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.

Papers at this workshop elucidate the following sorts of questions:

  • What practices (through writing or otherwise) have different groups in the Middle East and North Africa used to encode their past, and how have they engaged in remembering and forgetting? At different times and places, how have the significant contours, events and actors in their histories been seen? Was the significant past the same for court historians as it was for literary historians; for bureaucrats as it was for the military; for Sufis as it was for Muslim lawyers and Traditionists?

  • How did non-Muslims and Muslims, men and women, adherents of different sectarian or juristic traditions, or speakers of different languages imagine the shape and meaning of pasts specific to their societal, cultural, religious, linguistic or ethnic group, in negotiation with the universal history of the Islamic community to which they (may or may not) have belonged?

  • How have urban and rural people, workers and peasants, the religiously educated and the technocratic elite, developed different ways of writing, remembering, or commemorating particular events in, or the broad sweep of, local, national, or Islamic history?

  • In what ways do educational institutions, museums, media organisations and proponents of heritage use history writing in Arabic to shape loyalties and nurture a sense of belonging in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe?

In the following pages you can see our latest workshop programme, browse past programmes and view photographs from past workshops. Look out for the annual call for papers, which we will circulate through our blog.