A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Olivier Roy on Islam and Other "Breakthroughs in Faith"

Olivier Roy (the French scholar of political Islam now based in Florence; I gather there's a French-Canadian hockey star of the same name) has long been one of the more challenging analysts of political Islam in both the Middle East and Europe. In fact, France has produced some of our most subtle analysts of political Islam; besides Roy I think of Gilles Kepel and a whole squadron of his protégés from Sciences-Po. The current issue (Winter 2011/2012) of World Policy Journal is devoted to "Faith," and Roy has a major essay in it: "Breakthroughs in Faith." It's not just about political Islam or even just about Islam, but whether you agree or disagree with him on everything it will more than repay your time. Read it all: it does not lend itself to selective quotation.


RG said...

Happy to read your comments on French Middle East studies (I'm French and Middle East studient at Sciences Po).

Middle Eastern studies in France are in a bad shape in spite of a few brilliant scholars. For example, the Sciences Po Middle East department (which was directed by Kepel and had tons of promising young researchers) has closed two years ago. Very few universities have good Middle East programs like you have in the U.S. or U.K.

Other good or very good scholars on contemporary Middle East I can think of: Hamit Bozarslan, Stéphane Lacroix (whose last book has been Marc Lynch's "book of the year"), Laurence Louër, Sabrina Mervin.

Michael Collins Dunn said...

Thanks, RG. Sorry to hear Sciences Po isn't what it used to be. Of the other scholars you name, I've published Lacroix in the Middle East Journal; will keep the others in mind.