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Copernicus and the Muslim Astronomical Tradition

February 19, 2013 0 Comment

Today we wish happy birthday to the Polish scientist Nicholas Copernicus, whose publication in 1543 of the heliocentric model of the universe is viewed as a landmark achievement in Western thought. In fact, the story of this Copernican Revolution, completed by Kepler's work on elliptical orbits and, later, Newton's theory of gravitation,  provides one of the totemic moments in the "classical" understanding of Western history of science. Yet, overlooked in the primordial urge of historians to find the "zero point" of modern, Western consciousness is the crucial preparatory work carried out by generations ...

Islam Through Western Eyes on ABC (Australia) Radio

September 24, 2012 0 Comment

I took part in a panel discussion on Sunday night on the recent Muslim protests and their meaning for Australia and the wider world. Read more and download the podcast here.

Islam, Violence, and the West: It’s Not the Video, Stupid

September 19, 2012 0 Comment

Originally posted on the Sept 19, 2012, on the Columbia University Press Blog,   http://www.cupblog.org/?p=7915 Islam, Violence, and the West: It’s not the Video, Stupid By Jonathan Lyons It may be tempting to watch the unrest unfolding in parts of the Muslim world and wonder what real harm could there be in a cheesy “desert saga,” replete with glue-on beards, stilted dialogue, and an over-the-top touch of melodrama? Or perhaps to take some refuge in an absolutist notion of free speech. But to focus on the short clip, posted online, that portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, pedophile, and general sex fiend, is ...

Mitt Romney: Weber’s true poster boy for the “spirit” of capitalism

August 15, 2012 1 Comment

It’s easy, perhaps, to get caught up in the moment and conclude that Mitt Romney’s seeming inability to state any policy or core belief unequivocally is simply a matter of calculating ambition, mixed with political expediency. Yet, Romney’s low standards for consistency and logic go much deeper and reveal an essential truth about the man who would be president: that worldly “success” is the only proper measure of a person. More than one hundred years ago, the great social theorist Max Weber proposed the figure of Benjamin Franklin as the poster child for what he termed the Protestant “spirit” of Western ...

H-Net reviews Islam Through Western Eyes

July 17, 2012 0 Comment

From the new review of my latest book on Humanities and Social Sciences Online: "Scholars of international history will benefit from the well-written and well-argued analysis, which will help them to better historicize the ideologies of the clash of civilizations that characterize various social movements in America and Europe, as well as the origins of the “Muslim problem” in European and American intellectual life." Cemil Aydin, University of North Carolina Read the full review here.

Forthcoming Turkish edition of Islam Through Western Eyes

July 17, 2012 1 Comment

Turkish publisher Ufuk Yayinlari, an imprint of Yaran Yayincilik, has agreed to publish Islam Through Western Eyes: From the Crusades to the War on Terrorism. The English-language edition appeared at the start of this year, from Columbia University Press. Here's the CUP catalog listing. And reviews by the Boston Globe and Humanities and Social Sciences Online.

“Islam Through Western Eyes” webcast from Library of Congress

March 28, 2012 0 Comment

My recent book talk at the Library of Congress has been posted on the LOC Web site. Here's the link:http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=5466

“Writers Read” takes a peek at my reading list

February 15, 2012 0 Comment

What have I been reading lately? Check out the Writers Read blog to find out.    

Islam Through Western Eyes on Juan Cole’s ‘Informed Comment’ blog

February 6, 2012 0 Comment

Islam, Women, and the West (originally posted on Informed Comment. See the full text here. [...] By the early twentieth century, the institution of veiling had for the most part supplanted the more exotic harem as the focal point of Western attention. Still, the underlying logic of the discourse of Islam and women remains firmly in place today. The end result has been a “sexualization” of the Western view of Islam, one in which the totality of Muslim beliefs and practices and even the entire Islamic civilization are too often reduced to Western perceptions and assessment of the male–female dynamic. Exhibit ...

Boston Globe calls Islam Through Western Eyes “mercilessly iconoclastic”

January 22, 2012 0 Comment

From The Boston Globe review of Islam Through Western Eyes on January 22, 2012: If you think you have an original, perceptive opinion concerning Islam, you might want to think again. According to Jonathan Lyons, author of “Islam Through Western Eyes: From the Crusades to the War on Terrorism,’’ an ossified, immutable “anti-Islam discourse’’ has been propagated over the centuries by a diverse relay team of elite opinion-makers whose most obvious manifestation has become the self-proclaimed Islam expert. As a result, many Westerners have come to believe: “that Islam is inherently violent and spread by the sword; that Muslims are irrational, antiscience, ...