About this Site: This site, which began as my personal blog, has a couple of purposes that I’d like to develop more going forward. Foremost, I would like for it to serve as a place to present my scholarship- primarily, but not exclusively, on early modern and medieval Islam- in formats accessible to the interested public (you, dear reader). Second, you will continue to find the sorts of personal reflections and opinion pieces that made up my original blog, hopefully matured somewhat. Finally, you will find things under the broad rubric of ‘culture’- primarily poetry, my own and that of others, but also the odd short story, photographic essay, maybe even a bit of art I’ve made. I think there is an inner logic connecting all of these parts, but feel free to peruse the material that interests you and ignore the rest. For all of it, I welcome interaction- questions, comments, criticism, and so forth. I welcome the use of my work in other, non-commercial contexts; all the original content here should be regarded as falling under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. While use and reproduction of this material is of course free, if you do find anything here useful for whatever purposes, do think about chipping in a little support!
About the Author: My name is Jonathan Parkes Allen, and I am a sometime historian. I am at present a PhD student in Middle Eastern history at the University of Maryland, College Park, in the last stages of writing and defending my dissertation, which deals with the history of saints, sainthood, and sanctity in the early modern Ottoman Empire, c. 1550-1780. I am on the dreaded academic job market at present, though to be honest prospects are not encouraging, but if you know anything about the academic job market that will come as no surprise. My wife Wynne, our son Cormac, our two tabby cats Benjamin and Flora, and I live in the charming hamlet of Takoma Park, MD, a couple miles north of the Washington, D.C., line, a place also affectionately known as the People’s Republic of Takoma Park.
My area of research interest is, broadly, the medieval and early modern Islamic world, with my current focus primarily on early modern Ottoman religious history, though my subsidiary interests are many, as you can deduce from this blog. I work primarily in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish, with translations from those languages appearing rather frequently here. I am also interested in Armenian and Syriac matters, albeit more peripherally, and with much more basic relevant linguistic skills. I enjoy history across the board really, especially but by no means exclusively medieval. I’m also a bit of an amateur botanist with an interest in ecology, evolutionary biology, environmental history, and other attendant disciplines.
I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian; I grew up Southern Baptist and converted after a longish but not terribly exciting process. Politically I’m something of an anarcho-Tory, if that makes any sense to anyone. I have a fondness for agrarianism and distributism as well as mutualism and libertarian socialism.
Finally: in case you’re wondering about ‘Thicket & Thorp’: it’s a line from Gerard Manely Hopkins. Thorp is an archaic word that means village or hamlet. Hence, ‘thicket and thorp’ connects ‘wild’ nature and human habitation, which, in reality, aren’t strict dichotomies, anymore than many supposed dualities really are. But mostly I came across them while thinking up a blog title and really liked the sound of the words.
Contact Information and Such: My old blog can be accessed here; my Academia.edu page is here. My e-mail is jonathanjallen8460 at gmail.com if you’d like to contact me that way, or at my institutional e-mail, jallen22 at umd.edu. I’m on Facebook, feel free to add me or simply follow my feed. I tried Twitter and didn’t like it. My Instagram feed- mostly pictures of the outdoors, interspersed with photos of our son, sometimes our cats- is over there on the right.