John Davis suggested some time ago that the integration of history into the social sciences constitutes one of the distinctive opportunities of Mediterraneanist anthropology: this point should be considered seriously by those who study music. The combination of written texts and a contemporary world in which the past is constantly evoked has provided a number of Mediterraneanist anthropologists with an opportunity to assess the relationship between concepts of time, political power and the organisation of memory through written or oral history (Davis 1989, Pina Cabral 1987). The fact that conceptions of time and history are plural and competing is not peculiar to the Mediterranean world, although this competition is perhaps peculiarly aggravated, due to the sheer profusion of the raw materials from which histories can be made, and the ideological imperatives of colonial and nationalist research. And we must add to this picture the views of those who observe them as outsiders, which invariably impinge heavily on local historical production. This is again particularly obvious in the Mediterranean world, the meeting point of so many of the world's competing ideological and political systems, and the focus of such intense speculation by North West European scholars about the genesis of European civilisation, as many have pointed out (see Llobera 1986, Herzfeld 1987).
|Note on orthography:|
|Spellings of place names, musical instruments, composers and theorists follow, as far as this medium allows, contemporary Turkish orthographic conventions. To add to the confusion that often arises in transliteration from the Arabic script, there are a variety of romanizations adopted by Turkish authors. Although this is a contentious issue (relating to the extent to which one priveleges the integrity of the Arabic script, or the ways Turks pronounce the word) I have chosen the simplest recognisable Turkish versions throughout. Thus, ud instead of 'ud or 'oud, and Safiuddin's Kitab ul-Edvar rather than Safi al-Din's Kitab al-Adwar.|
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