Dr Yossef Rapoport, Reader in Islamic History, has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship. The fellowship entitled Tribal identity and Conversion to Islam in Rural Egypt and Syria, 1000 – 1500 will run from 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2022.
This research project will address a central phenomenon of medieval Middle Eastern history: the transformation of a predominantly Christian peasantry into Muslim tribes that claimed Arabian origins. This transformation is commonly explained by continued tribal migrations from the Arabian Peninsula. This project will argue, however, that mass conversion of Christian village communities in 12th- and 13th-century Egypt and Syria was followed by adoption of Arabian tribal genealogies. The imagining of tribal identities and nomadic past was linked to the sudden emergence of a corpus of popular, oral epics. This thesis fundamentally challenges prevailing conceptions of Arab history and identity.
You can read more about Yossi’s existing work on his profile page.