This concise revisionist account of the historical evolution of Islamic society goes beyond the caliph and the capital. The author abandons the historian's habit of viewing Islamic history "from the centre", that is, focusing on the rise and fall of imperial dynasties. Instead, he derives a more accurate understanding of how and why Islam became - and continues to be - so rooted in the social structure of the vast majority of people who lived far from the political centre and did not see the caliphate as essential in their lives. Focusing his research on Iran, and especially the cities of Isfahan, Gorgan and Nishapur, Bulliet considers: conversion; migration and demographic trends; education and its role in defining cultural norms; and the changing functions and fortunes of cities and urban life.
Richard W. Bulliet is professor of history at Columbia University. A former Guggenheim fellow, he is the editor of The Columbia History of the Twentieth Century and author of The Camel and the Wheel. He is also the author of four novels of mystery and intrigue.
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- ID: 9780231082181
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