Routledge Handbook on the Sciences in Islamicate Societies : Practices from the 2nd/8th to the 13th/19th Centuries book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook on the Sciences in Islamicate Societies
Practices from the 2nd/8th to the 13th/19th Centuries

Edited By

Sonja Brentjes

ISBN 9781138047594
Published January 24, 2023 by Routledge
876 Pages 126 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge Handbook on the Sciences in Islamicate Societies provides a comprehensive survey on science in the Islamic world from the 8th to the 19th century.

Across six sections, a group of subject experts discuss and analyze scientific practices across a wide range of Islamicate societies. The authors take into consideration several contexts in which science was practiced, ranging from intellectual traditions and persuasions to institutions, such as courts, schools, hospitals, and observatories, to the materiality of scientific practices, including the arts and craftsmanship. Chapters also devote attention to scientific practices of minority communities in Muslim majority societies, and Muslim minority groups in societies outside the Islamicate world, thereby allowing readers to better understand the opportunities and constraints of scientific practices under varying local conditions.

Through replacing Islam with Islamicate societies, the book opens up ways to explain similarities and differences between diverse societies ruled by Muslim dynasties. This handbook will be an invaluable resource for both established academics and students looking for an introduction to the field. It will appeal to those involved in the study of the history of science, the history of ideas, intellectual history, social or cultural history, Islamic studies, Middle East and African studies including history, and studies of Muslim communities in Europe and South and East Asia.

Table of Contents


Sonja Brentjes

Part 1: Late Antiquity, translating and the formation of the sciences in Islamicate polities (1st BCH-7th/5th-13th centuries)

1.1. Translation as an enduring and widespread cultural practice

Sonja Brentjes

1.2. Multiple translation activities

Arash Zeini, Matteo Martelli, Paola Buzi, Alessandro Bausi, Peter Adamson

1.3. Translations in the mathematical sciences

Nathan Sidoli

1.4. Translations in medicine and the occult sciences into Arabic and Syriac and their contexts after 80/700

Peter E. Pormann

1.5. Geometry and its branches

Glen Van Brummelen

1.6. The astral sciences until the end of the Ilkhanid dynasty: Attitudes, experts and practices

Sonja Brentjes

1.7. Algebra and arithmetic

Jeffrey Oaks

1.8. Optics: experiments and applications

Johannes Thomann

1.9. Automata and balances

Constantin Canavas

1.10. Medicine

Peter E. Pormann

1.11. Natural philosophy

Andreas Lammer

1.12. Alchemy and the chemical crafts

Regula Forster

1.13. Geography and mapmaking

Michael Bonner

1.14. Physiognomy: science of intuition

Liana Saif

1.15. The Hieroglyphic script deciphered? An Arabic treatise on ancient and occult alphabets

Christopher Braun

1.16. Practices of Zoroastrian scholars before and after the advent of Islam

Götz König

1.17. Evaluating the past: scholarly views of ancient societies and their sciences

Ulrich Rudolph

Part 2: Scientific practices at courts, observatories and hospitals (2nd/8th-13th/19th centuries)

2.1. The emergence of Persian as a language of science

Hossein Kamaly

2.2. The emergence of a new scholarly language: the case of Ottoman Turkish

Ahmed Tunç Şen

2.3. Imperial demand and support

Eva Orthmann

2.4. The practice of pharmacy in later medieval Egypt

Leigh Chipman

2.5. Ottoman and Safavid health practices and institutions

Miriam Shefer-Mossensohn

2.6. Planetary theory

Amir Gamini

2.7. Practices of celestial observation

Sonja Brentjes and Amir Gamini

2.8. The practical aspects of Ottoman maps

Gottfried Hagen

2.9. Another Scientific Revolution: the occult sciences in theory and experimentalist practice

Matthew Melvin-Koushki

2.10. Arts, sciences and princely patronage at Islamicate courts (4th-11th/10th-17th centuries)

Yves Porter

2.11. Physiognomy (ʿilm-i firāset) and politics at the Ottoman court

Emin Lelić

Part 3: Learning and collecting institutions – debates and methods (3rd/9th-13th/19th centuries)

3.1. Libraries – beginnings, diffusion and consolidation

Lutz Richter-Bernburg

3.2. Madrasas and sciences

Sonja Brentjes and Abdelmalek Bouzari

3.3. Scientific matters in kalām (‘theology’)

Ulrich Rudolph

3.4. Ashʿarite occasionalist cosmology, al-Ghazālī and the pursuit of the natural sciences in Islamicate societies

Frank Griffel

3.5. The role of sense perception and "experience" (tajriba) in Arabic theories of science

Frank Griffel

3.6. Logic: didactics and visual representations

Johannes Thomann

3.7. Medical commentaries

Nahyan Fancy

3.8. Literary genres and visual representations in the astral sciences

Sonja Brentjes

Part 4: The materiality of the sciences (3rd/9th-13th/19th centuries)

4.1. The materiality of scholarship

Konrad Hirschler

4.2. Three-dimensional astronomy: celestial globes and armillary spheres

Taha Yasin Arslan

4.3. Projecting the heavens: astrolabes

Taha Yasin Arslan

4.4. Medical instruments

Fabian Käs

4.5. Alchemical equipment

Sébastien Moureau

4.6. Water and technology in the Islamicate world

Charlotte Schriwer

4.7. Arts and sciences in the Islamicate world

Anna Caiozzo

Part 5: Centers, regions, empires and the outskirts (3rd/9th-13th/19th centuries)

5.1. Mathematical knowledge fields in the Islamicate world: similarities and differences

Ahmed Djebbar

5.2. Jewish mathematical activities in medieval Islamicate societies and border zones

Naomi Aradi and Roy Wagner

5.3. Patronage and the practice of astrology in al-Andalus and the Maghrib

Julio Samsó

5.4. Anwāʾ and mīqāt in calendars and almanacs of the societies of al-Andalus and the Extreme Maghrib

Roser Puig Aguilar

5.5. Scholarly communities dedicated to the sciences in al-Andalus

Miquel Forcada

5.6. Post-Avicennan natural philosophy

Jon McGinnis

5.7. Cool and calming as the rose: pharmaceutical texts as tools of regional medical practices in early modern India

Deborah Schlein

5.8. Medical Practices and Cross-Cultural Interactions in Persianate South Asia

Fabrizio Speziale

5.9. Pre-Modern Ottoman perspectives on natural phenomena

Osman Süreyya Kocabaş

5.10. Scientific practices in sub-Saharan Africa

Marc Moyon

5.11. Medical practices in Tibet in inter-cultural contexts

Ronit Yoeli-Tllalim

5.12. Islamicate astral sciences in eastern Eurasia during the Mongol-Yuan dynasty (1271- 1368)

Yoichi Isahaya

5.13. Collation and articulation of Arabo-Persian scientific texts in early modern China

Dror Weil

5.14. The multiplicity of translating communities on the Iberian Peninsula

Alexander Fidora and José Luis Alexis Rivera Duque

Part 6: Encounters, conflicts, changes (4th-13th/10th-19th centuries)

6.1. Cross-communal scholarly interactions

Nathan Gibson and Ronny Vollandt

6.2. Which is the right qibla?

Mònica Rius

6.3. Were philosophers considered heretics in Islam?

Frank Griffel

6.4. Systems of knowledge: debating organization and changing relationships

Sonja Brentjes, Nahyan Fancy and Kenan Tekin

6.5. Embassies, trading posts, travelers and missionaries

Simon Mills

6.6. The sciences in two private libraries from Ottoman Syria

Boris Liebrenz

6.7. 13th/19th-century narratives and translations of science in the South Asian Islamicate world

Dhruv Raina and Irfan Habib

Consolidated Bibliography

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Sonja Brentjes is a historian of science in Islamicate societies and Christian Europe; she is an affiliated scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. Her research includes the history of the mathematical sciences, mapmaking, institutions, cross-cultural exchange of knowledge and the involvement of the arts in the sciences. Among her recent publications are Teaching and Learning the Sciences in Islamicate Societies, 800–1700 (2018); Brentjes, S., Edis, T. and Richter-Bernburg, L. 1001 Distortions: How (Not) to Narrate the History of Science, Medicine and Technology in Non-Western Cultures (2016) and Brentjes, S. "MS Paris, Bibliothèque des Missions Étrangères 1069: The French-Arabic Dictionary of François Pétis de la Croix (1653–1713)?" Mediterranea. International journal on the transfer of knowledge, 6 (2021), 57–84.

Peter Barker (Associate Editor) is Professor in the Department of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Oklahoma, USA. His research includes applying insights from cognitive psychology to conceptual change, and historical studies of the positive role of religion in early modern science and the cultural settings of major figures from the Scientific Revolution. Since learning Persian, he has begun work on knowledge exchanges between Safavid Persia and Mughal India. His recent publications include: "The Social Structure of Islamicate Science," Journal of World Philosophies, 3 (2017): 37-47; "The Copernican Revolution since Kuhn," in Wray K. B. (ed.) Interpreting Kuhn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021, 145-64, and "East-West Passages: European Interest in Islamicate Astronomy during the Scientific Revolution," in Mehl, É. et Pantin, I. (eds.), De mundi recentioribus phænomenis: Cosmologie et science dans l’Europe des Temps modernes, XVe-XVIIe siècles. Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming.

Rana Brentjes (Assistant Editor) is a photo designer and curator with a MA in contemporary art history and has submitted her PhD thesis in contemporary German history at Goldsmith College, London. She has curated art exhibitions in Berlin and Brandenburg, written on Palestinian cinematography and co-edits Imagining the Heavens across Eurasia from Antiquity to Early Modernity (2023). Currently, she is digital content curator of the research group "Visualization and Material Cultures of the Heavens" in Department III at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin.