Cities in the Pre-Modern Islamic World: The Urban Impact of Religion, State and Society, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Cities in the Pre-Modern Islamic World

The Urban Impact of Religion, State and Society, 1st Edition

Edited by Amira K. Bennison, Alison L. Gascoigne


234 pages | 29 B/W Illus.

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This volume is an inter-disciplinary endeavour which brings together recent research on aspects of urban life and structure by architectural and textual historians and archaeologists, engendering exciting new perspectives on urban life in the pre-modern Islamic world. Its objective is to move beyond the long-standing debate on whether an ‘Islamic city’ existed in the pre-modern era and focus instead upon the ways in which religion may (or may not) have influenced the physical structure of cities and the daily lives of their inhabitants. It approaches this topic from three different but inter-related perspectives: the genesis of ‘Islamic cities’ in fact and fiction; the impact of Muslim rulers upon urban planning and development; and the degree to which a religious ethos affected the provision of public services.

Chronologically and geographically wide-ranging, the volume examines thought-provoking case studies from seventh-century Syria to seventeenth-century Mughal India by established and new scholars in the field, in addition to chapters on urban sites in Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Central Asia.

Cities in the Pre-Modern Islamic World will be of considerable interest to academics and students working on the archaeology, history and urbanism of the Middle East as well as those with more general interests in urban archaeology and urbanism.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Amira K. Bennison The Genesis of ‘Islamic’ Cities 2. An Urban Structure for the Early Islamic City: An Archaeological Hypothesis Donald Whitcomb 3. The Foundation Legend of Fez and other Islamic Cities in Light of the Life of the Prophet Simon O’Meara 4. The City of Sultan Kala, Merv, Turkmenistan: Communities, Neighbourhoods and Urban Planning from the Eighth to Thirteenth Centuries Tim Williams Power and the City 5. Power and the City in the Islamic West from the Umayyads to the Almohads Amira K. Bennison 6. Ceremonial and Sacred Space in Early Fatimid Cairo Jonathan M. Bloom 7. Fîrûzkûh: The Summer Capital of the Ghurids David Thomas 8. Fathpur Sikri and Isfahan: The Founding and Layout of Capital Cities in Mughal India and Safavid Iran Stephen P. Blake The Impact of Religion on Urban Life 9. The Water Supply of Tinnîs: Public Amenities and Private Investments Alison L. Gascoigne 10. Health, Spirituality and Power in Medieval Iberia: The Mâristân and its Role in Nasrid Granada Athena C. Syrakoy 11. Commerce and Spirituality: The Urbanism of Ridwân Bey Nicholas Warner

About the Editors

Amira K. Bennison is Senior Lecturer in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge. She has worked extensively on the history of the Maghrib and Islamic Spain. Her list of publications includes Jihad and Its Interpretations in Pre-Colonial Morocco (London: Routledge, 2002).

Alison L. Gascoigne is the holder of a British Academy post-doctoral fellowship in Islamic archaeology at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge University. She has worked extensively in the field on the archaeology of urbanism in Egypt and Afghanistan.

About the Series

SOAS/Routledge Studies on the Middle East

This series features the latest disciplinary approaches to Middle Eastern Studies. It covers the Social Sciences and the Humanities in both the pre-modern and modern periods of the region. While primarily interested in publishing single-authored studies, the series is also open to edited volumes on innovative topics, as well as textbooks and reference works.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Middle East / General
RELIGION / Islam / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies