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: Jo Van Steenbergen

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 – 3:45 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.

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