• Local Histories from the Medieval Persianate World: Memory, Legitimacy, and the Early Islamic Past

    Mizan: Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations (view group) , Mimi Hanaoka
    Michael Pregill
    Mizan: Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations
    Iranians--Social life and customs, Islam, History, Central Asia
    Item Type:
    Persianate literature, Local histories, Medieval Islamic dynasties, Turkic dynasties, Iranian/Persian language, Iranian culture, Islamic history
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    Medieval Persianate local histories form a heterogeneous genre, but a trait these diverse texts share is that they perform a balancing act: they simultaneously respond to and challenge assumptions about the centrality of Arabs, Arabic, Arabia, Iraq, Syria, the ṣaḥābah (Companions of the Prophet), tābiʿūn (Successors of the Companions), Alids, sayyids, and sharīfs while at the same time claiming their own importance within these frameworks. Authors of Persianate local histories composed during the fourth/tenth- to ninth/early-fifteenth centuries argued for the legitimacy and centrality of their communities on the peripheries of empire by including narratives about descendants of the Prophet associated with the region addressed in the history, be it a city, town, or province; incorporating narratives of legitimating dreams and visions; associating ṣaḥābah with the land; highlighting sites of pious visitation (ziyārāt) and other sources of blessing or sacred power (barakah); and incorporating sacralizing etymologies. Within the larger discourse of Persian-language historical writing in the Islamicate world, there are different traditions, which may be distinguished by the varying modes of legitimacy to which they turn. Local histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm (Anatolia) written in the Persian language offer an instructive contrast to Persianate local histories centering on cities and regions of modern-day Iran and Central Asia. These histories about the Seljuqs of Rūm—which are the most similar extant types of histories from the Islamicate world to the Persianate local histories—are contemporary with the Persianate local histories and are from a geographically contiguous region.
    This is a stable archival PDF of an open-access, peer-reviewed journal article originally published at www.mizanproject.org/journal/.
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    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago


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