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The View From Al-Andalus: Looking East, West, And South For Andalusī Identity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the risāla fī faḍl al-Andalus and variations on that theme. By looking at texts that seek to assert the cultural uniqueness and superiority of al-Andalus, while at the same time linking Andalusī culture to an idealized eastern past and shunning contemporary North Africa, the chapter shows how a relatively fixed literary theme developed over a period of four centuries to evaluate the ways in which Andalusī writers viewed their changing relationship to the Islamic east and west. These changing views resulted in varying expressions of their conception of al-Andalus and Andalusī identity. The chapter then examines the ways each attempts to define al- Andalus by relating it to the east and to al-Maghrib, and how political, literary, and personal contexts affect their different representations of Andalusī identity.

Keywords: Andalusī Identity; risāla fī faḍl al-Andalus



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