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Looking Back at Al-Andalus: The Poetics of Loss and Nostalgia in Medieval Arabic and Hebrew Literature

28 Feb 2009-
TL;DR: The authors examines the literary definition of al-Andalus by taking into account the role of memory, language, and literary convention in analyses of texts composed following cultural and political challenges to Arab hegemony in the Iberian Peninsula.
Abstract: Through an examination of a variety of literary genres composed in Arabic and Hebrew, this book examines the literary definition of al-Andalus by taking into account the role of memory, language, and literary convention in analyses of texts composed following cultural and political challenges to Arab hegemony in the Iberian Peninsula.
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01 Jan 2018
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors reinterpreted the Mudéjar style of the Alcazar of Seville as a cosmopolitan Islamicate culture that coexisted among residents in al-Andalus, including ruling Christians, minority Muslims or Jewish subjects, and neighboring political and religious antagonists.
Abstract: At the height of the Reconquista c. 1340 CE, Christian King Alfonso XI of Castile-León constructed a new throne room to commemorate his victory over Muslim forces from neighboring Granada and North Africa. The throne room called the Sala de la Justicia (Hall of Justice) was built almost entirely in the Mudéjar style, a style that looked Islamic in nature and included inscriptions in Arabic, several referencing the Qur’an, but predominantly intended for non-Muslims. The construction of this throne room in the Alcazar of Seville, a palace built by the Muslims and later used as the royal residence for the conquering Christians, has puzzled scholars due to its clearly Islamicate design being used in a new construction by a Christian ruler against a backdrop of the Crusades and the Reconquista in Spain. Raising further questions was the construction of the Alcazar’s Mudéjar palace by Alfonso XI’s son Pedro I between 13641366 CE. This new construction mirrored designs in the neighboring Alhambra of Granada, a territory still controlled by Muslims, which even employed some of the same artisans. Attempts to interpret the Mudéjar designs utilized by Christians was further exacerbated by the same design style appearing in new buildings and additions by non-ruling Christians, Muslims, and Jews across al-Andalus, among them residential and religious buildings including churches and synagogues. This project re-examines these constructions through the lens of a cultural history reveal a shared culture and visual language that existed between the Castilian Christians, their Muslim antagonists and the minority populations of Christians, Muslims, and Jews living in alAndalus over the course of several hundred years, reaching its apex in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Participation in this shared culture by members of the three confessional communities was enabled because it existed separately from any specific political or religious affiliations which would otherwise be prohibitive. In this proposed re-interpretation, a cosmopolitan Islamicate culture coexisted among residents in al-Andalus, including ruling Christians, minority Muslim or Jewish subjects, and neighboring political and religious antagonists. Ultimately, it is this shared Islamicate culture that best explains the Christian constructions in the Alcazar of Seville. INDEX WORDS: Islamicate, Cosmopolitanism, Alcazar, Seville, Mudéjar, al-Andalus AN ISLAMICATE HISTORY OF THE ALCAZAR OF SEVILLE: MUDÉJAR ARCHITECTURE AND SHARED ANDALUSI CULTURE (1252-1369 CE)

32 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper analyzed two accounts of the Hispano-Moroccan War of 1859-60 in light of scholarly debates about historiography, translation, and modernity in the colonial context.
Abstract: This article analyzes two accounts of the Hispano-Moroccan War of 1859–60 in light of scholarly debates about historiography, translation, and modernity in the colonial context. The first text is Ahmad b. Khalid al-Nasiri's Kitab al-Istiqsa (1895), which explores the organization of the Spanish army in an effort to understand the military technology and state apparatus behind colonial domination. The second text, Clemente Cerdeira's Version arabe de la Guerra de Africa (1917), is framed as an annotated Spanish translation of al-Nasiri's text, but Cerdeira suppresses key passages from al-Nasiri's account in order to undermine any hint that the Moroccan historian's thinking is reformist or modern. By comparing these two accounts of the same war, the article aims to situate al-Nasiri's text within the reform movements that spread through the Muslim Mediterranean in the 19th century and to use al-Nasiri's historical thinking as a model for theorizing Moroccan modernity.

13 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper showed that early modern neoclassical Arab poets drew upon the Arab-Islamic heritage, turāth, to provide their interpretation and even critique of the late Ottoman period, and that this refraction played a crucial role in shaping the vision of nahḍa, because Shawqī, like other Arab thinkers, believed that the empire needed to go through a renaissance after the Balkan Wars.
Abstract: This article reassesses the typical scholarly projection of Turk–Arab relations in the late Ottoman Empire as an imperial center hegemonizing the Arab periphery. The article demonstrates that early modern neoclassical Arab poets drew upon the Arab-Islamic heritage, turāth, to provide their interpretation and even critique of the late Ottoman period. As a case study, I give a close reading of Aḥmad Shawqī’s poem on the Balkan Wars (1912–1913), “The New al-Andalus.” My reading departs from the common assumption that Shawqī’s pan-Ottomanist poems express uncritical admiration for the caliphate. Through revealing the nuanced interpretive dynamics in Shawqī’s poem, I draw upon translation theory and propose that early modern neoclassical poetry refracted rather than reflected political transformations of its period. This refraction played a crucial role in shaping the vision of nahḍa, because Shawqī, like other Arab thinkers, believed that the empire needed to go through “renaissance” after the Balkan ...

7 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article explored the rhetorical function of al-Andalus (medieval Spain) in modern Syrian popular culture, with a focus on music, and found that musical genres linked to Andalus play an important role as potent vehicles for constructing Syrian memory cultures, drawing on heavily mythologized and nostalgic visions of an Andalusian golden age.
Abstract: This article explores the rhetorical function of al-Andalus (medieval Spain) in modern Syrian popular culture, with a focus on music. The rhetoric of al-Andalus in Syria is intimately related to the project of nation building. The nostalgic performance of links between modern Syria and medieval al-Andalus assumed great rhetorical force in the 1960s as a result of ideologies of pan-Arabism, the loss of Palestine, the rise of Islamist threats at home, and the emergence of petrodollar regimes in the Arabian Gulf. As a result, the rhetoric of al-Andalus became “good to think” for wide audiences of Syrians. Musical genres linked to al-Andalus play an important role as potent vehicles for constructing Syrian memory cultures. Drawing on heavily mythologized and nostalgic visions of an Andalusian golden age, musical performance in Syria sonically reinforces forms of nostalgic remembrance and enacts claims on Syrian pasts, presents, and futures.

6 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
30 Apr 2017-Hispania
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a comprehensive analysis of the information that Arab sources bring about the conquest of Seville by Ferdinand III of Castile in 646 h/1248.
Abstract: The conquest of Seville by Ferdinand III of Castile in 646 h/1248 is one of the decisive events of the process of political and territorial expansion developed by the Crown of Castile during the thirteenth century. This article presents, for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of the information that Arab sources bring about this episode, which has not been hitherto the subject of a detailed treatment. This information, broadly compatible with Christian sources, has a particular interest in relation to three specific issues: the chronology of the conquest and the handover process of the city from Muslims to Christians, the vision of the vanquished and the fate of the Muslim population.

5 citations