Friends of the Emir: Discussing a New Faculty Publication

Friends of the Emir: Discussing a New Faculty Publication

Book cover (cropped)

A Book Discussion with Luke Yarbrough (UCLA), Adam Sabra (UCSB), and Sherman Jackson (USC)

Thursday, January 30, 2020
3:00 PM
Presentation Room, Charles E. Young Research Library

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Join the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies for a discussion of Friends of the Emir, the new book by Assistant Professor Luke Yarbrough (Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures). In this study, Yarbrough reveals how medieval Muslim scholars and bureaucrats viewed the Jewish, Christian, and other non-Muslim officials who were part of the government in many Islamic states. Drawing on law, history, poetry, entertaining literature, and polemic, Yarbrough shows that these discussions were richer and more complex than previously imagined, and that religious persecution and exclusion were often byproducts of professional competition. At this event, Professors Adam Sabra (UCSB) and Sherman Jackson (USC) will offer critical reflections on the book, followed by a general discussion.


Sherman Jackson is King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity

Adam Sabra is Professor of History and holds the King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His publications include Poverty and Charity in Medieval Islam: Mamluk Egypt, 1250-1517. His research focuses on the social and cultural history of Mamluk and Ottoman Egypt, especially family history and the history of Sufism.

Luke Yarbrough (Ph.D. 2012, Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University) is a historian of pre-modern Islamic societies. His work deals primarily with relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in their historical and legal aspects, and extends to the study of hadith, polemical literature, and administrative practice, among other topics. He has held post-doctoral fellowships at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania (2012) and the New York University Abu Dhabi Institute, where he was a Humanities Research Fellow in 2016-17. From 2013 to 2018 he was Assistant Professor of History at Saint Louis University, where he received a university-wide graduate-mentorship award (2014) and the annual Helen I. Mandeville Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Humanities (2018). His critical edition and translation of a thirteenth-century Arabic polemic by a disgruntled Egyptian bureaucrat, entitled The Sword of Ambition, was published in 2016 with the Library of Arabic Literature series of New York University Press, and his articles have appeared in journals such as Islamic Law and Society, the Journal of the American Oriental Society, and Der Islam. His monograph—Friends of the Emir, Enemies of God—excavates prescriptive discourses surrounding non-Muslim officials in pre-modern Islamic states. Yarbrough earned his A.B. (History, 2004) as well as his Ph.D. at Princeton, and has studied and traveled widely in the Middle East and North Africa, including extended stints as a Fulbright Scholar and fellow at the Center for Arabic Study Abroad at the American University in Cairo (2004-5, 2009). In May 2018, he gave a series of seminars at the Université Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies