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The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East

"The Long Divergence" opens up a frank and honest debate on a crucial issue that even some of the most ardent secularists in the Muslim world hesitate to discuss. In the year 1000, the Middle Eastern economy was as advanced as that of Europe; but by 1800, the region had failed to modernize economically as the West surged ahead. Author Timur Kuran, a professor of economics and political science and the Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University, attributes this delay in economic development to Islamic legal institutions, which slowed the emergence of central features of modern economic life. By the 19th century, modern economic institutions began to be transplanted to the Middle East, but the region"s economy has not caught up. According to Kuran, it will take generations to overcome the low trust, rampant corruption and weak civil societies that are characteristic of the region"s current economies and legacies of its economic history.

Speaker Mahmoud El-Gamal

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Mon, April 18, 2011
noon - 1:30 p.m.
(GMT-0500) America/Chicago