Creating the Mediterranean

Maps and the Islamic Imagination


In Creating the Mediterranean: Maps and the Islamic Imagination Tarek Kahlaoui treats the subject of the Islamic visual representations of the Mediterranean. It tracks the history of the Islamic visualization of the sea from when geography was created by the Islamic state’s bureaucrats of the tenth century C.E. located mainly in the central Islamic lands, to the later men of the field, specifically the sea captains from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries C.E. located in the western Islamic lands.

A narrative has emerged from this investigation in which the metamorphosis of the identity of the author or mapmaker seemed to be changing with the rest of the elements that constitute the identity of a map: its reader or viewer, its style and structure, and its textual content.
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Biographical Note

Tarek Kahlaoui, Ph.D. (2008), Rutgers University, is Assistant Professor of Islamic art history and Islamic civilisation. He is working on projects concerning the history and archaeology of the Maghrib and the Mediterranean and has published numerous articles on the topic.

Review Quotes

Creating the Mediterranean is a truly accomplished tour across a complex terrain of settings and subjects that stretches from Abbasid administrators to Ottoman renegades. It is also a study that is exceptional in its methodological variety. " "Kahlaoui’s Creating the Mediterranean is a vitally important contribution to literature on the Islamic Mediterranean. It deserves to be read by any scholar or student interested in the history of cartography, in the cultural history of geography and geographers, and in the sciences in the Islamic world more generally." In H-Ideas (June, 2018) by Carlos Grenier (Florida International University)


All those interested on pre-modern Mediterranean cartography, Islamic visual culture in the Mediterranean, and Islamic civilisation.