“I sensed that real problems were holding back our modern critical conversation on medieval culture, especially in Arabic Studies. The field is very territorial. In my experience, too many scholars take shots at each other over questions of authority and minor philological details, rather than engaging in good faith the new arguments that are coming out. Even if my contribution is small, relative to the general structure of my field, it is a sincere attempt at thesis-driven work, and a statement against disciplinary gatekeeping. I hope that my book encourages open debate among scholars of culture, and Arabists in particular.“
UW-Madison Associate Professor of African Cultural Studies, Samuel England, was featured this week in “Jadaliyya,” an independent ezine produced by the Arab Studies Institute. In the interview, England discusses his new book, Medieval Empires and the Culture of Competition: Literary Duels at Islamic and Christian Courts, and how the publication connects to his work.