Call for Papers:  Workshop “Acts of Rebellions and Revolts in the early Islamic Empire”, 6-8 November 2019, Leiden University

Event Description


Workshop “Acts of Rebellions and Revolts in the early Islamic Empire”, 7-8 November 2019, Leiden University


As part of the ERC-funded project, “Embedding Conquest, Naturalising Muslim Rule (600-1000)”, at Leiden University, this conference aims to bring together both senior and junior scholars to present research which illuminates the political and social dynamics implicit in the act of rebellion and revolt across the caliphate.


This workshop aims to examine the act of rebellion and its related categories (revolts, resistance, armed negotiation, contention) as moments of breakdown of social expectations and dependency that were embedded in society. As such, we are mainly interested in the dynamics between social, political, and religious groups and institutions, how rebellions influenced the social and political structures of the caliphate, as well as its everyday life.


Rebellions and revolts are understood in this framework as both as an attempt by historical actors to change and influence immediate historical situation such as high tax rate or political injustice, but also as manifestation of discontent with wider policies, concepts, institutions, and structures of power and authority, such as processes of Arabization, religious contestation, and social reforms. It is thus aimed to situate rebellions and revolts as an act that lies in all kinds of fields including (but not restricted to) law, politics, religion, and economics. By looking at acts of rebellions, we would like participants to discuss specific case-studies of rebellions and revolts, and their implications and interpretations in the abovementioned fields of study. We encourage participants to consider the following questions when examining their case-studies:


Who were the leaders of the act? Which groups partook in it, and which are excluded? What were the immediate goals and triggers for the rebellion, and how were their demands articulated? What social and political ties were formed or broke down? What kind of responses did rebellions trigger from the state? Is a rebellion a strategic or tactical act to gain/preserve social, political, and financial status? What are the differences between qualitative and quantitative terminology: revolt vs. rebellion, vs. resistance, armed negotiation, etc.? How did rebellions and revolts affect (and were influenced by) fields of knowledge in the empire, such as law and theological discussions? What other forms of negotiation with the state were available to the rebels?


We particularly welcome papers that combine documentary and material sources with literary sources. We also aim to publish the contributions to this workshop in the form of an edited volume or a special journal issue. Participants may be invited to submit their contribution as part of this volume. If you are unable to contribute to this volume, then please signal this fact when you submit your abstract.

For a 25 minutes paper, please send an abstract of around 300 words to by May 1.


Subsidies will be available for travel and accommodation.

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