Sabraa_Project_Peasants in the Mamluk period_Bibliothèque nationale

Peasants in the Mamluk period cultivating land and herding livestock. Bibliothèque nationale de France, no. 2964 Arabe.

Project (2021-2023)

Agriculture in the Mamluk Period before and after the Mongol Invasion

My research focuses on agricultural knowledge and methods from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century in Bilād al-Shām and Egypt to be found in agricultural manuals (kutub al-filāḥa), dictionaries, legal documents, and other types of sources that address agriculture in one or the other way. The aim of my research project is to trace the continuity and change in the perception of agriculture and agricultural knowledge before and after the invasion of the Mongols. Between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, several Arabic works on farming were written in Syria and Egypt. By focusing on descriptions of particular methods related to the treatment of soil, water, fertilizers, seeds, etc., in these manuscripts and elsewhere I will study to what extend these techniques were a replication of descriptions found in earlier Arabic literature on agriculture or novel ideas about the natural world. I will also consider the relevance of these techniques in the classification and definition of other bodies of knowledge in the Mamluk period and try to understand the place of agricultural knowledge in the broader developments of sciences in this period. My goal is to explore the full range of spaces, materials, and people that participated in the construction of agricultural knowledge as found in the written discourse.