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Al-Azhar and the Orders of Knowledge

Dahlia El-Tayeb M. Gubara

Title:
Al-Azhar and the Orders of Knowledge
Author(s):
Gubara, Dahlia El-Tayeb M.
Thesis Advisor(s):
Bulliet, Richard W.
Date:
Type:
Theses
Degree:
Ph.D., Columbia University
Department(s):
History
Persistent URL:
Geographic Area:
Africa
Egypt--Cairo
Abstract:
Founded by the Fatimids in 970 A.D., al-Azhar has been described variously as "the great mosque of Islam," "the brilliant one," "a great seat of learning...whose light was dimmed." Yet despite its assumed centrality, the illustrious mosque-seminary has elicited little critical study. The existing historiography largely relies on colonial-nationalist teleologies that are grounded in a strong centrifugal essentialism: positioning Cairo (and al-Azhar) at a center, around which faithfully revolve concentric peripheries. Setting its focus on the eighteenth century and beyond, this dissertation investigates the discursive postulates that organize the writing of the history of al-Azhar. Through textual explorations that pivot in space and time, it elucidates shifts in the entanglement of disciplines of knowledge with those of the self at a particular historical juncture and location. It thus locates al-Azhar in the modern order of knowledge, even as it imagines another intellectual universe bound by ideas, texts and authors who lived before and outside Europe: one which articulated itself in conceptual, epistemic, moral, social, cultural and institutional ways, modernity as such cannot not capture.
Subject(s):
Brain--Wounds and injuries
Societies
History
Islamic civilization
Islam--Customs and practices
Jāmiʻ al-Azhar
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Suggested Citation:
Dahlia El-Tayeb M. Gubara, , Al-Azhar and the Orders of Knowledge, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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