Thursday, June 04, 2009

Eighteenth Colloquium on the History of Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras

Last month the University of Ghent in Belgium hosted the Eighteenth Colloquium on the History of Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras, an annual meeting of international experts on the history of Islamic Egypt and Syria in the Islamic 'middle' period (1000-1500).

The colloquium was organized by Jo Van Steenbergen and Urban Vermeulen, included nine sessions with 22 papers, and was attended by over 30 scholars. Some of the papers given included "Hebron during the Mamluk period: sacred places, iqta‘ and royal investment", by Yehoshua Frenkel, and "Abandoned Military Equipment in Mamluk Citadels and Castles: documentary and archaeological evidence for an untidy habit,” by David Nicolle. For the full program schedule, click here. Professor Van Steenbergen said in an interview with that "we thought that the papers were all of high quality, offering many new insights into general or specific aspects of the region's history and generating many questions and stimulating debates."

Asked about how these colloquiums have developed a better understanding of the medieval era for Egypt and Syria, Professor Van Steenbergen replied, "I think the colloquiums have grown over the many years into a very stimulating and friendly occasion for many scholars of the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras from Europe and beyond to meet each other on a regular basis, to familiarize themselves with each other's work and engage in constructive scholarly exchanges, and to present results at various stages of one's research. As such, amongst many other things I think it has been extremely helpful for many scholars to see more clearly the process of continuities and changes within which their individual research topics have to be situated."

Peeters Publishing will continue its support of the colloquiums by publishing its proceedings. The volume covering colloquiums 14 and 15 will be published this summer, while this year's proceedings will likely be published in 2011. Next year's colloquium is scheduled to take place from May 5th to 7th.