April 15, 2002 "What Went Wrong...and Why"

Two Prominent Scholars of Islam to Host Discussion at the Library of Congress

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: (202) 707-3302

On May 7, at 6 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building, the Library of Congress will host a discussion entitled "What Went Wrong...and Why" featuring two prominent scholars of Islam, Bernard Lewis of Princeton University and Mohammed Arkoun of the Sorbonne University. Since September 11, Lewis and Arkoun have been engaged in educating the general public, members of Congress and interest groups on the historical context within which violence of global proportions has ensued. The title of their May 7 discussion is derived from Lewis's latest book, What Went Wrong: Western Impact and the Middle Eastern Response.

Bernard Lewis was born in London and educated at the University of London, primarily in history at the School of Oriental and African Studies in history with a specialty in the Near and Middle East, and at the University of Paris. In 1938, Professor Lewis began teaching at the University of London and, in 1974, moved to Princeton University, where he retired in 1986 as the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies. His main research interests have been in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Presently, he is studying the history of relations between Europe and Islam from early through Ottoman to modern times. Throughout his career, Professor Lewis has produced groundbreaking works, including The Emergence of Modern Turkey (1961), Islam and the Arab World (1976), The Muslim Discovery of Europe (1982), The Jews of Islam (1985), and Islam and the West (1993). In addition, he has most recently published What Went Wrong: Western Impact and the Middle Eastern Response (2002). Other works include A Middle East Mosaic: Fragments of Life, Letters and History (2000), The Multiple Identities of the Middle East (1998), and The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years (1995).

Mohammed Arkoun was born in Taourit-Mimoun, Algeria. He received his Ph.D. from the Sorbonne University in 1969 and served as professor of the history of Islamic thought at the Sorbonne from 1962 to 1992. He has been a visiting professor at many universities in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. He was a member of the steering committee and jury for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture from 1981 to 1998. Currently, Professor Arkoun is professor emeritus at the Sorbonne (Paris III) and director of Arabica: Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies. He will receive a major prize in May at the University of California at Los Angeles for his outstanding contributions to scholarship in Islamic studies. He is the author of many books, most recently The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought (2002); L'humanisme arabe au 4/10 siecle (1970, 2nd edition, 1982); La Pensée arabe (1975, 5th edition 1995, translated into Arabic, English, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish); Lectures du Coran (1982, 2nd edition, 1991); and L'islam, Approche critique (1989, 3rd edition 1998, translated into English as Rethinking Islam: Common Questions, Un-common answers, 1994).


PR 02-051
ISSN 0731-3527