Reader in Islamic History
Location Arts Two 3.29
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8362
I am a historian of the social, cultural and legal aspects of life in the Islamic, Arabic-speaking Middle East in its Middle Ages, from about 1000 to 1500 AD.
My work mostly relates to the history of the Islamic Middle East under the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk dynasties. My main focus is the history of everyday life and the relatively unexplored history of women, slaves and peasants. I am also interested in the history of Islamic medieval maps.
My research has followed the following routes:
- Women and gender in medieval Islam
- History of Islamic law
- Medieval Islamic maps
- Peasants and nomads in the medieval Islam
Current PhD Students
I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:
- Fatimid, Ayyubid or Mamluk history
- History of Islamic law
- Family life in medieval Islam
- History of Islamic cartography
- Ibn Taymiyyah and his legacy
Women and gender in medieval Islam
- Marriage, Money and Divorce in Medieval Islamic Society (link is external) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Translated into Arabic الزواج والمال والطلاق في المجتمع الإسلامي في العصور الوسطى. القاهرة: تراث البحوث والدراسات. 2016.
- Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, His Wife, Her Slave-girl: romantic triangles and polygamy in fifteenth-century Cairo”, Annales islamologiques 47 (2013), 327-351.
- With Simon Swain, "The Islamic Family: Aspects of Bryson's Influence", in Simon Swain, Economy, Family, and Society from Rome to Islam. A Critical Edition, English Translation, and Study of Bryson's Management of the Estate, (Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 349-63.
- “Women and Gender in Mamluk Society – an Overview”, Mamlūk Studies Review, 11, 2 (November 2007), 1-45.
- Marriage, Money and Divorce in Medieval Islamic Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
- “Ibn Taymiyya on Divorce Oaths”, in A. Levanoni and M. Winter (eds.), The Mamluks in Egyptian and Syrian Politics and Society (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 191-217.
- “Divorce and the Elite Household in Late Medieval Cairo”, Continuity and Change 16/2 (August 2001), 201-18.
- “Matrimonial Gifts in Early Islamic Egypt”, Islamic Law and Society, 7/1 (February 2000), 1-36.
History of Islamic law
- “Royal Justice and Religious Law: Siyāsah and Sharīʿah under the Mamluks”, Mamluk studies Review XVI (2012).
- Co-editor, With Shahab Ahmad , Ibn Taymiyya and His Times, Proceedings of a conference held at Princeton University, 8-10 April 2005 (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2010); with Shahab Ahmed, “Introduction”, 3-20.
- “Ibn Taymiyya’s radical legal thought: Rationalism, pluralism and the primacy of intention”, in Y. Rapoport and S. Ahmad (eds.), Ibn Taymiyya and His Times, Proceedings of a conference held at Princeton University, 8-10 April 2005 (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2010), 191-226.
- "Legal Diversity in the Age of Taqlīd: The Four Chief Qadis under the Mamluks", Islamic Law and Society, 10/2 (2003), 210-228.
Medieval Islamic maps
- With Emilie Savage-Smith, An Eleventh-Century Egyptian Guide to the Universe. The 'Book of Curiosities', edited with an annotated translation (Leiden: Brill, 2014)
- “The Nile in medieval Islamic maps”, in Charles Burnett , Pavel Blazek and Alessandro Scafi (eds.), The Nile in Medieval Thought and Culture (forthcoming, 2013).
- “Reflections of Fatimid Power in the Maps of Island cities in the ‘Book of Curiosities”, in Martina Stercken / Ingrid Baumgärtner (Eds.), Herrschaft verorten. Politische Kartographie des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, (Medienwandel - Medienwechsel - Medienwissen), (Zürich: Chronos, 2012), 183–210.
- “The View from the South: The Maps of the Book of Curiosities and the Commercial Revolution of the Eleventh Century”, in R. Margariti, A. Sabra and P. Sijpesteijn (eds.), Histories of the Middle East: Studies in Middle Eastern Society, Economy, and Law in Honor of A.L. Udovitch (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 183–212 and Figs. 1–3.
- “The Book of Curiosities: A Medieval Islamic View of the East”, in The Journey of Maps and Images on the Silk Road, ed. by Philippe Forêt and Andreas Kaplony. Brill's Inner Asian Library, vol. 21 (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 151-171.
- With Emilie Savage-Smith, “The Book of Curiosities and a unique map of the world”, in Richard Talbert and Richard Unger (eds.), Cartography in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Fresh Perspectives, New Methods (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 121-138.
- Website: With Emilie Savage-Smith, The Book of Curiosities: A critical edition.
Peasants and nomads in the medieval Islam
- With Ido Shahar, "Irrigation in medieval Islamic Fayyum: Local Control in a Large Scale Hydraulic System”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 55 (2012), 1-31.
Islamic History - General
"New Directions in the Social history of the Mamluk Era", in Stephan Connermann (ed.), History and Society during the Mamluk Period (1250-1517). Studies of the Annemarie Schimmel Research College, volume 1 (Bonn University Press, 2014), 143-157.
"Gu Yanwu and Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406): The Risks of Returning the Gaze", Fragments Volume 1 (2011), 88-93
Member of editorial board of Islamic Law and Society