The Scribe of the Alhambra: Lisān al-Dīn ibn al-Khaṭīb, Sovereignty, and History in Nasrid Granada


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project explores the sociopolitical context of knowledge production and the articulation of dynastic ideology in medieval Iberia and North Africa. It interrogates the role of the secretarial class, composed of individuals working within the royal chancery and administration, in the development, deployment, and dissemination of a new vocabulary of sovereignty during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The life and career of Lisān al-Dīn ibn al-Khaṭīb (d. 1374), the preeminent historian and philosopher of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, provides the main focal point of this investigation. By situating this figure’s career and writings within the wider context of a dynamic network of scholars, this project illuminates how royal networks of patronage, itinerancy, and mobility shaped the production of knowledge and facilitated the diffusion of novel conceptions of sovereignty and legitimate authority during the late medieval period.