Carl Davila, Ph.D

Associate Professor
(585) 395-5699
Office: Liberal Arts 321


  • PhD, Yale University, 2006 - Arabic Studies
  • B.A., SUNY College at Brockport, 1998 - History

Areas of Specialty

  • Arabic Language and Culture
  • Arab History
  • Classical Islam

Courses Taught

  • HST 341 Middle East Crisis
  • HST 360 Of Silk and Swords: Empires of Eurasia
  • HST 363 Islam
  • HST 365 Beyond Veils and Magic Carpets: Islam’s Golden Age
  • HST 367 Gender in the Islamic World
  • HST 368 Women in the Mediterranean World
  • HST 471/571Islamic Spain: Histories and Legacies
  • HST 472/572 The War on Terror
  • HST 649 Middle East Regional Seminar
  • HST 650 “The Enemy in the Mirror”: East-West (Mis)representation
  • HST 602 Arabic Literature in History

Research Interests

The Andalusian music traditions of North Africa, especially, the history of the written repertoires and manuscript tradtiions used as historical sources.

I have put a great deal of work in recent years studying the manuscript traditions that lie behind the modern printed anthology of the Moroccan Andalusian music. From the point of view of manuscript studies, I have been very interested in the material aspects of these manuscripts, and from the historical point of view I have been looking at the evolution of the various repertoires associated with this tradition, using those same manuscripts.

Current Projects

For the past few years, I have been delving into the manuscript traditions that lie behind the modern Moroccan Andalusian music anthologies, examining them as both literary works (with the usual complexities of compilation and variation) and as collections of repertoire that reflect the evolution of the tradition over time. I am particularly interested in the very fraught history of the most famous of these anthologies, Kunnāš al-Ḥāʾik. To that end, I’m working on a series of articles in Al-Abhath entitled “Al-Ḥāʾik’s Notebook.” Part I, an annotated listing of all print and manuscript anthologies relating to the tradition, was published in 2019. Part II is due out in early 2024.

In tandem with this, I have begun a study of an anthology of these songs not in the direct line of the repertoire, entitled Rawḍat al-ghannāʾ fī uṣūl al-ghināʾ. The aim is to uncover as well as possible the exact relationship of this work to the perfomed tradition and, if possible, determine its provenance.

Finally, I have embarked upon a longer-term project of documenting and translating the nūbāt in the modern repertoire, as well as all the songs associated with these nūbāt but found only in the manuscript traditions (the “historical repertoire”). The first volume will be a revised version of The Pen, the Voice, the Text, which should be published in late 2024. The second volume, Sunset in the Gardens of al-Andalus, will deal with nūbat al-Māya and should be out in late  2024 or early 2025, in shāʾ Allah.