The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is holding its annual conference, one of the largest gatherings of scholars working on the history of the greater Middle East and North Africa region from Late Antiquity to the present, in the amazing city of New Orleans this November. Based on the conference program (available here or here), it looks like a particularly good year to attend, with excellent panels covering a wide range of topics and chronologies.
The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century is a shortened version of the three volumes of Igor de Rachewiltz’s similarly-titled work published by Brill in 2004 and 2013. It includes the full translation with a few notes, but omits the extensive introduction explaining the nature and origin of the text, the detailed commentary concerning linguistic and historical aspects of the text, and the exhaustive bibliography of the original. Included are the genealogical table and two maps from 2004, a shorter version of two indexes, and a very brief list of works cited.
The first Islamic manuscript to enter the Library was a copy of the Qur’an donated in 1631 by the Arabic scholar William Bedwell. Since that time the Library’s Islamic manuscripts collection has grown in size and diversity to over 5,000 items. They shed a light on many aspects of the culture of the Islamic world, its beliefs and learning. Such a collection was amassed over subsequent centuries either from scholarly collectors or purchased by skilled librarians to add more depth to the already impressive range of treasures. But this extraordinary collection has remained relatively unknown outside the Library. Today, the aim is to change this with a number of different approaches. We are creating a fully searchable online catalogue of the manuscripts and digitising a selection of the most beautiful and interesting texts to make them available to the international scholarly community anywhere in the world via the internet. At the same time, the practical care of the original items, carried out by our own skilled conservators, will ensure their long-term survival for future generations. The Islamic manuscripts collection is supported within the Library by a team of specialists whose knowledge and skills, whether academic, practical or technical, aim to bring them to the attention of researchers. But only with a sustained programme of scholarly co-operation with experts outside the Library can the full content and significance of these texts be realised and their place in the wider context of Islamic scholarship become established.
This may not be news to many people, but I recently found out that Kansas City has its own version of the Giralda of Sevilla. The Giralda was originally a minaret constructed by the Almohad dynasty during the late 12th century and was part of the Great Mosque of Sevilla. Following the Castilian conquest of the city in 1248, the mosques was transformed into a cathedral and the minaret was re-purposed as a bell-tower.
(Giralda, Sevilla. Source)
This structure has inspired many imitations across the world, including one in Kansas City. Its reflects the Spanish Colonial Revival Style, a phenomenon that witnessed the construction of buildings in the United States that were modeled on medieval and early modern Spanish styles. In 1967, the association between Sevilla and Kansas City was formalized when the cities became Sister Cities. For more on the history of this structure in Kansas City and the plaza where it’s located, see https://www.visitkc.com/2017/06/27/today-i-learned-history-behind-country-club-plaza
(The Giralda of Kansas City. Source)
Greetings everyone! It had been my hope to upload some new content, but life has been a bit busier than usual over the past year or so. After (finally!) completing my PhD in History at the University of Chicago, I’ve had the honor of being appointed as a Junior Fellow in the Dartmouth Society of Fellows (Dartmouth College) during the past year. It was both a pleasure and a privilege to spend time among such eminent scholars, from whom I learned a great deal. As a lifelong city dweller, it took some adjustment to appreciate life in western New Hampshire over the past year, but it quickly started to feel like home. The intellectual exchanges at Dartmouth, to say nothing of the excellent resources provided by the fellowship, allowed me to spend some much-needed time rethinking my various projects, and beginning work on my book manuscript. This helped make the last year among the most enjoyable and intellectually stimulating of my life.