Saturday, April 23, 2005

Crisis of Islamic Studies in US and of US - Arab View
Alas, the list of writers who have had the astuteness to enlarge for their fellow Americans the compass of intellectual awareness of what the Islamic, including the Arab, world is all about — who have introduced a new or novel focus to the study of the Middle East — is very small.

Fine, that is now off my chest. But what of the unutterable monotony of the debate by Arab critics about the Euro-American world? We complain, often bitterly, as I have just done, about how little Westerners know about our societies. But in the end, I have to say this: Despite their at times inescapable sense of triviality and dissimulation, American commentators, analysts and academics still know more about the Arab world than their counterparts there know about the United States.

How many think-tanks are there in the Arab world that devotes themselves to the study of the American world? How many Arab universities are there with American Studies departments? How many Arab researchers have written about the United States — its foreign policy, its social life, its popular culture, its history, its political system — with penetrative grasp, with resolute objectivity, a genuine focus on facts untainted by conspiracy theories and the rhetoric of the 1950s and 60s about darn American imperialists lurking behind every single one of our lampposts?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well... for what it's worth, the American University of Sharjah is hiring its first U.S. historian this fall. :)

6:40 PM  

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