ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

maandag 5 juli 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Simon MILLS reviews Noel MALCOLM, Useful Enemies: Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450–1750 (Oxford: OUP, 2019) (English Historical Review CXXXVI (2021), nr. 579 (Apr), 422-424

(image source: OUP)


First paragraph:

As its title suggests, Noel Malcolm’s book analyses the longue durée history of ideas on two distinct but closely related topics within Western political thought: Islam and the Ottoman Empire. Rejecting the ‘Orientalist’ paradigm—the contention, set out most famously by Edward Said, that European writing on Islam and the East was ‘a kind of Western projection onto and will to govern over the Orient’—Malcolm argues instead that Western authors demonstrated an ‘active—even, creative—engagement with their Islamic or Ottoman subject matter as part of a larger pursuit of religious and political arguments within their own culture’ (p. 417).

Read more with Oxford Journals  (DOI 10.1093/ehr/ceab045)