Qatar National Library presented a panel discussion, 'Western Travellers and the Image of the Other Through the Heritage Library Collection', on Sunday, which examined the contributions of travel literature to contemporary knowledge.
Offering their insights on this popular literary genre, the panelists included Mohamed Hammam Fakri, Heritage and Rare Books adviser at the library; Dr Youssef al-Abdulla, professor of History at Qatar University; and Dr Mustafa Stiti, research specialist on Ottoman and Turkish Studies.
The interactive discussion was moderated by Dr Moez Dridi, senior archivist at the library.
Each speaker focused on the history of Qatar as described by these travellers, drawing on valuable texts from the Heritage Library collection, which are accessible for researchers and history scholars in Qatar and the region. Participants also learned about how scholars are rediscovering Qatari society through these travel writings.
Mansoor Ahmed, who attended the event, said: “The event was very enlightening and useful to learn about the region’s history from a different perspective. I am happy to see that the library has a number of historical texts at the Heritage Library and on the Qatar Digital Library, which can be accessed by people free of cost.”
The panelists discussed the most well-known travel narratives from Western travellers whose perspectives offer an understanding of the social and political history of the Gulf region and Qatar.
Another participant at the event, Laila Muradian, said: “The library is making it easier for me and other researchers to access rare books and manuscripts about the history of Qatar and the region. I will continue to make use of the wonderful resources here.”
The library’s events in June focus on the theme of travel. To find out more about the library’s events and exhibitions, one can visit www.qnl.qa/en/events