Arabic Pasts 2022 is happening from 6th - 8th of October.

This annual exploratory and informal workshop co-hosted with SOAS University and the University of Oxford offers the opportunity to reflect on history writing in Arabic.

Download a pdf of our programme here

Click here to register to attend the conference in person, or here to join us online.

Day One (Face-to-face and Online)

Thursday, 6 October 2022

Welcome Address (1:00 – 1:30pm)
Leif Stenberg and Sarah Bowen Savant

Session 1: Materials (1:30 – 3:00pm)

Chair: John Haldon

Rulers as Shepherds
Petra Sijpesteijn, Universiteit Leiden

Calculating the population of Samarra
Alastair Northedge, Université de Paris I (emeritus)

Fortresses and Frontiers: Castles and Northern Syria in the Sultanate of Cairo
Angus D. Stewart, University of St Andrews

Coffee Break 3:00 – 3:30pm

Session 2: Writings (3:30 – 5:00pm)

Chairs: Maaike van Berkel and Letizia Osti

He Reigned as Caliph, Then He Died: The Reigns of Caliphs Versified
Geert Jan van Gelder, Oxford University (emeritus)

Hārūn al-Rashīd in Pre-Modern Arabic Literary Imaginary: Ideology of Monogamy, Harem Politics and Court Intrigues
Wen-chi Ouyang, SOAS, University of London

What is the point of a Commentary on a Historical Text and how should it be done?
Hugh Kennedy, University College, London and SOAS, University of London

Reception and End of Day 1
5:15 – 6:45pm

Day Two (Face-to-face and Online)

Friday, 7 October 2022

Session 1: Boundary Negotiation (10:30 - 12:30am)

Chair: Lorenz Nigst

Jewish Nahḍa Intellectuals and Historiography in Monarchic Egypt
Lucia Admiraal, Middle Eastern Studies, University of Groningen

The Journal al-Murshid al-ʿArabī (1929/30): Fighting Sectarian divisions with Historiography:
Katrin Köster, Oriental Institute and Graduate School Global and Areas Studies, University of Leipzig

The Plasticity of the Jāhiliyya: Two Faces of the Ancient Arabs in al-Jāḥiẓ’s Mufākharat al-jawārī wa-l-ghilmān
Aurora Magliozzi, Università di Napoli L’Orientale

Shared Pasts: The Interconfessional Nature of Arabic Historiography
Robert Hoyland, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University

Lunch Break 12:30 – 2:00 pm

Session 2: Names Across Time and Place (2:00 – 3:00 pm)

Chair: Peter Verkinderen

The Curious Case of Zein-Al-Din Ibn Naja: an Analysis of Elite Networks in the Age of Saladin
Abdul Rahman Azzam & Mathew Barber, KITAB Project, Aga Khan University (International) London

Al-Sahmī’s Taʾrīkh Jurjān and the Genre of Local History
Andrew G. McLaren, Centro de Estudios de Asia y África El Colegio de México

Coffee Break 3:00 – 3:30 pm

Session 3: Texts and their Journeys: Part 1 (3:30 – 4:30 pm)

Chair: Sarah Bowen Savant

Manuscripts and their Readers: Tracing the Career of the Sirr al-asrār
Neelam Hussain, Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts

Use and Reuse of a Well-known Treatise on Taxation: Abū Yūsuf’s Kitāb al-Kharāj
Noëmie Lucas, Caliphal Finances, European Research Council Project, University of Edinburgh

Coffee Break 4:30 – 4:45 pm

Session 4: Texts and their Journeys: Part 2 (4:45 – 5:45 pm)

Chair: Aslisho Qurboniev

Narratives on knowledge and exemplary conduct practices in al-Andalus: A journey from Kufa to Cordoba
Estrella Samba Campos, Departamento de Lingüística, Estudios Árabes y Hebreos y de Asia Oriental, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Same Old, Same Old? - an Examination of the Kitāb al-Ansāb of al-Samʿānī (d. 562/1166) and its Later Revisions with Simple Digital Methods
Natalie Kraneiß, Universität Münster

End of Day Two

Day Three (Face-to-face and Online)

Saturday, 8 October 2022

Session 1: Shoring Up Authority: Part 1 (1:00 - 2:00 pm)

Chair: James McDougall

The Memory of ʿUthmān b. ʿAffān and Marwanid Political Legitimacy
Abdulla Hassan Haidar, University of Edinburgh

The Yemeni Zaydi sīra and its Function: the Case of Imam Yaḥyā Sharaf al-Dīn (d. 965/1557)
Ekaterina (Kate) Pukhovaia, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Coffee Break 2:00 – 2:15 pm

Session 2: Shoring Up Authority: Part 2 (2:15 – 3:15 pm)

Chair: Kevin Jaques

Discourses of Sovereignty in 9th/15th - Century Syro-Egyptian Historiography: between God’s Law and the Sultan’s Court
Jo Van Steenbergen, Ghent University

The Hafsids in History: Ibn Khaldun on the Legitimacy of the Hafsid Caliphate
Allen Fromherz, Middle East Studies Centre, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Coffee Break 3:15: – 3:45 pm

Session 3: Preservation (3:45 – 4:45 pm)

Chair: Masoumeh Seydi

Royal Women at the Fall of the Umayyad Dynasty and Arabic Historiography: The Evidence of the Rasāʾil (‘State Letters’)
Andrew Marsham, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Queens’ College, University of Cambridge

Arabic as a Language of Political Organisation for Enslaved Peoples of Muslim Faith in Brazil
Silvia Ferabolli and Luiz Antônio Araújo, Federal University of Rio Grande Do Sul

End of Workshop