Professor Joel Blecher joined the department in Fall 2016 as our new specialist in the History of Early and Medieval Islam. Professor Blecher's current research focuses on the social and intellectual life of hadith commentary. His book project, In the Shade of the Hadith: Islam and the Politics of Interpretation across a Millennium, finds that the meanings of hadith (the collected sayings of the prophet Muhammed) were shaped as much by commentators’ political, cultural and regional contexts as by the fine-grained intellectual debates that developed over long periods of time. His next project, Profit and Prophecy: Islam and the Spice Trade from Venice to India, will explore how Muslim scholars and merchants in the Mamluk period (13th-15th centuries) mixed religion and business along trade and pilgrimage routes that stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arabian Sea and beyond. In the fall, he will be teaching History 3801: The Formation of Islam to 1500. Welcome, Professor Blecher!
Read more about Professor Blecher's work here.