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"Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry", by R. Stephen Humphreys, Rev. edition (Princeton University Press, 1991), xiv, 401 by Dr. Paul-Thomas Ferguson.

In his review, Dr. Ferguson surveys the material presented in the work and analyzes its importance to students of Islamic and Middle Eastern history.

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The study of Islamic history presents scholars with a number of challenges. Working from original sources, even translations of contemporary documents, requires the knowledge of a variety of different languages. Many of these early works remain in the original script, while others are poorly organized, if not lost, in libraries and archives around the world. These are the challenges which R. Stephen Humphreys identifies early on in his work, "Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry". His goal is to "propose some of the lines of inquiry and research strategies which might be used to construct a persuasive and well-integrated synthesis of the Islamic past" (ix). By tackling a number of historiographic issues and concerns, while always keeping in mind the research needs of both established scholars and beginning students, Humphreys goes far in accomplishing his goal.

Humphreys' work is essentially a research manual, a practical guide to source materials in the field of Islamic history. Focusing primarily on works of political and social history, the author presents a detailed analysis of research problems, combined with helpful bibliographic essays of available research materials. These sources are drawn ...

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A book review clarifies religious and social issues for users.

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