Books by Faculty

Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader
Penslar, Derek. Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader. Yale University Press, 2020. Publisher's VersionAbstract

From the prizewinning Jewish Lives series, a masterful new biography of Theodor Herzl by an eminent historian of Zionism.

The life of Theodor Herzl (1860–1904) was as puzzling as it was brief. How did this cosmopolitan and assimilated European Jew become the leader of the Zionist movement? How could he be both an artist and a statesman, a rationalist and an aesthete, a stern moralist yet possessed of deep, and at times dark, passions? And why did scores of thousands of Jews, many of them from traditional, observant backgrounds, embrace Herzl as their leader?

Drawing on a vast body of Herzl’s personal, literary, and political writings, historian Derek Penslar shows that Herzl’s path to Zionism had as much to do with personal crises as it did with antisemitism. Once Herzl devoted himself to Zionism, Penslar shows, he distinguished himself as a consummate leader—possessed of indefatigable energy, organizational ability, and electrifying charisma. Herzl became a screen onto which Jews of his era could project their deepest needs and longings.

Disciples of the State? Religion and State-Building in the Former Ottoman World
Fabbe, Kristin. Disciples of the State? Religion and State-Building in the Former Ottoman World. Cambridge University Press, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As the Ottoman Empire crumbled, the Middle East and Balkans became the site of contestation and cooperation between the traditional forces of religion and the emergent machine of the sovereign state. Yet such strategic interaction rarely yielded a decisive victory for either the secular state or for religion. By tracing how state-builders engaged religious institutions, elites, and attachments, this book problematizes the divergent religion-state power configurations that have developed. There are two central arguments. First, states carved out more sovereign space in places like Greece and Turkey, where religious elites were integral to early centralizing reform processes. Second, region-wide structural constraints on the types of linkages that states were able to build with religion have generated long-term repercussions. Fatefully, both state policies that seek to facilitate equality through the recognition of religious difference and state policies that seek to eradicate such difference have contributed to failures of liberal democratic consolidation.

Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols)
Necipoğlu, Gülru, Cemal Kafadar, and Cornell H. Fleischer, ed. Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols). Brill, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The subject of this two-volume publication is an inventory of manuscripts in the book treasury of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, commissioned by the Ottoman sultan Bayezid II from his royal librarian ʿAtufi in the year 908 (1502–3) and transcribed in a clean copy in 909 (1503–4). This unicum inventory preserved in the Oriental Collection of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Könyvtára Keleti Gyűjtemény, MS Török F. 59) records over 5,000 volumes, and more than 7,000 titles, on virtually every branch of human erudition at the time. The Ottoman palace library housed an unmatched encyclopedic collection of learning and literature; hence, the publication of this unique inventory opens a larger conversation about Ottoman and Islamic intellectual/cultural history. The very creation of such a systematically ordered inventory of books raises broad questions about knowledge production and practices of collecting, readership, librarianship, and the arts of the book at the dawn of the sixteenth century. The first volume contains twenty-eight interpretative essays on this fascinating document, authored by a team of scholars from diverse disciplines, including Islamic and Ottoman history, history of science, arts of the book and codicology, agriculture, medicine, astrology, astronomy, occultism, mathematics, philosophy, theology, law, mysticism, political thought, ethics, literature (Arabic, Persian, Turkish/Turkic), philology, and epistolary. Following the first three essays by the editors on implications of the library inventory as a whole, the other essays focus on particular fields of knowledge under which books are catalogued in MS Török F. 59, each accompanied by annotated lists of entries. The second volume presents a transliteration of the Arabic manuscript, which also features an Ottoman Turkish preface on method, together with a reduced-scale facsimile.
Narrating Muslim Sicily: War and Peace in the Medieval Mediterranean World
Granara, William. Narrating Muslim Sicily: War and Peace in the Medieval Mediterranean World. I.B. Tauris, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In 902 the last Byzantine stronghold in Sicily fell, and the island would remain under Muslim control until the arrival of the Normans in the eleventh century. Drawing on a lifetime of translating and linguistic experience, William Granara here focuses on the various ways in which medieval Arab historians, geographers, jurists and philologists imagined and articulated their ever-changing identities in this turbulent period. All of these authors sought to make sense of the island's dramatic twists, including conquest and struggles over political sovereignty, and the painful decline of social and cultural life. Writing about Siqilliya involved drawing from memory, conjecture and then-current theories of why nations and people rose and fell. In so doing, Granara considers and translates, often for the first time, a vast range of primary sources - from the master chronicles of Ibn al-Athir and Ibn Khadun to biographical dictionaries, geographical works, legal treatises and poetry - and modern scholarship not available in English. He charts the shift from Sicily as 'warrior outpost' to vital and productive hub that would transform the medieval Islamic world, and indeed the entire Mediterranean.

Roberto Burle Marx Lectures: Landscape as Art and Urbanism
Doherty, Gareth, ed. Roberto Burle Marx Lectures: Landscape as Art and Urbanism. Lars Müller Publishers, 2018. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Roberto Burle Marx (1909–1994) remains one of the most important landscape architects in the history of the field. His distinctive and widely acclaimed work has been featured and referenced in numerous sources, yet few of Burle Marx’s own words have been published.

This collection of a dozen of Burle Marx’s lectures, most of which have never before been available in English, fills that void. Delivered on international speaking tours, they address topics such as Concepts in Landscape Composition, Gardens and Ecology and The Problem of Garden Lighting. Their publication sheds light on Burle Marx’s distinctive ethic and aesthetic of landscape, as “the real art of living.”

The lectures paint a picture of Burle Marx not just as a gardener, artist and botanist, but as a landscape architect whose ambition was to bring radical change to cities and society. The lectures are framed by photographs, by Leonardo Finotti, of a selection of Burle Marx’s realized projects.

Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-State
Doherty, Gareth. Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-State. University of California Press, 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This innovative multidisciplinary study considers the concept of green from multiple perspectives—aesthetic, architectural, environmental, political, and social—in the Kingdom of Bahrain, where green has a long and deep history of appearing cooling, productive, and prosperous—a radical contrast to the hot and hostile desert. Although green is often celebrated in cities as a counter to gray urban environments, green has not always been good for cities. Similarly, manifestation of the color green in arid urban environments is often in direct conflict with the practice of green from an environmental point of view. This paradox is at the heart of the book. In arid environments such as Bahrain, the contradiction becomes extreme and even unsustainable.

Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, Gareth Doherty explores the landscapes of Bahrain, where green represents a plethora of implicit human values and exists in dialectical tension with other culturally and environmentally significant colors and hues. Explicit in his book is the argument that concepts of color and object are mutually defining and thus a discussion about green becomes a discussion about the creation of space and place.