SUMMARY:The archives and libraries that today house texts by Ibadi Muslim authors span the entirety of the globe including collections in Europe, Northern and East Africa, and Western Asia. Growing interest over the past two decades has led to the appearance of a number of new studies on the history of this Muslim minority community, all of which have emerged from fresh research in different kinds of Ibadi archives. These collections range from small private libraries of a dozen manuscript titles and print books to thousands of volumes. In addition, the internet is now home to thousands of Ibadi texts including both scanned or digitized versions of printed texts and original compositions.
This panel uses the spaces that house these texts, including private and national libraries as well as websites, to explore critically the relationship between the archives that store Ibadi texts and the way historians use them. Through presentations on Ibadi archives in Algeria, Tunisia, Oman, Zanzibar, and online, the panel will address the following questions: How does the space of the archive shape the way historians have written about Ibadi history, theology, and law from the medieval to modern period? What barriers to research do these different kinds of archives set up or break down? How can historians of Ibadi Islam take account of the circumstances that led to the formation of these archives and integrate them into their research?