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Warriors, Martyrs, and Dervishes

Moving Frontiers, Shifting Identities in the Land of Rome (13th-15th Centuries)

Series:

Buket Kitapçı Bayrı

Warriors, Martyrs, and Dervishes. Moving Frontiers, Shifting Identities in the Land of Rome (13th-15th Centuries) focuses on the perceptions of geopolitical and cultural change, which was triggered by the arrival of Turkish Muslim groups into the territories of the Byzantine Empire at the end of the eleventh century, through intersecting stories transmitted in Turkish Muslim warrior epics and dervish vitas, and late Byzantine martyria. It examines the Byzantines’ encounters with the newcomers in a shared story-world, here called “land of Rome,” as well as its perception, changing geopolitical and cultural frontiers, and in relation to these changes, the shifts in identity of the people inhabiting this space. The study highlights the complex relationship between the character of specific places and the cultural identities of the people who inhabited them.

Zayde Antrim

Abstract

Zayde Antrim’s study of Ibn al-Adim’s regional topography of Aleppo inscribes the author’s hometown into an established Syrian “discourse of place” but with a difference. In contrast to his Damascene predecessors, Ibn al-Adim’s Syria is oriented to the north and the marchland bordering the Christian Byzantine Empire. A host of historical and political contingencies shape this depiction of a land that defies easy delimitation.

Boris James

Abstract

The Kurdish lands that are the focus of Boris James’ study straddle contested territory between Mamluks and Mongols in northern Mesopotamia. James makes sense of countervailing internal tensions and external pressures that beset a tribal society on the fringes of strong centralized states. He employs a brand of social theory based on Ibn Khaldun’s historical sociology while problematizing the use of terms and allied concepts like “Kurd” and “Kurdistan” that defy easy categorization.

Mary Hoyt Halavais

Abstract

Mary Hoyt Halavais considers the meaning of “home” for the people of sixteenth-century Spain. Home, she argues, was not a political or territorial entity to which one was loyal; instead, it was a specific place, and the lived experience of the physical and the human in that place. The reaction of Moriscos (Muslims required by law to convert to Christianity) as well as their Christian neighbors to the exile of the Moriscos of Spain (1609-1614) demonstrates this. Christians within Spain—even those who are representatives of the government in Madrid—protect their Morisco neighbors with little regard for Madrid’s laws, refusing to surrender them to the authorities. In one case, the Council of Aragon, part of the King’s governing system, subverts an order of execution. Some of the Moriscos who are exiled, pirates who repeatedly raid Spain’s ships, attempt to negotiate a surrender of all of their goods and their ships, if only they are allowed to return to their home and their families. Home is a physical and communal space for these early modern Spaniards.

Steve Tamari

Abstract

Grounded Identities: Territory and Belonging in the Medieval and Early Modern Middle East and Mediterranean is a collection of essays on attachment to specific lands including Kurdistan, Andalusia and the Maghrib, and geographical Syria in the pre-modern Islamicate world. Together these essays put a premium on the affective and cultural dimensions of such attachments, fluctuations in the meaning and significance of lands in the face of historical transformations and, at the same time, the real and persistent qualities of lands and human attachments to them over long periods of time. These essays demonstrate that grounded identities are persistent and never static.

Steve Tamari

Abstract

Steve Tamari examines pre-modern antecedents for Syrian territorial integrity focusing on the sacredness of the land in the mind of the seventeenth-century scholar and traveler ʿAbd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi. Al-Nabulusi traveled back and forth between the cities and towns of geographical Syria with stops at hundreds of shrines and historical sites in between. His pilgrimage routes trace the contours of a distinct territory and accentuate the connections that tie countryside to city and one rural area to another.

Alexander Elinson

Abstract

Alexander Elinson’s study of the Andalusian scholar Ibn al-Khatib (d. 1374) is based on a host of literary sources including both fictional and expository modes of discource. His descriptions of place and shifting definitions of al-Andalus and the Maghrib problematize the separation between the two at a time when al-Andalus which was once at the center of the Muslim West is increasingly relegated to the periphery. Elinson concludes with a focus on the importance of Granada and Fez in the 14th century in terms of what would soon become “Europe” and “North Africa” and how these two cultural locales came to be essential in the definition of Spain and Morocco respectively.

Grounded Identities

Territory and Belonging in the Medieval and Early Modern Middle East and Mediterranean

Edited by Steve Tamari

Grounded Identities: Territory and Belonging in the Medieval and Early Modern Middle East and Mediterranean is a collection of essays on attachment to specific lands including Kurdistan, Andalusia and the Maghrib, and geographical Syria in the pre-modern Islamicate world. Together these essays put a premium on the affective and cultural dimensions of such attachments, fluctuations in the meaning and significance of lands in the face of historical transformations and, at the same time, the real and persistent qualities of lands and human attachments to them over long periods of time. These essays demonstrate that grounded identities are persistent and never static.

Contributors are: Zayde Antrim, Alexander Elinson, Mary Hoyt Halavais, Boris James, Steve Tamari.

Dār al-Islām Revisited

Territoriality in Contemporary Islamic Legal Discourse on Muslims in the West

Series:

Sarah Albrecht

Where is dār al-islām, and who defines its boundaries in the 21st century? In Dār al-Islām Revisited. Territoriality in Contemporary Islamic Legal Discourse on Muslims in the West, Sarah Albrecht explores the variety of ways in which contemporary Sunni Muslim scholars, intellectuals, and activists reinterpret the Islamic legal tradition of dividing the world into dār al-islām, the “territory of Islam,” dār al-ḥarb, the “territory of war,” and other geo-religious categories. Starting with an overview of the rich history of debate about this tradition, this book traces how and why territorial boundaries have remained a matter of controversy until today. It shows that they play a crucial role in current discussions of religious authority, identity, and the interpretation of the shariʿa in the West.

Series:

Sarah Albrecht