4145 Country Club Rd
Madison, WI 53711
“Medieval Arab Jewry beyond the Cairo Geniza”- Professor Samuel England
Associate Professor of Arabic at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Faculty affiliate of the Middle East Studies Program, the Religious Studies Program, and the Medieval Studies Program.
We have a vivid picture of Jewish life in medieval Islamic empires, thanks to the Geniza collection of documents outside of Cairo. But very few of those documents speak to Jews’ roles in the elite courts, where policy and “high culture” were crafted. Not only did Jewish notables address the courts, they also actively participated in the Arabic literary and scientific work through which medieval scholars learned about the world. Professor England will explore how Jewish imperial subjects became embedded in Arabic literature during the thirteenth century.
Living in Egypt on and off since childhood, Professor England gained an appreciation for Arab cultures and the history of Abrahamic religions throughout the Middle East. His published research covers Classical Arabic poetry and prose, Crusades literature, Arab nationalist film and drama of the past century, and Romance-language treatments of Islam. He is the author of Medieval Empires and the Culture of Competition: Literary Duels at Islamic and Christian Courts (Edinburgh University Press, 2017). Currently, he is writing a book about the role of Classical Arabic in military regimes from the twentieth century to the present day.