Dr Edward Zychowicz-Coghill
Edward received BA and MPhil degrees in History from the University of Oxford, specialising in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies. After spending some time as a PhD student in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, he returned to the UK to research a DPhil in History, again at Oxford.
He studies middle eastern history in the pre-modern period, primarily using Arabic texts. He is particularly interested in how and why pre-modern Arabic writers depicted the past in their works, and what these uses of the past tell us about the contexts from which these texts emerged. His doctoral dissertation examined the first emergence of a tradition of Arabic writing about the history of Egypt, in the eighth-to-ninth centuries CE. His current research explores the representation of the Greco-Roman city in Arabic literature and the place of antiquity in the Islamic urban imaginary. He is also interested in the religious diversity of the pre-modern Islamic world and has worked with non-Muslim texts, producing an edition and translation of an originally Coptic late antique saint’s life which survives only in Arabic manuscripts.