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The Price of Salvation:
The Medieval Islamic Economy as Contested Terrain

Michael Bonner
(University of Michigan)


Tuesday, February 21 / 4:00 pm / HSSB 4020

The unitary Caliphate of the fi rst two or three centuries of Islam is often portrayed as a golden age, including in the economic domain, where its achievements were indeed considerable. At the same time, we can detect plenty of disagreement and confl ict in this area. In modern scholarship we have the convergence of several debates over the emergence of Islamic law, the character of early Arabic historiography, and other things. Meanwhile,
a fresh look at the events and developments of that time (so far as possible) also reveals confl ict and contestation, for instance, between eastern and western Arabia at the time of the rise of Islam, and between patrimonial elites and their adversaries in the early Caliphate.

mMichael Bonner is Professor of Medieval Islamic History in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. He received his PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University in 1987. His publications include Jihad in Islamic History: Doctrines and Practices (Princeton University Press, 2006, 2007), and Poverty and Charity in Middle Eastern Contexts, co-edited with Amy Singer and Mine Ener (SUNY Press, 2003). He has recently completed a translation of Image of the Earth by the tenth-century Arabic geographical writer Ibn Hawqal. He has been a Helmut S. Stern Fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities, and Professeur Invité at the Institut d’Etudes de l’Islam et des Sociétés du Monde Musulman, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, as well as Chaire de l’Institut du Monde Arabe, also in Paris. He was Director of the University of Michigan Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies in 1997-2000 and 2001-2003, and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies in 2007-08 and 2010-14.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies



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