Bernard Lewis and Orientalist Tradition

Bernard Lewis, one of the leading and well-known orientalists, has very much contributed to the historiography of modern Turkish political thought, especially after his classical book Emergence of Modern Turkey was published in 1961. In this article, on the one hand, I briefly seek to examine the intellectual biography of Bernard Lewis, in line with his political affiliations; on the other hand, I attempt to review the Emergence of Modern Turkey especially in terms of its political implications. I claim that Lewis, as an academician and thinker, sometimes as an official state agent, serves for the British and American political desires and assists their project for the Middle East respectively and together. In regard to the Emergence of Modern Turkey, I argue that this book was written in the modernization paradigm, which is very much attractive in a number of ways in the Western academic circles in those times, according to which modernization process strongly requires the dissolution of the tradition and the strict separation of religion from the public sphere. The article consists of two sections; the first section provides a general discussion about the Bernard Lewis's intellectual development and works, whereas the second section contains the criticism of the Emergence of Modern Turkey.


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