PRAKIS | Knowledge and Power



Directors: Maribel Fierro and Sonja Brentjes (Max Planck Gesellschaft)
Research Assistant: Virginia Vázquez (ILC-CCHS, CSIC).
Duration: April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2019

Project financed by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation through the Anneliese Maier Research Award granted to M. Fierro in 2014.

This project has as its main focus the study of practices associated with the shaping, acquisition and transmission of knowledge throughout the history of Islamic societies.

Initially directed by M. Fierro and Sabine Schmidtke when she was Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin, her move to the Institute of Advanced Study (Princeton) led to her substitution by another team member, Sonja Brentjes (Max Planck Gesellschaft).

The team project includes a team at the ILC-CCHS and eight other teams located in different academic centers and including arabists, Medieval historians, historians of philosophy and science, and specialists in Mudejars and Moriscos.

The project revolves around four main topics:

  1. Scholarly practices as related to the ‘physicality’ of the scholars: patterns of bodily performance and care, ways of dressing, gestures.
  2. The study of “literary canons” as they mostly emerge in data related to the pedagogical process and preserved in the biographical dictionaries of scholars and in the bibliographical genre (fah­­āris, bar­­­āmij, mashyakha-s). This topic would let us shed some light in questions such as why certain sources moved from the centre of the transmission of knowledge to the margins and vice versa, what were the changes brought about the performance of the rihla and how was valued or contested this process of selection within the Islamic discursive tradition.
  3. The study of Muslim ‘wise rulers’. Our interest is in both rulers as patrons of knowledge and most especially in rulers who were themselves scholars.
  4. The control of knowledge including the analysis of censorial practices.