The Clash of Civilizations (and the Passing of its Author)

When the twin tow­ers were tak­en down in Sep­tem­ber 2001, Amer­i­ca looked to make sense of what hap­pened. And it was­n’t long before many start­ed turn­ing to The Clash of Civ­i­liza­tions and the Remak­ing of World Order, a book writ­ten by Samuel Hunt­ing­ton, the Har­vard poli sci pro­fes­sor who passed on last week.

The book itself was an elab­o­ra­tion upon a con­tro­ver­sial arti­cle that Hunt­ing­ton pub­lished in For­eign Affairs in 1993. In the open­ing lines, he wrote: “World pol­i­tics is enter­ing a new phase… It is my hypoth­e­sis that the fun­da­men­tal source of con­flict in this new world will not be pri­mar­i­ly ide­o­log­i­cal or pri­mar­i­ly eco­nom­ic. The great divi­sions among humankind and the dom­i­nat­ing source of con­flict will be cul­tur­al. Nation states will remain the most pow­er­ful actors in world affairs, but the prin­ci­pal con­flicts of glob­al pol­i­tics will occur between nations and groups of dif­fer­ent civ­i­liza­tions. The clash of civ­i­liza­tions will be the bat­tle lines of the future.” Par­tic­u­lar­ly he sug­gest­ed, it would be the “West ver­sus the Rest,” and with­in the lat­ter cat­e­go­ry, he lumped in Islam.

Below, we have post­ed Hunt­ing­ton’s 1997 appear­ance on the Char­lie Rose show, where he expand­ed on his world view. You can also get Edward Said’s gen­er­al retort, The Myth of the Clash of Civ­i­liza­tions, here and Noam Chom­sky’s thoughts on the con­cept here.

Sub­scribe to our feed

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.