A Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative public lecture by Monica M. Ringer, Visiting Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago and Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History at Amherst College French religious studies scholar Ernest Renan's famous lecture given at the Sorbonne in 1883, "Islam and Science," caused enormous consternation in Muslim intellectual circles, and launched a series of refutations. In many ways, the debates surrounding Renan's argument prefigured the "Clash of Civilizations" debate engendered by Samuel Huntington's infamous article published in 1993. In this talk, Professor Ringer examines one of the least well-known of the refutations, written by the Imam of the St. Petersburg mosque, Ataollah Bayezidof. Despite many shared premises, the two scholars' central disagreement surrounds the nature of Islamic exceptionalism.
Recorded in Swift Hall’s Common Room on January 17, 2014.