IMPAcT will make accessible the crucially important, but much neglected 13th–16th century Islamic intellectual history on a broad scale by establishing for the first time, through an integrated database on Islamic philosophy, theology, and related fields, the bio-bibliographical data necessary for systematic research in these areas, which will fundamentally transform the quality of scholarship. The project is frontier research in the primary sense of the term, as it goes where few have gone before: the late medieval Islamic history has long been perceived as one of decline, leading to the assumption that there is little in late medieval and early modern Islam that is new or worth studying. This un-historical view has been especially damaging for intellectual history: The great majority of the relevant Arabic, Persian and Turkish sources remain unpublished. Nonetheless, the period is frequently described as “conservative” and “lacking originality.” IMPAcT’s aim is to break out of the vicious circle of the claim that there is little worth knowing about this period, and, as a consequence, the continuing lack of knowledge about it. IMPAcT’s ultimate aim is to bridge the gap between the classical and modern periods of Islamic intellectual history, and to overcome the current fragmentation of the existing expertise across Europe, the Middle East, and North America by bringing together the experts in these fields at international workshops, and by encouraging them to contribute, in the long term, to the database. The open-source, open-access, inter-operable, and fully searchable database of all published (ca. 15%) and unpublished (ca. 85%) 13th –16th century Arabic, Persian and Turkish works on the rational sciences will be supported by the edition of key texts and a dedicated website.
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