Collaboration on book stamp / seal research

A few weeks ago, I asked on twitter if other people would be interested in pooling resources on book stamps / seals (both terms are viable from different perspectives, see below). There was some response, and considering how niche the topic has always been, that response seemed promising enough to me to spring into action. In this post, I will talk about how I envision a collaboration to move forward.

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How the Ottomans won over Damascus: A graphic short story

A while back, a book chapter of mine was published in the volume The Mamluk-Ottoman Transition. Continuity and Change in Egypt and Bilād al-Shām in the Sixteenth Century, edited by Stephan Conermann and Gül Şen. In this I investigated architectural policies of the Ottoman sultan Selim immediately following his occupation of Damascus.

I still stand by most of the points I made in this publication. But I was unhappy that the illustrations into which I had put so much work were printed rather small. Thus, this post brings them back and, on their basis, retells the story of how the Ottomans not only conquered but won over Damascus.

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Nature Made Absent? Environmental History and Arabic Manuscript Studies

This is the presentation I gave recently at the 2019 conference of the European Society of Environmental History in Tallinn, Estonia (21-24 August). The theme was “Boundaries in/of Environmental History” and the paper was given in James L. Smith’s panel:

What follows is my presentation with images as far as I can use them.

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Sufis in war: an update

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 “Sufis in war: an update”