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An architectural investigation of Marinid Wattasid Fes Medina (674-961/1276-1554) in terms of gender, legend and law

By Simon M. O'Meara


Early and medieval Muslim culture exhibits a preoccupation with boundaries. Called "wall thought" in the dissertation, this preoccupation takes exemplary architectural form in the high-sided, labyrinthine structure of Fes' walled city,\ud or medina. In Islamic law, it takes the form of The Book of Walls, a genre pertaining to the regulation of external and party walls within the medina environment. In the gendered aspects of Islam, it commonly takes the form of women's enclaustration and veiling.\ud \ud The locus of all these and other aspects of "wall thought", the medieval medina of Fes presents a sociologically interesting environment, but one whose nature has never been investigated. The following dissertation represents an attempt to correct this. Demonstrating the medina to be defined and determined by its walls, the dissertation uses the legal genre The Book of Walls to identify the\ud meaning of a wall in medieval Muslim thought. Applying this meaning to Fes medina, the dissertation arrives at a conclusion concerning the nature of its environment. Lastly, the dissertation compares this deductively reached\ud conclusion with one inductively reached by way of Fes' medieval historiography, including the foundation legend recorded there.\ud \ud As an interdisciplinary investigation, the dissertation comprises a number of subjects from within the academic field of Middle Eastern Studies, including Maghribi history and historiography, Islamic law, gender and urban studies.\ud Its predominant concern is architectural, attentive to the spaces architecture bounds and people inhabit

Publisher: Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies (Leeds)
Year: 2004
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