May 20, 2018
Bernard Lewis, a preeminent scholar of Middle Eastern history whose work profoundly shaped Western views of the region died on May 19. He was 101 years old. Beyond the polarizing arguments among the academics, Dr. Lewis was a man of expansive intellectual appetites…Lewis wrote more than 30 books, hundreds of articles and had competence in at least a dozen languages. His seminal 1950 work, The Arabs in History, still holds up as one of the important accounts of the Arab world.
Lewis was masterful as he sketched the stages of reform in the nineteenth century and then showed how Mustafa Kemal Ataturk built on this legacy to move Turkey in the direction of a modern state. His seminal book (orginally published in 1961) named The Emergence of Modern Turkey has been an insightful source for lots of researchers studying history of Turkish modernization. The theme of this book is the emergence of modern Turkey from the decay of the old system. After an introductory examination of the sources and nature of Turkish civilization, the book falls into two parts. In the first the main events and processes are set forth in chronological order. The term of the study has been set in 1950, when the party of Atatürk was ousted from power in a free election which it had itself organized, and the country entered on a new phase (multi-party politics). In the second part of the book , the social, cultural and economic transformation is explained in detail. In the final chapter a conclusion on the nature of the Turkish Revolution is drawn.
Here can be found a more detailed review of the book The Emergence of Modern Turkey
Lastly, it can be said that, Lewis had some challenging ideas regarding Islam and Muslims. You can find an interview made with him about this issue here
Rest in Peace Bernard Lewis, your works will keep on informing the academia…
Author : Begum Burak