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.
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