Mohammed Arkoun (1928-2010), originally from Algeria, was for many years Professor of History of Islamic Thought at the Sorbonne University in Paris. He was an original voice in this field, developing a critical approach to the history of Islam, as well as contemporary evaluations of the field in both theological and academic writings on the subject. In particular, he advocated joint use of historical research and concepts from modern linguistics and social sciences with the aim of creating a new discipline of an anthropological history of Islam.

These ideas were disseminated through his many writings, lectures and informal addresses and communication. Mohammed Arkoun was also a keen contributor to practical projects aiming at cultural and intellectual inquiry about the Muslim world. He also taught at the IIS in London, of which he was one of the Governors for many years, up to the time of his death.