Research Interests

The Study of Plants and Agriculture in Islamic Spain

I am working on the disciplinary history of agriculture in Islamic Spain in order to investigate medieval attitudes to the natural world.

I am interested in how natural, and especially botanical, phenomena were conceptualized and explained, and how different factors (including experimentation, patronage, religious commitments and notions of authority) helped or hindered scholars’ understanding of natural phenomena.

I am also looking at the exchange of agricultural knowledge between the territories of al-Andalus and Castile.

The Development of Early Sufism

My MPhil research was an analysis of the Arabic biographies of the ninth-century Baghdadi Sufi, Abu ’l-Husayn al-Nuri, examining how his portrayal was manipulated by successive generations of Sufis for specific purposes.

I have also been working on a translation of his only known treatise, Kitab Maqamat al-Qulub.

Open Source Technologies for the Humanities

My interests include the use of collaborative technologies in research and document preparation systems that can support non-Latin alphabets, such as LaTeX.

Through my work with The Islamic Manuscript Association, I have sought improved access to digital reproductions of manuscripts for researchers. A model system for making manuscripts available remains the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, which manages images of Christian manuscripts.

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