Books

Book wins the Waldo G. Leland Prize

Dr. Nomanul Haq, faculty at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, LUMS, recently contributed two seminal chapters to The New Cambridge History of Islam, a six-volume work which has won the prestigious American Historical Association (AHA) Waldo G. Leland Prize. According to the Princeton University website this work is ‘the most outstanding reference tool in the field of history’ published between the years 2006 to 2011.

The American Historical Association (AHA), founded in 1884 and incorporated by the US Congress in 1889, is a prominent society of historians that deals with the academic study of the history of all areas and regions. Over the decades it has established a number of prizes and awards that are given in particular categories to individuals or publications whose services are recognised as serving the field of history.

The New Cambridge History of Islam (General Editor Michael A. Cook of Princeton University, 2011) is a comprehensive reference work that features articles by top academics on all major aspects and topics that define the contemporary academic study of Islam. A six-volume work, it is divided mostly on chronological grounds into six distinct categories, each category featuring thematic entries by experts.

Dr. Nomanul Haq has contributed two seminal chapters to this publication: ‘Occult sciences and medicine’ (pp. 640-667) in Volume 4 of the publication elaborates on the medieval discourse on occultism-including magic and alchemy-and medicine in the Islamic world. The chapter not only highlights and brings into focus major trends in these fields that were prevalent in medieval Islam, but also breaks new ground by asking fundamental questions about the nature and history of alchemy and the alchemical tradition. His second chapter, ‘Islamic philosophy and science [since 1800]’ (pp. 549-571) in Volume 6, is a careful and meticulous analysis of how these fields of unsurpassed contemporary relevance developed in Islamic lands. This chapter, looking at post-Enlightenment treatment and trajectories of philosophy and science throughout the Muslim world, is a cutting-edge investigation into this topic.

Based on original Arabic sources as well as some outstanding secondary sources on these topics, Dr. Haq’s chapters will serve as an essential reading for both experts and students in the field of Islamic intellectual history.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2012 on page no. 19

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