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Nasser Rabbat

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
Historicizing the City: Al-Maqrizi and his Cairo Khitat
01 February 2016 -
30 June 2016
Architecture and spatial planning

Nasser Rabbat has been Professor of Architectural History at the MIT since 1991. He has published more than 80 scholarly articles and book sections in English, Arabic, and French. He was a visiting professor at the EHESS and at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, fellow at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship and the American Research Center in Egypt and holder of the Chaire de l’Institut du Monde Arabe.

Research interests

History and historiography of Islamic architecture, art, and cultures; urban history; post-colonial criticism. `

Key publications

Criticism as Commitment: Viewpoints on History, Arabism, and Revolution (in Arabic). Beirut, Riad Alrayyes Publisher, 2015.

Mamluk History Through Architecture: Monuments, Culture and Politics in Medieval Egypt and Syria, I. B. Tauris, 2010.

The Courtyard House from Cultural Reference to Universal Relevance, Ashgate, 2010.

Al-Mudun al-Mayyita: Durus min Madhih wa-Ru’an li-Mustaqbaliha (The Dead Cities: Lessons from its History and Views on its Future), Damascus, al-Aws Publishers, 2010.

The Citadel of Cairo: A New Interpretation of Royal Mamluk Architecture, Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1995.

Taqiyy al-Din Ahmad bin ‘Ali al-Maqrizi (1364-1442), is the historian with the most expansive repertoire of the entire Mamluk historiography. His Kitab al-Mawa‘iz wa-l-I‘tibar bi-Dhikr al-Khitat wa-l-Athar, in particular, is a unique achievement that narrates the evolution of Cairo, covering every aspect of its history: its transformative moments, monuments and their patrons, wonders and religious merits, and its changing relationship to its environment. The proposed book aims to re-present al-Maqrizi as a historian with a structured project that chronicled Egypt’s history through successive annals, prosopographies, and short treatises. The project revolved around the Khitat with which al-Maqrizi started and which he was continuously redacting until his death. Indeed, the Khitat articulated the cumulative narratives on the various facets of Egyptian history and illustrated in an almost visual way the ravages of unjust rule, which al-Maqrizi blamed on the Mamluks of his time, and which he treated thoroughly in several other writings. This was al-Maqrizi's critical stance, conceived from within the epistemological framework of a medieval Muslim thinker; in other words, moralizing, inherently teleological, and evidently pre-humanist, but still redolent with an anguished search for truth.

Communication de N. Rabbat (résident de l'IEA de Paris)
05 Feb 2016 10:00 -
05 Feb 2016 12:00,
Cambridge :
Democracy: Whose Politics is it anyway?
Communication de N. Rabbat (résident de l'IEA de Paris)
04 Feb 2016 10:00 -
04 Feb 2016 12:00,
Cambridge :
The Boundary of Water

London Review of Books
Interview de Nasser Rabbat, résident de l'IEA de Paris
Other or several periods
North Africa, Middle East