Injustice, Corruption, and Partisanship in the Eastern Seljuq Lands of the Early Twelfth Century

Injustice, Corruption, and Partisanship in the Eastern Seljuq Lands of the Early Twelfth Century

with Deborah Tor


This lecture will analyse the sole eyewitness testimony regarding Seljuq rule and administration around the turn of the twelfth century: Five historically specific missives, addressed to three different viziers, and datable to the years  490/1097- 504/1110-11, found  within the collection of Persian letters entitled Faḍā'il al-anām min rasā'il ḥujjat al-Islām, written by the most important Muslim theologian to have expatiated upon the subject of rulership and justice, Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad al-Ghazālī . The purpose of the talk will be to glean from these letters, hitherto neglected by historians, the evidence they contain regarding certain important aspects of both governmental and societal injustice during this period. 


About the Speaker

headshot debbie

D.G. Tor is Associate Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, specialising in the history of the pre-thirteenth century Medieval Middle East and Central Asia. Tor's publications cover a broad variety of subjects, ranging from the rise of privatized jihād in the eighth century, to the causes behind the decline of the province of Khurāsān in the twelfth century; and they include both dozens of articles, as well as the books Violent Order: Religious Warfare, Chivalry, and the ʿAyyār Phenomenon in the Medieval Islamic World (2007);  The ʿAbbasid and Carolingian Empires: Studies in Civilizational Formation (2017); together with A.C.S. Peacock, Medieval Central Asia and the Persianate World: Iranian Tradition and Islamic Civilisation (2015); and, with Minoru Inaba, The History and Culture of Iran and Central Asia: From the Pre-Islamic to the Islamic Period (2022). Her next volume (forthcoming 2023, Edinburgh University Press) is The Islamic-Byzantine Border in History: From the Rise of Islam to the End of the Crusades . Tor has won numerous major research grants and awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; the American Council of Learned Societies; the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies; the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies; and Harvard University. Tor is also the Medieval History associate editor of the journal  Iranian Studies.