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Grant number like: FA-54874-09

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Marina A. Rustow
Princeton University (Atlanta, GA 30322-1018)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2009 – 5/31/2010

Patronage and Politics: Islamic Empire and the Medieval Jewish Community

This proposal requests support for 12 months of research and writing toward my second book, a study of the political culture of the Near East in the tenth through thirteenth centuries via documents preserved in the Cairo Geniza (a synagogue repository for worn manuscripts now in European and US libraries). Patronage and Politics argues that the survival and spread of Judaism came to depend upon Jewish leaders' adoption of political techniques from Muslim elites; and, conversely, that the documents these Jews preserved, which include papers from Egyptian chancery archives previously presumed lost, are an untapped mine of information about the medieval Near Eastern state and its treatment of religious minorities. The goals of the book are to offer finely shaded pictures of the Jewish community under Islamic rule, of its relationship to the local states under whose aegis it matured, and of the pervasive but varied effects of imperial domination on subject communities.