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Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh
The City’s Edge. Rethinking Sources and Methods for the Study of Urban Peripheries
This essay considers the question of the boundary between the cities in the early Ottoman period (16th-17th century), in the regions conquered from the Mamluk Empire. In this period of tremendous urban growth, the edge of the city was transformed through the creation of new suburbs. This essay considers the resources available to understand the movement of the urban edge, including the study of architectural remains, juridical literature that legislates the limits of the city, as well as narrative sources produced by urban dwellers. These sources each produce different kinds of knowledge about the city, making some aspects of urban transformation better understood than others. This essay addresses the specific kinds of information that can be gleaned from these sources, and it considers how scholars have used such sources in the past and to what effect. Moreover, based on a study of Aleppo, this essay suggests that an original contribution to urban history can be made through a careful utilization of the biographies of saints, a rich resource not often considered for the study of space.
Keywords: Aleppo – Cairo – saints – ḥanafī law – the Islamic City – ramparts.
- Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh ( : 103468870)