Research

Oxford PhD Thesis uses KITAB to Assess Reception History of Major Arabic Book on the Early Caliphate

The Futūḥ al-buldān by Aḥmad Ibn Yaḥyā al-Balādhurī (died c. 892) is a most important source for our knowledge of the early Islamic caliphate. In his 2016 Oxford PhD thesis, Ryan Lynch uses KITAB to identify the types of material that later authors borrowed from the Futūḥ. He is the first scholar to extensively study the reception of the Futūḥ and shows the significant impact al-Balādhurī’s book had on subsequent generations. Later authors liberally borrowed from al-Balādhurī’s book, often without giving him credit. A famous work on geography from the thirteenth century known as the Mu‘jam al-buldān (Dictionary of Countries), for example, features verbatim material from almost every part of al-Balādhurī’s book – running from the Prophet Muḥammad’s hijra to Medina through to the conquests of South Asia.

Cultural Memory in the Pre-Modern Middle East: Köprülü 01589, A Library Manuscript

This paper features my first application of KITAB’s text reuse detection methods to a manuscript transcription. It was delivered Nov. 22, 2015 at the Middle East Studies Annual Meeting in Denver for a panel entitled “Imagining the Ummah.” The panel papers focused on the composition, meaning, and reception of sources pertaining to the first centuries of the Muslim community (600-1000). The paper’s contents (which reflect oral delivery, the audience, and the 20 minute time limit) will be revised, expanded, and incorporated into my 2017 University of Leiden LUCIS lectures. Read more…

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