Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Andrew Marsham

(Former employee or visitor)

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Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Dr Andrew Marsham supervises PhD projects on Late Antique and Early Islamic History, and the history and historiography of the medieval Arab world. He also collaborates with the departments of History, Classics and Archaeology in PhD supervision on the pre-modern Middle East.


Dr Andrew Marsham studied at the University of Oxford, taking a BA (Hons) in Modern History (1996), an MPhil in Classical and Medieval Islamic History (1998) and a DPhil in Oriental Studies (2004). During this time he also studied and travelled in India, Egypt, Syria and Iran.

While completing his DPhil, Dr Marsham taught at the University of Sheffield, and then held research fellowships at the universities of Cambridge and Manchester, before coming to Edinburgh’s department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies in 2008. In 2012 he held an AHRC Early Career Fellowship for his research project, Early Islamic Empire: Reframing the Umayyads.

Research Interests

Dr Marsham's main research interests lie in the 'pre-classical' or 'late antique' period of Islam, seeking to develop perspectives on Islamic history that take full account of the late antique context in which Islam took shape.

He is particularly interested in bringing ideas from the social sciences to bear on understanding historical change in the Middle East, especially changes in political culture. His 2009 monograph, Rituals of Islamic Monarchy (EUP), sought to assess the history the accession ritual of the early caliphs in its historical context and with an eye to anthropological ideas about kingship. His current research project Early Islamic Empire: Reframing the Umayyads seeks to place the era of the foundation of the Arab and Islamic world in its wider historical context.

Other specific topics of current interest include the development of ideas about sacral kingship and monarchy in the Islamic world, rebellion and state responses to it, the religious and political uses of historical memory, and the comparative history of Latin, Greek and Arabic West Eurasia.


Postgraduate research supervision

Dr Marsham's recent and current PhD and MScR supervision topics include:

  • ‘Approaches to the Nasab Tradition: A Study of Marriage and Concubinage in the tribe of Muhammad, 500-750 CE’
  • ‘Narratives of Kharijism in the 7th century CE/1st century AH’
  • ‘A History of Eastern Arabia or the Region of Bahrayn from the Eleventh to the Fourteenth Century’
  • ‘Early Traditionist Historiography: A Textual and Contextual Analysis of the Tarikh of Khalifa ibn Khayyat al-‘Usfuri’
  • ‘External influences on Kitab al-Aghani: Abu al-Faraj, historiography, and Abbasid society’

Postgraduate teaching

  • Contribution to the core courses for the MScs in Arab World Studies, Advanced Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, and Late Antique and Byzantine Studies
  • Political Thought and Culture in the Formative Era of Islam
  • The Umayyad Empire: the Islamic World in its Late Antique Context

Undergraduate teaching

  • Islamic History: From the Origins of Islam to the Age of Suleiman the Magnificent, and its two sub-sections (which may be taken individually), Islamic History A: The Formation of the Islamic World and Islamic History B: From the Crusades to the 'Gunpowder Empires'
  • Early Arabic Historical Texts
  • Medieval Islamic Political Thought
  • The First Muslim Empire: The Islamic World before ‘Sunnism’ and ‘Shi‘ism’


Research outputs

  1. 'God’s Caliph' revisited: Umayyad political thought in its late antique context

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  2. The first Islamic chronicle: The Chronicle of Khalīfa b. Khayyāṭ (d. AD 854)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

View all (33) »

Research activities & awards

  1. The battle of Yarmūk (636 CE)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  2. The Origins of the Islamic State: Power and Sovereignty in the Early Middle Ages

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  3. IMES Research Seminar Series, Autumn 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

View all (39) »

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