The Clash of Civilizations at 30

The “Clash of Civilizations” thesis made famous by the social theorist Samuel Huntington is that conflicts in the future will be driven primarily by cultural–rather than national, economic, or political–factors, very much including religion. The thesis has been deeply influential and has impacted the work of many scholars, very much including Mark’s own work.

Here is what looks like an extremely worthwhile retrospective on the Huntington thesis (which the author argues was actually first devised by the historian of religion, Bernard Lewis) from then to now: From Huntington to Trump: Thirty Years of the Clash of Civilizations (Rowman & Littlefield, Lexington Books), by Jeffrey Haynes. This one is in the must-have category for me.

From Huntington to Trump argues that the “clash of civilizations,” an idea first raised three decades ago by Bernard Lewis and endorsed by Samuel Huntington, has created a template for understanding the world which has been adopted by both the United Nations and right-wing populist politicians in Europe and the United States of America. Haynes traces the development of the “clash of civilizations” from the colonial period through the end of the Cold War and 9/11 and analyzes its effects on society.”

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