Legacy of Wilfred Cantwell Smith

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Ellen Bradshaw Aitken, Arvind Sharma
  • Ithaca, NY: 
    State University of New York Press
    , April
     260 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


First work to address the legacy of Wilfred Cantwell Smith and his influence on the development of religious studies and Islamic studies in the twentieth century.

This is the first work to address the legacy of Wilfred Cantwell Smith (1916–2000), whose intellectual and institutional contributions helped shape the field of religious studies in the latter half of the twentieth century. As a young scholar, Smith taught Indian and Islamic history in Lahore for several years and witnessed the partition of India. Upon his return to North America, he obtained his PhD at Princeton University before embarking upon a long and distinguished career. He founded the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University and served as director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University. Smith emphasized the place of the scholarly study of Islam in the Western academy long before Islam occupied its current position at the center of global politics, challenged the notion of monolithic world religions, and argued for the importance of dialogical processes and a personalist approach to the study of religion. Contributors to this volume, many of whom were Smith’s students, provide a wide-ranging exploration of his influence and legacy.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Ellen Bradshaw Aitken (1961–2014) was the Dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University.

Arvind Sharma is Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University and the author of many books, including One Religion Too Many: The Religiously Comparative Reflections of a Comparatively Religious Hindu; Hinduism as a Missionary Religion; and Religious Studies and Comparative Methodology: The Case for Reciprocal Illumination, all also published by SUNY Press.

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