On the (book)shelf

Titles available at Books n Beans (Lahore) or through www.vanguardbooks.com

On the (book)shelf


Court Cultures in the Muslim World: Seventh to Nineteenth Centuries
Edited by Albrecht Fuess and Jan-Peter Hartung
Routledge (hardcover), 2011
PRs 14,380

Courts and the complex phenomenon of the courtly society have received intensified interest in academic research over recent decades, however, the field of Islamic court culture has so far been overlooked. This book provides a comparative perspective on the history of courtly culture in Muslim societies from the earliest times to the nineteenth century, and presents an extensive collection of images of courtly life and architecture within the Muslim realm.

The thematic methodology employed by the contributors underlines their interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach to issues of politics and patronage from across the Islamic world stretching from Cordoba to India. Themes range from the religious legitimacy of Muslim rulers, terminologies for court culture in Oriental languages, Muslim concepts of space for royal representation, accessibility of rulers, the role of royal patronage for Muslim scholars and artists to the growing influence of European courts as role models from the eighteenth century onwards. Discussing specific terminologies for courts in Oriental languages and explaining them to the non-specialist, chapters describe the specific features of Muslim courts and point towards future research areas. As such, it fills this important gap in the existing literature in the areas of Islamic history, religion, and Islam in particular.


India and Central Asia: The Mythmaking and International Relations of a Rising Power
Emilian Kavalski
Tauris Academic Studies (hardcover), 2010
PRs 9,800

India’s role in global politics draws increasing attention from the international community. Unprecedented economic growth in the recent past, rising fundamentalism in national politics and the knife-edge of nuclear-fuelled tension with an unstable Islamic government in Pakistan are all bound up in Indian claims to geopolitical ascendance. At the same time, Central Asia has re-emerged as a site of international contestation or a “”new Great Game,”” with Russia, China and the US vying over security and energy interests in a politically unstable region. In this fresh and penetrating analysis of India’s foreign policy, particularly on Central Asia, Emilian Kavalski illuminates India’s international ambitions and capabilities, and its complex dynamics with great powers USA, China and Russia. India and Central Asia provides a timely and much-needed assessment of the foreign policy of a rising power.

“”In this theoretically sophisticated and path-breaking book Emilian Kavalski lays bare the cognitive foundations of Indian elite thinking about India’s foreign policy, role in the world and policies beyond the Subcontinent and raises probing questions concerning the true extent of India’s power and the meaning of its rise. Anyone interested in Indian foreign policy and/or Central Asia should? read this book and ponder its implications.”” —Stephen J. Blank, National Security Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College, author of Natural Allies: Regional Security in Asia and Prospects for Indo-American Strategic Cooperation (2005)

“”This book combines two topical and important themes. One is the rise of India as a significant emerging power. The other is the return of Central Asia as the scene for Great Power rivalries, the old nineteenth century ‘Great Game’ renewed in new geo-economic settings of the twenty-first century. …The stakes are high in this energy-rich region, both for India, and the wider international system. Kavalski does a good job in bringing out both aspects of the situation, India and Central Asia, for the reader.”” —David Scott, Brunel University, author of The Chinese Century: The Challenge to Global Order (2008)

“”Exceedingly well referenced with an abundance of Indian sources… the prospective reader can expect a deeper understanding of India’s foreign policy”” — Kristopher White, Asian Affairs


Tormented Births: Passages to Modernity in Europe and the Middles East
Isam Al-Khafaji
I B Tauris (hardcover), 2004
PRs 8,000

This is a radically new explanation of the processes of social, political and economic development in the Middle East over the past two centuries. In a broadside attack on the existing literature, al-Khafaji shows that the stress on the cultural distinctiveness of the Middle East vis-à-vis Europe is misguided, and that the experience of colonialism and imperialism has not irrevocably distorted the region’s natural development. On the contrary, there are striking similarities in the formation and evolution of power structures, social groups and rural-urban spaces in the Middle East and Europe. Based on the most interdisciplinary of approaches which combines political science, development economics, history, sociology and cultural studies, the book concludes by presenting a novel explanation of the persistence of authoritarian regimes in the region.

“”Tormented Births is no less than a masterpiece-combining masterful historical analysis and a masterful polemical style.””—Kess van der Pijl, University of Sussex

“”A highly original work. Compelling and well-written, it will surely be cited among the small number of outstanding and truly multidisciplinary trans-regional, historical-comparative studies produced in recent decades.””—Sandra Halperin, University of Sussex


The Ornament of Histories: A History of the Eastern Islamic Lands AD 650-1041
Translated and Edited by C. Edmund Bosworth
I B Tauris (hardcover), 2011
PRs 9,250

Abu Sa‘id ‘Abd al-Hayy Gardizi was an author and historian living in the mid-eleventh century at the height of the Turkish Ghazvanid dynasty. His only known work, The Ornament of Histories (Zayn al-akhbir), is a hugely ambitious history of the Eastern Islamic lands AD 650-1041, spanning what is now Eastern Iran, Afghanistan and parts of the Central Asian Republics and Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. Gardizi’s text is an extremely rare source of primary information about the rise of Islamic faith, culture and military dominance in these regions, and represents a significant contribution to our understanding of the early Islamic world. This is the first English translation of the original Persian text, and is accompanied by an introduction and commentary which details the historical, geographical and cultural context.


Muslims, Mongols and Crusaders
Edited by G R Hawting
Routledge (hardcover), 2007
PRs 8090

The period from about 1100 to 1350 in the Middle East was marked by continued interaction between the local Muslim rulers and two groups of non-Muslim invaders: the Frankish crusaders from Western Europe and the Mongols from northeastern Asia. In deflecting the threat those invaders presented, a major role was played by the Mamluk state which arose in Egypt and Syria in 1250. The Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studieshas, from 1917 onwards, published several articles pertaining to the history of this period by leading historians of the region, and this volume reprints some of the most important and interesting of them for the convenience of students and scholars.