Sabine Schmidtke, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, has authored Traditional Yemeni Scholarship amidst Political Turmoil and War: Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl b. al-Muṭahhar al-Manṣūr (1915-2016) and His Personal Library (UCOPress, 2018).
The volume evolved as a side product of Schmidtke's "Zaydi Manuscript Tradition" (ZMT) project, which aims to bring together the widely dispersed Zaydī manuscript culture in its entirety in a single repository. It focuses on Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl al-Manṣūr (1915–2016), one of the most prominent scholars, bureaucrats, and politicians of twentieth-century Yemen, and his private collection of manuscripts. Based on his ijāza ("license to transmit"), his own writings, and other documentary materials, as well as his collection of manuscripts and the many handwritten comments and notes added by al-Manṣūr, the book discusses his biography and intellectual milieu and provides insights into the manuscript culture of twentieth-century Yemen. Taken together, the volume contributes to the study of twentieth-century Yemen's intellectual and social history, and it immediately relates to recent work of historical anthropologists specializing in Yemen.