Monday, April 4, 2016

The Clash of Specializations

Thanks to my fellow blogger Arun Kapil, who alerted me to this update of the ongoing war between Olivier Roy and Gilles Kepel. I find this episode particularly distressing, because I have learned from both scholars and think that to be asked to choose between two incomplete and inadequate formulations--l'islamisation de la radicalité ou la radicalisation de l'Islam--is not likely to contribute to our understanding of homegrown terrorism. Kepel seems to be the aggressor here, and in addition to Roy he has also attacked Jean-Pierre Filiu, another respected scholar from whom I have also learned. This clash of specializations is as unseemly as it is un-enlightening, and with Jean-Claude Guillebaud I wish that the scholars involved would try to formulate their disagreements not as sound bites but in phrases better suited to exploring the underlying issues.