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R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Visiting Scholar

Michael Cook
(Professor of Near Eastern Studies Princeton University)

Was the Rise of Islam a Black Swan Event?
Monday, May 2, 2016, 5:00pm
IHC McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020


A Black Swan Event is by definition a highly improbable happening with a massive impact.  No one questions the impact of the rise of Islam, but just how improbable was it?  Two of its central features look very unlikely against the background of earlier history: the appearance among the Arabs of a new monotheistic religion, and the formation of a powerful state in Arabia.  Does that add up to two Black Swans, or do they cancel out?

Michael Cook is the Class of 1943 University Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He is the author of Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought and A Brief History of the Human Race, among other books, and he is also the general editor of The New Cambridge History of Islam.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Lecture Series


The Muslim American Life:
Crushing Islamophobia with Countercultures of Resistance

Moustafa Bayoumi (Brooklyn College)


Thursday, May 5th at 6:00 PM
MCC Theatre

How should we understand the nature of contemporary Islamophobia? What motivates it? What sustains it? Who gains by it? Moustafa Bayoumi—author of the award-winning books How Does It Feel To Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America and This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror—discusses “War on Terror culture” as way to comprehend today’s Islamophobia. He will examine the ways the media, law, and politics mutually reinforce each other in viewing Muslims as potentially dangerous outsiders. Bayoumi will also address a growing “War on Terror counterculture,” that, by resisting the stereotypes and challenging the prevailing narratives of the “War on Terror,” fights not only for the rights of Muslim Americans but for the civil liberties of all.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies





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