SOAS University of London

Department of History

Near & Middle East History Seminar

Mondays, 5:15 pm, B104 (Brunei Building)

Open to the public - all welcome!

Special Theme, Winter 2016: 

The History of Objects and the Objects of History in the Middle East

This seminar series opens a discussion that privileges the object as a key point of entry into understanding the histories of North African and Middle Eastern societies and cultures across time and space. Recently, historians have revived material phenomena as productive loci of historical enquiry, demonstrating that while objects do function in a discursive capacity, they can also facilitate real interactions between historical actors in physical space. While material historians, such as art historians and numismatists have long centred their work around objects, cultural and social historians, influenced by such thinkers as Bruno Latour, have begun looking to the primacy of the object in the assemblage of social networks, occasionally as agents in their own right, interacting with human actors as well as with other objects. As a consequence, emerging scholarship on object-centred histories has concentrated on questions concerning the formation of social networks, especially transregional and diaspora communities, as well as questions centred on the transmission of knowledge, memory, identity, and subjectivity. The presentations in this seminar explore these and other issues as they relate to the histories of the Near and Middle East.

Convenor: Derek Mancini-Lander (

To be added to the Near and Middle East History Seminar mailing list, email the seminar convenor.

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