Cornell University

CMSP: “Imagined, Contested, and Forgotten Wests and Worlds: Medieval Challenges to Modern Stereotypes about the Western and Muslim Worlds”

Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Morrill Hall, 404
Cornell University Dept, 159 Central Avenue, Morrill Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-4701, USA

Fabio López Lázaro, Associate Professor of History, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Geographical and politonymic taxonomies (like "Western" and "Muslim") have been historically used to imagine ---and obscure--- sameness and difference between peoples across time and space. In this talk I discuss the consequences of my discovery of medieval evidence that questions a favorite media trope, the differentiation of "Western" and "Muslim." Medieval evidence that "Western" was first coined as a cultural-political moniker by the Muslim Mediterranean Almohad dynasty of the eleventh and twelfth centuries problematizes two central tenets of Occidentalism: the modern anachronistic chronotopic meanings of "Western" and "Muslim" and the agnotological dismissal of our debt to Almohad-sponsored philosophy and politics. I explore how these discourses have essentialized and divorced European Renaissances, Enlightenments, and Modernities---as unique "Wests"---from transliminal phenomena that were not exclusively European, African, or Asian, nor Jewish, Christian, or Muslim.

Event Type



Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Comparative Muslim Societies Program, Global Cornell


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Eric Tagliacozzo


Fabio López Lázaro

Speaker Affiliation

University of Hawaii at Manoa

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