Wednesday, 30 November 2022, 06.00 PM-07.30 PM
This talk analyzes the texture, richness, and complexity of intellectual life at the late Mamluk court. By focusing on how members of the court voiced, affirmed, and negotiated various identities in the areas of law, gender, and Quranic exegesis, the talk demonstrates that late Mamluk court culture was characterized by a much higher level of internal diversity and intellectual activity than heretofore assumed. This analysis of Mamluk court culture is based on a close reading of accounts of the majālis or learned salons that the penultimate Mamluk ruler Qāniṣawh al-Ghawrī convened at the Cairo Citadel during most of his reign, which lasted from 1501 to 1516. The accounts of these events allow unique insights into how members of al-Ghawrī’s court developed novel intellectual strategies that addressed the legal, political, and theological challenges of the day and contributed to a vibrant scholarly life during a period that is still all too often associated with an alleged cultural decline of the Islamic world.
Christian Mauder (PhD 2017, University of Göttingen) is an intellectual, religious, and social historian of the Islamic world, with a focus on the late middle and early modern periods. Since 2020, he serves as associate professor in the study of religions at the University of Bergen. Before coming to Bergen, he completed postdoctoral appointments at Yale University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New York University Abu Dhabi, and the University of Bonn. He is the author of the monographs In the Sultan’s Salon: Learning, Religion and Rulership at the Mamluk Court of Qāniṣawh al-Ghawrī (r. 1501–1516) (Brill, 2021) and Gelehrte Krieger: Die Mamluken als Träger arabischsprachiger Bildung nach al-Ṣafadī, al-Maqrīzī und weiteren Quellen (Olms, 2012) and co-edited the volumes Roads to Paradise: Eschatology and Concepts of the Hereafter in Islam (Brill, 2017), Koran in Franken: Überlegungen und Beispiele für Koranrezeption in fremden Kontexten (Ergon, 2016), and Die arabischen Briefe aus der Zeit der Herrnhuter Präsenz in Ägypten 1770–1783.
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