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1 - Principles of Provenance

Origins, Debates, and Social Structures of l’ḥjāb in the Saharan West

from Part I - Knowledge and Authority in Precolonial Contexts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2023

Erin Pettigrew
Affiliation:
New York University, Abu Dhabi
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Summary

This chapter takes as its premise that, by the end of the seventh century, the Islamic esoteric sciences were largely controlled by the zwāya, a group defined by its scholarly and racial pretentions. It shows that contestation of the role of the Islamic esoteric sciences reaches back well before the seventeenth century. Customs and practices of the Islamic esoteric sciences can be firmly documented in local practices and were recognized as a source of both political and religious power in the region and when early reform movements coalesced around the function of the Islamic esoteric sciences in managing the invisible. This chapter argues that traditional intellectual history has focused on key figures of Arab origin instead of understanding this process of the elaboration of the Islamic esoteric sciences as more organic and produced via many points of contact, with practices appropriated in the region via merchants and scholars of non-Arab origin. The chapter focuses on the Gebla, a region that occupies a central position in the formation of political and social structures in Mauritania, and will thus be at the geographic heart of the chapters that follow.

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Invoking the Invisible in the Sahara
Islam, Spiritual Mediation, and Social Change
, pp. 41 - 73
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Principles of Provenance
  • Erin Pettigrew, New York University, Abu Dhabi
  • Book: Invoking the Invisible in the Sahara
  • Online publication: 19 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009224581.003
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  • Principles of Provenance
  • Erin Pettigrew, New York University, Abu Dhabi
  • Book: Invoking the Invisible in the Sahara
  • Online publication: 19 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009224581.003
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Principles of Provenance
  • Erin Pettigrew, New York University, Abu Dhabi
  • Book: Invoking the Invisible in the Sahara
  • Online publication: 19 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009224581.003
Available formats
×