Episode 4 – The Invention of Europe, with Nancy Bisaha

On the origin of the idea of “Europe” and of anti-Islamic rhetoric. You may be surprised to learn which one came first.

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Nancy Bisaha is Professor of History at Vassar College. She is the editor, with Robert Brown, of a new translation and commentary on Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini’s Europe, which is one major source for Aeneas’ invention of the idea of Europe. Her article “Reactions to the Fall of Constantinople and the Concept of Human Rights” appeared in Reconfiguring the Fifteenth-century Crusade (Macmillan 2017) and the essays that she mentions in the show on Copernicus and Ottoman learning were published in Before Copernicus: The Cultures and Contexts of Scientific Learning in the Fifteenth Century (McGill 2017). Professor Bisaha’s extensive earlier work includes the book Creating East and West: Renaissance Humanists and the Ottoman Turks (UPenn Press, 2004).

Many of the ideas on todays show are also covered in an essay by Kwame Anhony Appiah, “There’s No Such Thing as Western Civilization.” The same day we released this episode another relevant article, “Dismantling the ‘West'”, appeared in Current Affairs magazine.

Episode Music:

Kink Slap Simian: “Angelico (Space Arab Mix)”
The Orientalist: “Islamatronic Cantillation”
Blue Dot Sessions: “Setting Pace,” “Lick Stick,” “Shade Ways,” “Cab Ride,” “Heather”
Naran: “Arabion Dream”
Turku, Nomads of the Silk Road: “Mastoom Mastoom”
Mamak Khadem: “Avareh”
Naran: “Create Your Day”