In my article “Between Beirut, Cairo, and Damascus: Al-amr bi-al-maʿrūf and the Sufi/Scholar Dichotomy in the Late Mamluk Period (1480s–1510s)” I proposed that several groups named in the sources as Sufis could have resembled paramilitary groups. They were viewed as cohesive bodies of men exactly because they would act as such in military conflicts, being called upon or pledging allegiance to one faction or other. Continue reading
In 2015, I attended the conference Domestic Devotions in the Early Modern World, 1400-1800 at the University of Cambridge. The project was organized (very well, I would add,) by the ERC project Domestic Devotions: The Place of Piety in the Italian Renaissance Home. In early 2019, the resulting edited volume has been published in the Brill series Intersections.
2018 was easily the most successful year of this outlet yet. New pieces have been published at at a very stable rate of at least two per month. Almost by accident Sunday has been established as the regular day of publication. Some of them, such as “Let’s talk survival bias“, have received considerable attention (by my standards) on twitter. And for the first time, the number of monthly visitors reached four digits. The main reason for this summarizing post is therefore my own joy over this great response.
Writer’s block is a common experience among academics and other writers alike, let alone students. I have suffered from it numerous times while preparing—and I still am—my book proposal and the corresponding manuscript. And I experienced this blog as much a distraction from doing those more important things as an aide to progressing with those things. And today I will just relate some of those experiences and how one can use a blog to one’s advantage in writing, especially when long-term projects are concerned.
The Journal of Islamic Manuscripts has just published its newest iteration, a special issue on manuscript notes. The editor Boris Liebrenz is well-known as an authority on this “marginal” topic. My contribution looks in particular at four manuscripts today held at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and traces their historical trajectories from Ibn Ṭūlūn’s original book endowment until their acquisition by Chester Beatty. Continue reading