Posts Tagged ‘John Bowen’

February 17th, 2010

“Wrong on every detail that matters”

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John R. Bowen, author of Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves and Can Islam be French, has a new article in this month’s Boston Review, “Nothing to Fear: Misreading Muslim Immigration in Europe.” In it, he examines a spate of books penned by American authors that deal with Islam in Europe, such as Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within and Mark Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (the website for which touts the book as having been called “flagrantly Islamophobic” by the Canadian Human Rights Commission).

July 24th, 2008

“Call it X”

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I am grateful for the kind and thoughtful comments posted at The Immanent Frame about Islam and the Secular State. It is fascinating and instructive to see a text grow to have a life of its own, with some readers adding clarification and more effective communication of what one is attempting to say. Even misunderstanding is helpful in alerting an author to the risks of miscommunication, instead of assuming that people do understand what we say as we mean it. Indeed, it is the combination of the author’s purpose and the reader’s comprehension that determines what is actually communicated. It is that complex outcome unfolding over time, and not an author’s unilateral theorizing, that can make “a good theory,” for according to Kurt Lewin’s helpful insight, “there is nothing so practical as a good theory.” In this light, I offer the following reflections in the spirit of contributing to a process of collaborative theory-making. […]