How do peripheral places assert the centrality of their identity? Why are fanciful events, like dreams and myths, useful narrative elements for identity construction and arguments about authority, legitimacy, and rhetoric? In Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography: Persian Histories from the Periphery
(Cambridge University Press, 2017), Mimi Hanaoka
, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Richmond, offers a broad and deep dive into the importance of events that never happened to Persianate locales seeking to center themselves within the Islamic world and the Islamic story.
In our conversation, Mimi and I touch upon the appearance and nature of local histories, the important role of fiction and fantasy in constructing local identity, and a few of the more interesting stories she encountered in her research.
Aaron Hagler is an assistant professor of history at Troy University.