Civilizations is a series of lectures that explore the relationship
between Muslim and Western civilizations. It attempts to explore
the commonalities and differences between different cultures and
societies and how exchanges between them took place in the past
and continue into the present. While there may be no single definition
of what constitutes Muslim and Western civilizations, the speakers
will reflect on the overlapping and interdependent nature of civilizational
the end of the Cold war, many have speculated that the US needs
another enemy. One world leader and several major journalists
predicted that the Soviet menace would be replaced by the Islamic
menace. That was political and journalistic wisdom, but hardly
public policy rhetoric until the publication of a Harvard professor's
article in the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs in Summer
1993. In Samuel P. Huntingtons provocative piece"The
Clash of Civilizations?", he argued that this is not just
the end of the Cold War but the beginning of the next wara
war based on the collision or clash of civilizational values.
Professor Huntington has continued to speak on this topic, publishing
a book entitled The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking
of World Order (1996). Now with the catastrophe of 11 September,
he is declaiming even more loudly that he was right. The clash
of civilizations, in his view, has become the age of Muslim wars.
Yet it may
well be necessary to debate civilizations before judging them.
This age is about more than Islam. It involves a host of issues
that cannot be so neatly blamed on a clash of civilizational values.
There is no neat equation of one place, one religion or one civilization.
In each part of the globe, multiple civilizations, cultures and
values co-exist at different levels of ease and tension. The purpose
of this series is to examine the complex ways in which Muslims
encounter issues of politics, gender, religion, education, and
literature in a multicultural and global context.
is hosted by the Duke University Center
for International Studies and is co-sponsored by the Office
of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, the Office of the
Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, and the US Department
of Education. Additional contributors include the
Center for the Study of Muslim Networks, the Center for South
Asia Studies, the Department of Religion, and the Department of
For information on the paired Seminar Series (for
Faculty & students), see Muslim Networks website.