Ali al-Sharafi’s nautical atlases and rectangular world map: A 16th-century lingua franca of the Mediterranean & the Black Sea & its translation into a map of Eurasia and Africa

Professor Sonja Brentjes
Wednesday, 19 February 2020

This seminar presents new research on the works of ‘Ali al-Sharafi, produced between 1551 and 1579 in his hometown Sfax and in Qayrawan. This represents the work conducted by the speaker and two colleagues who have cooperatively worked on nearly 20 research projects on translation as cultural practice in the early modern period.  The focus of these projects has been to understand the senses in which ‘Ali al-Sharafi translated Majorcan, Italian, Arabic and Ottoman Turkish source materials and knowledge traditions when producing his two atlases and one rectangular world map.

Professor Sonja Brentjes studied mathematics at the Technical University Dresden (1969-1973) and Near Eastern culture and languages at the Martin Luther University in Halle/Saale-Wittenberg (1978-1982). She wrote her Ph D in history of mathematics (1977) and her habilitation in history of science (1989) at the Karl Marx University in Leipzig. She specialized in history of science in Islamicate societies (mathematics, institutions, mapmaking) to which she added studies on early modern European travellers to the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, medieval mapmaking in the Mediterranean and visual representations of the heavens in Eurasia and North Africa. She is currently editing a Routledge Handbook on the Sciences in Islamicate Societies. 

(Seminars start at 5.00 p.m.)