Photo : Al-Jazzar Mosque, Acre, Israel @ Wikipédia

Writing Islamicate History - Séminaire avec Konrad Hirschler (Universität Hamburg)

Dans le cadre du Séminaire de formation - Faire l’histoire du monde islamique, VIIe-XXe siècles, organisé par : Aurélia Dusserre, Julien Loiseau, Nicolas Michel, Mohamed Ouerfelli, Hayri Gökşin Özkoray et Camille Rhoné-Quer

Mercredi 2 mars 2022, 14h-16h, MMSH, salle Georges Duby, Aix-en-Provence

Writing Islamicate History: What is the contribution of Book History and how to do it? Par Konrad Hirschler, Professor for Middle Eastern History Universität Hamburg, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures / Islamwissenschaft.

Over the past decade the history of the book with subfields such as reading history and library history have emerged as major subjects of research in North African and West Asian history. The trend reflects wider reorientations in the field, including a stronger interest for the materiality of the objects we research, a distinctive opening to other disciplines and a focus on how different historical actors ascribed highly divergent meanings to texts. At the same time, the handwritten book has re-emerged as a central locus of research for mere practical reasons, namely easier (though not necessarily unproblematic) access to manuscripts as a result of the digitalisation of our scholarly practices. This seminar is aimed at reflecting on the reasons for this shift, the shape of its subfields, its potential for writing the wider history of the regions and practical research strategies.

After a broader introduction we will look at one example, the library founded by the Ottoman governor of the province of Sidon, Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar (d. 1804). While al-Jazzar is famous for his defeat of the Napoleonic troops, his library has so far remained unknown. Yet, this book collection was part of the most visible and enduring aspect of his long rule, a splendid mosque and madrasa complex at the economic and administrative center of his power in Acre. Even though this was a library on the cultural periphery of the Ottoman Empire, the holdings of this library included over 1,600 manuscripts, among them ‘ancient’ masterpieces such as the most important extant copy of Ibn al-Nadim’s al-Fihrist (today in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin). Consulter le programme complet du séminaire 2021-2022