Research Title: The Devotional Texts of Medieval Mystics in the Muslim Mediterranean: The Shadhili Sufi Order, 13th–15th Centuries
Mr. Mansour is a PhD candidate in the History Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He completed his undergraduate studies in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University (2008) before studying Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Sibawayh Center in Cairo, Egypt (2008–2010). He then completed his MA in Arabic Studies, with a concentration in Islamic Studies, at the American University in Cairo (2013), where he was also the Middle East Librarian & Specialist from 2012–2013. Prior to arriving at ANAMED Mansour was a dissertation fellow at the American Research Center in Egypt (2017–2019).
Mansour is writing an intellectual and doctrinal history of the Shadhili Sufi order which takes into account the sociopolitical, cultural, and intellectual context of medieval mystics in the Muslim Mediterranean. He focuses on the order’s early history—from the 13th to the 15th centuries—and seeks to understand how the order’s earliest thinkers were engaging with the tradition which preceded them as well as with their own intellectual milieux. He uses the Arabic term tadbīr (“governance” or “management”) as an anchor for his history of the Shadhili order, as their teachings revolve around the doctrine of isqāṭ al-tadbīr, or the “abandonment of tadbīr”—that is to say, the utter reliance upon God. Tadbīr, coincidentally, was a widely used term in the Islamic intellectual sphere at the time, allowing him to explore how the Shadhilis were interacting with the most thought-provoking discourses engrossing the intellectuals and scholars of the medieval Muslim world. Thus, while he focuses on the early Shadhili Sufi order, his scholarship represents a broader contribution to the study of Islam.
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