Kenan Institute Sponsored Cross-Cultural Workshop
‘Soft’ and ‘Hard’ Power in Islamic Political Thought
Dr. Vasileios Syros
Time: April 27th (Thursday) 12:00-14:00 *
Location: West Duke 08C
* Lunch is provided!
Dr. Vasileios Syros is currently a Maurice Amado Fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced
Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and a Senior Research Fellow at the Academy
This presentation seeks to introduce a new perspective on Islamic debates on violence, by
focusing on Islamic political advice literature on good government and the origins and effects of
oppressive or arbitrary rule. In particular, it will explore how the distinction between ‘soft’ and
‘hard’ power can serve as a heuristic device for the examination of a set of medieval Islamic
writings on the successful conduct of government. In addition, the paper will relate these ideas to European political thought, such as Machiavelli’s The Prince. The ultimate objective of the talk
will be to identify and analyze broader affinities and points of intersection between Western and
non-Western modes of political theorizing on statecraft and styles of leadership.