bruce b. lawrence

Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit

Discover the essence of the Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit and what it has contributed to societies across the ages

In Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit, author and expert, Bruce B. Lawrence, delivers a spiritual elan filtered through cultural practices and artefacts. Neither juridical nor creedal, the book expresses a desire for the just and the beautiful. The author sets out an original and fascinating theory, that Islamicate cosmopolitanism marks a new turn in global history. An unceasing, self-critical pursuit of truth, hitched to both beauty and justice, its history is marked by male elites who were scientific exemplars in the pre-modern period.

In the modern period, these exemplars include women as well as men, artists as well as scientists. The Islamicate Cosmopolitans have had special impact across the Afro-Eurasian ecumene at the heart of civilized exchange between multiple groups with competing yet convergent interests. The Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit is a boundary busting challenge to those who think of the world merely in terms of an “Arab” Middle East.

Readers will also benefit from:

  • A thorough introduction to the Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit across time and space
  • An exploration of premodern Afro-Eurasia and Persianate Culture in the Indian Ocean
  • A practical discussion of the future of the Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit

Perfect for all students of Islamicate civilization, both traditional and progressive, Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit will also earn a place in the libraries of general readers of world history and those grounded in the larger history of Islamicate Asia will find a perspective that centers their own contribution to the Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit.


“Bruce Lawrence’s manifesto addresses those who share his conviction that what is most needed in scholarship today is a wider and deeper planetary approach to the past, present, and future. Scholarship capable of mastering both the nitty-gritty of historical detail and committed to an inclusive moral vision of the whole.”
Peter Wright, The Muslim World (volume 112/Spring 2022)

“An excellent work on Islamic history, its greatest strengths are: the level of theoretical discussion, the call to a reflection on terminology, the emphasis on post-15th century Islamic history and on geographical regions outside the Arab world.”
Roberto Totolli, Universita degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale

“Learned, inventive and highly perceptive…. With an astounding energy, the six chapters, plus an overview and a conclusion, stretch boundaries of Muslim subjectivities and possibilities across time and space.”
Babak Rahimi, UC San Diego