Sonja Brentjes

Research Scholar
Research Scholars are early career scholars who have ordinarily already had at least one postdoctoral fellowship or equivalent academic experience. This is the equivalent of an entry-level academic position (e.g. assistant professor in North America, Lecturer in the United Kingdom, Maître de conférences in France). These scholars carry considerable responsibilities (no more than 30% of their time) within their research unit.
Department I
Dr.
Residence:
since April 15, 2012
Profile

I am a historian of science with a focus on institutions, mathematics, and mapmaking in Islamicate societies until 1700 and cross-cultural encounters in the Mediterranean and western Asia since the eighth century. Currently, I am working on a new interpretation of the Book on the Balance of Wisdom by 'Abd al-Rahman al-Khazini (d. 1130s). With an international group of scholars, I am also building an image database on the visualization of the heavens in Eurasia and North Africa until c. 1700 and the material and intellectual cultures of these images.

I studied mathematics at the Technical University Dresden (1969–1973), history of mathematics and science at the Karl Marx University Leipzig (1973–1976), and Near Eastern history and Arabic at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (1978–1982). I wrote my PhD on the history of linear programming and my second dissertation on number theory in Arabic and Persian texts composed between 800 and 1250 (1977; 1989). In 1991, I acquired the venia legendi.

I have published broadly on different topics in the history of mathematics, cartography, patronage, higher education, science and the arts, cross-cultural encounters, and historiography. Recently I edited a book on processes of globalization in the Mediterranean between 700 and 1500 (with Jürgen Renn) and a book about historical narratives on scholarly activities in non-Western societies of the past and their distortions (with Taner Edis and Lutz Richter-Bernburg). My latest published paper deals with early modern sources that reveal how Europeans learned to speak and write Arabic outside the university.

Selected publications: 

Brentjes, S. (2017). Algebra. In K. Fleet, G. Krämer, D. Matringe, J. Nawas, & E. Rowson (Eds.), Encyclopaedia of Islam (Third Edition, pp. 1-7). Leiden: Brill. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_0030.

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Brentjes, S. (2017). Algorithm. In K. Fleet, G. Krämer, D. Matringe, J. Nawas, & E. Rowson (Eds.), Encyclopaedia of Islam (Third Edition, pp. 1-2). Leiden: Brill. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_0154.

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Brentjes, S. (2017). Arithmetic. In K. Fleet, G. Krämer, D. Matringe, J. Nawas, & E. Rowson (Eds.), Encyclopaedia of Islam (Third Edition, pp. 1-7). Leiden: Brill. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_22875.

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Brentjes, S. (2017). Learning to write, read and speak Arabic outside of early modern universities. In J. Loop, A. Hamilton, & C. Burnett (Eds.), The teaching and learning of Arabic in early modern Europe (pp. 252-271). Leiden [u.a.]: Brill. doi:10.1163/978900433623_012.

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Brentjes, S. (2017). Teaching the sciences in ninth-century Baghdad as a question in the history of the book: the case of Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb b. Isḥāq al-Kindī (d. after 256/870). Intellectual History of the Islamicate World, 5(1-2), 1-27.

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