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Discussion Group

On Tahqiq, Space Travel, and the Discovery of Jetlag

Post-Mongol Origins of Modern Spacial Thinking

Add to calendar 2022-12-02 11:30 2022-12-02 12:30 Europe/Rome On Tahqiq, Space Travel, and the Discovery of Jetlag Sala del Torrino Villa Salviati- Castle YYYY-MM-DD


02 December 2022

11:30 - 12:30 CET


Sala del Torrino

Villa Salviati- Castle

This event is part of the EUI Decentering Eurocentrism Reading Group series.
This work-in-progress article by Professor Giancarlo Casale (EUI) addresses the problem of Eurocentrism in the narration of Global history through a specific case study, the 14th-century Arabic treatise on world geography known as the "Arrangement of Countries" (Taqwim al-Buldan) by Abu'l-Feda. This text presents the first theoretical demonstration of the so-called "Circumnavigator’s Paradox", made famous by the Umberto Eco novel The Island of the Day Before, according to which one either loses or gains a day by sailing around the world. This paper argues that Abu'l-Feda's insight—proposed several centuries before the first European circumnavigations of the globe—can be understood as a typical expression of the dynamic questioning of traditional knowledge provoked in the Islamic world by the Mongol conquests. In consequence, it suggests a new "post-Mongol" genealogy for the objective and global mathematisation of space that is characteristic of modern spatial thinking, and that is typically assumed to be the product of an exclusively European intellectual history.
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