SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Arabic Pasts: Histories and Historiography 2015


Date: 25 September 2015Time: 12:00 AM

Finishes: 26 September 2015Time: All Day

Venue: 210 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DA, 210 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DA

Type of Event: Workshop

Seminar Programme


Friday 25 September

9:30 – 10:45Session 1: Sultan
Chair: James McDougall, Trinity College/Oxford


“The Use of the Term ‘Sultan’ in Some Tenth-century Arabic Texts”
Hugh Kennedy, SOAS, University of London

“ Narrating Sultanship: Perspectives on the Narrative Construction of Sultanic Biographies from The Early Mamluk Period”
Gowaart Van Den Bossche, Ghent University

10:45 – 11:15Coffee
11:15 – 12:30Session 2: Legend
Chair: Konrad Hirschler, SOAS, University of London

“ Islamic Prophetic Legend and the Prophetic Königsnovelle in Egyptian Popular Epic”
Helen Blatherwick
, SOAS, University of London

“ The Adventures of the courageous princeʿAbd-al-Raḥmān in the Far West. Some remarks about historical legends and their meaning’
Isabel Toral-Niehoff, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

12:30 – 13:30Lunch
13:30 – 15:30Session 3: Networks and Intertextuality
Chair: Sarah Bowen Savant, Aga Khan University, ISMC

“ Writing a Network, Constructing a Tradition: Ibadi Intellectual Networks in 11th century North Africa and Beyond”
Paul Love
, University of Michigan

“ The Taʾ rīḫ al-islām of al-Ḏahabī (d. 748/1347 CE): Computational Exploration of the Life-Cycle of a 50-Volume Arabic Chronicle-cum-Biographical Collection”
Maxim Romanov
, Tufts University/Universität Leipzig

“ Intertextual Interconnections: the Case of the Ilkhanid Mamluk Historiography”
Hadi Jorati, The Ohio State University

15:30 – 16:00Afternoon tea
16:00 – 18:00Session 4: Shaping the Past
Chair: Antoine Borrut, University of Maryland

“‘What went wrong’ in ‘other times’”
Letizia Osti, Università degli Studi di Milano

“Penning the Foundations: The Shaping of Fatimid Historiography”
Shainool Jiwa, Institute of Ismaili Studies

“The Fifteenth-Century Debate on History in Arabic and Persian”
Christopher Markiewicz, University of Chicago


Saturday 26 September

9:30 – 10:45Session 1: Theology
Chair: David Bennett, University of Gothenburg

“ Do Theologians Make Good Historians? On the construction of the Islamic past in the doxographies of the classical period”
James Weaver, Universität Zürich

“Theology meets Historiography – Ibn Kaṯīr and his al-Bidāya wa-n-nihāya”
Mohammad Gharaibeh and Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg, Bonn University

10:45 – 11:15Coffee
11:15 - 12:30Session 2: Voices in History
Chair: Hugh Kennedy, SOAS, University of London

“ Asserting a Shī‘ī ī past in the history of songs: the Kitāb al-Aghānī and its authorial voice”
Su I-Wen, University of Edinburgh

“ The Remembered Imam: Mūsā al-Kāẓim and the Role of Rhetoric in Early Muslim Historical Writing”
Najam Haider, Barnard College/Columbia University

If wishing to attend, please RSVP at one of the following:

Sarah Bowen Savant (

Konrad Hirschler (

Hugh Kennedy (

James McDougall (