Lawrence Rosen

Lawrence Rosen is a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences, Stanford, and Cromwell Professor of Anthropology at Princeton. His books include Varieties of Muslim Experience and The Culture of Islam.

Trouble with a Dead Mule: Pashas

Lawrence Rosen, 5 August 2010

Somehow, the traders seem to get there first. Before the armies, before the missionaries or travellers or bureaucrats or busybodies, they arrive, in search of furs and spices, rare textiles and strange foods. To prehistoric groups whose burial sites contain items brought from a continent away, or woodsmen in pursuit of goods lying just beyond the frontier, the trader brought many other...

The death toll in Iraq continues to rise: more than 2600 American soldiers, 113 British troops, 130 from other countries, perhaps 40,000 Iraqi civilians. And more than 70 journalists, outnumbering the 69 killed in World War Two, the 63 in Vietnam and the 17 in Korea. The risks involved mean that it is hard to ask whether journalists do a good enough job in telling us what we need to know....

True or false? 1. Suicide bombers suffer not from a sense of having lost their place in a community but from a sense that they have failed in their quest to find a new, Westernised form of individuality. 2. Muslim fundamentalists – and born-again Muslims in families living in the West – owe their new-found religiosity more to the process of Western secularisation than to the...


Unfair to Geertz

6 March 2014

Thomas Meaney grossly distorts Clifford Geertz’s approach to development when he says that ‘Geertz’s scholarship lent an aura of expertise to US imperial projects in the 1960s’ (LRB, 6 March). Geertz did not argue that the ‘backward, obstructive values’ of the Javanese would ‘never allow them to produce the necessary surplus that would lead to industrialisation’:...
In his review of John Hall’s Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography Stefan Collini says that Hall is unable to explain why Gellner stopped publishing philosophy and began doing fieldwork in Morocco (LRB, 2 June). But Gellner was pursuing that classic issue of Central European political philosophy: how is anarchy possible? Following E.E. Evans-Pritchard and Robert Montagne, he professed to...

George gets an A

6 January 2011

George W. Bush may never have met Foucault at Yale (LRB, 6 January). But he did meet Margaret Mead there. He took an anthropology course with her, and even got an A, reputedly the only such grade he received in his undergraduate years. But in an interview Mead gave the campus paper at the time she said she awarded all the students A’s, assuming they must be smart or they wouldn’t be at...

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