Farm Workers Picking Oranges

Graduate Student Profiles

Ali Olomi

Cohort Year: 2014
B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 2011, History
M.A., University of California, Irvine, 2014, History

Curriculum Vitae

Advisor: Dr. Touraj Daryaee & Dr. Mark Levine
First Field: Middle East and North Africa
Second Field: World History
Thematic Emphasis: Empire/Colonialism, History of Religion, Gender and Sexuality

Dissertation Title: 
Imagining the Caliphate: Construction of a Golden Age, Identity, and Legitimacy in the Perso-Islamic World”

Research Abstract:
This dissertation looks at the way in which Muslim identity was restructured during the fragmentation of the caliphate in the Perso-Islamic world and reoriented around a shared history. Historians and poets articulated a sense of nostalgia for the past while constructing a global Muslim identity rooted in cultural-linguist belonging, the formation of ideas of homeland, and an imagined golden age. I examine the threads of Jewish and Persian history co-opted into Islamic history to create a shared golden age and what it meant for identity. As a deep root history of the religious nationalism in the 19th century, I explore the pivotal moment of crisis during the decline of the Abbasid caliphate as the beginnings of a new articulation in the relationship between Muslims and the state and the way it was codified into poetry, history, religious law, and new categories of being. Interrogating how scholars conceived of the past, the ideas of homeland, the process of conversion, and formations of gender and their reception among Muslim populations are central to my analysis.