Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb

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Sir H. A. R. (Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen) Gibb, 1895-1971 b. 2 January 1895 Alexandria Egypt, returned to Scotland for education at the age of 5 after the death of his father. Studies at the University of Edinburgh were interrupted by the World War I during which he served in France and Italy in the Royal Field Artillery. Awarded a 'war privilege' MA. After the war he studied Arabic at the School of Oriental Studies of London University and obtained MA in 1922. Married Helen Jessie (Ella) same year, one son one daughter.

From 1921 to 1937 Gibb taught Arabic at the School of Oriental Studies and received professorship in 1930. Became an editor of the Encyclopedia of Islam in this period. In 1937 Gibb succeeded D. S. Margoliouth as laudian professor of Arabic at St. John's College at Oxford, and remained there for 18 years. Gibb's Mohammedanism, published in 1949, became the basic text used by western students of Islam for a generation.

1955 Gibb assumed the James Richard Jewett professor of Arabic at Harvard and also 'university professor', a rare title given to a few scholars 'working on the frontiers of knowledge, and in such a way as to cross the conventional boundaries of the specialties.' Became director of Harvard's Center For Middle Eastern Studies, and in this capacity he became a leader of the movement in American universities to set up centres of regional studies, bringing together teachers, researchers and students in different disciplines to study the culture and society of a region of the world.


Books by H.A.R. Gibb

  • Arabic Literature (1926)
  • Ibn Batuta, 1304-1377. (Tuhfat al-nuzzar fi ghara'ib al-amsar. English) (1929)
  • Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325-1354, translated and selected with an introduction and notes, R. M. McBride & Company (1929)
  • Modern Trends in Islam (1947)
  • Mohammedanism, An Historical Survey (1949)
  • Islamic Society and the West with Harold Brown (pt. 1 1950, pt. 2 1957)
  • Editor, The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New ed. Prepared by a number of leading Orientalists. under the patronage of the International Union of Academies. Leiden, Brill, 1954-, along with Edited by J. H. Kramers, and E. Levi-Proven├žal

Sources

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press (2004)
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