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Patricia Crone Places Nativists, Nationalists and Western-Born Jihadists in Historical Perspective

Patricia Crone Discusses the Acculturated Native Who Rebels
November 23, 2009
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Patricia Crone, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, will present “The Acculturated Native Who Rebels: Nativists, Nationalists and Western-Born Jihadists in Historical Perspective” on Wednesday, December 2, at 4:30 p.m. in Wolfensohn Hall on the Institute’s campus.

Crone will discuss how, in the aftermath of several great imperial expansions, one sees the phenomenon of the native who has accepted the religion and/or culture of the hegemonic foreigners, only to rediscover his native identity and proceed to take political action against them. This is especially well attested in the aftermath of the imperial expansions of the Arabs and the Europeans. Crone will explore what lies behind this reaction and why it was much less characteristic of Islamized natives than it has been of Westernized ones.

Crone's research is focused on the Near East from late antiquity to the coming of the Mongols. She is interested in the delineation of the political, religious and cultural environment in which Islam began and how it transformed, and was itself transformed by, the regions that the Arabs conquered. Originally a political, social, and military historian, Crone has been steadily moving into the history of ideas. Her current work focuses mainly on the Qur’an and the cultural and religious traditions of Iraq, Iran and the formerly Iranian part of Central Asia, but she works on rebels, too.

She is the author of numerous articles and several books, including Medieval Islamic Political Thought (Edinburgh University Press, 2004), published in America under the title God's Rule: Government and Islam. Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political Thought (Columbia University Press, 2005). The book was awarded the British-Kuwait Friendship Prize in 2005. 

Crone earned her undergraduate degree in history in 1969 and her Ph.D. in 1974, both from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She was a Senior Research Fellow at the Warburg Institute of the University of London from 1974-77, when she joined the University of Oxford as lecturer in Islamic History and Fellow of Jesus College. Crone left Oxford in 1990 to become lecturer in Islamic Studies and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College at the University of Cambridge, where she was named University Reader in 1994.  She joined the Faculty of the Institute in 1997. 

Crone is a member of the Editorial Board of Encyclopedia of Political Thought, a member of the American Philosophical Society and an honorary Professor on the Faculty of Theology at Aarhus University. She was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Copenhagen.

For further information about this event, which is free and open to the public, please call (609) 734-8175, or visit the Public Events page on the Institute website,