The British Academy Lecture, delivered by by Professor Michael Cook FBA, on 26 February 2013 (venue: The Royal Society).
There is nothing exceptional about religion playing a role in politics, but among the major religions of the world today none plays a more salient role than Islam. Particularly conspicuous is the contribution of trends of thought that we loosely refer to as 'Islamic Fundamentalism'. What is it about the combination of the Islamic heritage and the state of the contemporary world that makes Islamic Fundamentalism so attractive and Islam so politically salient?
About the speaker:
Michael Cook is Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He studied at the University of Cambridge and SOAS, University of London until he moved to Princeton in 1986. His published work is mainly concerned with the formation and development of Islamic civilisation, including the role played by religious values in that process. He has also studied in great detail a particular Islamic value across history: the duty of every Muslim to tell people off for violating God's law (al-amr bi`l-ma'ruf).
His publications include The Koran (in the OUP 'Very Short Introduction' series, 2000), Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought (Cambridge, 2000), and Forbidding Wrong in Islam: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2003).