Dissecting the Christian-Islamic Rift

UA News Services
Feb. 9, 2004

James D. Tracy will take his audience back to A.D. 1500 and trace the rivalry for trade, dominion and cultural preeminence that often led to war between the "Franks" and "Moors" at a time when Christian states mainly fought other Christian states and Muslim states mainly fought other Muslim states.

In his lecture, Tracy will explain the historical linkages that by A.D. 1700 had tilted the balance toward Europe, an advantage he says is not attributable to any inherent superiority of Christian or Western institutions. Tracey says the history of conflict is often down-played in recent studies in part because scholars have reacted to Harvard scholar Samuel Huntington's predictions in his 1993 essay, "Clash of Civilizations," by minimizing the reality of past hostilities.

Tracy is an internationally renowned historian of early modern Europe, and currently the Union Pacific Professor of Early Modern History and the founding director of the Center for Early Modern History at the University of Minnesota.

He graduated from St. Louis University, has master's degrees from Johns Hopkins and Notre Dame and a doctorate from Princeton, and is a Guggenheim and a Fulbright scholar who has researched in Belgium and the Netherlands. Widely published and an acclaimed authority on Erasmus of Rotterdam, Tracy's research interests and expertise have expanded to encompass the European voyages of discovery with the concomitant rise and political economy of merchant empires; the political and fiscal history of the Low Countries in the half-century prior to the Dutch Revolt; and the conflicts between Christian and Muslim states for dominion, trade and cultural preeminence in the period 1500-1700.

Tracy's books include "Emperor Charles V, Impresario of War: Campaign Strategy, International Finance, and Domestic Politics" (2002); "The Politics of Erasmus: A Pacifist Intellectual and his Political Milieu: (1979); "Europe's Reformations, 1450-1650" (1999); and "Holland under Habsburg Rule: The Formation of a Body Politic" (1990).

He is the managing editor of the Journal of Early Modern History: Contacts, Comparisons, Contrasts, and is a member of the editorial boards of the Sixteenth Century Journal, Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook and Collected Works of Erasmus.

The annual Town and Gown Lecture is presented by the Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies at the University of Arizona, and co-sponsored by the UA history department, Near Eastern studies department, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Religious Studies Program and the University of Arizona Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation Committee.

The lecture is free of charge and open to the public. For information, call 520-621-1284.

Extra info


Annual Town and Gown Lecture: "Christendom vs. Islamdom. The Background War of the Early Modern Era, c. 1500-1700" by James D. Tracy


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