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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

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Start date : 
October, 2020
Thesis Topic: 
Networks of power in Iran and Iraq under the Umayyads
Research Summary: 
Aliya Ali is a currently undertaking her DPhil under the supervision of Professor Andrew Marsham and Professor Amira Bennison. Aliya's DPhil is an important study of three revered figures of Islamic history: ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān AH 24-36/644-656CE, ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib AH 36/656 CE and Muʿāwiya ibn Abī Sufyān AH 41-52/661-680 CE. She compiles a large database consisting of detailed biographical information of governors and their families. These figures are important because of their legacies. They shaped the religious and political landscape of the Modern Middle East and they are a point of contention for several factions and sects that have emerged since their deaths. The main source for her project is the work of al-Ṭabarī (d. 311/923) who was a celebrated historian and scholar known for writing Tārīkh al-Rusul wa-l-Mulūk (the History of Prophets and Kings). She also consults the works of the ʿAbbāsid historian al-Balādhurī (d. 279/892) who authored the famous Futūḥ al-Buldān (Book of Conquests) and Ansāb al-Ashrāf (Genealogies of the Nobles).1 Another two important reference pieces are al-Zubayrī and Ibn Saʿd’s Kitāb Nasab Qūraysh and Kitāb Ṭabaqāt al-Kabīr as well as the works of Khalīfa ibn Khayyāṭ otherwise known as Ibn Khayyāṭ al-ʿUṣfurī. Zakkar. Ibn Khayyāṭ's work, esepcially the Tārīkh (History) is one of the most important extant sources on the study of early Islamic governance. Aliya previously completed her MPhil in Islamic Culture and History at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in 2019-2020 and completed her BA in History at the School of Oriental and African Studies.