Diverging paths? The shapes and institutions in the medieval Christian and Islamic worlds
This project starts from the following proposition: that the clearest trait that distinguishes society in East and West in the Middle Ages is the very formal aspect that European institutions acquired and that was missing from their Islamic counterparts. This divergence may, in turn, have had very significant consequences, notably for the nature and continuity of practices and power in the political, religious, social, economic, and other fields. Such divergence and its consequences were of significance beyond the Middle Ages and continue to have an effect in the present day. This collaborative project will seek to answer an important and straightforward question with very important implications: why did certain sorts of institutionalisation and institutional continuity come to characterise government and society in Christendom by the later middle ages, but not the Islamic world, whereas the reverse might have been predicted on the basis of the early medieval situation?