Kategorie: Orient-Institut Beirut

On the governor’s court in Late Mamluk Damascus

In the coming week, the German Historical Institute in Paris hosts a conference on new court history. Organized by Pascal Firges (DHIP) und Regine Maritz (Walter Benjamin Kolleg, Bern), “Towards a New Political History of the Court, c. 1200‒1800” will attempt, from comparative perspectives, to delineate “Practices of Power in Gender, Culture, and Sociability” (here is the direct link to the CfP). The conference will be structured around eight themes, moving from “Global Historical and Transcultural Perspectives” through “Gender”, two panels on “Bodies, Sexuality, and … Continue reading On the governor’s court in Late Mamluk Damascus

Ministry of Culture or No Ministry of Culture? Lebanese Cultural Players and Authority

Nadia von Maltzahn Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (2018) 38 (2): 330-343. This article looks at the relationship of Lebanese artists and cultural players to state institutions, in particular the ministry of culture. Why do cultural players in Lebanon call for the state’s involvement in cultural production, while in most countries of the region they wish for less involvement? What is it that artists and cultural players who are not content with the status quo ask for? This article […]

A note on Nelly Hanna’s “In Praise of Books”

Only recently, I finished reading Nelly Hanna’s 2004 monograph “In Praise of Books”. Honestly, while the book raises some interesting questions, it has not aged all that well. But first, what is it about? It is less about the books mentioned in the title and more about “A cultural History of Cairo’s Middle Class, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century” as the subtitle clarifies. In this context, Hanna argues that the written word became more important than it was before, and that it now began to … Continue reading A note on Nelly Hanna’s “In Praise of Books”

The Princeton ijāzas

Over the last year, Ibn Ṭūlūn’s documentation of teaching has repeatedly been addressed here. According to my own plan, this will be the last post on this issue for the foreseeable future. Thus, I would like to use this post to talk about some more general characteristics of these documentary texts. Once before, the difference between ijāzas and samāʿāt in this corpus has been discussed (Link). Now it is finally time to give the ijāzas a more structured treatment as the samāʿāt received back then. … Continue reading The Princeton ijāzas

New Publication on Narratology in Arabic Historiography

Finally, Mamluk Studies 15: “Mamluk Historiography Revisited – Narratological Perspectives” is out. The edited volume brings together twelve articles on perspectives on specific works or larger clusters of works. My own contribution, “The Changing Legacy of a Sufi Shaykh: Narrative Constructions in Diaries, Chronicles, and Biographies (15th–17th Centuries)”, investigates the development of how knowledge on one specific person was shaped and adapted with growing temporal distance. The person in question was introduced here in several posts during February 2018: Mubārak al-Qābūnī al-Ḥabashī. The article adds … Continue reading New Publication on Narratology in Arabic Historiography

Placing Ibn Tulun: Evidence from the Majallat al-Majmaʿ al-ʿilmi al-ʿarabi

As I have indicated before, the age when Ibn Tulun was most widely read might well have been the early 20th century. Ahmad Taymur had copies and photographic reproductions made of several of his works, and historians like ʿIsa Iskandar al-Maʿluf and Salah al-Din al-Munajjid also collected his works. Al-Munajjid also edited several texts within the series Rasaʾil al-Tarikhiyya. And finally, both him as well as others described and discussed Ibn Tulun’s works in the pages of the central organ of Syrian or even Arab … Continue reading Placing Ibn Tulun: Evidence from the Majallat al-Majmaʿ al-ʿilmi al-ʿarabi

Visualizing Education and Knowledge Organization with Palladio 2

To be frank, there was something wrong with the visualizations in the last post, and I did not feel like letting that stand. Thus, here I address some of those issues. This is how the network should look or, at least, the main cluster of it. In the last post, I stated that some grammatical as well as the mathematical disciplines were not connected to the main cluster and that turned out to be wrong. But since they are indeed connected, everything gets – … Continue reading Visualizing Education and Knowledge Organization with Palladio 2

Visualizing Education and Knowledge Organization with Palladio 1

After having looked at Ḥadīth transmission recently, I wondered about the other side of knowledge transmission, namely the wider curriculum of the ʿulamāʾ. Thankfully, Ibn Ṭūlūn talks at length about his own education in his autobio/-bibliography al-Fulk al-mashḥūn. There he lists ḥadīth studies and 25 other disciplines. In total, works relevant to 27 disciplines appear (ʿilm al-qiraʾāt is not listed but works are mentioned). Ibn Ṭūlūn received their information through 104 named and two unnamed interlocutors (one “shaykh” and “some Nīsabūrīs”). There are 109 works … Continue reading Visualizing Education and Knowledge Organization with Palladio 1

Visualizing female actors in Hadith networks with Palladio

Perhaps more than any other area of permodern Arabic literature, genres concerned with ḥadīth transmission offer themselves for a network approach. Even small collections provide a plethora of names and put them in relation to each other. Someone hears one tradition from someone and then relates it to someone else, thereby turning from a “target” in one relation to a “source” in the next. While the individual chain of transmission might only give diachronic relations, a survey of a larger number of chains might also … Continue reading Visualizing female actors in Hadith networks with Palladio

Into a bicycle history of the Middle East

And now, to something completely different: the bicycle in Middle Eastern History. Whereas today the bicycle is – arguably – mostly known as a vehicle for leisure, around 1900 it was not only a major means of individualized transportation but it also stipulated the restoration and expansion of road networks that would make the automobile viable, and bicycle races inspired public attention and drew crowds that today seem unimaginable. Moreover, this early history of the bicycle is intricately connected to histories of colonialism, modernity, and … Continue reading Into a bicycle history of the Middle East

Let’s talk survival bias

How many manuscript copies were produced of any given texts? How many were circulating at any given time? When were they lost, discarded or destroyed?  How often are the works penned on their pages cited in other texts by the same or different authors? These questions lie at the very heart of our epistemology and are usually subsumed under the term ‘survival bias’. Works that survive longer obviously have a greater chance at being read, recited, reproduced, acknowledged. And it is today commonly assumed … Continue reading Let’s talk survival bias

Visualizing Ibn Tulun’s manuscript corpus: (1) From Palladio towards Gephi

It has been a while since I presented my first visualizations of Ibn Tuluns manuscript corpus with Palladio. Palladio is an easy-to-learn tool that works in your browser and thus is independent of your operating system. You just put your data in several simple tables and upload them there. Then you create the relevant connections between the tables in the interface. Basically, all you need is one table for the entities to be connected (nodes) and one for the connections between them (edges). Also, … Continue reading Visualizing Ibn Tulun’s manuscript corpus: (1) From Palladio towards Gephi

An ijāza for Ibn Mufliḥ

Akmal al-Dīn, a scion of the prominent Ḥanbalī Ibn Mufliḥ family, was mentioned here several times before and was probably the most visible of Ibn Ṭūlūn’s students in terms of engagement with his writings. Ibn Mufliḥ copied them, annotated and rubricated them, and also added material to some of them. Among the evidence of their student-teacher relationship survives an ijāza Ibn Ṭūlūn penned for Ibn Mufliḥ after the latter’s discussion of some chains of transmission he had received from him (for the transcripts, see … Continue reading An ijāza for Ibn Mufliḥ

Europa und der Nahe Osten haben sich auseinander entwickelt – Das OI Beirut vermittelt in die Gesellschaften

Geisteswissenschaft als Beruf im Ausland – Was kann man sich darunter vorstellen? In „Weltweit vor Ort“, dem Magazin der MWS, geben Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler einen Einblick in das spannende Arbeitsfeld der internationalen geisteswissenschaftlichen Forschung. Im Gespräch stellt Birgit Schäbler, seit Oktober 2017 Direktorin des Orient-Instituts Beirut, sich als neue Direktorin sowie ihre Pläne für die zukünftige Ausrichtung des Instituts vor.

Ijāzas or Samāʿāt?

Almost a year ago, I first wrote about Ibn Ṭūlūn’s teaching certificates (ijāzāt) and made a somewhat loose promise: I could identify five teaching certificates (ijāza) in Ibn Ṭūlūn’s handwriting. The four I have seen are between two and five pages long and were all written between 922/1516 and 943/1536. I hope to present all of them here in the near future. In the meantime, one more item has received an entry and in March 2018 I finally got my hands on the final … Continue reading Ijāzas or Samāʿāt?