In Memoriam

L. Carl Brown (1928–2020)

Photo of Carl BrownLeon Carl Brown, Garrett Professor in Foreign Affairs, Emeritus, and Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Emeritus, passed away on April 8, 2020, at the age of 91, just two weeks before his 92nd birthday. A former chair of the department and long-time director of the Program in Near Eastern Studies, Brown joined the department in 1966 and retired in 1993. A specialist on North Africa and international relations, he wrote, edited, or translated fifteen books, including The Tunisia of Ahmad BeyInternational Politics and the Middle EastImperial Legacy: The Ottoman Imprint on the Balkans and the Middle EastModernization in the Middle East: The Ottoman Empire and Its Afro-Asian SuccessorsCenterstage: American Diplomacy since World War II, and The Surest Path: The Political Treatise of a Nineteenth-century Muslim Statesman.

Norman Itzkowitz (1931–2019)

Photo of Norman ItzkowitzNorman Itzkowitz, Professor of Near Eastern Studies, passed away on January 20, 2019, at the age of 87. Itzkowitz was born in 1931 on the Lower East Side of New York. He attended Stuyvesant High School and the City College of New York, graduating in 1953 with a major in history—winning the Cromwell Medal in History—and varsity letters in lacrosse and fencing. Following the advice of his advisor, Hans Kohn, he entered Princeton’s Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures that fall to study Persian, but he “soon found the field of Turkish studies embodied in the person of [his] mentor Lewis V. Thomas much more attractive.” In 1958 Itzkowitz joined the faculty of the Departments of History and Oriental Languages and Literatures as an instructor and the following year completed his dissertation, “Mehmed Raghib Pasha: The Making of an Ottoman Grand Vezir.” In 1961 he was hired as an assistant professor in the just renamed Department of Oriental Studies, in 1966 he was promoted to associate professor, and in 1973 he achieved the rank of professor.  In addition to his teaching, Itzkowitz served as the Master of Wilson College, a residential college, from 1975 to 1989, on the Committee on Undergraduate Life, and as a faculty advisor to the fencing and lacrosse teams. He also directed numerous NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for elementary, secondary, and college teachers. In 2001 Itzkowitz retired from teaching and joined the ranks of the emeritus professors.

Itzkowitz was the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, including a Buitoni Scholarship, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a Carnegie Teaching Fellowship, a Proctor and Gamble Fellowship, two US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Near East Central Grants for Study Abroad, an SSRC Travel Grant, a Littauer Foundation Fellowship, and a Center for International Studies Fellowship.

One of the few scholars of that time working on eighteenth-century Ottoman history, Itzkowitz’s most influential piece of scholarship was his article “Eighteenth Century Ottoman Realities,” which appeared in Studia Islamica 16 (1962). One piece of advice that Itzkowitz often gave to graduate students was to find the biggest plate glass window and throw a brick through it. In “Eighteenth Century Ottoman Realities,” Itzkowitz took aim at Albert H. Lybyer’s definition (1913) of the Ruling and Muslim Institutions of the Ottoman empire, a thesis that argued that the military/administrative elite of the Ottoman empire was dominated by Christian converts to Islam and that the Muslim Institution was filled with Muslim-born individuals. Accepted by Arnold Toynbee and, more importantly, with some reservations  by H. A. R. Gibb and H. Bowen in their major work Islamic Society and the West (1950, 1957), the Lybyer thesis dominated the field for half a century until its underpinnings were shattered by Itzkowitz’s prosopographic research into eighteenth-century (and earlier) Ottoman career lines. According to Zachary Lockman (’74), “Eighteenth Century Ottoman Realities” establishes Itzkowitz as one of the first American critics of Orientalism.

Itzkowitz’s pioneering work in Ottoman prosopography was a significant contribution to the field of Ottoman studies and resulted in three additional articles: “‘Kimsiniz Bey Efendi,’ or A Look at Tanzimat through Namier-colored Glasses” (1969), “The Office of Şeyh ül-Islâm and the Tanzimat—A Prosopographic Enquiry” (1972, with his student Joel Shinder), and “Men and Ideas in the Eighteenth Century Ottoman Empire” (1977).

A second major contribution occurred in the field of psychohistory, an outgrowth of Itzkowitz’s interest in psychoanalysis. Having trained at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis to become a lay analyst, he started a long-time collaboration with Vamik Volkan of the Psychiatry Department at the University of Virginia Medical School, which resulted in three books: The Immortal Atatürk: A Psychobiography (1984); Turks and Greeks: Neighbors in Conflict (1994); and Richard Nixon: A Psychobiography (1997). He also edited with L. Carl Brown Psychological Dimensions of Near Eastern Studies (1981).

In addition to these books, Itzkowitz wrote, edited, or translated a number of other works in Ottoman studies. Many a student has read his excellent short introduction to Ottoman history, Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition, which has remained in print since its publication in 1973. His collaboration with Russian specialist Max Mote resulted in Mubadele: An Ottoman-Russian Exchange of Ambassadors (1970), a work that offered a new perspective on the eighteenth-century diplomatic procedures of the two countries. Following the death of Lewis V. Thomas, Itzkowitz edited and revised his mentor’s Elementary Turkish (1967) and A Study of Naima (1972). He was also a co-translator of Halil İnalcık’s The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age, 1300–1600 (1973).

Finally, note should be made of five works for young readers that he co-authored with Enid Goldberg: Genghis Khan: 13th-Century Mongolian Tyrant (2008); Grigory Rasputin: Holy Man or Mad Monk? (2009); Tomas de Torquemada: Architect of Torture (2007); Vlad the Impaler: The Real Count Dracula (2009), all in the Scholastic Books Wicked History series; and The Balkans: Ethnic Conflict, a study kit for high school students (2000).

Norman is survived by his wife of 65 years, Leonore, his son Jay and his wife Pria Chatterjee, his daughter Karen and her husband A. Norman Redlich, and four granddaughters.


Bernard Lewis (1916–2018)

Bernard Lewis speaking at a Brown Bag Lunch, 2009

Bernard Lewis, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Emeritus, passed away Saturday, May 19, in Voorhees Township, NJ, at the age of 101. Lewis, who came to Princeton in 1974 with a joint appointment as Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies and Long-term Member of the Institute for Advanced Studies, was born in London in 1916. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of London in 1936 and, following a year at the University of Paris, his Ph.D. also from the University of London in 1939. Appointed an Assistant Lecturer in Islamic History at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1938 and Lecturer in 1940, Lewis then served in the British Army and British Intelligence during the war years. Returning to SOAS following the war, he was appointed Senior Lecturer in 1946 and Reader in 1947. In 1949 he was named Professor of the History of the Near and Middle East, a position he held until his departure to the United States in 1974. Following his retirement from Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study in 1986, Lewis became Director of the newly founded Annenberg Research Institute, a position he held for four years. During his second retirement, Lewis remained active, publishing sixteen books and over sixty articles and also assuming an increasingly influential role as a public intellectual and advisor to politicians and the U.S. government.

Lewis was the recipient of numerous honors, including The Harvey Prize, the Atatürk Peace Prize, the George Polk Award, the Golden Plate Award, the National Humanities Medal, and the Irving Kristol Award, as well as fifteen honorary doctorates. He was named the Tanner Lecturer (Oxford University) and the Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities (NEH), and he gave the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Lecture in 1992.

Lewis published his first book, The Origins of Ismailism, in 1940, and his last book, Notes on a Century in 2012. In between, he wrote or edited forty-eight additional works. These include The Arabs in History (1950, 6th edition 1993), The Emergence of Modern Turkey (1961, 3rd edition 2001), Istanbul and the Civilization of the Ottoman Empire (1963), The Middle East and the West (1964, revised and recast edition published as Shaping of the Modern Middle East, 1993), The Assassins (1967), Race and Color in Islam (1971, revised and expanded edition published as Race and Slavery in the Middle East, 1990), Islam from the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople (1974), The Muslim Discovery of Europe (1982), The Jews of Islam (1984), The Political Language of Islam (1988), The Middle East: Two Thousand Years of History from the Rise of Christianity to the Present Day (1995); The Multiple Identities of the Middle East (1998), What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (2002), The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (2003), From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East (2004), and Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East (2010).

His edited works include Historians of the Middle East (1962), The Cambridge History of Islam (1970), The World of Islam (US title; Islam and the Arab World, 1976), and Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire (1982). He also served on the editorial committee of the Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition, for thirty-one years.

Lewis is survived by his longtime partner Buntzie Churchill, a son Michael, a daughter Melanie Dunn, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandsons.