Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Proto-PC MC

Over the years, while researching various facets of the problem of Islam—and particularly when I had occasion a couple of times to write essays on the curious (and under-appreciated) phenomenon of PC MC in older eras prior to the High Sixties—I have run across quite a few examples. Here are just three examples, which I may supplement in the near future:

In a 1942 article titled “Contours of Culture in Indonesia” (published in The Far Eastern Quarterly, Vol 2., No. 1 (Nov., 1942), pp. 5-14), the scholarly author refers to the Islam that conquered Indonesia as a “higher civilization” (p. 12).

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While Professor Metz in this following quote written in 1957 seems to be taking a Pakistani Muslim scholar to task for his defense of Pakistani extremism, he presumes a glibly sweeping claim about Islam all too sunny and rosy:

“It would be a mistake to conclude from the presence of progressive, tolerant, and socially democratic ideals in the teachings of Islam that there are no important reactionary and intolerant Muslim groups and no marked social inequalities present in Pakistan.  Yet this is the conclusion which Dr. Qureshi [Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, “an outstanding citizen of Pakistan who has been active in both the academic and political life of his country”] appears to expect the reader to accept.”

William S. Metz, Berkeley (The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2, Feb., 1957)

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And in this 1958 review by Prof. Rupert Emerson of a book by Prof. Vera Micheles Dean we can see the disease of PC MC in the latter in rather rich bloom through the somewhat timid but still useful lens of the former:

“If the barrier between Western and non-Western peoples is to be broken down, she asserts, both sides must perform an act of imagination, and for the Westerner this consists not of urging other and very different peoples to become like ourselves but of striving to see the world through their eyes.  This position, which is surely on principle on the side of the angels, is not one lightly to cavil at, and yet, as Mrs. Dean develops it, it has its weaknesses as well as its strength...

“The danger in Mrs. Dean’s position, which she has not wholly avoided, is that sympathy may be carried to the point of understandingly accepting in other countries what would be condemned at home and deserves to be condemned abroad as well.”

Rupert Emerson reviewing The Nature of the Non-Western World, by Vera Micheles Dean, in The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2, Feb., 1958.

Further Reading:

When did PC MC begin? 

Spencer's impoverished historiography of PC 

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