Islamic Sciences


arabdhow

This is to note that I have received a research grant from the Qatar Foundation for a study of indigenous knowledge of the seasons and time-telling in the Gulf. I have created a separate webpage to indicate progress through updates on the progress. This page is at http://tabsir.net/?page_id=2903

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Economy and Material Culture in the Early Islamic Empire
Bi-Weekly, Wednesday, 4-6 pm CEST Starting April 6, 2016

Islamic Material Culture

The Universität Bonn (Bethany Walker), the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (Andreas Kaplony), The Bard Graduate Center in New York (Abigail Balbale), and Universität Hamburg (Stefan Heidemann) are co-operating in setting up a series of webinars in Archaeology of the Middle East, Arabic Papyrology, Islamic Arts and material Culture, and Numismatics of the Middle East.

Why Agriculture?

Why agriculture and the Early Islamic Empire in material culture? Not least Bulliet’s book about the cotton boom (2009) in the Early Empire has stimulated discourse about agriculture and elite culture of the Early Islamic Empire. The webinar tutorial explores different aspects of this agriculture boom in case studies from Central Asia to the Iberian Peninsula. We see a continuation and improvement in efficiency of established forms of irrigation from Late Antiquity to the Early Islamic Empire. The new Muslim elites turned into a landholding class establishing estates and luxurious mansions. The new imperial metropolises created an unprecedented demand in foodstuffs, which was answered by bringnig more land under cultivation and introducing more efficient ways of production. Food had to be transported, and maritime and river routes were established. While some of these developments can be explored through text, material culture and archaeology allows new ways to see this boom in detail. Guest lecturers will include Corisande Fenwick (University College London), Abigale Balbale (The Bard Graduate Center, New York), Sören Stark, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World), and Kristoffer Damgaard (Carsten Niebuhr Institute, Copenhagen), and Bethany Walker (Universität Bonn).

The webinar is part of the ‘Webinar Initiative in Islamic Material Culture’ jointly organized by the Bard Graduate Center, New York, Universität Bonn, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, and Universität Hamburg.
Prerequisites for participation

Spoken and written proficiency in English language. The course is open to all advanced students in B.A., M.A., and PhD programs of Islamic studies, historians, art historians, and archaeologists of the Middle East. All students need a computer, a reliable internet connection, and a headset. In a personal online short skype interview in early April 2016, we will check whether all technical assets are working. Students from Hamburg have to sign up in the campus system ‘Stine’ and to contact Stefan Heidemann as early as possible to register and get the necessary introduction to the technology. Students from universities other than Universität Hamburg are welcome and have to apply with a short CV and a motivation letter in English until March, 15, 2016. These will be emailed to Prof. Stefan Heidemann at: stefan.heidemann@uni-hamburg.de. Preference is given to students from universities within the network of the webinar initiative “Islamic Material Culture”.

http://www.aai.uni-hamburg.de/voror/Personal/agricultural-empire-sommer-2016.html

menalab

MENALib is a major resource for find e-texts, manuscripts, etc.

The Digital Islamic Humanities Project at Brown University is pleased to announce its third annual conference, titled “Distant Reading and the Islamic Archive,” which will be held on Friday, October 16, 2015.

Paper abstracts and the full event program may be found on the conference website (http://islamichumanities.org/conference-2015/).

Please note that event will be live-streamed over the web. You may access the webcast beginning tomorrow morning (Friday) at 9:00 am EST.

Speakers and paper titles:

David Vishanoff, “A Customizable Exaptive “Xap” for Charting Currents of Islamic Discourse across Multiple Bibliographic and Full Text Datasets”

Peter Verkinderen, José Antonio Haro Peralta, and Hannah-Lena Hagemann, “Which Muḥammad? Computer-Based Tools for the Identification of Moving Elites in the Early Islamic Empire”

Alexander Magidow & Yonatan Belinkov, “Digital Philology and the History of Written Arabic”

Elias Muhanna, “Modeling Mannerism in Classical Arabic Poetry”

Maxim Romanov, “al-Ḏahabī’s Monster: Dissecting a 50-Volume Arabic Chronicle-cum-Biographical Collection From the 14th Century CE”

Seyed Mohammad Bagher Sajadi & Mohammad Sadegh Rasooli, “Automatic Proper Names Extraction from Old Islamic Literature”

Karen Pinto, “MIME and Other Digital Experimentations with Medieval Islamic Maps”

Nir Shafir, “Distant Reading the Material and Bibliographic Record of the Early Modern Islamic Archive”

Eric van Lit, “A Digital Approach for Production and Transmission of Knowledge in Islamic Intellectual History”

Taimoor Shahid, “Mobile Ethics: Travel and Cosmopolitanism in the Islamic Archive”

The Library of Congress has a very nice website with online resources regarding its collection of Near Eastern materials.

Here is a short review of an exciting new book:

Marwa Elshakry, Reading Darwin in Arabic, 1860-1950 University of Chicago, 2013.

by Carla Nappi on May 23, 2014, New Books in Science, Technology and Society

The work of Charles Darwin, together with the writing of associated scholars of society and its organs and organisms, had a particularly global reach in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Marwa Elshakry’s new book offers a fascinating window into the ways that this work was read and rendered in modern Arabic-language contexts. Reading Darwin in Arabic, 1860-1950 (University of Chicago Press, 2013) invites us into a late nineteenth-century moment when the notions of “science” and “civilization” mutually transformed one another, and offers a thoughtful and nuanced account of the ways that this played out for scholars working and writing in Syria and Egypt. The early chapters of Elshakry’s book focus on the central role played by popular science journals like Al-Muqtataf (The Digest) in translating and disseminating Darwin’s ideas. We meet Ya’qub Sarruf & Faris Nimr, young teachers at the Syrian Protestant College who were instrumental in translating scientific works into Arabic there and, later, in Egypt. An entire chapter looks closely at Isma’il Mazhar’s work producing the first verbatim translation of Darwin’s Origin of Species into Arabic, but the book also looks well beyond Darwin to consider broader Arabic discourses on the relationship between science and society, as those discourses were shaped by engagements with the work of Herbert Spencer, Ludwig Büchner, and many others. Elshakry pays special attention to the ways that this story is embedded in the histories of print culture, the politics of empire, and debates over educational reform, materialism, and socialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and concludes with a consideration of the continuing reverberations of these issues into late twentieth century Egypt and beyond. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the entanglements of science, translation, and empire in the modern world, and it will change the way we understand the place of Arabic interlocutors in the history of modern science.


Sackler Gallery Smithonian Institution S1986.97aPhysician with two patients, Baghdad 1224 (Smithsonian Institution, Sackler Gallery SI986.97a)

[The Wellcome Trust is generously funding a joint University of Oxford/University of Warwick publishing project online of an important 13th century medical text. Read about it below and on their website.]

Kitāb ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ
كتاب عيون الأنباء في طبقات الأطباء

In the mid-13th century, a practising physician in Syria named Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah set himself the task of recording the history of medicine throughout the known world. His book The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians covers 1700 years of medical practice, from the mythological beginnings of medicine with Asclepius through Greece, Rome, and India, down to the author’s day. Written as much to entertain as to inform, it is not only the earliest comprehensive history of medicine but the most important and ambitious of the medieval period, incorporating accounts of over 442 physicians, their training, practice, and medical compositions, all interlaced with amusing poetry and anecdotes illustrating their life and character. The ‘Herodotean’ breadth of the book reflects the geographical and cultural reach of the Islamic empire. Written by a man who was a medic and a poet, this highly readable history reflects considerable medical experience and lies at the interface of the serious medical practice of the day with society’s interest in biography and gossip.

The Wellcome Trust is generously funding a joint University of Oxford/University of Warwick project that will make this remarkable historical source available for the first time in a reliable and readable translation and study, as well as a critical edition of the text itself, resulting in a step-change in our knowledge of medical history in Medieval Islam. For nearly 300 years attempts to translate this monumental work have failed owing to the extraordinary range of skills needed to tackle it. This joint project is the first to assemble a team of senior and junior scholars with the required skills and interests to make it happen.

As work proceeds during the three- and one-half-year project, samples of biographical entries will be placed on this web page, with an opportunity provided for general discussion and comment.

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