Re: [OPE-L] Muslim influence on the West

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Sat Mar 11 2006 - 10:35:55 EST

At 09:26 11/03/2006, Paul Z wrote:
>For a change of pace, check out today's article from THE INDEPENDENT, "How
>Islamic inventors changed the world":
>For example, "the technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and
>Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from
>Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children
>in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at
>least 50 years before the West discovered it."

For a real change of pace, see the novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, The
Years of Rice and Salt. Starting from the premise of the Black Death
wiping out 90% of Europe's population rather than 33% and tracing an
alternate history to the present, it focuses upon Islam, the
orientation toward invention, etc but also upon China. Not a light
read but one that gets you to see history through different eyes. For
those who don't know Robinson's work, his work constantly draws upon
Marxism (phd in history, student of Fred Jamieson)- true in this
case, too, and his Red Mars (1st in the Mars trilogy which has the
Mars colonists battling the imperialist corporations) has great
dialogues between communists, anarchists and social dems re the
character of the new colony. His most recent trilogy (which began
with Forty Signs of Rain) is about global warming and what capitalism
has done to science.
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

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