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Middle East

MEDOC & Mamluk Studies at The University of Chicago

The Middle East Documentation Center (MEDOC)
and Mamluk Studies Resources

MEDOC is a research unit supporting scholarly work in Middle Eastern Studies. It is currently undertaking a number of projects to this end.

Current MEDOC Projects (see links above)

  • The most well-known online project of MEDOC is the The Chicago Online Bibliography of Mamluk Studies, two searchable databases listing primary and secondary literature from or relating to the Mamluk period. See the full description of the Bibliography, below.
  • MEDOC publishes and serves as the editorial focal point for Mamluk Studies Review, an annual refereed journal devoted to the study of the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria (648-922/1250-1517). Since 2009 (Vol. 13, No. 1), Mamluk Studies Review has been published electronically. All issues, starting with Volume 1 (1997) are available for free download by all interested readers.
    To view or download current or past issues of MSR, for more information about the journal, to order physical copies of back issues, or for editorial and style guidelines for authors, please visit
  • The School of Mamluk Studies (SMS) is administered by the Universities of Chicago (USA), Liège (Belgium), and Venice (Italy), respectively represented by Marlis Saleh, Frédéric Bauden, and Antonella Ghersetti. SMS holds annual conferences and workshops.
  • MEDOC is coordinating the development, through the cooperative efforts of many libraries, of a microfilmed collection of resources pertinent to Middle Eastern Studies. The Catalogue of Microforms Projects in Ottoman, Persian and Arabic represents the fruits of this ongoing project.
  • MEDOC publishes the monograph series Chicago Studies on the Middle East on behalf of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at The University of Chicago. Ten volumes are currently available.
  • MEDOC created the Mamluk Listserv as a discussion forum for scholars interested in the history and culture of the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria.

Ongoing and Future Projects

  • The Chicago Online Encyclopedia of Mamluk Studies (currently in the process of being rebuilt) is intended as a definitive reference source for topics having to do with the study of Egypt and Syria from 1250 to 1517, and complements existing resources. It will fill lacunae in existing resources such as the Encyclopedia of Islam. The Encyclopedia will eventually provide, in addtition to an unlimited number of articles, materials which are difficult--or even impossible--to contain and update in printed resources. These include interactive maps, architectural plans and photos, archaeological results and diagrams, searchable full-text Arabic sources from the Mamluk period (including hundreds of documents and manuscripts which remain unpublished and therefore unavailable to the scholarly community), an ever-growing glossary of Mamluk terminology in Arabic and English, and an index of names, terms, and other items in all back issues of Mamluk Studies Review. The Encyclopedia is fully searchable, and will feature topic indexes for browsing and hyperlinked cross-references within articles.
  • The Mamluk Mint Series Web Resource was inaugurated in 2003 with support from the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of this project is to create a classification system for Mamluk coins to supercede that given by Paul Balog in his 1964 book The Coinage of the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt and Syria, which cannot be conveniently expanded, and to provide online images of the Mamluk coins held in various museums and research institutes around the world. The results of this endeavor, in the form of a searchable online database, will be available in due course on this site.
  • The Arabic Translation Databank is an attempt to identify all translations of modern and classical Arabic literature (broadly defined) into English. Compilation of the database is in progress. When a sufficient mass of items is reached, the database will be available on this site. The further intention is to make available online as many of these texts as possible, including both those which are in the public domain and those whose copyright holders grant permission. This project is being undertaken in cooperation with Mideast Medievalists.

"Strike a blow for Wissenschaft!"

The Chicago Online Bibliography of Mamluk Studies

The Chicago Online Bibliography of Mamluk Studies is an on-going project of the Middle East Documentation Center at the University of Chicago, the aim of which is to compile comprehensive bibliographies of all primary sources relating to the Mamluk sultanate of Egypt and Syria, as well as all research and discussion—scholarly and popular—germane to the subject. The project takes the form of two bibliographies: the primary and the secondary. It is hoped that the comprehensive nature of this bibliography will make more readily apparent the field's advances and its deficiencies.

The chronological and geographical limits traditionally used to demarcate the sultanate are not necessarily adhered to if the discussion at hand has some bearing on conditions during the period. Because no attempt has been made to evaluate the scholarly value of the material included here, the bibiliography should provide some insight into popular perceptions of the subject as well.

Although a bibliography may attempt to present the current state of a field, the structure of its organization necessarily restricts that presentation to a particular, fixed view. With this in mind, the structure of this bibliography is intended to order the data while providing a certain amount of flexibility. It is possible to browse both bibliographies by category. The categories were conceived to organize the literature without imposing an overly rigid view of the field. Accordingly, the categories are general topics within Mamluk studies and general types of sources. This approach has a certain element of intentional redundancy, as entries frequently have bearing on more than one subject category. Furthermore, the sub-fields are construed rather broadly, in part to avoid categories that are overly brief, but also to enhance the relationships between aspects of Mamluk studies.

Two aspects of this project have become clear as the list has grown longer. First, there will always be many more bibliographic trails to track; "comprehensive" necessarily refers to intended scope rather than actual content.

Second, the overall size of the bibliography has some bearing on the usefulness of its organization. Categories should not be considered as permanent. In the future, as the literature of sub-specialties grows, the general categories may warrant subdivision. As this is an on-going project, these two aspects will receive as much consideration as the collection of new literature, and users' contributions, comments, and criticisms are encouraged. The project benefited early on from the contributions of Jonthan Berkey, Ulrich Haarmann, David King, Donald Little, David Reisman, and Warren Schultz, and has continued to benefit from the contributions of many scholars in the years since.

To use the bibliography, follow the link below:


Marlis Saleh, Middle East Bibliographer

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Middle East Department

Regenstein Library, 5th Floor, Rm 560

(773) 702-8425