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Routes and Realms: The Power of Place in the Early Islamic World (Paperback)
  • Routes and Realms: The Power of Place in the Early Islamic World (Paperback)
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Routes and Realms: The Power of Place in the Early Islamic World (Paperback)

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£21.99
Paperback 234 Pages / Published: 15/01/2015
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Routes and Realms explores the ways in which Muslims expressed attachment to land from the ninth through the eleventh centuries, the earliest period of intensive written production in Arabic. In this groundbreaking first book, Zayde Antrim develops a "discourse of place," a framework for approaching formal texts devoted to the representation of territory across genres. The discourse of place included such varied works as topographical histories, literary anthologies, religious treatises, world geographies, poetry, travel literature, and maps. By closely reading and analyzing these works, Antrim argues that their authors imagined plots of land primarily as homes, cities, and regions and associated them with a range of claims to religious and political authority. She contends that these are evidence of the powerful ways in which the geographical imagination was tapped to declare loyalty and invoke belonging in the early Islamic world, reinforcing the importance of the earliest regional mapping tradition in the Islamic world. Routes and Realms challenges a widespread tendency to underestimate the importance of territory and to over-emphasize the importance of religion and family to notions of community and belonging among Muslims and Arabs, both in the past and today.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780190227159
Number of pages: 234
Weight: 352 g
Dimensions: 234 x 157 x 14 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Antrim's study...will effectively stimulate discussion on the very nature (and study) of early Islamic geography. * Paul L. Heck, Journal of Historical Geography *
Zayde Antrim's monograph provides a guided tour through the menagerie of literatures that poets, litterateurs, religious schoalrs, travel writers , and geographers of this vast empire devised between the ninth and twelfth centuries. * American Historical Review *
Most of the texts Antrim uses will be very familiar to scholars of early Islamic history, but she has a talent for reading these in new, engaging and informative ways. Antrim has produced an innovative analysis of real importance which should be considered carefully by all who work on early Islamic history and the Arabic and Persian literary texts of the period. * Harry Munt, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies *
The first comprehensive study of land and belonging in the premodern Islamic world Routes and Realms is a welcome addition to the study of medieval Muslim history. It challenges us to think about identity and belonging in new and compelling ways. It employs an innovative methodology for the analysis of texts that traverse conventional disciplinary boundaries and that highlights their extra-textual significance. It successfully makes the case for regionalism as a powerful category of belonging during the medieval period. * Steve Tamari, H-Net Reviews *
Antrim's findings have ramifications for historians of the modern period. As ethnosymbolists have argued, pre-existing notions of a homeland, of the kind that Antrim traces in classical Arabic literature, are a necessary condition for the emergence of nationalism. But the complexity of the notions of home vs. nonhome, inside vs. outside, and local vs. stranger that she highlights contributes to an understanding of the alternative and competing types of nationalism that have emerged in the Middle East in the twentieth century, that is, pan-Arabism and pan-Islamic nationalism as well as nationalism at the level of individual countries. * Ahmed El Shamsy, American Historical Review *
By exhaustively delineating early Muslim attitudes toward homeland, city, and regional identity, Zayde Antrim shows how early Muslims did, in fact, create their own ways of relating to the land beneath and around them, and hence a discourse of place with which any modern notions of nationhood would have needed to contend. It is a rare thing when the study of premodern history can enliven modern debates, but Antrim's work is one of those rarities. * Paul M. Cobb, University of Pennsylvania *
Zayde Antrim's most significant contribution is that she challenges the dominant view that explains the rise of nationalism in the Middle East as a byproduct of the nineteenth century encounter with Europe. By critiquing this widely disseminated position, Antrim allows scholars of medieval and modern Middle East to realize that the concept of homeland represents at the same time continuity and change with the classical period, and therefore nationalism has invoked in the mind of medieval and modern Middle Easterners a complex web of legacies. She reminds us that good scholarship should be meticulous research and not speculation. * Suleiman A. Mourad, Smith College *

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