IMC 2004: Sessions

Session 318: Ramifications of Cultural Contact: Muslim and Other Communities

Monday 12 July 2004, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Ian Richard Netton, Department of Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 318-bArab Genealogical Literature as a Tool for the Writing of Early Islamic History: An Assessment
(Language: English)
Maya Yazigi, Department of Classical, Near Eastern & Religious Studies, University of British Columbia
Index terms: Genealogy and Prosopography, Islamic & Arabic Studies
Paper 318-cMedieval Muslim Rhetorical Arguments for the Decline of Islamic Law: Prosopography, Plague and Death from the East
(Language: English)
R. Kevin Jaques, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington
Index terms: Genealogy and Prosopography, Islamic & Arabic Studies

grouped by Dionisius Agius (27/10/03):
Abstract paper a
From the perspectives of the field of medieval Islamic historiography and the study of the history of religions, Narshakhi’s Tar’ikh-i Bukhara offers valuable insights into several issues: the historical accuracy of the accounts of Central Asia’s ‘Islamization’ and the construction of the Islamic city in early Islamic Central Asia. The aim of this paper is to examine Narshakhi’s narration of the 8th-century Arab conquests of Bukhara and the subsequent rise of Islam. The second half of this paper concerns itself with the conversion of Bukhara, from its glorious Buddhist and Zoroastrian past, to its new stature as a city of renowned Muslims scholars and just rulers.

Abstract paper b
Many historians have utilized Arab genealogical literature to further our understanding of the early Islamic period. Yet, their reliance on this material has posed problems. They have all to some degree assumed that genealogical literature has value as a historical tool and used it accordingly, but none have explicitly explained and evaluated its historical uses. This paper will do exactly that. It will focus on evaluating Arabic genealogical literature, elucidating in some measure both its uses and its limitations, clarifying thereby the merits and the potential pitfalls of this historical tool.

Abstract paper c
This paper will examine a genre of prosopographic text known as ‘tabaqat’ (‘generations’) and what they can tell us about the decline of medieval Muslim legal and social institutions. It will be argued that tabaqat authors constructed their texts to argue that events such as the Crusades, the Mongol invasions, and the plagues devastated intellectual circles so much that independent intellectual thought came to an end by the late 16th century. This paper will be of interest to non-specialists in Islamic studies because of its focus on the rhetoric of prosopography and on the ramifications of cultural contact between Muslims and other communities in the medieval period.