Noted Middle East Historian To Speak at K-State Alumni Center

Posted 10 months ago

By Michael Pagels

MANHATTAN — One of the nation’s best known historians of Islam and Middle East history and politics will deliver the biennial Fred L. Parish Lecture and Colloquium in Religious History, sponsored by the history department at Kansas State University.

Juan R. Cole will present “Egypt’s Rebellion Against Political Islam” at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at the K-State Alumni Center. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell collegiate professor of history at the University of Michigan. The lecture is free and open to all. alumni center

For three decades, Cole has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context. His most recent book, “Engaging the Muslim World,” was published in 2009. He also is the author of “Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East,” released in 2007, and many other works. He has translated works of Lebanese-American author Kahlil Gibran. He has been a regular guest on PBS’s “Lehrer News Hour,” and also has appeared on “ABC Nightly News,” “Nightline,” the “Today Show” and many others. He has given many radio and press interviews, writes widely about Egypt, Iran, Iraq and South Asia, and has a regular column at Salon.com.

Cole has commented extensively on al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the Iraq War, the politics of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Iranian domestic struggles, the Arab Spring and its aftermath, and foreign affairs. He continues to study and write about contemporary Islamic movements. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there.

“Since Egypt is heating up again and the situation there growing more intense each day, it will be a timely topic,” said Bob Linder, university distinguished professor of history at Kansas State University.

The Fred L. Parrish Lecture Series is named in honor of Parrish, a former longtime history professor at Kansas State University. The series features a biennial address by a leading figure in the field of religious history and continues Parrish’s tradition of fostering the free exchange of ideas and insights in a communal setting. The lecture series replaces the Parrish Colloquium that was established in 1984 by Parrish’s daughter, Ethelinda Parrish Amos, and son-in-law, Wendell Amos. It was created to honor Parrish’s role in bringing lively discussions of history and religion to the Manhattan community.

Parrish served as head of the department of history, government and philosophy at the university from 1942 until his retirement in 1958.

“He was well known on campus and in the Manhattan community as an avid conversationalist. He also was active in the local Conversation Club that met monthly to discuss and debate new creative and controversial books and ideas in religious history,” Linder said.