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Archival Resources and Research Institutions in Jordan

  • Eugene L. Rogan (a1)


To Date, Jordan remains a country largely studied from without. A number of excellent monographs treating diverse aspects of the politics, economy, demography, and history of Jordan have come out in recent years, drawing primarily on the wealth of resources preserved in European, American, and, most recently, Israeli archives. The sources used strongly influence the selection of topics treated. Thus, one resulting bias is that Jordan is seldom studied in its own right; rather, scholars have concentrated on its history under British mandatory rule, or as a player in the Arab-Israeli drama. Consequently, the dynamics of Jordanian structures—social, economic, and political—are either cursorily reviewed or presented as apprehended by travelers, political officers, or intelligence agents. In view of the relative ease of conducting research in Jordan, and the availability of diverse primary sources, the study of Jordan from within is to be encouraged. Towards this end, the following is intended to serve as an introduction to conducting research in Jordan, and as a survey of primary sources and research centers of value to the study of Jordan and the Middle East in general.



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1 As with every generalization, there are notable exceptions, particularly in those disciplines which rely on fieldwork: In anthropology, see the works of Richard Antoun and William Lancaster; in linguistics, see the publications of Hekki Palva. The copious archaeological work published on Jordan will not be treated here.

2 Address: Deanship of Academic Research, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.

3 Taken from an autobiographical note dated 11 §ubat 1332 (Rūmī)/24 February 1917. Writing in Turkish, Mīrzā Pasha concluded by giving his age on that date–61 years. Mīrzā Waṣfī Papers, file 7, document 7.

4 All four catalogues were compiled by Maḥmūd ‘Alī ‘Atallah and were published in Amman by the Mujamma‘ al—lugha al—‘Arabīya al-Urdunī. For Hebron: Fihris makhtūtāt maktaba al-Haram al-Ibrāhīmī fī Khalīl (1983). For ‘Akkā: Fihris makhṭūṭāt al—maktaba al-Aḥmadīya fi ‘Akkā (1983). For Nablus: Fihris makhṭūūāt maktaba masjid al-Hāj Nimr al-Nābulsī fī Nāblus (1983). For Jaffa: Fihris makhṭūṭāt al-maktaba al-Islāmīya fī Yāfā (1984).

5 Khadar Ibrāhīm Salāma, ed., Fihris makhṭūṭāt maktaba al-masjid al-Aqṣā, 2 vols., (al-Mujamma‘ al-malakī li-buḥūth al-ḥḍāra al—Islāīmya, Amman 1983).

6 Compare with the detailed description provided by Doumani, Beshara, “Palestinian Islamic Court Records,” MESA Bulletin 19 (1985) 155172.

7 al-Bakhīt, Muḥammad ‘Adnān, al-Hmūd, Nawfān Rajā, and al-Nu‘ay- māt, Salāma ṣāliḥ, eds., Kishāf ‘ihsā’īzamanī li-sijilāt at-maḥākim alshar‘īya wa-al-awqāf al-islāmīya fī Bilād al-Shām, vol. 1 (University of Jordan, Amman 1984).

8 Erroneously listed in the catalogue among the registers on Film 226, the Gaza register is preserved on Film 225. This register has been the subject of a detailed study: see ‘Abd al-Karim Rafiq, “Ghazza: Dirāsa ‘umrānīya wa ijtimā‘īya wa iqtiṣādīya min khilāl al-wathaā’iq al-shar‘īya, 1273–77/1857–61,” published paper from the Third International Conference of Bilad al-Sham, Amman, 19–24 April, 1980.

9 Film 204 contains registers nos. 54, 55, 56, 57, 61, 62 and 63 of ḥamāh (as numbered by the Historic Documents Center in Damascus), spanning the years 1853–54 to 1878–79, and contains documents from Hims dating to 1887–88 through 1890–91.

10 Film 193, for example, includes registers nos. 216 and 217, in addition to those given in the catalogue. Film 202 covers the years 1682–83 and 1777 to 1781 in addition to those listed. Film 198 does not contain registers nos. 611–621, as given by the catalogue; it does include registers nos. 1310 and 1311.

11 My thanks to Ms. Najwa al-Qattan for sharing her detailed notes on the Damascus series. Ms. al-Qattan, a doctoral candidate in Middle Eastern history at Harvard, surveyed the Centre’s holdings in the fall of 1988 in the course of her dissertation research on the minority communities of Damascus in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She provided the Centre with a detailed list of corrections which, it is to be hoped, will be reflected in a revised edition of the current catalogue.

12 The first publication in facsimile with Arabic translation appeared in the University of Jordan’s scholarly journal: See al-Bakhīt, Muhammad ‘Adnān, “Nāḥiya Banī al-A’sar fī’1-qarn al-‘āshir al-hijrī/al-sādis ‘āshir al-mīlādī,” Dirasāt (al-‘Ulūm al-Insānīya) 15.7 (July 1988) 149266.

13 Muhammad ‘Adnān al-Bakhīt and Nawfān Rajā ḥmoud, eds., Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts (on Microfilm), vol. 1 (University of Jordan, Amman 1985). Volumes 2 (1985) and 3 (1986) were also printed by the University of Jordan, with Faleh Hussain Faleh as a third editor.

14 Rogan, Eugene, “Physical Islamization in Amman,” The Muslim World 76 (1986) 2448.

15 Lewis, Norman published plates from this survey in his Nomads and Settlers in Syria and Jordan, 1800–1980 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1987).

16 From the inaugural speech given by King Hussein, 31 January 1981.

17 According to their latest catalogue (1988), the ATF had published twenty-two works, with five more at press. Four works are in English: Europe and the Arab World (1985); America and the Middle East (1985); Palestine, Fundamentalism and Liberalism (1985); and Europe and the Security of the Middle East (1986).

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Archival Resources and Research Institutions in Jordan

  • Eugene L. Rogan (a1)


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