Wherein I Give Deets. Excerpts:
" This dissertation began with the question, Why Muhammad b. Qasim?
Paul Ricoeur offers a way, for the historian, to deal with the methodological challenge of how to study “memory” by focusing on, what he terms, “trace, document and question”. Briefly,
1. to inscribe historical processes into the construction of documentary proof itself (that is the text or artifact that is the object of our historical attention);
2. to investigate the distance between the event, the testimony of the event and the narration of the fact. That is, to explicate ‘what happened’ along with ‘what is said to have happened’
The focus then, is not on some elusive and contestable category of ‘memory’ - whether social, cultural or political - but on the production of text, its relationship to other texts, and to the uses of these texts in remembering and forgetting a particular social past.
Unlike Bhattacharya, it isn’t the “threat” that interests me in these other histories, rather the questions of how and why they are produced, at all. And what they tell us about our presents. Consider this dissertation, a first step."