29 August, 2010

Master's Thesis

It's been drafted, revised, and resubmitted! Now I am waiting to defend it later in the week. I am so ready for this semester to be finished, lol!!!

09 July, 2010

Virginia Review of Asian Studies 2010

I am officially published! Please click here to go to the latest volume of VRAS (an annual publication). Once there, click on "Scholarly Notes" and look for the article by Julie Hayes (that's me).

01 July, 2010

Thesis: Chapter 3 (old 4)

What a day! I spent many hours today doing some final readings, answering some questions from my prof within my Chapter, and making sure all of my footnotes were also listed in the Works Cited page! I am not sure how I feel about this chapter yet as I feel it needs at least a gazillion more pages, LOL. What can I say? I am my own harshest critic. Now I will turn my attention to the Introduction chapter and the Concluding chapter while I await a response/feedback on Chapter 3.

I have also made some preliminary changes to the blog, but I won't put them in place for at least a month as it is not as important as finishing my thesis on time. Stay tuned...

21 June, 2010

Two months remain…

Well, it’s nearing an end. There are only two months left in this semester and I am clearly a bit unfocused. I am almost finished writing Chapter 4 (which is now Chapter 3) and then I need to finish the Intro and the Concluding chapters. Whew! This sure has been an experience. There have been good days and bad. I have new ideas for further/future research endeavors. Now, if only I can make myself sit still and finish the task at hand, lol!

Seriously though. I have a few questions to answer within my document that were recently posed to me by my prof. He really makes me think…that there is much more research to be done, lol! ;D

Once my Thesis is turned in, I plan to update this blog space a bit with more sources, both book and electronic. Stay tuned for changes!

01 June, 2010

Almost there...

I am almost finished writing the draft of my MA Thesis. I have a couple more pages in Chapter 3 (old 4), the concluding chapter, and finishing up the Intro. Then I will put it all in the proper format and submit! I am sure there will be some rewriting/revising to come, but I am so excited to be almost there!!!

15 May, 2010

Andalusian Scientists

I am stuck on Chapter 4 of my thesis. The motivation is slowly building, so I am forcing myself to devote this weekend to it as much as possible. I have classical on in the background (Music Choice Channel 440 via Bright House Cable). It’s a relaxing way to research and write for me personally. A good friend of mine prefers jazz. I tried. It’s just a little too upbeat for what I am doing. But I do love me some great jazz otherwise!

Anyway, I am currently gathering notes on Andalusian scientists. In my preliminary research for this chapter, I found some scientists/scholars that looked promising, although not necessarily from Andalusia. BTW, did you know that Andalus is Arabic for “land of the vandals”? I didn’t until beginning the chapter. Very cool! I digress…

There are several scholars of varying importance to Andalusia during the Middle Ages. The few that I have come across so far are:

Abu Ishaq Ibrahim an-Naqqash, aka al-Zarqali or Azarquiel. His name is derived from the Arabic term for “blue” or “the blue-eyed one” – zarqa. I wonder if that means he had blue eyes? I guess my research will guide me to his vitals.

Ibn Mu-adh al-Jayyani (spherical trigonometry)

Maslama ibn Ahmad al-Majriti (mercuric oxide or HgO)

As I discover more, I will add to this post.

I also found that Alfonse X "The Wise" founded a school for translators called The Translators School of Toledo. I am planning to incorporate this into Chapter 4 as it pertains to the translation movement in the West. 

07 April, 2010

Gerard of Cremona

My final semester has officially begun although I have been doing a little reading and article search for a couple of weeks now. I am still working my way through the Scott L. Montgomery book, Science in Translation. I am only reading one chapter for the purposes of this study, but it is a long chapter and full of information! It's almost a little overwhelming, but I will get through it. As always, I am making notes on what I am reading and highlighting certain passages that I need to research a bit more or plan to quote in my thesis. Don't get me wrong though. I think this is a great book so far! It was actually one that I checked out from the USF Library last semester and decided to purchase a copy for myself. :D

I am also going to be re-reading/skimming through Jonathan Lyons' The House of Wisdom as it is pertinent to Chapter 4 of my Thesis more than any of the other chapters. 

I am in the process of narrowing down my list a bit of the scientists/translators I will focus on for this chapter. Gerard of Cremona is definitely on my "Yes" list! He was probably one of the more important translators and has been compared to Hunayn in method of translation. According to Scott L. Montgomery, "the tremendous contribution [Gerard] made to the Western intellectual tradition...was based on bringing into medieval Latin a large portion of the Arabic-Indian-Persian-Greek synthesis in science..." (p155). I think this is an important point in moving from the Eastern translation movement into the Western as we have to think in terms of what the Arabs brought to the Middle East and it's spread westward from there.

As I have on previous posts, I want to include a picture of Gerard of Cremona, but I am unable to find one. I will keep looking as time permits...

31 March, 2010

"Make Mine Freedom!" (1948)

I have to thank Parsley for sharing this video on her blog. It is really an interesting little video and fits well with today's government:

30 March, 2010

Final Semester....Here I Come!!!

It's almost that time again! Time for a new semester at Vermont College of Union Institute & University. I am so ready for this one to begin. If all goes as planned, it will be my LAST! Yay!!! Ok, I won't party too soon 'cause ya never know. But I am sure all will go well enough.

This being my last semester, I have to put much more effort into completing my thesis. I have 2 and a half chapters to write. The half chapter is the remainder of the Introduction (Chapter 1). I have already begun researching for Chapter 4: The House of Wisdom in the West (or something to that effect). I am looking closely at Andalusia for much of the chapter and will pan out from there for a few pages. I say Andalusia because this is where the Caliphate in the West was located under the Umayyads. I am currently reading a chapter in Scott Montgomery's Science in Translation and making notes of scientists listed within. Here are a few that I am planning to look into a bit more:
  • Gerbert of Aurillac
  • Adelard of Bath
  • Gerard of Cremona
  • John of Seville
  • Hugh of Santalla
  • Dominicus Gundissalinus
  • Michael Scot
  • Petrus Alfonsi
  • William Moerbeke
I am sure I will find others along the way, but this is a start for now.

In other scholarly news, Ovation networks recently aired a special called "Paradise Found: Islamic Architecture and Art".

I caught a little bit of it, more than half way through the program, where the narrator was talking about Cordoba and the Umayyad Caliphate. I am hoping to catch the whole thing sometime in the near future, through the Google link I bookmarked (lol). Apparently, this documentary is a few years old.

Looking at the Ovation website, I did find another program scheduled to air Apri1 11 at 8pm called "Andalusia: The Legacy of the Moors". I will be watching that show, but the following week on April 17 at 9pm.

26 March, 2010

Islamic Manuscripts at Michigan

The University of Michigan has put together an incredible catalog dedicated to Islamic Manuscripts. Check out their website!

14 March, 2010

Semester Break

Well, we have been on break since mid-February and I am starting to get a bit restless. Over the past couple of days, I have slowly gotten back into the research mode. I have found a few articles that I intend to read over the next week or so and have purchased a couple of books that I have had perpetually checked out from the USF library since November. I have two more that I for sure will be purchasing next month. Check back soon for some "words of wisdom" from me about my readings.

16 February, 2010

Journals and Professors

Wow! I turned in what I had at the end of the semester, well a little over a week ago, and got a great response from my professor! Now I am excited for summer to get here. You may be wondering why I am so excited so soon?! Well, I am glad you asked. I have been given the opportunity to submit one chapter of my thesis for publication in an online journal that my prof is the editor of. What a great honor! I have one more semester to go before my thesis is complete and his feedback has been most thrilling. It takes having a wonderful professor and advisor (can’t forget her and all of her input as well) to keep me focused on my work and to keep me interested. I am greatly indebted to their interest and help along the way thus far!

I will post more later as I learn more about the publication (date and link). For those interested, here is a link to The Virginia Review of Asian Studies (VRAS).

31 January, 2010

Wrapping Up this Semester

Well, this semester is nearing a close and I feel that I have accomplished quite a bit on my thesis. I still have quite a bit to go. Keep checking in for updates as I progress into al-Andalus and Europe. For the remaining two weeks of this term, I will be busily finishing Chapters 2 and 3. Over the break, I plan to continue my readings in preparation for Chapter 4 – The House of Wisdom and the West. This is the chapter that will focus on the scientific advancements coming into Europe from Baghdad. I plan to highlight some of those Arab/Muslim scientists that worked in al-Andalus and the European scientists who worked with the Muslim contributions and improved upon them. This will pave the way for the concluding chapter where I plan to discuss the importance of reclaiming this “golden age” to various regimes (such as the Taliban and Osama bin Laden) and why it is important to preserve what little is left of the primary source materials including illustrations such as a partial physician’s license.

22 January, 2010

Translation Project complete

I have finished the translation project I was working on this past week. When I first began this project, I intended to select some poems and translate into Arabic. I found the Arabic to be a bit daunting (I have only taken 1 year of the language and that was 2005-6), so I switched to a language that I am more familiar with: français! So, I chose the poems - 9 to be exact - and spent most of last weekend translating them from English into French. I asked my best friend, and native of France, to edit my translations, which she happily did. I received her edit back on Wednesday evening and was a bit surprised at how many mistakes I made. After careful review of my errors, some of which were just plain stupid mistakes, I set about to try my hand at calligraphy. I have a little practice in this writing craft, but decided for the sake of time and continuity that I would print (I know, I know, a bit too modern, but it works) the poems out onto the card stock I planned to use for the inside of the book. Here is a picture of the pages:

The font is Old English Text MT. The poem in the picture above has been published by the International Library of Poetry in the anthology "Clouds Across the Stars".

I prepared the covers using a faux leather material, the same card stock, and some spray-on adhesive. This adhesive worked out really well all the way around, although it was a bit sticky! Here is a picture of the covers before the design element was applied:

And here is the cover after the design:

I chose a traditional, simple Islamic design for the cover. I used a blue cotton fabric and overlayed that with green (almost an olive green) faux suede-like fabric.

The binding itself is a “shoelace” style binding using the faux leather material to tie the pieces together.

This was a fun project and quite simple to put together once all of the pieces were collected. I really have to thank my best friend, Christine, for her editing and my father for punching the holes into the covers for me.

20 January, 2010

The House of Wisdom, Ch 3

Well, chapter 3 is nearly complete. I am content with what I have at this point in the semester. I will be adding to it later, as there are still a few holes I want to fill. I have written, in this chapter, on

al-Hazan (al-Haitham)

Thabit ibn Qurra,


al-Kindi (a little),

Hunayn ibn Ishaq,


and al-Battani.
During the research and writing of this chapter, I have learned more about algebra, optics, and other areas of science than I ever thought I would. I have formed a new appreciation for al-Khwarizmi and have been toying with the prospect of writing an article on him for one of the scholarly journals I enjoy.

Now, it is on to finish Chapter 2 - The Coming of New Ideas and resubmit my work to my thesis professor. My next post will include pictures of my completed translation project for my Applications II class. Until then...

14 January, 2010


As I get more into the scientists I have chosen to focus in on, I am finding things that I knew and things that I didn't. I am also finding things that are most interesting. Such is the case in Alhazan.

He is considered the Father of Modern Optics. This is a good thing as we all use optics in some fashion. As children, we learn about refraction and reflection of light through the use of mirrors and prisms.

Photographers use optics in their work all the time.

Even advertisers have gotten into the optic bandwagon, so to speak. Remember that commercial where the little girl explains to her father why the sky is blue? Yup, that's optics at it's elementary!

12 January, 2010

Arab Scientists

Well, after some more in-depth research, I have come up with a list of "scientists" (including mathematicians, astronomers, and physicians) that I would like to focus on for my Chapter 3 of my thesis. They are:

  • Mohammad al-Khwarizmi
  • Yaqub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi
  • Thabit ibn Qurra al-Harrani
  • Muhammad ibn Jabir al-Battani
  • Muhammad ibn al-Hasan Nasir al-Din al-Tusi
  • Ali ibn Rabban al-Tabari
  • Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi
  • Abu al-Nasr al-Farabi
  • Jabir ibn Hayyan
  • Abu Ali Hasan ibn al-Haitham
  • Abu Marwan abd al-Malik ibn Zuhr (born in Seville)

Out of these, I am finding Abu Marwan ibn Zuhr to be the only scientist never to have visited Baghdad or associated with the House of Wisdom. However, he made some discoveries and wrote some treatises that are relevant to my study.