Medieval Ifriqiya and the Emergence of the Hafsid Dynasty
In this podcast, Samantha Cloud, PhD candidate in the Department of History at Saint Louis University, discusses her work on medieval Ifriqiya and the emergence of the Hafsid dynasty. The Hafsid dynasty ruled Medieval Ifriqiya (roughly the territory of modern-day Tunisia, Eastern Algeria, and parts of Libya) from the 13th through the 16th century. The self-proclaimed inheritors of the Almohad empire, the Hafsids were the first rulers of Berber-descent to reign over the newly independent kingdom of Tunis, wholly untethered from foreign domination. The success of the Hafsids owed largely to the prowess of its first two sovereigns, Abu Zakariya Yahya and Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-Mustansir, whom possessed respectively a keen understanding of Maghrebi tribal politics and the politics of prestige.
This podcast provides an overview of the history of medieval Ifriqiya to highlight the significance of this dynasty in a region whose past is haunted by foreign rule and occupation. Addressing the impact of colonialism in the region’s history and historiography, it seeks to reframe the history of the Maghrib from its peripheral position in Western and Islamic studies to a central focus. Also, in focus is the historical agency of Berber peoples – or rather the Amazigh – with the medieval period especially and Hafsid dynasty in particular providing great example of this.
Samantha Cloud is writing a dissertation on “A Mediterranean King in the Age of Crusade: Interreligious Diplomacy between Charles of Anjou and Mohamed Al-Mustansir of Tunis.”