Skip to main content

Dr Daisy Livingston

Assistant Professor of Medieval Islamic History

Assistant Professor of Medieval Islamic History in the Department of History


I’m a historian of the medieval Middle East, in particular Egypt between the tenth and sixteenth centuries. My research focuses on various aspects of documentary culture, especially histories of archiving. For this, I work with original Arabic documents kept in various collections worldwide. I am currently working on my first monograph, Managing Paperwork in Mamluk Cairo. Archives, Waqf, and Society, in which I examine archival practices connected to religious endowments in the final century of Mamluk rule in Egypt (fifteenth to early-sixteenth century). I trace the lives of documents to show how different actors – notaries, judges, emirs, and sultans – had interests in ensuring that records were preserved, were usable, and were faithful records of the properties and endowments they concerned.

I have an ongoing project which focuses on legal documentary practices during the same period, this time through the particular lens of documents preserved by the Qaraite Jewish community of Cairo. Using these records, I am examining the interface between a small minority religious community and institutionalised legal, documentary, and property exchange practices. Through this I aim to draw non-Muslims into a wider picture of Mamluk-era documentary practices.

Before arriving at Durham in 2022, I spent time in various places across the UK and Europe. Growing up in Leeds, I went on to study History at the University of Edinburgh, followed by an MPhil in Islamic Studies and History at the University of Oxford. I received my PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. I spent the final year of my doctoral studies, and a further six months of post-doctoral work, as a fellow at the Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg ‘History and Society during the Mamluk Era (1250-1517)’ at the University of Bonn. I have since spent nearly three and a half years as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Hamburg where my work was funded by the German Research Council (DFG) within the framework of the Cluster of Excellence ‘Understanding Written Artefacts’.

Research interests

  • History of legal practice
  • Medieval Documentary Culture
  • Middle East and the Mediterranean c. 900-1500
  • Religious endowments (waqf)
  • The social history of archives


Book review

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)