Emeritus professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park, Charles Butterworth specializes in medieval Arabic and Islamic political philosophy. Pursuit of this academic interest has permitted him to live and study in most of the Arabic speaking countries of the Middle East and North Africa as well as in Europe. From time to time, he has lectured and taught at universities in the Middle East, North Africa, West Africa, Western Europe and Central Europe.
Professor Butterworth's publications include critical editions of most of the Middle Commentaries written by Averroes on Aristotle's logic; translations of books and treatises by Averroes, Alfarabi, and Alrazi, as well as Maimonides; and studies of different aspects of the political teaching of these and other thinkers in the ancient, medieval, and modern tradition of philosophy. Butterworth has also written monograph analyses of the political thought of Frantz Fanon and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He is a member of several learned organizations and past-president of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies (ACSIS) as well as of the Société Internationale pour l'Étude de l'Histoire de la Philosophie et la Science Arabe et Islamique (SIHSPAI).
Trained in political philosophy and Arabic as well as Islamic civilization at the University of Chicago, where he received an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science, Charles Butterworth has also studied at the University of Ayn Shams in Egypt, the University of Bordeaux, and the University of Nancy in France (receiving a doctorate in philosophy from the latter). He received his B.A. from Michigan State University.
Before joining the faculty of the University of Maryland, Professor Butterworth taught at the University of Chicago and Federal City College (now the University of the District of Columbia). He has also taught at St. John's College, Georgetown University, and Harvard University, in addition to Marmara University, the University of Bordeaux, the University of Grenoble, the University of Paris I (Sorbonne), the University of Paris X (Nanterre), and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.
For several years, he was the Principal Investigator for the Smithsonian sponsored Medieval Islamic Logic project in Cairo, Egypt. He has also been the Principal Investigator for a similar project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and has organized a two-week Salzburg seminar on "The Commonality of Cultural Traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam."
In 1992-1993, he was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. during which time he pursued a project on the relationship between revelation and political philosophy. During May and June 2000, he gave a series of lectures at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris entitled “Des origines de la philosophie politique en Islam.” In November-December 2008, he served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the American University of Cairo.
At the University of Maryland, he has been recognized as a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher (1990-91) accorded an Excellence in Teaching and Mentorship award by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (2001-2), and admitted to the Academy of Excellence in Teaching and Learning as a fellow (2004).
Most recently, he has been appointed president of the American Academy of Liberal Education.
Areas of Interest
- History of political philosophy -- ancient, medieval, and modern -- with special emphasis on the Arabic-Islamic Middle East