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The Calligraphic StateTextual Domination and History in a Muslim Society$
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Brinkley Messick

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076051

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076051.001.0001

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Print Culture

Print Culture

Chapter:
(p.115) Chapter 6 Print Culture
Source:
The Calligraphic State
Author(s):

Brinkley Messick

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520076051.003.0007

This chapter addresses the local advent of print culture. It specifically investigates twentieth-century textual initiatives in state publishing, library reform, and official-history writing. The imam's new library was an imaginative hybrid, a recasting of old institutional ideas in newly elaborated forms. Textual commodification is commonly linked to “print capitalism.” Fundamental shifts in types of library book holdings and in related circulation patterns have mirrored the broader changes in the nature of knowledge and the social organization of its transmission. With the 1970s and 1980s, Yemeni history writing began to merge with a new discursive era, that of the university-trained historian and of international standards of composition, citation, and publication. Chronicles and biographical dictionaries are the two main old genres of Muslim historical writing. Jurisprudence and history have now begun to diverge, into unrelated, parallel fields of inquiry, separately housed in a law school and a department of history.

Keywords:   print culture, state publishing, library reform, official-history writing, print capitalism, textual commodification, Yemeni history writing, Muslim historical writing

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