Michael Cook (born in 1940) is a British historian and scholar of Islamic history. He is University Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University.
Michael Cook is one of today’s leading experts on the history and religious thought of Islam. He has reshaped fields that span Ottoman studies, the genesis of early Islamic polity, the history of the Wahhabiyya movement, and Islamic law, ethics, and theology. His contribution to the entire field, from Islam’s genesis to the present, displays a mastery of textual, economic, and social approaches. Along with sensitivity to the historical context, his work emphasizes the role of religious values in the formation of Islamic civilization from the mediaeval period to the present.
Professor Michael Cook, winner of the Holberg Prize 2014, has had a huge influence on the historical study of Islam. In this episode, Knut interviews Professor Cook about his decision to go into history in the first place, about his writing process, the role of the humanities, his reflections about teaching, and why he finds it so important to get the details right.