"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Armenians in the Medieval Islamic World

Seta Dadoyan continues her trilogy, with the second volume just published, and the third due out later this year, on Armenian-Muslim relations. Volume II, published in January, is The Armenians in the Medieval Islamic World: Armenian Realpolitik in the Islamic World and Diverging ParadigmsCase of Cilicia Eleventh to Fourteenth Centuries (Transaction, 2013), 347pp.

About this book we are told:
In the second of a three-volume work, Seta B. Dadoyan explores the Armenian condition from the 970s to the end of the fourteenth century. This period marked the gradual loss of semi-autonomy on the traditional mainland and the rise of Armenian power of diverging patterns in southeastern Asia Minor, north Syria, Cilicia, and Egypt. Dadoyan’s premise is that if Armenians and Armenia have always been located in the Middle East and the Islamic world, then their history is also a natural part of that region and its peoples. She observes that the Armenian experience has been too complicated to be defined by simplistic constructs centered on the idea of a heroic, yet victimized nation. She notes that a certain politics of historical writing, supported by a culture of authority, has focused sharply on episodes and, in particular, on the genocide. For her sources, Dadoyan has used all available and relevant (primary and secondary) Armenian sources, as well as primary Arab texts and sources. This book will stimulate re-evaluation of the period, and re-conceptualizing Armenian and Middle Eastern histories.
The third volume is: The Armenians in the Medieval Islamic World: Medieval Cosmopolitanism and Images of IslamThirteenth to Fourteenth Centuries (Transaction, Sept. 2013), 344pp.

The publisher tells us this about the final volume in the trilogy:
In the third volume of the trilogy, Seta B. Dadoyan focuses on social and cultural aspects, rather than the core political focus exhibited in her first two volumes. Her objective is to suggest political readings of these themes and related texts by revealing hitherto unstudied and novel interactions in the cities of Asia Minor during the Mongol Period. Dadoyan focuses on the Armenian condition and role in the medieval Islamic world. She argues that if the entire region was the habitat of most of the Armenians, their history too is part of these locations and peoples. Dadoyan draws the outlines of a new philosophy of Armenian history based on hitherto obscured patterns of interaction. The first three chapters of this volume are dedicated to the images of Prophet Muhammad in Armenian literature. Dadoyan shows that direct interactions and borrowings happened regularly from Islamic sciences, reform projects, poetry, and arts. Dadoyan argues that the cosmopolitan urban environments were radically different from rural areas and close interactions took different and unexpected patterns. In the last part of the volume, she presents the first and only polemical-apologetic Armenian texts addressed to Islam at the end of the fourteenth century. This book is essential for all historians and Middle East scholars and is the latest volume in Transaction’s Armenian Studies series.

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