining history, a bold argument, and an urgent redress of our conceptions about Western culture's relationship with its nearest neighbor.

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Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents

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Irwin has done everything right in this masterly study of Orientalist scholarship from the Renaissance to the present. The book is at once a history of the scholarly study of Arabic culture by ... Read full review


The Clash of Ancient Civilizations
An Ancient Heresy or a New Paganism

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About the author (2006)

Robert Irwin was born in 1946. He read modern history at Oxford and taught medieval history at the University of St. Andrews. He has held teaching appointments in Arabic and Middle Eastern history at Oxford and Cambridge.

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