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School of History

Professor Yossef Rapoport


Professor in Islamic History

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8362
Room Number: ArtsTwo 3.29


I am a historian of the social, cultural and legal aspects of life in the Islamic, Arabic-speaking Middle East in its Middle Ages, from about 1000 to 1500 AD.

I was trained in the universities of Tel Aviv (Israel), Princeton (USA) and Oxford, before joining Queen Mary in 2008.

Undergraduate Teaching

I am currently on research leave until August 2022.

Classes in Islamic history are taught by Anna Chrysostomides.


Research Interests:

I am currently holding a Leverhulme Major research fellowship (2019 - 2022) for a project entitled 'Tribal identity and Conversion to Islam in Rural Egypt and Syria, 1000 - 1500'.

My work mostly relates to the history of the Islamic Middle East under the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk dynasties. My main focus is the history of everyday life and the relatively unexplored history of women, slaves and peasants. I am also interested in the history of Islamic medieval maps.

My research has followed the following routes:

  • Women and gender in medieval Islam
  • History of Islamic law
  • Medieval Islamic maps
  • Peasants and nomads in the medieval Islam


Peasants and Nomads in Medieval Islam

"The Rise of Provincial Arab Ruling Families in Mamluk Egypt, 1350–1517”, Mamlūk Studies Review, Vol. XXV (2022): 127- 160. 

Rural Economy and Tribal Society in Islamic Egypt A Study of al-Nābulusī’s 'Villages of the Fayyum' (Brepols, 2018) - recipient of the Middle East Medievalists bi-annual book prize.

The Villages of the Fayyum: A Thirteenth-Century Register of Rural, Islamic Egypt; with Ido Shahar (Brepols, 2018).

With Ido Shahar, "Irrigation in medieval Islamic Fayyum: Local Control in a Large Scale Hydraulic System”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (link is external), 55 (2012), 1-31.

Medieval Islamic Maps

  • “Reflections of Fatimid Power in the Maps of Island cities in the ‘Book of Curiosities”, in Martina Stercken / Ingrid Baumgärtner (Eds.), Herrschaft verorten. Politische Kartographie des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, (Medienwandel - Medienwechsel - Medienwissen), (Zürich: Chronos, 2012), 183–210.
  • Website: With Emilie Savage-Smith, The Book of Curiosities: A critical edition. As of December 2017, this website is no longer available. Images of all the folios of the manuscript are available through the Bodleian Digital Library  (

History of Islamic Law

 Women and Gender in Medieval Islam

Islamic History - General

"Al-Qalqashandī’s Lost Tribes: Mamluk Genealogy, Identity and Administration", working paper on EGYlandscape Project website.

1068 in the Fayyum: A Micro-History of an Environmental Crisis”, in Bethany J. Walker and Abdelkader Al Ghouz (eds.), Living with Nature and Things. Contributions to a New Social History of the Middle Islamic Periods. Mamluk Studies, Vol. 23 (Bonn University Press by V&R unipress, 2020), 181-202. 

"New Directions in the Social history of the Mamluk Era (link is external)", in Stephan Connermann (ed.), History and Society during the Mamluk Period (1250-1517). Studies of the Annemarie Schimmel Research College, volume 1 (Bonn University Press, 2014), 143-157.

"Gu Yanwu and Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406): The Risks of Returning the Gaze (link is external)", Fragments Volume 1 (2011), 88-93 

Editorial Positions

Member of editorial board of Islamic Law and Society (link is external)


 [under the heading of Islamic Law, please] 


I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:

  • Fatimid, Ayyubid or Mamluk history
  • History of Islamic law
  • Family life in medieval Islam
  • History of Islamic cartography
  • Ibn Taymiyyah and his legacy

Former PhD Students

  • Omar Anchassi, “Fazlur Rahman (1919 – 1988) and the Reformulation of the Religious Sciences of Islam” (2016)
  • Amenah Abdulkarim, “Building Craftsmen in Mamluk Society 648 -923/1250-1517: The Professional Muhandis in Context” (2018)
  • Catherine Rose, "The Experience of Childhood in Mamluk Society" (2019)
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