Conferences are not only a good place to hear about new research, they are also a prime opportunity to meet researchers in the field. The 2013 SHARP annual conference, held this year in Philadelphia, is a good example! I met the German scholar Dagmar Anne Riedel there. Riedel studied Islamic history as well as medieval Arabic and Persian literatures at the Universität Hamburg and Indiana University. She is currently working at the Columbia University Center for Iranian Studies as an Associate Research Scholar. In Philadelphia, Riedel presented a paper titled “Books Sold to Strangers: Collecting Islamic Books Outside the Islamic World” (panel f-5: “The Islamic Book Beyond the Islamic World”).
I would like to recommend Riedel’s blog “Islamic Books – A Research Blog about Manuscripts, Printed Books, and Ephemera in Arabic Script” to our readers and followers. The term Islamic books includes books produced by and for Muslims or non-Muslims; as Riedel delineated in her introductory blog text in January 2012, “the adjective ‘Islamic’ refers to Islamic civilization and is not limited to the faith itself”. Riedel’s blog explores the history of Islamic books within the social, historical, and intellectual context; a focus is on the transmission of knowledge between the Near East, Europe, and North America. The blog also offers further reading suggestions and resources to those interested in learning more about Islamic books.