2. on islamic time: Rethinking chronology in the historiography of muslim societies

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34 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues that the academic representation of Islamic history as a single timeline, which was established in the nineteenth century and continues to predominate to the present, is a primary issue restricting fruitful readings of Islamic historical materials. Utilizing insights in thinking about history that favor multiple temporalities, I suggest that scholars in Islamic studies can expand the possibilities of their work by paying attention to the diversity of ways in which time is conceptualized within original materials. As illustrations for the rethinking I advocate, I provide readings of the structures and literary affects of three Persian works in different genres, produced circa 1490-1540 ce. I suggest that a foundational reorientation in the field of Islamic historiography has the potential to help us break out of binds identified in the critique of orientalism provided by Edward Said and others and would lead to better ways to approach developments in Muslim societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-544
Number of pages26
JournalHistory and Theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • chronology
  • historiography
  • Islam
  • Persian
  • temporality
  • timelines


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