thumbnail of the book excerpt

Ibn Khaldun's Study of History (1377 CE)


Statesman, jurist, historian, scholar, and philosopher Ibn Khaldun was born in Tunis on May 27, 1332. Ibn Khaldun is an exemplary example of product of the Islamic education that children and youth received. He received a traditional early education of Qur'an, jurisprudence, and Arabic grammar. In his early 20s traveled to Fes to complete his education with the eminent scholars of his day. Ibn... Read More »

Iceland Saga Map

Ultimately, the purpose of this map is to encourage and aid new readings of the sagas.
Thumbnail of ijazahs diploma

Ijazahs (Diploma)


During the medieval period, gifted children who successfully memorized the entire Qur'an left their home at the age of about 12-14 to travel to a nearby town and eventually around the Middle East to study with renowned academic authorities to hear historical, religious, philosophical, and legal texts. When the student could recite the material flawlessly, the authority issued the student an... Read More »

Illustration from The Maqamat of al-Hariri thumbnail image

Illustration from The Maqamat of al-Hariri


During the Abassid period and onward, children four or older in villages and urban centers began attending schools (maktabs) attached to mosques to obtain a basic education in religious matters. Students in a maktab sat in a semicircle on the floor around the teacher writing their lessons on a tablet and then repeating it back for correction. In this illustration, one boy... Read More »

thumbnail of the text

Imperial Rescript: The Great Principles of Education


During the 1870s, the Meiji government established many institutions based on the examples from Europe and the U.S., and many intellectuals advocated a thoroughgoing transformation of Japanese society and culture patterned after the model of civilization they observed in the West. Others, however, were uncomfortable with the pace of change and the sudden influx of Western influences. They... Read More »

Imperialism in North Africa: Autobiography, Fadhma Amrouche


Fadhma Amrouche was the illegitimate daughter of an impoverished, illiterate Berber peasant woman. Born a Muslim, she was converted to Christianity by Catholic missionaries, produced one of the first autobiographies ever written by an Algerian woman, became a naturalized French citizen, and raised two children who became well-known French literati—Taos Marie-Louise Amrouche, a poet and... Read More »

Imperialism in North Africa: Autobiography, Leila Abouzeid


In Morocco, after 1912, the colonial regime eschewed, for the most part, introducing overt changes into Islamic personal status law. Indeed the patriarchy of the reigning dynasty, the ’Alawis, and of the leaders of the great tribes, was reinforced, since France wanted Morocco to theoretically remain “traditional,” untouched by modernity. Nevertheless France’s divide-and-conquer strategy... Read More »

Imperialism in North Africa: Interview, Tewhida Ben Sheikh


Tewhida Ben Sheikh [1909-2010] was the first North African Muslim woman to earn a medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, in 1936, while Tunisia was still under colonial rule. After she was awarded her medical diploma in France, Madame Ben Sheikh returned to Tunis, where she opened a women’s reproductive health clinic, often providing free medical services for poor women. She was... Read More »

Imperialism in North Africa: Law, Code of Personal Status


In 1956 one of the most revolutionary family law codes in the Arab or Islamic world was proclaimed in the newly independent Tunisian state which, paradoxically, had not suffered a political revolution in the way that colonial Algeria would. What historical factors explain why Tunisian women won comparatively more legal and social rights than women in Algeria or Morocco?

While the... Read More »

Imperialism in North Africa: Newspaper, Hubertine Auclert


From the middle of the 19th century on, European women settled in colonial empires in Asia and Africa in greater numbers. Some, even many, attempted to effect changes for the good of colonized women. One example of this in French Algeria was Hubertine Auclert, (1848-1914), the radical Parisian feminist writer and women’s suffrage activist. Auclert lived in Algeria from 1888 to 1892 and... Read More »