The study of something termed Arab/Islamic slavery has flourished in recent years. Through a close reading of a seminal text, ‘Aja’ib al-athar fi’l-tarajim wa’l-akhbar by the late eighteenth-century Ottoman scholar ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti, Gubara’s essay critically engages this literature and its key organizing concepts: namely, the ideas of race, slavery, and freedom. In place of the free-unfree, black-white dichotomies pervading contemporary understandings of labor and subjectivity, the essay calls for greater attention to other concepts and grammars before and outside of Europe.
Revisiting Race and Slavery through ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti’s ‘Aja’ib al-athar
Dahlia E. M. Gubara is an assistant professor in the Civilization Studies Program, American University of Beirut. She studied Islamic and comparative law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and history at Columbia University, New York, where her doctoral dissertation explored the Cairene mosque-seminary of al-Azhar and the orders of knowledge in the long eighteenth century. Her work bridges the fields of Islamic studies and African and Middle Eastern history and is concerned primarily with the production, transmission, and consumption of knowledge in, and about, the Islamic tradition.
Dahlia E. M. Gubara; Revisiting Race and Slavery through ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti’s ‘Aja’ib al-athar. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 August 2018; 38 (2): 230–245. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-6982018
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