When premodern Arab historians reconstructed the Islamic past, which criteria governed their use of previously-written sources? Was their worldview shaped by sectarian concerns, or did they value knowledge of all kinds for its own sake? In this talk, we will explore the wide-ranging archival mindset that shaped medieval Arabic history writing, via the rich and understudied chronicle of the Mamluk historian Ibn al-Furat. This, in turn, sheds unique light on epistemological values and intellectual culture in the premodern Islamicate world.
Dr Fozia Bora is Associate Professor of Islamic History at the University of Leeds. She took her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Oxford, and worked as a journalist before returning to academic life. Her monograph Writing History in the Medieval Islamic World – The Value of Chronicles as Archives was published by I B Tauris in June 2019. Her previous article ‘Did Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn Destroy the Fatimids’ Books? An Historiographical Enquiry’ was awarded the Royal Asiatic Society’s Staunton Prize for ‘outstanding work by an early career scholar’. Fozia is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia of Islam 3, a Council Member of the British Association of Islamic Studies and tweets at Islamicate History (@FoziaBora).
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