Bernard LewisBernard Lewis, (31 May 1916 – 19 May 2018) was a British American historian specialized in Oriental studies. He was also known as a public intellectual and political commentator. Lewis was the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Lewis's expertise was in the history of Islam and the interaction between Islam and the West.
Lewis served as a soldier in the British Army in the Royal Armoured Corps and Intelligence Corps during the Second World War before being seconded to the Foreign Office. After the war, he returned to the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and was appointed to the new chair in Near and Middle Eastern history.
In 2007 Lewis was called "the West's leading interpreter of the Middle East". Others have argued Lewis's approach is essentialist and generalizing to the Muslim world, as well as his tendency to restate hypotheses that were challenged by more recent research. On a political level, Lewis is accused by his detractors with having revived the image of the cultural inferiority of Islam and of emphasizing the dangers of jihad. His advice was frequently sought by neoconservative policymakers, including the Bush administration. However, his active support of the Iraq War and neoconservative ideals have since come under scrutiny.
Lewis was also notable for his public debates with Edward Said, who accused Lewis and other orientalists of misrepresenting Islam and serving the purposes of Western imperialist domination, to which Lewis responded by defending Orientalism as a facet of humanism and accusing Said of politicizing the subject. Furthermore, Lewis denied the Armenian genocide. He argued that the deaths of the mass killings resulted from a struggle between two nationalistic movements, claiming that there is no proof of intent by the Ottoman government to exterminate the Armenian nation. Provided by Wikipedia