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I Imagining the Orient

The Muslim world in British historical imaginations. ‘Re-thinking Orientalism’?

K. Humayun Ansari

Ever since the publication of Orientalism in 1978 there has been a great deal of debate about Edward Said’s thesis and propositions. His study has provoked much controversy but it has also generated an immense amount of positive intellectual development across many humanities and social sciences disciplines. Said’s objective was to explore the relationship between power and knowledge; between imperialism and scholarship. He thus viewed ‘Orientalism’ as a Western discourse that essentialises the Muslim world in pejorative ways, one intimately entwined with imposition of imperial power and offering ideological justifications for it.1

While a wide range of academics have subsequently developed or refined Said’s framework, others have challenged and, indeed, denounced it, as Robert Irwin puts it, as a perverted muddle of ‘malignant charlatanry’.2 In terms of the production of historical knowledge about the peoples, politics and cultures of the Orient, the disagreements have been to do with approaches, sources, and interpretive paradigms. An increasing number of scholars more generally have come to accept that knowledge is socially constructed and that complex developments contribute towards shaping our understandings of the world.3 Hence, social and political interests play a significant role in the adoption of one way of construing reality rather than another. Others claim that they tell it like it is; they allow facts to speak for themselves, and have no interest in the social utility of the historical knowledge that they produce. Intellectual curiosity, the lust for knowing, is their only drive.4 Bernard Lewis, thus, defended Orientalism as ‘pure scholarship’, a discipline that strove towards objectivity.5 On the other hand, A.J. Arberry (1905-1969) in his compilation, Oriental Essays: Portraits of Seven Scholars (1960), while denying that he himself had any political agendas, accepted that politics, nonetheless, intruded upon academic scholarship.6 Indeed, it could be argued that politics is always present, but not necessarily where people claim to locate it, since politics has less to do with interactions than actions and results, which are always unpredictable. It is thus difficult to put intentions on trial.7

Absolute claims such as these, however, demand closer inspection, and so what I want to explore in this essay is how far there were scholars who were genuinely ‘purely’ interested in Islam and Muslim societies and so studied them for their own sake. I will do this by looking at the places that Islam and Muslims have occupied in British historical imaginations from the outset of the early modern period to the present.

One of the key reasons for examining the past is to uncover the shape of human experience: can we discern any patterns in it, and how can we make sense of it through time? For many centuries, in the context of Britain, ‘the march of history’ was understood in sacred terms. For Christian writers historical knowledge bore witness to the grand theme of Creation and the Last Judgement. But as Islam spread through the Mediterranean, posing a potentially lethal theological and political threat as it conquered the bastions of Eastern Christendom, the mysterious rise of this ‘falsehood’, against the truth of Christianity, compelled an explanation. How to stem its rising tide and protect Christians and Christendom [and convert Muslims] from this scourge?

The response of medieval and early modern Christian scholars was to create ‘a body of literature concerning the faith, its Prophet, and his book, polemic in purpose and scurrilous in tone, designed to protect and discourage rather than to inform’.8 Attacks on Islam were in part a way of propping up ideological conformity among various Christian denominations, in Britain as elsewhere.9 With military power unable to withstand Islamic expansion, refutation through argument and missionary work was considered the best option for overcoming the challenge, for which knowledge of the Muslim adversaries, their beliefs and practices, was considered crucial. The lengthy title of William Bedwell’s (15621632) best-known work - Mahomet Unmasked. Or a Discoverie of the manifold Forgeries, Falsehoods, and horrible impieties of the blasphemous seducer Mahomet. With a demonstration of the Insufficienie of his Law, contained in the cursed Alcoran. Written long since in Arabicke and now done in English - underlined its similar polemical rationale.10 In much of this scholarship, therefore, a repertoire of Christian legends nourished by imaginative fantasies, rather than hard historical evidence about Islam and Muslims, served the purpose. While the explanations provided were never fully satisfying, writers such as Bedwell succeeded in creating a portrait of an exotic, and deluded, ‘other’ - and helped to embed a negative perception in the ‘British’ social imaginary, something that possesses considerable emotional resonance even to this day.

That said, when we look at the early modern period, we find that, in the British Isles at large, there was little popular awareness of, let alone curiosity about, Muslims - and even less so in serious literature. Most of those who had sufficient resources and interest to sponsor Arabic studies were either churchmen (as was the case with most forms of learning, not just this field) or closely aligned with their causes who, while acknowledging that acquisition and study of Arabic manuscripts was useful insofar as they contained much valuable scientific information,11 primarily aimed at producing materials to achieve salvation of oneself and of wayward Middle Eastern Christians and Muslims.12 Thomas Adams (15861668), a wealthy draper, created the Chair of Arabic at Cambridge in 1632 in the hope that he might, through his patronage, contribute to converting Muslims.13 Four years later, William Laud (1573-1645), Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellor of the University of Oxford, established its Professorship in Arabic, primarily as part of the struggle against Catholicism.

In the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, those in Europe who studied Islam tended to do so not out of interest in that faith per se, but primarily to pursue intra-confessional polemic.14 During the Reformation, Islam was frequently used by one group of Christians to criticise another. Protestants were likened to Muslims for deviating from and perverting the true faith. Such developments, of course, need to be located in the context of Ottoman expansion in competition with other European states. It is noticeable that, while there was considerable conflict between the states, it did not take the form of ‘Islamdom’ versus ‘Christendom’.

The 1600s are credited with having marked the beginning of ‘modern’ British historical writing.15 The confident authority of the Christian world-view began to crumble as secularised interpretations of history, centred on human rather than divine activity, gained ground. Reason combined with empirical evidence was coming to be accepted as the final authority for deciding what was historically credible. Scholars now increasingly possessed the resources and linguistic potential to investigate more rigorously than before the nature of Muslim beliefs, history, traditions and practices. Hence, writings on Islam became contradictory, reflecting the fragmented views held by Europeans on the subject, influenced by political thinkers such as Descartes and Spinoza.16 The old stereotypes were repeated by most writers, but now alongside newer observations that found favourable things in Islam. For example, there was The General Historie of the Turkes (1603) by Richard Knolle (c. 1540-1610). A fear-inducing chronicle, it was filled with accounts of Ottoman atrocities, cruelties and torture. Knolle, like earlier English writers, called the Ottoman Empire the ‘great terror of the world’, Islam the work of Satan and Muhammad a false prophet. But - here is the difference - Knolle also acknowledged Turkish determination, courage and frugality, and the massive twelve hundred-page account contained much positive information about Muslims, until then considered mortal enemies.

Edward Pococke’s Specimen Historae Arabum (1649), while casting Islam as the religion of the false prophet, likewise managed, by deploying Arabic sources and historians, to avoid the distortions of medieval polemic and presented what was, for its time, an arguably more balanced view of Muslim society.17 A little later Paul Rycaut, in The Present State of the Ottoman Empire (1668), drew a picture of Ottoman despotism, unequivocally corrupt and backward, straight out of the old stock of ignorance and fear. But it also recounted accurate, knowledgeable and insightful details of Turkish life and history, of Ottoman political, military and religious organisation, of the diversity of Islamic beliefs and traditions. In it there was also acknowledgement of mutuality of commercial interests and benefits and admiration of many aspects of Islamic culture.18 Most importantly, having been written by British men, these histories inevitably lacked the breadth of understanding of Muslim societies that women travellers such as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) would contribute, thanks to their experiences of spheres of life to which they, as females, had exclusive access.

By the end of the seventeenth century, while the intellectual climate had changed significantly in favour of ‘freethinking’, both orthodox Christians and so-called ‘deviants’ continued to critique each other. Humphrey Prideaux’s (1648-1724) Life of Mahomet (1697) aimed to uncover ‘The true nature of imposture fully displa’d in the life of Mahomet, with a discourse annex’d for the vindication of

Christianity from this charge’,19 while Henry Stubbe’s (1632-1676) anti-Trinitarian tract, Account of the Rise and Progress of Mahometanism (written in 1671 but not eventually published until nearly 250 years later),20 trenchantly challenged ‘the fabulous inventions of the Christians’21 in the light of reason, contrasting this with his positive assessment of the life of Muhammad and Islam’s rationality.22 What is particularly interesting is that both these authors used Pococke’s work and sources extensively but interpreted them in radically different ways to arrive at the opposite poles in their conclusions - one hostile (it should be added, largely in response to the challenge of Deism rather than Islam), the other sympathetic, to Islam and Muslims.23

What we see emerging out of these controversies by the eighteenth century are more sophisticated understandings of Islam, though, given the broader religious context in which they were operating, their authors could hardly be expected to write wholly positively of a religion that had proved ‘the first ruin of the eastern church’.24 So, while in Simon Ockley’s (1678-1720) The History of the Saracens (2 volumes, 1708-1718) Mahomet, as for Prideaux, remained ‘the great Imposter’25 and the Arab conquests ‘that grievous Calamity’,26 there is patent admiration for the martial and moral qualities and learning of the Arabs.27 Similarly, while George Sale (1697-1736), in the Preliminary Discourse to his translation of the Qur’an (1734), again followed Prideaux by saying that the Arabs ‘seem to have been raised up on purpose by GOD, to be the scourge to the Christian Church’,28 his use of Muslim sources of history marked an enormous advance.

The late eighteenth century was a period of transition in British imperial history, and, not surprisingly, this had an impact on how Islam and Muslims were viewed by contemporaries. The East India Company (EIC) from the mideighteenth century had been steadily establishing dominance in India, often taking power from Muslim rulers in the process, but it was still navigating its way towards finding the right strategies in order to establish firm control. Many who ran the EIC in India admired and appreciated indigenous cultures, saw merit in their history and assimilated.29

William Robertson (1721-1793) was one Enlightenment historian who expressed an early willingness to value Indian culture and society as the development of an equivalent and equally valid civilisation to that of Europe. However, whereas Europe was seen to have ‘progressed’, India was perceived to have ‘stagnated’ in relative terms. Hence, Robertson believed that India should be facilitated but not coerced in its socio-economic and cultural development by a form of imperial rule and commerce that demonstrated respect for India’s cultural heritage.30

This development approach to history associated with the Scottish Enlightenment, in the works of Adam Smith (1723-1790), David Hume (17111776) and Robertson, from the 1750s to the 1790s, concluded that the human record was one of material and moral improvement, of cultural development from ‘savagery’ and ‘barbarism’ to ‘civilisation’, and that their society stood at the pinnacle of achievement.31 Since Muslim societies were judged as, at best, semi-barbaric, colonialism - Empire - was justified. Alexander Dow (1735/6- 1779), another secular enlightenment historian, accepted that the Mughal Empire, having achieved much, was declining as others had in the past, and the British should supplant it.32

As British imperial expansion progressed, there was a further shift in general attitudes to Islam. There was perhaps less prejudice and a greater sense of curiosity; while history continued to be written as a moral tale, critical enquiry gave birth to new historical values. The rejection of metaphysical authority became increasingly mainstream, opening the way for a more empirical approach to Islam, replacing distorted accounts constructed to an extent on flights of fancy and ignorance with more nuanced and balanced ones. Yet Orientalist stereotyping persisted. While Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), when exploring how Christianity ended European classical civilisation in his History of the Decline of the Roman Empire (1788),33 imbued Islam with several positive attributes, his final moral judgement on Muhammad was that he ended up an ambitious impostor.34 And whatever its virtues, Gibbon did not want Europe to be over-run by Islam.35 While Gibbon and William Jones, two of Britain’s most eminent Enlightenment scholars, were admirers of Muslim civilisations, they still firmly believed in the superiority of the European, because, for them, Europe had forged ahead in gathering useful knowledge, in its command of ‘Reason’ and in its application of the scientific method - in all these fields, they believed, Asians lagged far behind.36

Like Gibbon, Jones could attribute ‘the decided inferiority’ of Asian peoples to the prevalence of despotism in Asia.37 Indeed, those who judge Jones’s scholarly work as entirely motivated by aesthetic and academic interest really need to look at his life and career more closely; this would reveal him to be not only complex, inconsistent and contradictory but also one who undoubtedly possessed utilitarian propensities. For instance, he published his A Grammar of the Persian Language in 1771 to equip those who wished to serve the EIC more proficiently in a language in which commercial affairs in India were conducted.38 He believed that ‘laws are of no avail ... unless they are congenial to the disposition and habits, to the religious prejudices, and approved immemorial usages, of the people, for whom they are enacted’,39 and felt that the democratic system was ‘wholly inapplicable’ to India and Indians were ‘incapable of civil liberty; few of them have any idea of it; and those, who have, do not wish it’. Jones also claimed that ‘millions are so wedded to inveterate prejudices and habits, if liberty could be forced upon them by Britain, it would make them as miserable as the cruellest despotism’:40 consequently, they ‘must and will be governed by absolute power’, albeit taking an enlightened form.41 Jones went to India to serve his country as a judge of the EIC’s Bengal Supreme Court - the primary purpose for which he learnt Sanskrit was to prepare his digest of Indian laws that would break the monopoly of pandits (Hindu religious scholars) and maulvis (Muslim religious scholars) in the court, and which shaped and reflected the ethos of his employer, the Company, in the late eighteenth century. Indeed, he sought to develop a political strategy on ‘how the British Possessions in the East Indies may be held and governed with the greatest security and advantage to this country, and by what means the happiness of the native inhabitants may best be promoted’.42 In Mukherjee’s assessment, far from being a disinterested Orientalist, Jones was a late eighteenth-century ‘liberal imperialist’ who had no doubt in his mind about ‘the excellence of our constitution, and the character of a perfect king of England’.43 Jones was of the view that British rule could be best legitimised in an Indian idiom. He had no doubt that ‘a knowledge of Mahomedan jurisprudence, and consequently of the languages used by Mahomedan writers, are essential to a complete administration ofjustice in our Asiatick territories’.44

The ways in which British historians analysed, imagined and depicted the ‘Orient’ were, thus, often intertwined, in complex ways, with growing British power. The generation of certain images of the ‘Orient’ was linked with the parallel growth of European control over Muslim peoples. These realities began to shape historical accounts. The Romanticist influence on historical writing was also felt. The Orient attracted interest as it became less threatening while remaining exotic. One key (though not uncontested) element of nineteenth- century thought on the ‘Orient’ was a particular concentration on difference between East and West. Islam constituted a distinct type in terms of civilisation, cultural essence and core values - these, many Orientalists of the time believed, shaped a different Muslim consciousness, mind-set and behaviour.

Scottish Enlightenment thinking continued to be the leading intellectual influence. John Malcolm (1769-1833) and Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859), both highly instrumental in relation to the extension of British power in India and West Asia,45 would have seen themselves as no more than subscribing to the forces that drove societies from one stage to another. Both belonged to a broad band of historians comprising conservatives and many liberals and radicals, among whom imperial expansion, born out of human enlightenment and effort, and underpinned by utilitarian ideas, became a dominant vision.46 They were supported by a growing evangelical public sentiment which viewed Empire as the work of Providence. Notwithstanding their kinship with different schools of thought, all British historians during this period assumed the intellectual and moral superiority of contemporary Great Britain over the Muslim world.

But the single most influential work in the early nineteenth century was perhaps James Mill’s (1773-1836) The History of British India (1817). Mill’s motivation was primarily to critique and challenge the existing political order in Britain. For Mill, knowledge was nothing if it was not a source of power - a tool of change. Understanding the past was good ‘only for the improvement of the future’.47 Since Indo-Muslim society, a product of despotism, superstition and poverty, given to insecurity and lacking in progress, measured ‘lower’ in his scale of civilisation, British authoritarian rule was justified. Similarly, Macaulay (1800-1859), a great admirer of Mill’s History, also believed in the benevolent impact of British rule in India and elsewhere. Macaulay’s48 dismissal of, and contempt for, the natives could be said to have been the epitome of Saidian Orientalism.49

Now, while it might be argued that this ‘Orientalist’ history writing was hegemonic by the nineteenth century, Said’s argument leaves little room for the kind of contestation and contrasting approaches to Islam that were evidently emerging in this period. Take, for instance, the works of Edward Lane (1801-1876), a scholar who was to have an enormous influence on Middle Eastern studies. From Lane’s life, it is immediately clear that, in the context of the early nineteenth-century excitement about Egypt, while he remained committed to his own cultural heritage, he became genuinely interested in Egyptian society - its traditions, customs and people - to the point where he adopted the Egyptian lifestyle, dress and language. While many scholars have levelled charges of Orientalism against Lane - his awareness of his difference from an essentially alien culture, the coded sense of superiority in his major works, his views regarding the unchanging character of Middle Eastern societies, to mention just a few - Leila Ahmed, his biographer, has shown that Lane possessed a relatively accurate and sympathetic understanding of Islam.50 It is true that he comes across, occasionally, as condescending, patronising, even admonishing, in his best-known An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (1836),51 but, when read in the context of his personal interaction, it could be argued that for the most part he strove for and largely succeeded in presenting an account of Egyptian society and its people that was respectful, and one that a ‘native’ of that culture could broadly accept as authentic and accurate.52 More usefully, it created a space for British scholars within which emotively charged and hostile traditions could be more effectively challenged.

Towards the middle of the century, new perceptions of Muhammad, accompanied by new attitudes to his religion, were also emerging. This period was particularly crucial in British historical understanding of Islam, for it was a time when the enduring images of Muhammad as a heretic were juxtaposed with new ones of him as a noble figure.53 In contrast to Said’s methodological emphasis on the unity of the Orientalist discourse, what we witness here is a considerable plurality of approaches to Islam. Thus, discourse about Islam became richer, more diverse and more complex than Said’s arguments have demonstrated.

The reasons for this shift were many. Burgeoning knowledge about Islam and increased information made early stereotypes increasingly untenable. The demise of Christian apocalypticism and the rise of secular historical method created the Muhammad of history, relegating to the shadows the Muhammad of Christian legend. The Victorians’ proclivity for great men, coupled with their fascination for an exotic East, created a sympathetic environment for the partial rehabilitation of Muhammad and Islam. And the rise of British power over Muslim lands made for a context in which the Prophet and his religion could be treated more benevolently, even while it continued to encourage and support criticism of its modern expressions.

This juxtaposition is clearly visible in Carlyle’s (1795-1881) famous lecture on Muhammad. In 1840, after centuries during which Muhammad had been called an impostor, a seducer or worse, Carlyle made the ‘first strong affirmation in the whole of European literature, medieval or modern of a belief in the sincerity of Muhammad’.54 And yet, he too uncritically deployed Orientalist tropes and attitudes in his rhetoric: Islam for Carlyle was ‘a confused form of Christianity’, fit for semi-barbaric Arabs.55

What, then, were the main assumptions of historical writing at this time? Paternalism and utilitarianism. Both contributed to the British assumption of superiority over the East and to the justification of colonial rule. A la Whig interpretation of history, Victorians believed that they were positioned at the pinnacle of human development. Historians did not dispense knowledge of the past for its own sake, or simply to inculcate practical lessons - that is, to sustain British rule. Above all, they strove to preach a moral sermon, to hold up the virtues that they believed had won empire in the East and which alone could preserve it.

William Muir (1819-1905), scholar and colonial administrator at the time of the so-called Indian Mutiny of 1857-1858, in his historical works consistently denigrated Muhammad and the Qur’an, misrepresented Muslims and undervalued Islam, often through a conscious manipulation of, at times, questionable sources, in order to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity and British culture in justification of colonial dominance.56 Similar motivations can be discerned in the writings of both H.M. Elliot and John Dowson, the latter’s The History of India as told by its own Historians (1867-1877) receiving the explicit support of the Secretary of State for India. Both were deemed by critics to have disseminated ‘not a few inexactitudes’, as well as ‘some false and distorted history’.57

By the late nineteenth century, biology, anthropology and other sciences had combined with Sir Henry Maine’s (1822-1888) demonstration of the historicity of ideas and Darwin’s law of natural selection to produce a relative ranking of world civilisations along racial lines. Muslim societies did not fare well. Britain, it would seem, had developed the highest ideal of social happiness and devised the scientific instrument of law to enforce it.58 Writing at the zenith of the Imperialist phase in Britain, William Hunter (1840-1900) stressed the importance of the national character of the British race - ‘adventurous, masterful, patient in defeat and persistent in executing its designs’ - as the key to its imperial success.59

J.R. Seeley’s (1834-1895) Expansion of England, published in 1883, stated that the study of history could offer lessons for those serving the Empire.60 Lord Acton (1834-1902), Seeley’s successor at Cambridge at the beginning of the twentieth century, likewise considered the making of moral judgements to be the mark of true historical writing. For him, the British Empire had an essentially noble purpose and was a benevolent and progressive force in human history. But while Seeley believed in the necessity and moral justification of the continuance of British rule, a question that troubled him was how the British could reconcile the despotism of the Indian Empire with the democracy enjoyed by the colonies of white settlers (and indeed, the British themselves): how Britain could ‘be in the East at once the greatest Mussulman Power in the world ... and at the same time in the West be the foremost champion of free thought and spiritual religions?’61 For such historians, Indian society being un-progressive and perhaps decadent, the important thing was to do Indians good in spite of themselves; to lead India (and the rest of the Empire) with a paternal, authoritarian hand.62 The histories of the period up to 1914 broadly reflected these assumptions.63

This was not, it is true, invariably the attitude in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Drawing inspiration from William Cobbett (1763-1835), John Bright (1811-1889) and Richard Cobden (1804-1865), scholars such as J.A. Hobson (1858-1940) challenged the justifications for imperial rule.64 Nevertheless, this undoubtedly remained the hegemonic view. The majority of Orientalist historians agreed with Seeley’s analysis. Re-evaluative trends in British Islamic scholarship were still at an embryonic stage, and thinly veiled disparagement of Islam and Muhammad such as that of David Margoliouth

(1858-1940), fervently Christian professor of Arabic at Oxford, continued to inform influential historical analysis.65

However, while Islamic history offered much scope to Orientalist scholars to draw favourable comparisons regarding the virtues and truth of Christianity, there had also emerged considerable questioning of the Christian faith and this led to the re-evaluation of both academic and popular attitudes towards other belief- systems. T.W. Arnold (1864-1930),66 who spent much time in scholarly pursuits in northern India, was part of a small group of historians who presented interpretations of Christian and Muslim cultural history and interaction that challenged the arguments of the orthodox orientalist paradigm. Both in conception and in construction, his The Preaching of Islam, published in 1896, represented a radical departure in British Islamic scholarship. In contrast to reductionist constructions of Islam as monolithic, having only one authentic expression, Arnold affirmed the validity of all the varying and sometimes contradictory currents within it, and concluded in his The Islamic Faith (1928) that, since religion was defined by individual understanding and practice of faith, ‘no single formula - beyond the brief simple words of the creed - can sum up [Islam’s] many diversities’.67 Arnold’s historical analysis refuted the traditional assumptions of Orientalism and led him to conclude that European and Muslim cultures had interacted in the past in mutually influential and beneficial ways. He dismissed the distinction between East and West and argued that the Christian and Muslim worlds were both heirs of the same civilisation. Curiously, he remained a ‘convinced believer in the great destiny of the British Empire’,68 but with Muslims as equals. In line with orientalist suspicion of pan-Islamism and religious nationalism, he viewed attempts to create a sense of global Islamic community as potentially destabilising.

E.G. Browne (1862-1926), too, exuded enthusiasm for and empathy with Arab, Persian and Turkish cultures and peoples. A scholar of enormous erudition, he travelled in Persia and his A Year Among the Persians (1893) represented a sympathetic portrayal of Persian society. His monumental Literary History of Persia, which was published in 1902, further valorised its refinements. An adherent of the liberal view of progress in historical development, he became passionately interested in the politics of contemporary Persia, and supported the Constitutional Movement and resistance to European imperialist encroachments. Browne’s positive analysis in his The Persian Revolution of1905-1909, published in 1910, not only countered the imperialist notions of Persian capriciousness and corruption as essential contributors of lack of progress; of their incapacity for democratic self-government, but also, by means of a ‘nationalist [counter] Orientalism’, announced the revival of an eastern people whose national character had empowered past historical achievements and might well do so again.69

The climate of opinion in early twentieth-century Britain was, thus, simultaneously sympathetic towards and highly suspicious of Muslims. Muslim political activism imposed new demands on British authority, and pan-Islamism became a cause of increasing political concern as conflict with the Ottoman Empire intensified. Muslim aspirations seemed in sharp conflict with British imperial ambitions and political strategic security. These priorities were reflected in literature of the period. Lord Cromer’s (1841-1917) Modern Egypt (1908), for instance, effectively ignored Egypt’s achievements, highlighted its deficiencies through selective use of empirical materials and offered an unbalanced rationalisation of British imperial rule. What was needed was a system that would ‘enable the mass of the population to be governed according to the code of Christian morality’.70 V. A. Smith’s (1848-1920) Oxford History of India: from the earliest times to 1911 (1919) similarly concluded that India would be plunged into political chaos, her normal condition, ‘if the firm, although mild control exercised by the paramount power should be withdrawn’.71

The aftermath of the First World War witnessed the revival of the idea of British colonial mission and imperial obligation. The Empire’s history as the unfolding of the story of liberty re-emerged as the dominant mode of interpretation. With the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, Britain became much more politically and strategically dominant in the Middle East, responsible for lands that were perceived to be inhabited by people not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world. Representing a main trend in British historical writing, historians such as Reginald Coupland (1884-1952) still believed in the moral qualities of the British to shape a better world and saw the history and purpose of the Empire as the gradual unfolding of liberty. While not an officer of the Empire, he spent much time in its service and he made influential, historically rigorous contributions to the debates on the direction of the Empire and imperial policy making.72 But other historians rejected the benevolent purpose of the Empire and thought it exploitative and ruthless.73 Edward Thompson and G.T. Garratt’s Rise and Fulfilment of the British Rule in India offered a balanced assessment of the nationalist movement and criticised the racist behaviour of the British. George Antonius’s The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab Nationalist Movement (London: H. Hamilton, 1938) sought to understand sympathetically the impulses behind Arab nationalism as well to challenge British rule in Palestine. But even these two studies accepted the idea of British trusteeship and, rather than abolish the Empire, suggested reform and greater accountability.

The post-Second World War years witnessed rapid change and much instability as the pace of decolonisation quickened and the Cold War began. In this context, Asia and Africa increasingly became the battlegrounds for geopolitical rivalries. Western governments felt the urgent need for reliable knowledge about critical areas so as to inform policy making. But, in the late 1950s and 1960s, scholars such as Richard Southern (1912-2001) and Norman Daniel (1919-1992) showed that it was not so much new positive knowledge that was being produced by disinterested scholars, but rather the diffusion in more refined and complex forms of greatly distorted existing elaborations, creating inaccurate images of Islam and Muhammad, based on dubious sources and distorted readings of texts and scriptures, leading to crude and derogatory assertions.74

Take Hamilton Gibb (1895-1971) and Bernard Lewis (1916-), two towering figures in the field in this period. Their interest in Islam and Muslim peoples’ current affairs undoubtedly emanated from their desire to influence policy makers. Gibb, for instance, was concerned that Western governments were acting largely out of ignorance, and it was his belief that understanding of Muslim peoples’ beliefs and cultures by careful study of their specific past was essential for effective policy making. However, the categories he used to organise the knowledge and to interpret Islam and the history of the Muslim peoples are illustrative of what many critics would eventually argue were the grave shortcomings of the Orientalist tradition. For instance, in Modern Trends in Islam (1947), Gibb started from the assumption that there was an unchanging and distinctive Arab or Muslim ‘mind’ whose nature he could infer from his knowledge of the traditional texts of Islam and which could be implicitly or explicitly contrasted with an equally singular and essentialised ‘Western mind’.75 On this basis Gibb was able to offer sweeping generalisations about the innate deficiencies of Muslims’ thought processes, imagination and ethics that had caused them to stagnate and fail to modernise. Robert Irwin suggests that, ‘[a]s a Christian moralist, he was inclined to blame Islam’s decline on carnality, greed and mysticism’.76 In Islamic Society and the West, deploying Toynbee’s category of distinct civilisations, he argued that Islam was a coherent civilisation whose historical dynamics, institutions, thought and way of life were expressions of a basically unitary and stable set of core values and beliefs. Based on these premises, Gibb explained Ottoman decline by locating it in its specifically Islamic despotic character.77 Yet, as Roger Owen pointed out, Gibb’s analysis was largely flawed, as his data in fact suggested that in the groups and activities of the Ottoman Empire there was little that could be considered as specifically ‘Islamic’ - indeed, developments under the Ottomans had close parallels in non-Muslim Europe and Asia.78 More recently Caroline Finkel has challenged even more convincingly such ‘myths’ of Ottoman decay.79

Bernard Lewis was the other ‘big gun’ in the field of British scholarship on Islam, and, like Gibb, he believed that the Orientalists’ deep understanding of Islamic civilisation rendered them uniquely capable of shedding light on policy matters. Lewis, in a 1953 Chatham House lecture on ‘Communism and Islam’80 that ignored local contexts and histories, elaborated his conception of Islam, similar to that of Gibb, as a civilisation with a distinct, unique and basically unchanging essence. For Lewis, among Islam’s core features was an essentially autocratic and totalitarian political tradition that made Communism potentially appealing to Muslims. Lewis accepted that, while Muslims were obliged to resist impious government, their subservience to authority took precedence. This contrasted sharply with ‘the spirit of resistance to tyranny and misrule ... inherent in the core values of Western civilisation’.81 This line of argument ignored what Muslims had actually done over the centuries when confronted with impious or tyrannical rule. But such overarching, monolithic delineations of ‘Islamic civilisation’, underpinned by apparently timeless and uniform ‘Islamic concepts’, became very attractive towards the end of the twentieth century, with Lewis, for instance, pointing to ‘a clash of civilisations’, in his words ‘the perhaps irrational but surely historic reaction of an ancient rival against our Judeo-Christian heritage, our secular present, and the worldwide expansion of both’.82 In this, one can see many of the key features of Said’s Orientalism.

The ideas of Gibb and Lewis, like Orientalism in the Saidian sense more generally, dovetailed ‘Modernisation theory’, the dominant paradigm from the

1950s to the 1970s.83 A common set of assumptions about the character and trajectory of historical change, it denoted the process of transition from traditional to modern society as universal, linear and initiated by the West. Why Muslim societies had not modernised according to the Western model, it was argued, had little to do with practical social, political and economic forces - legacies of colonialism, continuing foreign domination or economic underdevelopment - rather, they had become disoriented because of their essentially static nature, psychological deficiencies and cultural pathologies.84 Unlike the early modern Europe’s insatiable thirst for discovering the ‘secrets’ of Muslim advances, Muslims seemed uninterested in learning about the sources of Europe’s growing strength. Their societies were, therefore, unable to develop the institutions and internal dynamics that might lead to fundamental social transformation from within. Lewis, in his From Babel to Dragomans and The Muslim Discovery of Europe, had identified the failure of Muslim societies to modernise in their lack of the spirit of enquiry, their misplaced sense of superiority, insularity and hostility to the West. According to Lewis, ‘Few Muslims travelled voluntarily to the land of the infidels ... The question of travel for study did not arise, since clearly there was nothing to be learned from the benighted infidels of the outer wilderness.’ Consequently, just ‘a few notes and fragments ... constitute almost the whole of Muslim travel literature of Europe’.85 And so, Lewis argued, change had to come from outside. New historical findings, however, challenge his analysis and show that Indian and Iranian Muslims were, actually, intensely curious about and fascinated by European societies and peoples in the early modern period. Nabil Matar’s work has underlined that Arabic-speaking Muslims were deeply inquisitive about scientific, literary and political developments in ‘bilad al-nasara’ (the lands of the Christians) and, like their European counterparts, wrote ‘detailed and empirically based’ accounts of Europe in the seventeenth century.86

Already beginning to emerge in the 1960s and 1970s, this challenging of the framework of interpretation, which had hitherto shaped both historical analyses and conclusions, and their perceived complicity with Western power in the Muslim world brings me now to reflect on the current state of play. There still remains an influential strand in historical writing, buttressed by those who hold reins of power, which links in with Orientalist paradigms and rationalises Western superiority, tutelage and domination. It insists that the modern West remains at the pinnacle of a new hierarchy of human evolution; that Muslim lands need to follow suit through the enfeeblement of Islam.

Niall Ferguson, for one, offering refurbished Whiggish wisdom, has furnished a historical basis for the current Anglophone liberal imperial project. He has argued that the British Empire was a powerful force of order, justice and development for much of its existence and built much of the modern world; its paternalistic, authoritarian practice of government, through a properly trained and knowledgeable administrative corps competent to dispense fairness and justice, ushered in ‘civilisation’/modernisation, setting the natives on the path to progress. Alternatives to empire would have involved despotism, endemic disorder and economic decay, and would have resulted in dangerous instability.87

In Ferguson’s writing, therefore, we seem to have come full circle - he offers canards once championed by old nineteenth-century imperialists such as Mill and Macaulay. While he agrees with Marx’s deterministic approach to the evolution of human history, he, unlike Marx, is much more positively disposed to British rule and argues that the Empire was forced to make painful decisions in pursuit of ‘liberal’ objectives. Systematically ignoring sources that analyse or present the perspectives of the colonised, there emerges, as Gopal puts it, a ‘poisonous fairytale’ of ‘a benign developmental mission’88 - a pattern that tends to reinforce the prejudices of those whom Ferguson seeks to influence. Highly provocative, Ferguson’s re-telling of the history of the British Empire constructs the lessons that we are to learn from the rise and demise of the British world order. What are they? As part of the building of a similar empire, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the right thing to do. For him, ruthlessness in its prosecution was justified: ‘what happened at Abu Ghraib prison was no worse than the initiatory “hazing” routine in many army camps and even student fraternities’.89

So what conclusions can we draw from all of these developments? Dichotomous notions of the ‘clash of civilisations’,90 ‘the end of history’91 and ‘liberal international interventionism’,92 while still popular and influential in policy-making circles, are now being challenged from both the contemporary and historical perspectives. On the theoretical level, the category of ‘civilisation’, while tangible in geopolitical, cultural and material terms, seems diffuse. In terms of cultures, values or systems of belief, civilisations can be shown to be ever changing and adaptable to new conditions. Hence, unlike conflicts between states, it is difficult to know in what ways they could be construed to ‘clash’. Moreover, it is being increasingly argued that Islamic civilisation, with distinctly recognisable features, like its Roman and Greek counterparts, has disappeared.93 Equally, with the globalisation of modernity, Western civilisation also appears to have lost its specifically European character. This line of argument makes the ‘clash of civilisations’ thesis seem untenable. Historically too, many scholars are coming to reject the portrayal of the relations and interaction between the so-called Muslim world and the West (both contentious terms because of their homogenising, reductionist and essentialist undertones) as simply a story of perpetual opposition and conflict. They have sought to show historically that civilisations have never been hermetically sealed, separate entities - the story of Asia and Europe is replete with uninterrupted mutual exchange.94

More specifically, Christian and Islamic ‘civilisations’ are being shown to have interacted fruitfully and to have borrowed from each other with mutually formative effects. The idea of ‘multiple modernities’ challenges the classical theory of modernisation as a uniquely and specifically European project. So-called ‘oriental globalisation’95 literature, with its longer time-frame, contests this thesis, demonstrating historically that many of the characteristics that have come to be associated with the eighteenth-century British industrial revolution had emerged earlier in China, and that the Middle East was ahead of Europe in this period. Thanks to Jardine and Brotton, among others, we are now much more aware of the highly symbiotic relationship between Muslim and other European cultures and the profound influence of developments in Muslim societies on

the emergence of European Renaissance and Enlightenment thinking - especially the role of the Ottoman Empire in generating mechanisms that lay behind European ‘modernisation’.96 There was, in reality, no monolithic and unitary Europe confronting the Ottoman enemy. Nor was ‘Islam’ unremittingly ranged against the ‘West’.97 Yes, there were conflicts, but there was also trade and the exchange and mingling of ideas, technologies and institutions. An alternative view is now developing, thanks to modern historical research suggesting that those ideas that are associated with modernity - democracy, individualism, freedom - were found in West Asia too;98 and that not all modernity must beat the European path nor follow the European model: Islamist forces, it might be argued, have had a significant modernising effect.99 Equally, it is self-evident that Muslim societies are no less subject to processes of economic, social, ideological and political change than the other, non-Muslim states that have emerged from colonial and Cold War experiences in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

This brings us to the question about how this challenging of the Eurocentric paradigm has emerged. Surely much of the answer lies in the changed context and the changing relations and balance of power in today’s world and the impact of this on the character of the historical knowledge being produced. Shifts in history writing reflect the shift in world politics, as the West is gradually de-centred by multi-centric global processes. Analysis of history writing about the Muslim world in Britain, as I have suggested here, reveals that it has always been produced in complex, diverse and non-monolithic ways. Nor, as Said contended more generally in Orientalism, has it been entirely systematically constructed; there has never been one totalising vision of the West’s Islamic ‘Other’. British historians could certainly write about the Muslim world ‘as often consumed by admiration and reverence as by denigration and depreciation’.100 But as British power expanded, some came to think of Islam and the Muslim world as ontologically different from, and inferior to, the ‘West’; and many such scholars placed their knowledge at the disposal of the Empire. Others, albeit more commonly at the margins, opposed imperialism or wrote more sympathetically about Islamic cultures and societies, though not necessarily deploying a different interpretive frame from mainstream Orientalists.101

Said’s proposition that all knowledge is the product of its age and necessarily contingent has become almost a truism. As such, it is now largely accepted that at least the knowledge that became linked with imperial authority was inevitably distorted by the relationship between the two. As I have tried to show, many of those who produced histories of the Orient did indeed legitimise political ideologies of their time, and some continue to do so now. On the other hand, we have to exercise care when making such judgements - much historical knowledge may not have been reconstructed with such specific purposes, at least consciously, in mind. Yet, individual historians are always products of their pasts as well as their presents. They cannot escape, to quote Bernard Lewis perhaps ironically (since he seems to have excluded himself from his own comment), ‘the prejudices of their culture and age ... Even when writing of the past historians are captive of their own times - in their materials and their methods, their concepts and their concerns.’102 Furthermore, it is widely acknowledged that the construal of what facts should be

deemed as significant and relevant for the specific purpose of producing historical knowledge is made on the basis of the judgement of their value, much of which is derived from an individual’s political, social and cultural interests - and it is these that bring the relationship between power and knowledge into play. What historians choose to emphasise or to play down, and what determines the choice of these ‘shades’ in constructing their narratives, in their interpretations, involves, implicitly or explicitly, some sense of how they see the world.

Said claimed that all representations of one culture by another are inevitably distortions of the ‘Other’. This is because, he argued, all selection in order to construct representations, in some measure, distorts - though some representations or images distort more or less than others.103 But if Said’s argument is valid, then, as Sadik al-‘Azm put it, the Occident in producing representations of the Orient ‘is behaving perfectly naturally and in accordance with the general rule - as stated by Said himself - governing the [inevitably distorting] dynamics of the reception of one culture by another’.104 We seem to be irresolvably trapped in an epistemological dilemma. Presumably then, as British historians, less distortion and greater accuracy is all for which we can strive.

If we accept Said’s point regarding the ‘determining imprint of individual authors’105 on their historical productions, then the influence of diverse attitudes, motives and purposes on different interpretation of historical material and reading of the texts cannot be excluded. That is why, as I have sought to demonstrate, history writing about Islam and the Muslim world was never a unified and universally accepted project among British administrators and scholars, though it would be hard to deny that the dominant discourse dovetailed the colonialist experience; perspectives have shifted in the post-colonial globalising context as relations of power have changed.

The limitations of British historical writing about the Muslim world having been acknowledged, are there any alternatives to the existing paradigms? We have become aware of the dangers and limitations in every approach that we can contemplate. Said’s critique has undoubtedly helped us to become more acutely and self-critically aware of the existence of multiple perspectives and the need to consider them in any historical analysis. The empowered, and much more articulate and confidently vocal, Muslim subaltern has contributed to the shifts in historical thinking and approaches. Moving away from global generalities, due attention is now being given to local and regional social and political dynamics, hierarchies of power and historical contexts. But, all the same, it appears impossible to escape completely the essentialism that continues to inhere even in current historical epistemologies - a cultural essentialism that, for Said, was the hallmark of Orientalism. All, perhaps, that one can do is be aware of the limits of one’s own essentialism and seek to minimise it.

Notes

1 ‘[B]y Orientalism I mean several things, all of them, in my opinion, interdependent.

The most readily accepted designation for Orientalism is an academic one, and indeed the label still serves in a number of academic institutions. Anyone who teaches, writes about, or researches the Orient - and this applies whether the person is an anthropologist, sociologist, historian, or philologist - either in its specific or its general aspects, is an Orientalist, and what he or she says or does is Orientalism ... Orientalism is a style of thought based upon ontological and epistemological distinction made between “the Orient” and (most of the time) “the Occident”. Thus a very large mass of writers, among whom are poets, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists, and imperial administrators, have accepted the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, “mind”, destiny, and so on ... the phenomenon of Orientalism as I study it here deals principally, not with a correspondence between Orientalism and Orient, but with the internal consistency of Orientalism and its ideas about the Orient . despite or beyond any correspondence, or lack thereof, with a “real” Oriental.’ See Edward W. Said, Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Oriental (Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1978: 1995 edition), pp. 2-3, 5.

  • 2 Robert Irwin, For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and their Enemies (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 2007), p. 4.
  • 3 See Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (New York: Anchor, 1967); Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of Human Sciences (London: Tavistock Publications, 1970); Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge (London: Routledge, 1972).
  • 4 As Irwin asserts in For Lust of Knowing (p. 302), ‘there are such things as pure scholars. I have even had tea with a few of them.’
  • 5 Ibid, p. 301. See also Bernard Lewis, ‘The Question of Orientalism’, The New York Review of Books, 29, 11 (24 June 1982), pp. 49-56, and the subsequent exchange between Said, Lewis and Oleg Grabar in ‘Orientalism: An Exchange’, The New York Review of Books, 29, 13 (29 August 1982), https://www.nybooks.com/articles/6517 (accessed 8 April 2010).
  • 6 A.J. Arberry, Oriental Essays: Portraits of Seven Scholars (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1960), pp. 239-242; Arberry’s own career - as Assistant Librarian in the India Office, his work as ‘a propagandist’ during the Second World War, and his involvement in the Report of the Interdepartmental Commission of Inquiry on Oriental, Slavonic East European and African Studies in 1947 - somewhat contradicts his wider claims. Perhaps, it would be more accurate to argue that a dialectical relationship exists between politics and scholarship.
  • 7 See Hannah Arendt, On Revolution (London: Faber & Faber, 1963).
  • 8 Bernard Lewis, Islam and the West (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 85-86.
  • 9 For example, English and Scottish Protestants directed the Bible’s prophetic verses against Muhammad as well as the Pope to validate their own beliefs. Many agreed with Martin Luther that ‘Turks and the Pope do not differ in the form of their religion, unless it be in the rituals’, and considered the latter to be the real Antichrist and hence a greater menace. Overcoming generations, they invoked Luther’s prayer for Jesus Christ’s return to ‘smite both Turk and pope to the earth’. See Nabil Matar, Islam in Britain 1558-1685 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 153-154. See also Thomas Burman, Reading the Qur’an in Latin Christendom (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009). Even when Islam was praised, its purpose was to make fellow Christians aware of their own shortcomings - the success of Islam as God’s punishment for Christian failings.
  • 10 For more details about the influence of ‘the father of Arabic studies in England’, see Alistair Hamilton, William Bedwell, the Arabist 1563-1732 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1985), p. 1. For Bedwell’s pioneering contribution to the study of Arabic and Islam, see, G.J. Toomer, Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth- Century England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), pp. 57-63.
  • 11 See Toomer, Eastern Wisedome and Learning. This study offers a rigorous and persuasive analysis of the factors, including the influence of trade with the Ottoman

Empire and mistrust of Islam, that first resulted in the ‘boom’ in the study of Arabic during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and then in its rapid decline from the end of the seventeenth century. Bedwell too called attention to the prime importance of Arabic as ‘a tonge which was the only language of religion and the chief language of diplomacy and business and from the Fortunate Islands to the China Seas’; see Arberry, Oriental Essays, p. 12. In the 1620s and 1630s there was a growing recognition that much useful scientific knowledge, contained in Arabic manuscripts, remained worthy of scrutiny. Laud was part of this thinking. He used his influence with King Charles I to advance the collection of such manuscripts. In 1634 he obtained a royal letter to the Levant Company requiring that each of its ships returning from the East should bring one Persian or Arabic manuscript back, see A.F.L. Beeston, The Oriental Manuscript Collections of the Bodleian Library, 1 (reprinted from the Bodleian Library Record, vol. 2, 1954).

  • 12 Religion provided much of the impetus for the study of Arabic in England in this period, primarily as a tool for achieving a deeper understanding of the biblical text, as well as engaging in religious debates with the Muslims in the Middle East. There emerged a desperate desire among the English scholars to establish the Truth about the Bible. David A. Pailin’s chapter, ‘The treatment of Islam’, in his Attitudes to Other Religions: Comparative Religion in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Britain (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984, p. 104), concludes, ‘With a few exceptions, Islam is examined in order to show that it is inferior to Christianity and offers no plausible threat to the various proofs of the truth of the Christian revelation.’ See also Shereen Khairallah, ‘Arabic Studies in England in the Late Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries’, unpublished PhD thesis, London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 1972.
  • 13 Sir Thomas Adams became increasingly influential in public affairs and provided considerable patronage. He was elected the Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1643 and a Member of Parliament in the 1650s. He paid for the printing of the Gospels in Persian, and for sending them into the east. See Toomer, Eastern Wisedome and Learning, p. 91.
  • 14 Protestants and Catholics likened each other to Muslims for deviating from and perverting the true faith and used Islam against Christian sects such as the Socinians, Unitarians and Deists. For example Henry Oldenburg (1619-1677), troubled by ‘heretical’ texts circulating in England, ‘saw that it was essential to defend the divinity of Scripture’ and ‘to justify the New Testament ... as genuine, unaltered, and altogether free from additions and diminutions’. Oldenburg was deeply concerned to defend Scripture against his opponents in England who were deploying the charges of corruption and other Islamic objections in their polemics against Trinitarian Christianity. See Justin A.I. Champion, ‘Legislators, Imposters and the Politic Origins of Religion: English Theories of “Imposture” from Stubbe to Toland’, in Silvia Berti, Franjoise Charles-Dubert and Richard H. Popkin (eds), Heterodoxy, Spinozism and Free Thought in Early Eighteenth-Century Europe (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996), p. 14 (electronic copy also available at hhttp://digirep.rhul.ac.uk/ file/3421c5d2-70b7-71fb-2ee3-9aff1dH494c/4/Champion_TRAITE2.pdf).
  • 15 See J.R. Hale (ed.), The Evolution of British Historiography: From Bacon to Namier (Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1964), p. 9. ‘[N]ot only are events related, but their causes and effects explained; the characters of the actors are displayed; the manners of the age described .’, ibid., p. 28.
  • 16 See Jonathan I. Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
  • 17 Edward Pococke (1604-1691) was chaplain for the Levant Co. at Aleppo between 1630 and 1636, during which period he became interested in Arab society. His Specimen Historae Arabum offers a defence of kingly government. Through the study of Arabic authors themselves, he wanted to find out what Muslims really believed: a knowledge of Arabic, he thought, ‘would enable Christians to refute genuine Muslim errors .’ and, hopefully, bring about their conversion, see P.M. Holt, Studies in the History of the Near East (London: Frank Cass, 1973), pp. 17, 21. See also P.M. Holt, ‘The Study of Arabic Historians in Seventeenth-Century England: The Background and Work of Edward Pococke’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental andAfrican Studies, 19, 3 (1957), pp. 444-455. According to Toomer, Pococke had indeed ‘envisioned the possibility of converting Muslims’ (Eastern Wisedome and Learning, pp. 216-217), but while ‘his attitude towards Muhammad is clearly one of dislike - he regularly uses the title ‘false prophet’ and he charges him with ‘libidousness’ and of ‘laying the bloody foundations of his religion and his empire at the same time’ (ibid., pp. 223-224) - Pococke refrains from hurling the usual abuses. Indeed, he is credited with having shown a high regard for Arabic as a language - its clarity, elegance and richness - and celebrating Arab contributions to philosophy and the sciences.
  • 18 Paul Rycaut, The Present State of the Ottoman Empire (London: John Starkey and Henry Brome, 1668: reprint, Westmead: Gregg International Publishers, 1972).
  • 19 This is the subtitle of Prideaux’s Life of Mahomet. He intended his text not only as a polemic against Islam but also as a warning that the advance of the Socinian, the Deist and the Quaker ‘may ... raise up some Mahomet against us for our utter Confusion’, see Holt, Studies in the History of the Near East, p. 51.
  • 20 While, thanks to sponsorship by Muslim subscribers to the Islamic Society, including Hafiz Mahmud Khan Shairani, Stubbe’s text, entitled An Account of the Rise and Progress of Mahometanism - with the Life of Mahomet (subtitled, ‘And a vindication of him and his religion from the calumnies of the Christians’) (London: Luzac & Co.), was eventually published in 1911; a number of copies of the manuscript had already been in circulation at the end of the 1670s.
  • 21 Stubbe, Mahometanism, p. 141.
  • 22 See, P.M. Holt, A Seventeenth-Century Defender of Islam: Henry Stubbe (1632-76) and His Book (London: Dr. Williams’s Trust, 1972), p. 22.
  • 23 Shairani ‘recognized the work [Mahometanism] as constituting one of the earliest appreciations of Islam we have in English, remarkable for its lack of Christian bias and its intuitive and sympathetic grasp of Muslim faith and practice’. See James R. Jacob, Henry Stubbe, Radical Protestantism and the Early Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 64.
  • 24 Simon Ockley, The History of the Saracens, 6th edn (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1857), p. xvi.
  • 25 Ibid., p. 79.
  • 26 Ibid, p. xvi.
  • 27 Ockley writes, ‘The Arabians ... since the time of Mahomet have rendered themselves universally remarkable, both by arms and learning,’ ibid. As a ‘modern’ historian, Ockley says: ‘I have let them tell their own story: and I have abstained as much as possible from intermixing reflections of my own, unless where they have appeared a necessity of illustrating something that might not be obvious to persons unacquainted with oriental affairs.’ See Arberry, Oriental Essays, p. 45. All the same, Ockley continued in the main to follow Prideaux’s line and kept nonconformists and deviant Christians at arm’s length. And, in his History, he clearly intended to expose and counter ‘a great many Errors’ - ‘the Whimsies and Conceits of the Arab Enthusiasts . or even that plentiful crop which the Devil has sow’d of them in our times’, ibid., p. 24.
  • 28 George Sale, The Koran, commonly called the Alcoran of Mohammed, vol. I (London: printed for L. Hawes, W. Clarke, and R. Collins; and T. Wilcox, 1764), p. 47. When Sale opined that the Qur’an was a forgery and that it was absolutely necessary to expose Muhammad’s imposture, he, like Prideaux, was parroting the mediaeval church historians. However, Sale’s position was a little more complex and nuanced. For instance, he disagreed with Prideaux’s uncompromising position that Muhammad ‘made that nation [the Arabs] exchange their idolatry for another religion altogether as bad’, ibid., p. 51.
  • 29 Even in the late eighteenth century, by which time the EIC had become the dominant power in many parts of India, Dalrymple tells us that, in contrast to the later policy of social distance and separation from the so-called ‘natives’, the British in India, including the elite, such as Kirkpatrick, Palmer and Ochterlony, were happy to mingle with Indians - they delighted in Indian cultures and ways of living, loved and married Indian women, adopted modes of Indian dress and spoke Indian languages. See William Dalrymple, White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India (London: Harper Collins Publishers, 2003), pp. xlvi-xlix.
  • 30 See W. Robertson, An Historical Disquisition concerning the Knowledge which the Ancient had of India (London: printed for A. Strahan [and 2 others], 1791).
  • 31 The thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, while sharing the humanist and rationalist outlook of the European Enlightenment, asserted the ability of man to effect changes for the better in society and nature, guided only by reason. They were distinguishable in their emphasis on the empiricist approach. See Arthur Herman, The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots’ Invention of the Modern World (London: Fourth Estate Limited, 2003). The development approach to history, associated with the Scottish Enlightenment, offered a unique and profoundly influential eighteenth-century narrative known as the four-stage thesis. In the works of Smith, Hume and Robertson, from the 1750s to 1790s, it concluded that the human record was one of material and moral improvement, of cultural development from ‘savagery’ and ‘barbarism’ to ‘civilisation’, and that their society stood at the pinnacle of achievement. Savages did not have the capacity for self-government, while serfs, slaves and peasants, on the other hand, might be so schooled in obedience that their capacity for rationality would be stifled. Only in commercial society were the material and cultural conditions ideal for individuals to realise and exercise their potential. The consequence of this logic was that civilised societies like Britain were acting in the interest of less-developed peoples by governing them. Colonialism, from this perspective, was not primarily a form of political domination and economic exploitation but rather a paternalistic practice of government that exported ‘civilisation’ (later modernisation) in order to foster improvement in native peoples. Despotic government (James Mill does not hesitate to use this term) was a means to the end of improvement and, ultimately, self-government.
  • 32 Alexander Dow, History of Hindostan (London: T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, 1772), p. 382.
  • 33 See, J.G.A. Pocock, Barbarism and Religion, The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, 1737-1764, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).
  • 34 Assessing Muhammad, Gibbon asked whether he was an enthusiast or impostor; in Gibbon’s view, Muhammad was ‘compelled ... to comply in some measure with the prejudices and vices of his followers and employed even the vices of mankind as instruments of salvation’. While the ‘use of fraud and perfidy were subservient to the propagation of faith . the character of Mahomet must have gradually been stained ... and the influence of such pernicious habits [assassination] would be poorly compensated by the practice of personal and social virtues ... Of his last years, ambition was the ruling passion; and a politician will suspect, that he secretly smiled (a victorious imposter!)’. See Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (London: T. Cadell, 1837), p. 883.
  • 35 ‘Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet . From such calamities was Christendom delivered by the genius and fortune of one man [Charles Martel, 732 A.D.]’, see Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. V, chapter 52 (London: Methuen & Co., 1896), p. 15.
  • 36 Lord Teignmouth (ed.), The Works of Sir William Jones, vol. I (London: John Stockdale, 1807), p. 19.
  • 37 Teignmouth (ed.), The Works of Sir William Jones, vol. III, p. 216. Montesquieu (1689-1755) developed the concept of despotism in his The Spirit of the Law (1748) as the rule of a single person subject to no restraint, constitutional or moral. During the nineteenth century the concept of ‘Oriental despotism’ became a powerful idea for explaining the supposed backwardness of ‘Oriental’ societies and as a justification for colonial systems. According to this scheme, British rule was the agent of economic modernisation - and thus colonialism, unwittingly, became a progressive force. See Z. Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 45-48, 83-85.
  • 38 Teignmouth (ed.), The Works of Sir William Jones, vol. II, p. 133.
  • 39 Cited in Javed Majeed, Ungoverned Imaginings: James Mill’s The History of British India and Orientalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 19.
  • 40 S.N. Mukherjee, Sir William Jones: A Study in Eighteenth Century British Attitudes to India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968), p. 125.
  • 41 Jones, ‘To Arthur Lee’, 1 October, 1786, letter 443 of William Jones, The Letters of William Jones, vol. II (Oxford: Clarendon, 1970), pp. 712-713. Also see John Shore Teignmouth (ed.), Memoirs of the Life, Writings and Correspondence of Sir William Jones (London: J. Hatchard, 1806), p. 236.
  • 42 Majeed, Ungoverned Imaginings, p. 8.
  • 43 Ibid., p.22.
  • 44 Arberry, Oriental Essays, p. 58.
  • 45 John Malcolm, in his The history of Persia, from the most early period to the present time (London: John Murray, 1815), wrote: ‘the prosecution of my public duties first led me to feel the want of a history of Persia’. See M.E. Yapp, ‘Two British Historians of Persia’, in Bernard Lewis and P.M. Holt (eds), Historians of the Middle East (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962), p. 343.
  • 46 Malcolm’s study of the Persians led him to conclude that they were a barbarian and uncivilised people who did not know the value of liberty and who preferred peace and security under a strong despot. To him, the worst symptom of Persian decay was the debased morality of the people; ‘the Persians are ignorant, deceitful, and capricious, and above all they were vain’. The reason for their lack of progress was Islam: ‘a religion adverse to all improvement’. ‘What’, Malcolm asked, ‘but Barbarians could be the result of such a doctrine?’ That is why ‘there is no example of a Mahommedan nation having attained a high rank in the scale of civilisation’, and hence the need for the British to intervene and forcibly civilise them. See Yapp, ‘Two British Historians’, p. 349. Mountstuart Elphinstone, who was in the service of the EIC from his appointment in 1795 until his retirement as Governor of Bombay in 1827, wrote his History of India, published in 1841, in a period when British power was expanding. Like Malcolm, he too presumed that human nature differed in different parts of the world. Europeans and Christianity, in his view, were superior to other peoples and creeds. With regard to Islam, while he considered Muhammad to be a ‘reformer’ and his morality, ‘however [it] may appear to modern Christians’, pure when compared with contemporary practices in Arabia, he nevertheless remained a ‘false’ prophet and ‘among the worst enemies of mankind ... he encouraged intolerance, fanaticism and violence’. See Mountstuart Elphinstone, The History of India, vol. I (London: John Murray, 1841), pp. 492-494. In one Indian historian’s estimate, Elphinstone maintained an ‘unconcealed contempt for all Islamic institutions in general and the Prophet of Islam in particular’. See Abdur Rashid, ‘The Treatment of History by Muslim Historians in Mughal Official and Biographical Works’, in C.H. Philips (ed.), Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 140.
  • 47 The Philanthropist (1814) Vol. IV, p. 117 (James Mill’s review of William Gilpin’s The Lives of Reformers) - cited by J.S. Grewal, Muslim Rule in India (Calcutta: Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 71.
  • 48 Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) was a Whig politician and, in many eyes, ‘the pre-eminent’ nineteenth-century English historian. For him the British Empire was a rational, progressive and benevolent force; its purpose was to bring out ‘a great people sunk in the lowest depth of slavery and superstition’ and make them desirous and capable of all the privileges of citizens’. Quoted in Ronald Hyam, Britain’s Imperial Century, 1815-1914: A Study of Empire and Expansion (London: Macmillan, 1976), p. 220.
  • 49 In his famous Minute of 2 February 1835, Macaulay claimed, ‘I have never found one among them [“orientalists”] who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia.’ See http://www. columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00generallinks/macaulay/txt_minute_educa- tion_1835.html (accessed 8 April 2010).
  • 50 See Leila Ahmed, Edward W. Lane, A Study of his life and works and of the British ideas of the Middle East in the Nineteenth Century (Harlow: Longman, 1978), p. 95.
  • 51 Edward William Lane, An Account of the Manner and Customs of the modern Egyptians, 5th edn (London: John Murray, 1860). See also Jason Thompson, ‘Edward William Lane’, Egypt, Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, 34 (1997), pp. 243-261. It has been suggested that his association with a group of British Egyptologists and orientalists, who had collected in Egypt in the 1820s, may have resulted in the reinforcement of some of his ‘cultural preconceptions, if only unconsciously’, ibid., p. 255.
  • 52 One area of Egyptian society, however, about which Lane could not write accurately, because of lack of access to the harem, was the female and domestic sphere. His perceptions and accounts, based mainly on conversations with Egyptian men, of inter-sexual relations, Egyptian women’s sexuality and behaviour - their ‘immodest freedom of conversation’, their ‘coarse’ language, their licentiousness - were heavily shaped by his regard for and unquestioned acceptance of Victorian propriety. See Lane, Account, pp. 295-296. Later he was helped by his sister, Sophia Poole, who accompanied him on his third trip to Egypt, in correcting the erroneous and adding to the deficient information in his earlier account. See Sophia Poole, The Englishwoman in Egypt: Letters from Cairo Written during a Residence there in 1842-1846, edited by Azza Kararah (Cairo: The American University in Cairo, 2003). See also Sahar Sobhi Abdel-Hakim, ‘Sophia Poole: Writing the Self, Scribing Egyptian Women’, Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, 22, (2002), pp. 107-126.
  • 53 While Charles Foster (1787-1871), for instance, accepted the traditional Christian formulations of Islam, he also affirmed Muhammad’s spiritual sincerity. Sir William Muir’s (1819-1905) view of Islam as an enemy of ‘Civilisation, Liberty and Truth’ contrasted with Reginald Bosworth Smith’s (1839-1908) rejection of Muhammad’s imposture and acceptance of his prophethood. See Clinton Bennett, Victorian Images of Islam (London: Grey Seal Books, 1992). See also Philip C. Almond, Heretic and Hero: Muhammad and the Victorians (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1989).
  • 54 W. Montgomery Watt, ‘Carlyle and Muhammad’, Hibbert Journal, vol. 53 (195455), p. 247. Carlyle quotes Goethe (1749-1832), not entirely accurately, in his positive assessment of Islam: ‘If this be Islam, do we not all live in Islam.’ See Thomas Carlyle, ‘The Hero as Prophet’, in his On Heroes, Hero Worship, and the Heroic in History (London: Chapman & Hall, 1872), p. 52.
  • 55 Carlyle, ‘The Hero as Prophet’, pp. 52-53.
  • 56 See ‘Sir William Muir, 1819-1905’ in Bennett, Victorian Images of Islam, pp. 103-127. For Muir, ‘the sword of Mahomet, and the Coran are the most fatal enemies of Civilisation, Liberty and the Truth which the world has yet known’. See W. Muir, Life of Mahomet, vol. 4 (London: Smith, Elder, 1861), p. 322. Muir believed that Britain’s position in India carried special responsibilities - the ‘enlightenment of the people of India depended on her’ not neglecting her ‘noble vocation’ - and he saw his national mission to educate to enlighten to civilize the ‘savage’ natives.
  • 57 See H.M. Elliot and John Dowson, The History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 vols (London: Trubner Company, 1867-1877); Grewal, Muslim Rule in India, pp. 170-171. See also S.H. Hodivala, Studies in Indo-Muslim History: Critical Commentary on Elliot and Dowson’s History of India as told by its own Historians, 2 vols (Bombay: unknown publishers, 1939-57), in which an enormous number of factual errors as well as flaws associated with reading and interpretation were identified.
  • 58 Henry Maine, Ancient Law: Its Connection with the Early History of Society, and Its Relations to Modern Ideas (London; John Murray, 1861), Chapter 4.
  • 59 Francis Henry Bennett Skrine, Life of Sir William Wilson Hunter, K.C.S.I. (London: Longmans & Co., 1901), pp. 468-469.
  • 60 J.R. Seeley, The Expansion of England: Two Courses of Lectures (London: Macmillan, 1883). Edited and with an introduction by John Gross (London: University of Chicago Press, 1971).
  • 61 Ibid., p. 141.
  • 62 Rudyard Kipling appositely captures the sentiment in his 1899 poem, ‘The White Man’s Burden’.
  • 63 Alfred Milner, England in Egypt (London: Edward Arnold, 1893); George N. Curzon, Problems of the Far East (London: Longmans, Green, 1894); Hugh Egerton, A Short History of British Colonial Policy (London: Methuen & Co., 1897); Earl of Cromer, Modern Egypt, 2 vols (London: Macmillan & Co., 1908).
  • 64 For a critique of the Empire, see J.A. Hobson, Imperialism: A Study (London: James Nisbett & Co., 1902). Another example of those dissenting from the virtues and benevolence of the British imperial mission was Lytton Strachey, Eminent Victorians (London: Chatto & Windus, 1918). See also A.J.P. Taylor, The Trouble Makers: Dissent over Foreign Policy, 1792-1939 (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1957).
  • 65 David Samuel Margoliouth (1895-1940) was Laudian Professor at Oxford until 1937, an ordained Anglican cleric and self-taught in Arabic. While Margoliouth had many good things to say about Muhammad and Islam, he considered Muhammad and his Muslim followers to be ultimately deeply flawed in several respects. See David Samuel Margoliouth, Mohammed and the Rise of Islam (London: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905).
  • 66 In India, Arnold joined a local group of Muslim reformers who sought to bring together scientific thought with Qur’anic beliefs. Returning to London in 1904, he taught Arabic at University College London and was appointed to a chair at the School of Oriental Studies in 1921. Katherine Watt, ‘Thomas Walker Arnold and the Re-Evaluation of Islam, 1864-1930’, Modern Asian Studies, 36, 1 (February 2002), pp. 1-98.
  • 67 T.W. Arnold, The Islamic Faith (London: Benn, 1928), p. 77.
  • 68 M.A. Stein, ‘Thomas Walker Arnold’, Proceedings of the British Academy, XVI (1930), pp. 439-474.
  • 69 ‘Edward Granville Brown and the Persian “Awakening”’, in Geoffrey Nash, From Empire to Orient: Travellers to the Middle East, 1830-1926 (London: I.B. Tauris, 2005), pp. 139-168.
  • 70 Cromer, Modern Egypt, p. 28. See also Jennifer Kernaghan, ‘Lord Cromer as Orientalist and Social Engineer in Egypt, 1882-1907’, unpublished MA thesis, University of British Columbia, 1993.
  • 71 V.A. Smith, The Oxford History of India (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1919), p. 182.
  • 72 Margery Perham (1895-1982), an Oxford University historian, in collaboration with the sometime Governor of Nigeria, Sir Frederick (Lord) Lugard (1858-1945), elaborated the theory of ‘Indirect Rule’ as a rationale for Britain’s imperial mission in a more paternalistic mode. See Perham’s Colonial Sequence, 1930-1949: A Chronological Commentary upon British Colonial Policy especially in Africa (London: Methuen & Co., 1967).
  • 73 While this approach had considerable ethical and patriotic popular appeal, radical writers such as Leonard Woolf in Imperialism and Civilization (London: L. & V. Woolf, 1936), and Leonard Barnes, in The Duty of Empire (London: Victor Gollancz, 1935), mounted robust and trenchant critiques.
  • 74 According to Norman Daniel, the ‘new ideas of the Islamic world ... took shape in Western Europe during the period of colonial expansion. New images came to be reflected in the old distorting mirror. The inhabitants of modern Europe inherited from their medieval fathers a large and persistent body of ideas about Islam’. See

Norman Daniel, Islam, Europe and Empire (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1966), p. xiii. This book examines the images of the Muslim world in Europe in the modern period. For an example of the reliance on medieval and early modern knowledge of Muhammad and Islam, see the writings of David Samuel Margoliouth (mentioned above).

  • 75 See H.A.R. Gibb, Modern Trends in Islam (first edition Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1947: reprinted, New York: Octagon Books, 1975), pp. 5-7, 106-110.
  • 76 Irwin, For Lust of Knowing, p. 242.
  • 77 See Sir Hamilton Gibb and Harold Bowen, Islamic Society and the West: A Study of the Impact of Western Civilization on Moslem Culture in the Near East (London: Oxford University Press, 1950).
  • 78 Roger Owen, ‘The Middle East in the Eighteenth Century - An “Islamic” Society in Decline? A Critique of Gibb and Bowen’s Islamic Society and the West’, Review of Middle East Studies, 1 (1975), pp. 113-134.
  • 79 Caroline Finkel, ‘“The Treacherous Cleverness of Hindsight”: Myths of Ottoman Decay’, in Gerald Maclean (ed.), Re-Orienting the Renaissance: Cultural Exchanges with the East (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 148-174.
  • 80 Bernard Lewis, ‘Communism and Islam’, International Affairs 30, 1 (1954), pp. 1-12.
  • 81 Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 132.
  • 82 Bernard Lewis, ‘The Roots of Muslim Rage’, Atlantic Monthly, September 1990, http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/199009/muslim-rage (accessed 8 April 2010).
  • 83 For a succinct critique of the historical evolution of the ‘Modernisation theory’, see Lockman, Contending Visions, pp. 133-143. Indeed, a number of scholars have demolished the thesis of the hegemonic centrality of Western modernity. S.N. Eisenstadt, for instance, has argued for ‘the idea of multiple modernities’. In his view, ‘the best way to understand the contemporary world ... is to see it as a story of continual constitution and reconstitution of a multiplicity of cultural programs’, see ‘Multiple Modernities’, Daedalus, 129, 1 (Winter 2000), pp. 1-29. Roxanne L. Euben suggests that ‘Islamic fundamentalist political thought is part of a transcultural and multivocal reassessment of the value and definition of “modernity”’, see ‘Premodern, Antimodern or Postmodern? Islamic and Western Critiques of Modernity’, The Review of Politics, 59, 3 (Summer 1997), pp. 429-459. Francis Robinson more specifically identifies the ‘modernising processes’ - attacks on the authority of the past; the individual as the key agent on earth (human will); the accompanying transformations of the self - in ‘Islamic Reform and Modernities in South Asia’, Modern Asian Studies, 42, 2/3 (2008), pp. 259-281. In this sense, Islamic reform could, arguably, be seen as a modernising force within many Muslim societies, just as other ‘modernities’ operate within non-Muslim ones.
  • 84 Bernard Lewis, in 1954, used the notion of Oriental despotism (Karl Wittfogel’s ‘hydraulic society’) to explain the authoritarian and arbitrary character of Islamic social order: see Lewis, ‘Communism and Islam’, p. 9. See also Karl A. Wittfogel, Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957) for a detailed elaboration of his thesis.
  • 85 Bernard Lewis, From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East (London: Phoenix, 2004), pp. 210, 132; Bernard Lewis, The Muslim Discovery of Europe (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1982), pp. 296-297; Bernard Lewis, ‘The Muslim Discovery of Europe’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 20, 1/3, Studies in Honour of Sir Ralph Turner, Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1937-57 (1957), pp. 409-416.
  • 86 Nabil Matar (ed.), In the Lands of the Christians: Arabic Travel Writing in the Seventeenth Century (London: Routledge, 2003), p. xxii. See also Nabil Matar, ‘Arab Views of Europeans, 1758-1727: The Western Mediterranean’, in Gerald Maclean (ed.), Re-Orienting the Renaissance: Cultural Exchanges with the East (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 126-147.
  • 87 Niall Ferguson, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (New York: Basic Books, 2003).
  • 88 Priyamvada Gopal, ‘The Story Peddled by Imperial Apologists Is a Poisonous Fairytale’, Guardian (London), 28 June 2006. See also Niall Ferguson, ‘America: An Empire in Denial’, The Chronicle Review, 49, 29 (28 March 2003); Vivek Chibber, ‘The Good Empire: Should We Pick Up Where the British Left Off?’, The Boston Review, February/March 2005; John S. Saul, ‘“Humanitarian Imperialism”: Ferguson, Ignatieff and the Political Science of Good Empire’, paper given on 5 February 2006 at York University, Toronto, http://www.marxsite. com/Humanitarian%20Imperialism.htm (accessed 8 April 2010); Amartya Sen, ‘Imperial Illusions, India, Britain, and the Wrong Lessons’, The New Republic, 31 December 2007.
  • 89 Stephen Howe, ‘An Oxford Scot at King Dubya’s court: Niall Ferguson’s “Colossus”’ (22 July 2004) http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-americanpower/artide_2021. jsp (accessed 8 April 2010).
  • 90 Samuel P Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998).
  • 91 Fukuyama argues that - with the end of the Cold War - we have arrived at ‘the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government’, see Francis Fukuyama, ‘End of History?’, The National Interest, Summer 1989, http://www.wesjones.com/eoh.htm (accessed 8 April 2010). He elaborates his thesis further in his later book The End of History and the Last Man (London: Hamilton, 1992).
  • 92 Jonathan Powell, ‘Why the West Must not Fear to Intervene’, Observer, 18 November 2007, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/nov/18/comment.foreign- policy (accessed 8 April 2010); David Miliband, ‘The Democratic Imperative’, Aung San Suu Kyi Lecture, St Hugh’s College, Oxford, 12 February 2008, http://www. davidmiliband.info/speeches/speeches_08_02.htm (accessed 8 April 2010).
  • 93 ‘After all, civilizations and cultures do not enter into dialogue, nor do they go to war, and might not legitimately be understood anthropomorphically. What go to war are states, armies and social movements’, see Aziz al-Azmeh, ‘Human Rights and Contemporaneity of Islam: a Matter of Dialogue’, http://www.alati.com.br/pdf/2007/ the_universal_of_human_rights/pdf220.pdf (accessed 8 April 2010).
  • 94 Gerard Delanty, ‘Civilizational Constellations and European Modernity Reconsidered’, in G. Delanty (ed.), Europe and Asia beyond East and West (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 45-60.
  • 95 See Jan Nederveen Pieterse, ‘Oriental Globalization: Past and Present’, in G. Delanty (ed.), Europe and Asia beyond East and West (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 61-73, and John M. Hobson, ‘Revealing the Cosmopolitan Side of Oriental Europe: The Eastern Origins of European Civilization’, in G. Delanty (ed.), Europe and Asia beyond East and West (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 107-119.
  • 96 Jerry Brotton, The Renaissance Bazaar: From the Silk Road to Michelangelo (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002); Lisa Jardine, Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance (London & Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997); L. Jardine and J. Brotton, Global Interests: Renaissance Art between East and West (London: Reaktion Books, 2000); Jack Goody, Renaissances: The One or the Many? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
  • 97 See Brotton, The Renaissance Bazaar, and Lockman, Contending Visions.
  • 98 Jack Goody, ‘Europe and Islam’, in G. Delanty (ed.), Europe and Asia beyond East and West (London: Routledge, 2006), p. 139.
  • 99 B.O. Utvik, ‘The Modernizing Force of Islamism’, in J.L. Esposito and F. Burgat (eds), Modernizing Islam: Religion in the Public Sphere in the Middle East and Europe (London: Hurst, 2003), pp. 43-68.
  • 100 John M. Mackenzie, Orientalism: History, Theory and the Arts (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995), p. 215.
  • 101 For example, David Urquhart (1805-1877), W.S. Blunt (1840-1922), E.G. Browne (1862-1926), TW. Arnold (1864-1930) and Marmaduke Pickthall (1875-1936) all viewed Muslim cultures positively, and argued for their integrity and autonomy. However, in their scheme, British patronage to a greater or lesser degree needed to be deployed in order to reform the Muslim societies with which they engaged. See Nash, From Empire to Orient.
  • 102 Bernard Lewis, Islam in History: Ideas, Men and Events in the Middle East (London: Alcove Press, 1973), p. 14.
  • 103 ‘[C]ultures have always been inclined to impose complete transformations on other cultures, receiving these other cultures not as they are but as, for the benefit of the receiver, they ought to be’: Said, Orientalism, p. 67. ‘Representations are formations, or as Roland Barthes has said of all operations of language, they are deformations ... The Orient as a representation in Europe is formed - or deformed ...’, ibid., pp. 272-273.
  • 104 Sadik Jalal al-Azm, ‘Orientalism and Orientalism in Reverse’, in A.L. Macfie, Orientalism: A Reader (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), p. 222.
  • 105 Said, Orientalism, p. 23.

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