This is the last seminar organised by the ERC project Muslims in Interwar Europe. Speaker is Prof. Nile Green.
First Muslim students
In 1815, the first group of Muslims to study in Europe arrived in London. Over the next four years, these six young Iranians pursued detailed studies of the 'European sciences' or 'ulumi farangi that were emerging from the scientific and industrial revolutions. But in so doing, they were faced with the social embeddedness of British science and forced to navigate a series of religious constraints, Christian as much as Muslim. For the early nineteenth century witnessed not only the expansion of British industrialization and imperialism, but also the ascent of the Evangelical movement. For the Evangelicals, empire and industry afforded new opportunities, not least through the translation and printing of the Bible into Islamic languages as Persian.
Navigating their way through British life, the Muslim students found themselves drawn into these Evangelical circles, lending their access to science a distinctly Christian dimension. In having been sent by the Crown Prince of Iran to access European science, the six students found themselves studying theology as well as chemistry.
This lecture and seminar draws on the students' letters, diary, and a host of archives to reconstruct the transnational trajectories of the scientific revolution, as detailed in The Love of Strangers, a New York Times Editors' Choice.