Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Dr Andrew Marsham

Senior Lecturer in Islamic History

Dr Andrew Marsham

Senior Lecturer in Islamic History

  • Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
  • University of Edinburgh

Room 2/10
19 George Square

Post Code

While studying for a BA in History at Oxford, Dr Marsham's attention was caught by ‘late antiquity’—the centuries between Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when the Roman Empire collapsed and monotheist religion became dominant in both Europe and the Middle East. This led him to stay on at Oxford for an MPhil in Classical and Medieval Islamic History, at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, and to travel in Egypt and Syria.

After further language study abroad, he returned to Oxford to work on a DPhil in Islamic History, and continued to travel in the Middle East. While completing his DPhil, he taught at the University of Sheffield, and then held research fellowships at the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester, before coming to Edinburgh’s department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies in 2008.

Affiliated research centres and programmes

Research interests

Dr Marsham is interested in the pre-classical history of the Islamic world (Islam, as it were, before ‘Sunnism’ and ‘Shiism’), and in developing perspectives on Islamic history that take full account of the late antique context in which Islam took shape.

He is particularly interested in bringing ideas from the social sciences to bear on understanding historical change in the Middle East, especially changes in political culture.

Specific topics of current interest to him include the development of ideas about sacral kingship and monarchy in the Islamic world, rebellion and state responses to it, and the religious and political uses of historical memory.

Current research activities

  • A monograph, The Umayyad Empire for the Edinburgh University Press series, ‘The Edinburgh History of the Islamic Empires’

Summary of research interests

  • Late antique and Islamic history of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, c.400-c.1300
  • Islamic political culture, c.600-c.1300
  • Early and medieval Arabic historiography
  • Comparative history of medieval Islam, Byzantium and the Latin West

Research Supervision

  • Majied Robinson, ‘Approaches to the Nasab Tradition: A Study of Marriage and Concubinage in the tribe of Muhammad, 500-750 CE’
  • Hannah Hagemann, ‘Narratives of Kharijism in the 7th century CE/1st century AH’
  • Faisal Alwazzan, ‘A History of Eastern Arabia or the Region of Bahrayn from the Eleventh to the Fourteenth Century’
  • Emanuele Intagliata, 'Late antique and early Islamic Palmyra/Tadmur. An archaeological and historical reassessment' (co-supervised with lead supervisor Professor Jim Crow)
  • Tobias Andersson, ‘Early Traditionist Historiography: A Textual and Contextual Analysis of the Tarikh of Khalifa ibn Khayyat al-‘Usfuri’
  • Su I Wen, ‘External influences on Kitab al-Aghani: Abu al-Faraj, historiography, and Abbasid society’


Undergraduate teaching

  • Islamic History A: The Formation of the Islamic World
  • Islamic History B: From the Crusades to the 'Gunpowder Empires'
  • Early Arabic Historical Texts
  • Early Islamic Political Thought
  • The First Muslim Empire: The Islamic World before ‘Sunnism’ and ‘Shi‘ism’

Postgraduate teaching

  • Contribution to the core courses for the MScs in Arab World Studies, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, and Late Antique and Byzantine Studies
  • Political Thought and Culture in the Formative Era of Islam
  • The Umayyad Empire: the Islamic World in its Late Antique Context


A full listing of Andrew's publications can be found on the Edinburgh Research Explorer: