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Phillip Isaac Lieberman
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN 37240-0001)
The Shifting Fate of World Jewry from Iraq to North Africa in the Early Islamic Period

This project revisits long-held assumptions about the dynamics of Jewish life in the medieval Islamic world. In my book project, tentatively titled From the Rising of the Sun...To Where It Sets, I intend to challenge the received wisdom that the mostly-agrarian Jewish community urbanized under early Islamic regimes, and subsequently migrated to the communities of the southern Mediterranean in the wake of Islamic conquest. In its place, I propose an alternative narrative of historical contingency, suggesting a Jewish population in the East which atrophies amidst local unrest and the decay of irrigational infrastructure and a corresponding flowering of the autochthonous Jewish population as opportunities for long-distance trade came on the rise as the southern Mediterranean fell under a single (Islamic) legal regime.

Project fields:
Economic History; Medieval History; Near and Middle Eastern History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/30/2019 – 9/30/2019