Ph.D., University of St. Andrews, 2006
Dr. Allen Fromherz has two primary research and teaching interests. First, he is fascinated by how the informal institutions of tribal societies can become almost instantaneously institutionalized and settled, especially in the Near East and North Africa. How do tribes transform the basis of their identity from blood to state? His upcoming book, based on Fulbright research in Morocco and the PhD at St. Andrews, deals with the rise of the powerful Almohad Empire in North Africa in the twelfth century and the transformation of Berber tribesmen from the Atlas Mountains into rulers of an empire. On that same topic, but with much more modern relevance, Dr. Allen is currently conducting research on the transformation, modernization and institutionalization of the traditional Bedouin and pearl fishing tribes of Qatar. His second major interest is the Mediterranean and the history of the Mediterranean as a sea of exchange between Islam and Christianity. As his research on Almohad trade and treaties demonstrates, there was not only extensive East-West trade between Europe and the Muslim World during the Medieval Period, but also North-South trade with North Africa and even sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Allen is currently conducting a research project on the life and autobiography of the brilliant 14th century Mediterranean scholar Ibn Khaldun whose experience travelling through the "Middle Sea" and his insightful observations forms the basis for our understanding of the late Medieval Muslim Mediterranean.