Kategorie: Orient-Institut Beirut

How to write with your Blog and through your Blog

Writer’s block is a common experience among academics and other writers alike, let alone students. I have suffered from it numerous times while preparing—and I still am—my book proposal and the corresponding manuscript. And I experienced this blog as much a distraction from doing those more important things as an aide to progressing with those things. And today I will just relate some of those experiences and how one can use a blog to one’s advantage in writing, especially when long-term projects are concerned. … Continue reading How to write with your Blog and through your Blog

New Publication on the transmission of Ibn Tulun manuscripts

The Journal of Islamic Manuscripts has just published its newest iteration, a special issue on manuscript notes. The editor Boris Liebrenz is well-known as an authority on this “marginal” topic. My contribution looks in particular at four manuscripts today held at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and traces their historical trajectories from Ibn Ṭūlūn’s original book endowment until their acquisition by Chester Beatty. As has been mentioned before on this blog, Ibn Ṭūlūn’s multiple-text manuscripts share a particular feature, which is their title page which includes … Continue reading New Publication on the transmission of Ibn Tulun manuscripts

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