Discuss the connections between race, gender, and religion in the period from the 1910s and 1920s
Huntington’s theory was primarily based on the ideals that Lewis Bernard, a British-American historian who specialized in oriental studies, preached in his book “Islam and the West.” Bernard argued that all of the problems around the world are because of the beliefs of Muslims. Throughout his book, he emphasizes the notion that the Islamic belief system is spreading and imposes a threat to the Western way of life. In order to protect Western concepts, Bernard declares that we must invade Islam before they invade the West.
In his talk “The Myth of the Clash of Civilization,” Edward Said, a former professor of literature at Columbia University, refutes the claims of both Huntington and Bernard. While Said, like his opponents, believes that culture conflict still exists, he stands behind the belief that it is due to the West’s imperialistic tendencies and not attributable to Islam. Arguing against the monolithic understanding of cultures, Said makes a case for multiculturalism. Although he generally concurs with Huntington as to the West’s status in global affairs, his tone towards this power is much more cynical. Said argues that, with such a wide influence, the nature of Western society makes it impossible for Huntington’s civilizations to exist. In addition, Said views the West, especially the United States, as an imperialistic entity imposing views on other cultures to benefit itself. It is this attempt to force Western values on these other cultures and civilizations that leads to conflict. He argues that we can only move beyond these fights by understanding and respecting other cultures’ rights, values, and beliefs.
Given both sides of this debate, I find myself agreeing with Edward Said’s perspective. With limitless information available at the stroke of a keyboard and an increase in worldwide economic interdependence, globalization is here to stay whether one wants to admit it or not. While no two cultures are the same, it’s hard to deny how interconnected they are. It is my belief that there is no such thing as an isolated culture, like Huntington and Lewis choose to believe, and the conflicts presented in today’s society are in large part due to the lack of acceptance of this fact