Wender, Andrew

Assistant teaching professor and undergranduate advisor


Phone number: (250) 853-3580
Email: amwender@uvic.ca
Department: History

Research description:

-Modern world history
-History and politics of the Middle East
-History of world religions and their connections -with politics, culture and society
Expertise Profile
Political scientist and historian Andrew Wender studies historical and contemporary interconnections between politics and religion of the Middle East, a region where some of the world's most volatile and urgent crises seem to occur.

By exploring the historical contexts fo politics and religion, Dr. Wender increases our understanding and challenges our popular assumptions of Middle Eastern conflicts. Popular perceptions often simplify the crises occurring in the Middle East as the actions of irrational or barbaric people. Along with this come sweeping generalizations, such as "religion is responsible for wars" or "ISIS is an example of medieval barbarism."

"These phrases are distinctly unhelpful," Dr. Wender says. "It makes it seem like the most complicated and dire situations can be reduced to a sound bite, and that blame can be apportioned to an irrational actor. It allows us to ignore the complex motivations of the people involved."

Instead, Dr. Wender encourages people to reflect on their generalized assumptions, so they can critically discuss and reflect on Middle Eastern conflicts. When society recognizes the complexity of Middle Eastern situations, it might find ways to help alleviate problems.

This doesn't mean that there are quick, easy solutions. In fact, Dr. Wender believes that many of the most urgent conflicts in the world can't be solved, and when political powers try to intervene, they often make matters worse. "What I want to do" he says "is improve situations, but without the pretence that we can completely solve them."

< Browse all experts