Professor Michael Cook, winner of the Holberg Prize 2014, has had a huge influence on the historical study of Islam. Typically of a historian that knows from experience that there are always sources and perspectives that can askew our perceptions of the past, Michael Cook writes in A Brief History of the Human Race (2003) that he cannot offer any “Grand Unified Theory of History”. Yet, Cook has with his works offered significant insights to Islamic history by means of diligent research, his philological capacity and by no other commitments than to scholarship itself. His contributions has paved new paths for the study of Islam and Near Eastern history, and his legacy will be imprinted in many bibliographies in many decades to come.
In this special episode of Udannet, 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 find it important to get the details right.
This episode was produced in collaboration with The Holberg Prize 2014. The Holberg Prize is awarded annually to scholars who have made outstanding contributions to research in the arts and humanities, social science, law or theology. The Prize amounts to 4.5 million NOK (app. 538.000 EUR / 735.000 USD). Visit the website to learn more.