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Revisiting the Mamlūk empire : political action, relationships of power, entangled networks, and the sultanate of Cairo in late medieval Syro-Egypt

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Organization
Project
MMS-II (The Mamlukisation of the Mamluk Sultanate II: historiography, political order and state formation in fifteenth-century Egypt and Syria)
Abstract
This chapter’s questions the commonly assumed link between political practices of integration and integrity on the one hand – which appear as empirical realities from many sources and studies – and the Syro-Egyptian Sultanate of Cairo (13th-16th centuries) as a dominant, autonomous and imperial historical actor on the other. It problematizes in particular the holistic nature of these assumptions, their merely descriptive value for understanding the region’s history, and the potentially misleading consequences of their normative character. At the same time, this chapter proposes to reflect further on the powerful idea of the Sultanate as an empire. It actually considers this notion of “empire” as a useful way out of this predicament, because it invites to engage with insights from other fields of historical research and to define valuable analytical tools, including from social network theory, to further and refine current assumptions about and understandings of late medieval Syro-Egyptian political action. Confronting such tools with various cases from the center and the peripheries of that Syro-Egyptian political action, this chapter argues that the imperial appearances of the Syro-Egyptian Sultanate were always constructed in the micro-history of people and their negotiation of particular cultural, socio-economic and political relationships, which were extremely fluid and multivalent, permeable, and continuously organized around the court in Cairo.
Keywords
Mamluk Sultanate, Empire, Social Networks, Cairo Sultanate, Egypt, Syria, Medieval History, Islamic History

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Citation

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Chicago
Van Steenbergen, Jo. 2019. “Revisiting the Mamlūk Empire : Political Action, Relationships of Power, Entangled Networks, and the Sultanate of Cairo in Late Medieval Syro-Egypt.” In The Mamluk Sultanate from the Perspective of Regional and World History : Economic, Social and Cultural Development in an Era of Increasing International Interaction and Competition, ed. Reuven Amitai and Stephan Conermann, 17:77–108. Göttingen: Bonn University Press at V&R unipress GmbH.
APA
Van Steenbergen, J. (2019). Revisiting the Mamlūk empire : political action, relationships of power, entangled networks, and the sultanate of Cairo in late medieval Syro-Egypt. In R. Amitai & S. Conermann (Eds.), The Mamluk sultanate from the perspective of regional and world history : economic, social and cultural development in an era of increasing international interaction and competition (Vol. 17, pp. 77–108). Göttingen: Bonn University Press at V&R unipress GmbH.
Vancouver
1.
Van Steenbergen J. Revisiting the Mamlūk empire : political action, relationships of power, entangled networks, and the sultanate of Cairo in late medieval Syro-Egypt. In: Amitai R, Conermann S, editors. The Mamluk sultanate from the perspective of regional and world history : economic, social and cultural development in an era of increasing international interaction and competition. Göttingen: Bonn University Press at V&R unipress GmbH; 2019. p. 77–108.
MLA
Van Steenbergen, Jo. “Revisiting the Mamlūk Empire : Political Action, Relationships of Power, Entangled Networks, and the Sultanate of Cairo in Late Medieval Syro-Egypt.” The Mamluk Sultanate from the Perspective of Regional and World History : Economic, Social and Cultural Development in an Era of Increasing International Interaction and Competition. Ed. Reuven Amitai & Stephan Conermann. Vol. 17. Göttingen: Bonn University Press at V&R unipress GmbH, 2019. 77–108. Print.
@incollection{8605811,
  abstract     = {This chapter’s questions the commonly assumed link between political practices of integration and integrity on the one hand – which appear as empirical realities from many sources and studies – and the Syro-Egyptian Sultanate of Cairo (13th-16th centuries) as a dominant, autonomous and imperial historical actor on the other. It problematizes in particular the holistic nature of these assumptions, their merely descriptive value for understanding the region’s history, and the potentially misleading consequences of their normative character. At the same time, this chapter proposes to reflect further on the powerful idea of the Sultanate as an empire. It actually considers this notion of “empire” as a useful way out of this predicament, because it invites to engage with insights from other fields of historical research and to define valuable analytical tools, including from social network theory, to further and refine current assumptions about and understandings of late medieval Syro-Egyptian political action. Confronting such tools with various cases from the center and the peripheries of that Syro-Egyptian political action, this chapter argues that the imperial appearances of the Syro-Egyptian Sultanate were always constructed in the micro-history of people and their negotiation of particular cultural, socio-economic and political relationships, which were extremely fluid and multivalent, permeable, and continuously organized around the court in Cairo.},
  author       = {Van Steenbergen, Jo},
  booktitle    = {The Mamluk sultanate from the perspective of regional and world history : economic, social and cultural development in an era of increasing international interaction and competition},
  editor       = {Amitai, Reuven  and Conermann, Stephan},
  isbn         = {9783847104117},
  issn         = {2198-5375},
  keywords     = {Mamluk Sultanate,Empire,Social Networks,Cairo Sultanate,Egypt,Syria,Medieval History,Islamic History},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {77--108},
  publisher    = {Bonn University Press at V&R unipress GmbH},
  series       = {Mamluk Studies},
  title        = {Revisiting the Mamlūk empire : political action, relationships of power, entangled networks, and the sultanate of Cairo in late medieval Syro-Egypt},
  volume       = {17},
  year         = {2019},
}