SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Arabic Pasts: Histories and Historiography


Date: 28 September 2012Time: 12:00 AM

Venue: Room: ISMC, Aga Khan University/SOAS, University of Lond

Type of Event: Conference

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

The Arabic historical tradition has known many different ways of marking time in the interests of religions, dynasties, nations, and social groups. Authors have used literary and rhetorical means to create and sustain new periods, and established notions have often been recycled and endowed with new meaning. The concept of Jāhiliyya has been reworked many times, and dynasties such as the Umayyads and ʿAbbāsids have taken on new significance in discourses of modern nations. New notions can come to life, such as, in the nineteenth century, the Crusading period as one of anti-colonial resistance. Today, the Arab Spring, a new period, has known its own markers of time, in Egypt, for example, named days are now part of national history, including “the Day of Rage” (yawm al-ghaḍab) and “the Friday of Departure” (Jumʿat al-raḥīl).

This fifth-annual Arabic Pasts workshop calls for papers that consider periodisation as a major issue for historians. Papers can cover any time period, from the classical age to the present. We will publish the proceedings as a special journal issue.

Please send abstracts of proposed papers (1 page of A4) to Dr Sarah Bowen Savant, by 1 April 2012. Paper drafts will be due by 1 Sept. 2012.

Workshop convened by: Dr Sarah Bowen Savant (, Dr Konrad Hirschler (, and Dr James McDougall ( There is a limited budget for travel and accommodation.