Maya Shatzmiller

- Professor

image of Maya Shatzmiller

Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 84994
Office: Lawson Hall 2229
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm and Thursdays 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Teaching Philosophy

For most incoming students Islamic history is a foreign universe. Therefore my first goal is to introduce students to the general themes of Islamic history, beginning with the rise of Islam in the 7th century A.D. Middle East. Those taking my introductory second year course will engage in reading the primary sources of the medieval and modern periods in translation. I encourage third and fourth year students to move to more focused and in depth study of social, cultural and economic themes in Islamic history. For the more advanced students, on the Master and Doctoral levels, I offer the possibility to specialize in specific fields of interest, through research papers. More specific training in the field includes familiarizing them with the research tools and the study of Arabic. Being a specialist in Islamic social and economic history I welcome particularly students with previous knowledge of economics or Middle Eastern languages to collaborate and participate in my research projects. I aim at training future scholars in the field of Islamic social and economic history; produce original and independent research work, and eventually teach in the field.

Selected Publications


Image of book cover "From Berber State to Moroccan Empire"(2019) From Berber State to Moroccan Empire: The Glory of Fez Under the Marinids. Markus Wiener Publishers, Princeton, 2019. Medieval Fez was a main center of education, art, and commerce from the 13th to the 16th centuries after the Berber tribe of the Marinids seized power in Morocco and moved the capital from Marrakesh to Fez. As non-Arabs, they gained legitimacy by founding medresas, religious universities. They also supported the arts and commerce, and expanded their state into an empire. It was the Golden Age of the Fez. Maya Shatzmiller draws a historical panorama of this era, highlighting its mover and shakers in locations from North Africa to the Mediterranean world.

This new edition has a new introduction and chapter on the Moroccan empire during the Marinid period focusing on trade in the Mediterranean reigion.

Berbers Book Cover

(2007) Her Day in Court: Women’s Property Rights and Islamic Law in Fifteenth Century Granada . Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. 2007, 277 pp. This book is a study of the historical record of Muslim women’s property rights and equity. Based on Islamic court documents of fifteenth-century Granada—documents that show a high degree of women’s involvement—the book examines women’s legal entitlements to acquire property as well as the social and economic significance of these rights to Granada’s female population and, by extension, to women in other Islamic societies. The specifics presented in the case studies reveal the broader structures, constructs, rules, conditions, factors, and paradigms that shaped women’s property rights under Islamic law serving to highlight the uniqueness of the Islamic case. They show that women’s property rights were more than just part of a legal system; they were the product of a legal philosophy and a pervasive paradigm that made property ownership a normal construct of the Muslim woman’s legal persona and a norm of her existence. 

Berbers Book Cover

(2000) The Berbers and the Islamic State: The Marinid Experience in Pre-protectorate Morocco. Markus Wiener Publishers, Princeton, 2000, 196 pp. This book studies how the Berbers participated in the process of the state's formation in the medieval Maghreb, while at the same time resisting uniformity and conformity to cultural norms and institutions, through which acculturation was enforced.

Labour Book Cover

(1994) Labour in the Medieval Islamic World. Arab History and Civilization: Studies and Texts, 4. E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1994, viii+443 pp.

Historiographie Book Cover

(1982) L'Historiographie mérinide: Ibn Khaldun et ses contemporains. E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1982, 182 pp. Arabic translation by Muhammad Shaqir and Muhammad Darib, Tawji Maktabat al-Umma, Rabat, 1993

Edited Volumes

Nationalism Book Cover

(2005) Nationalism and Minority Identities in Islamic Societies . Papers delivered at the conference at the University of Western Ontario, December 2001. Edited by Maya Shatzmiller. Vol. 1 in the Western Series in Ethnic Conflict. McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 2005. 346 pp. Hard cover and paperback editions.

Islam and Bosnia Book Cover

(2002) Islam and Bosnia: Conflict Resolution and Foreign Policy in Multi-Ethnic States. Papers delivered at the conference held at the University of Western Ontario, May, 1999. Edited by Maya Shatzmiller. McGill-Queens University Press, Montreal, 2002. 220pp. Hard cover and paperback editions.

Crusaders and Muslims Book Cover

(1993) Crusaders and Muslims in 12th Century Syria . Papers delivered at the conference at the University of Western Ontario, November, 1988. Edited by Maya Shatzmiller. Vol.1. In the series: The Medieval Mediterranean Peoples, Economics and Cultures 400-1453. E. J. Brill, Leiden, New-York, Köln, 1993. 236 pp. Hard cover and paperback editions.

Selected Articles