Lawrence Rosen

Lawrence Rosen is an emeritus professor at Princeton University and at Columbia Law School. His books include Varieties of Muslim Experience and The Culture of Islam.

Of all​ the world’s trouble spots few are more susceptible than the Middle East to being seen in terms of binary oppositions. One particularly murky dichotomy is between Sunni and Shi’a, the one accounting for 90 per cent of the world’s Muslims, the other constituting the majority in Iran and a large minority in many parts of the Gulf. Analogies we may want to reach for...


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’: he was describing a...
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 have...

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 Yale.

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...

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences