Dr. Kamola’s book released by Edinburgh University Press

In keeping with the theme of history faculty publishing books with British presses, this week brings news of Dr. Stefan Kamola’s first book, Making Mongol History: Rashid al-Din and the Jami` al-Tawarikh.  In it, Kamola examines the life and work of the most powerful statesman working for the Mongol rulers of the Middle East in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century.  Rashid al-Din is famous as the author of the most important history of the Mongol world, but he also wrote works in genres as diverse as theology and medicine, and he was a major patron of charitable and intellectual institutions such as hospitals, mosques, and book-making studios.  Dr. Kamola has integrated all these aspects of Rashid al-Din’s career to show how they helped create a new model of sovereignty in a land that had been violently upset by the early Mongol conquests.

Making Mongol History begins with an overview of administrative history and historiography in the Middle East in the decades after the Mongol conquest. Later chapters lay out the results of the most comprehensive study to date of the manuscripts of Rashid al-Din’s historical writing. Kamola teases apart subtle changes that Rashid al-Din made to his work in the last decade of his life and compares these to what his fellow courtiers were writing about him at the time.  The result is a closer understanding of the personal and sectarian politics at the Mongol court, which helped shape the history of the period.  This book also lays out in greater detail than ever before the degree to which Rashid al-Din appropriated the work of other writers as his own, fueling the bitter rivalries that led to his downfall and execution in the summer of 1318.

You can read a blog post that Dr. Kamola wrote for Edinburgh University Press, and stay tuned for an announcement of his book talk on October 25.