Past events


15 December Henriëtte van Lynden-lezing

8-10 December A matter of speech: language of social interdependency in the early Islamicate empire (600 – 1500)

For the final conference of the Embedding Conquest: Naturalising Muslim Rule in the Early Islamic Empire (600-1000) project we will focus on the rhetoric of social dependency. How is language used to describe, establish, cancel, exploit, and manipulate relationships in the early Islamicate empire? We want to examine how relationships between individuals, and between and within groups, are referred to, and how other forms of solidarity underwriting social cohesion are cultivated and perpetuated. Programme available now!

Tuesdays throughout 2022Lecture series With kind regards: convention, standards and breaking the rules in letter-writing

Whenever one writes a letter, one engages with different kinds of conventions: social conventions dictating the interaction between sender and addressee, like forms of address, appropriate contents, and suitable levels of formality In practice, however, we find a lot of variation in the language use, and use of conventions in letters. In this lecture series we want to focus on variation in language use, and the use of conventions in letters from different regions and periods. For more information see here

6 October│Petra Sijpesteijn – Arabic Pasts: Histories and Historiographies

26 & 27 September│Petra Sijpesteijn Vienna

16 & 17 September│Petra Sijpesteijn – Munich

12 -14 September International Conference: Historicizing the Shiʿi Hadith Corpus – EmCo related event

25-30 July │XXXth International Congress of Papyrology

Petra Sijpesteijn: chair.

Eline Scheerlinck The Non-Literary Coptic Documents in Cambridge University Library

27-28 June │State-building, Political Thought, and the Other in Muslim Imperial Peripheries

Hybrid (zoom and in-person) at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Hebrew University
of Jerusalem. With Ekaterina Pukhovaia, Ed Hayes and others. Monday at 14.15: Ekaterina Pukhovaia – Zaydi Tribal Leaders as ‘Partners of the Empire’ in Early Modern Ottoman Yemen.  Tuesday at 10.30 Ed Hayes – Excommunication, Execution, and Exile in the Early Islamic Empire: A Comparative Perspective

8-10 June│Workshop Expectations of Justice

Follow-up workshop from last year’s conference

1 June│Opening of exhibition – Vienna Petra Sijpesteijn

24 May│Annual Lucis Lecture: Shawkat Toorawa

19 May│Petra Sijpesteijn Petitioning government officials in early Islamic Egypt at University of Cambridge

Life in medieval Egypt was difficult. Harvests could fail, wild animals might eat the crops or damage the fields. Illness and death could strike suddenly. Abuse, deceit, theft and corruption generated feuds and law-suits between business partners, family members or neighbours. How did people deal with such problems? To whom could they turn with their stories of abuse, mismanagement or theft?

Prof. Sijpesteijn will use documents on papyrus from Egypt and Palestine to reconstruct how complaints were dealt with, social tensions diffused, and the equilibrium maintained by Arab government officials in the early Islamic period.

2 February│Conference paper: Written standard and varying practice. Case inflection in the early Arabic documents written on apyrus (622 -912 AD) – Fokelien Kootstra

On 2 February EmCo Post-doc fellow Fokelien Kootstra talked about early Arabic documents on papyrus during the conference New Light from the East. The programme is available here .

25 January│Lecture: Negotiation in Arabic Request Letters: Justice and Redress in the Early Islamic Empire – Petra Sijpesteijn

On 25 January Petra will give a online lecture on Arabic Request Letters. The lecture is organized by Prof. Dr. Hartmut Leppin (GU) and Prof. Dr. Johannes Pahlitzsch (JGU) at the Goethe-Universität – Frankfurt am Main.


6-8 December│Conference: Ties of Kinship and the Early Islamic Empire

In this conference we explored how and when the language of kinship was implemented as a persuasive device, an operative category, and a problem-solving mechanism in premodern Islamic(ate) societies. The programme is available here.

Fall Semester 2021│ Visiting Scholars

In the Fall Semester, Prof Maribel Fierro and Prof Hugh Kennedy joined Leiden University as Al-Babtain Visiting Professors.

28-29 October│Conference: Expectations of justice and political power in the Islamicate world (ca. 600-1500 CE)

In this conference, we looked at how expectations of justice shaped political discourse and behaviour in the early and medieval caliphate (ca. 600-1500 CE). More information  can be found here.

21-23 July│Workshop: How to ask: Strategies of entreating in medieval Eurasia, Munich

A workshop organized by Petra Sijpesteijn at LMU University of Munich with contributions of Eline and Cecilia. More information can be found here

3-4 June │Conference: Networks and Ties of Exchange

This two-day workshop presents recent research about trade in the pre-modern Islamicate world by looking at a variety of practices and institutions. The workshop will be held online due to the pandemic and travel restrictions. More information can be found here.

10 May│’Dice on the Nile’: Roleplaying history

Team members Alon Dar, Ed Hayes and Eline Scheerlinck  were panel members at this (online) event. They investigated the use of Dungeons & Dragons 5e to engage with the history of the early Islamic world. Additionally they made a podcast to demonstrate what gamification in early islamic history might look like.

6 May│Seminar series “After Rome and Further East”: University of Oxford

EmCo team member Cecilia presented her research at the University of Oxford, for the Seminar series “After Rome and Further East”, with a presentation on: “Monastic documents and Islamic governance in Abbasid Egypt. Or: What happens to history writing about the Middle East when the dispersal of cultural heritage takes center stage?” (The Seminar was held online due to the pandemic).

24 March│Exeter Spring Seminar “Communities, Churches, and Conversion: Christians in the Medieval Islamic World”

EmCo team member Cecilia presented her research at the Spring Seminar of the University of Exeter, Centre for the Study of Islam (held online due to the pandemic).

15 March│ISAP 2021 Conference

Team member Cecilia presented her research at the Online Conference of the International Society for Arabic Papyrology, “Connecting Distant Worlds”, with a paper on “Arabicization through the monasteries: the movement of scribes and documents between regional dīwāns and monastic libraries in the Abbasid period.” See here for more information on the program.

12 March│Emco-guest Luke Yarbrough

See here for more information on Luke Yarbrough. Based on Luke Yarbrough’s recent book, “Friends of the Emir,” we discussed the relationship between discourse and practice regarding the employment of non-Muslim officials as two interdependent processes.

The meeting was held online due to the pandemic.

21-22 JanuaryWorking with Collections. A roundtable on documentary sources, heritage politics, and civic engagement.

In this two-day roundtable, we bring together a group of researchers and conservators in the fields of classics, papyrology, late antiquity, history and Area studies to discuss and reflect on the interface of methodological and ethical challenges they have encountered while working with artifacts and documentary sources. More information can be found here.

19 January│Lecture: The rhetoric of request in Arabic papyrus letters

An online lecture by Petra Sijpesteijn. Information and zoom link can be found here: Poster Sijpesteijn.

13-15 January│Roundtable: Past, Present, and Future: Encoding and Accessing Memories in Epigraphy in Post-Classical Mediterranean.

More information can be found here.

(Note: This event is not organized as part of the EMCO project, but in the IaM NUBIAN project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie, grant agreement No 842112.)


Fall – Winter

10 December│Conference: Poetry as History

In this small closed online conference organized by Alon Dar and Peter Webb, a group of scholars -part of them with a specialization in history and part of them with a background in literature- discussed the historicity of poetry. The main question raised was if poetry could be used as a source for history. Texts in their original languages were shared beforehand and the structure of the conference allowed for open-minded discussion on the topic, maybe raising even more questions than were answered, leaving everyone inspired for the intended continuation of this event in late spring 2021, hopefully in a live setting.

8 December│EmCo presentation: Cecilia and Ed

From October to December there is a great new Virtual Forum for collaboration supported by the project “Communities of Knowledge” at Check out all the interesting papers and project presentations!

On the 8th of December, Ed and Cecilia presented our Embedding Conquest project.

3 – 4 DecemberWorkshop: Textual Sources and Geographies of Slavery in the Early-Islamic Empire, ca. 600-1000 CE

This workshop explored forms and functions of slavery represented in textual sources from the early-Islamic empire, ca. 600-1000 CE. By integrating textual sources from the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt, the Near East, Arabia, Persia and Central Asia, this workshop aimed towards a  better understanding of the complexity of slavery in the early-Islamic empire.

23 November│EmCo guest: John Haldon

Our final EmCo guest for the Fall Semester was Prof John Haldon. In our online meeting, we discussed imperial “resilience,” taking inspiration from his latest book, “The Empire that Would not Die” (2016). John Haldon talked to us about the Arab conquests, the perception of early Islamic rule in the Byzantine empire, and about the local elites’ resilience either to change or not to change political allegiances. While discussing structural and environmental factors in the life of an empire, John also reminded us not to lose sight of human agency and of people’s capacity to act in unexpected ways.

The meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

10 November│EmCo guests: Anne Boud’hors & Esther Garel

On Friday 10 November, the EmCo team and guest attendees from Leiden University met for an online meeting session with two leading experts in Coptic sources and papyrology, Anne Boud’hors and Esther Garel. They gave us an overview of their recent research on the Coptic letters in the dossier of Flavios Papas, a Christian official from Sufyanid Egypt. The presentation was followed by discussion, focusing on multilingualism and multilingual archives.

The meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

22 October│Conference “Arabic Pasts: Histories and Historiographies”, The Agha Khan University & SOAS

Team member Cecilia presented her research at the conference “Arabic Pasts: Histories and Historiographies”, organized by the Agha Khan University and SOAS University of London (held online due to the pandemic). Her presentation’s title was: “Representation of religious leadership, minus representativity: Stories of provincial government in Christian sources from early Abbasid Egypt”.

Fall SemesterLucis guest: Maribel Fierro

Professor Fierro is Al-Babtain visiting fellow at LUCIS for the academic year 2020-2021. Unfortunaterly Covid-19 prevented many of the planned acivities for the fellowship, but a series of online masterclasses did take place. Read more on Maribel Fierro (CSIC)

15 & 16 OctoberEmCo guest: Jean-Luc Fournet

On Thursday 15 and Friday 16 October the Embedding Conquest team had two online meetings with professor Jean-Luc Fournet of the Collège de France and École des Hautes Études in Paris. On Thursday Jean-Luc gave us a presentation on his recent book, “The Rise of Coptic. Egyptian vs Greek in Late Antiquity“, which was followed by an in-depth conversation on several themes in the book.

On Friday, Petra presented her plans and research for the book she is writing on Arabic letters of request, and Jean-Luc and the team reacted with their feedback and suggestions.

The meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

17 – 18 SeptemberWorkshop: Contesting Empires: Sogdiana, Bactria and Gandhara between the Sasanians, the Tang, Turkic rulers, the Umayyads and the early Abbasids (ca. 600-1000 CE)

This workshop aims to bring together scholars who have expertise in the study of conflict and interaction between the early Islamic Caliphate, Turko-Iranian authorities and the Tang dynasty of China, over the regions of Sogdiana, Bactria and Gandhara between ca. 600-1000 CE. A blog-format summary of the day can be found in the eye-opener section.

The meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

14 SeptemberEmco guest: Paul Cobb

Emco team members met with Prof. Paul Cobb, author of the book “White Banners: Contentions in ‘Abbasid Syria 750-880”. We discussed  various issues with him, focussing on questions of center versus province, local politics versus imperial politics, and the participation of provincial elites within the imperial political system.

The meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Spring – Summer

17 JulyEmCo guest: Parvaneh Pourshariati

Read more on  Parvaneh Pourshariati. In our meeting on July 17, Prof. Pourshariati talked us through a number of important issues emerging from Decline and Fall, as well as from her recent research projects: the role of local dynasties in the Sasanian empire, the survival of local elites through political change, the importance of trade routes in Iran and Central Asia, and problems of methodology and nomenclature in the study of early Islamic history.

The meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

3 JulyEmCo guest: Mathieu Tillier

Emco hosted an online meeting with Prof. Mathieu Tillier. During that meeting we discussed his soon to be published work of wufud (delegations) that set out from Egypt to the caliphal court from the time of Mu’awiya well into the ‘Abbasid period, and the relations between the province and centre in early Islam. Alon also supplied comparisons with Iraqi wufud.

The meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

8 June│EmCo guest: Giuseppina di Bartolo

EmCo team members Petra, Cecilia and Eline met with Dr. Giuseppina di Bartolo of the University of Cologne. She is a linguist and specialist of postclassical Greek. In the conversation, Dr. Di Bartolo shared her expertise of the formulas used in petitions and informal requests within the Greek papyri, from the Hellenistic to the late antique period. These types of letters form an important part of EmCo’s sources, and their Arabic counterparts from Early Islamic Egypt form the focus of Petra’s upcoming monograph.

The meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

30 April│Tübingen University Research Seminar

EmCo team member Cecilia presented her own and the team’s research during a Research Seminar Series at the Tübingen University, with a presentation on “Islamic local government: Monks, Qurans and tax receipts from Abbasid Egypt” (held online due to the coronavirus pandemic).

8 & 16 April│EmCo guest: Maaike van Berkel

Read more on Maaike van Berkel (Radboud University Nijmegen) and her meeting with the EMCO team.

During our first online meeting, we discussed questions of formal and informal access to urban infrastructure, starting from Maaike’s current project on water management, also referring back to her article on Abbasid mazalim. Partha Chatterjee’s powerful formulation of “the politics of the governed” provided the frame of reference for our discussion. In our second meeting, EmCo team members Alon Dar and Reza Huseini presented a draft chapter from their respective dissertations. This gave us the chance to talk about political elites (and what the concept entails) in early Islamic Egypt and Central Asia.

8 April 2020 and 16 April 2020. The meetings took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

12 – 13 MarchWorkshop: “Acts of Excommunication” in the Late Antique and Early Islamicate Middle East

This conference aims to bring together scholars to present research which illuminates the dynamics implicit in the act of excommunication and associated practices: ostracism, anathema, and other forms of religio-social exclusion, among the major religious communities of the Islamicate world, 600-1200 CE: including various Christian and Jewish denominations, Sunni, Shiʿi, ‘Khārijī’ and other groups within Islam; Zoroastrians and other relevant groups. Read more.

20 – 22 JanuaryEmCo guest: Jack Tannous

Read more on Jack Tannous (Princeton University). During his visit we discussed chapter 14 of his book The Making of the Medieval Middle East.


Fall – Winter

3 – 6 DecemberConference: Ties that Bind: Mechanisms and Structures of Social Dependency in the Early Islamic Empire 

This conference aimed to present research which illuminates the structures and mechanisms that allowed the early Islamic empire to function. Read more

18 – 22 NovemberEmCo quest: Minoru Inaba

Read more on Minoru Inaba (Kyoto University)

17 novemberLecture: “De Levende Koran” by Petra Sijpesteijn at the National Museum of Antiquities.

Teksten uit de Koran rouleren overal in de Islamitische wereld: ze staan geschreven in moskeeën en op openbare gebouwen, uitdrukkingen worden gebruikt in alledaagse gesprekken, koranische verzen worden geciteerd tijdens de veiligheidsinstructies in vliegtuigen en natuurlijk fungeert de tekst in rituele contexten.

Hoe beïnvloeden opvattingen over de koran als tekst, en als boek, de discussie over het gebruik van Koranische teksten in de openbare ruimte? Kun je je mobiele telefoon op de grond leggen nadat je er Koranische verzen op gelezen hebt? Mag de koran hardop voorgelezen worden door een computer of door een vrouw? Zijn er beperkingen aan het materiaal waarop en waarmee Koranische verzen geschreven kunnen worden? In dit college werden een allerhande voorbeelden van de vorm waarin de koran in het dagelijkse leven voorkomt en de discussies die dat oproept in heden en verleden besproken.

7 – 8 NovemberWorkshop: Rebellions and Revolts in the Early Caliphate

The workshop, organised by Alon Dar and the rest of the EmCo team, focused on acts of rebellions in the Islamic empire. Participants discussed rebellions from various historical angles, including political, social, and environmental history. We had interesting discussions on methodology, terminology and the social impact of rebellions (and related movements) in the empire. Participants were encouraged to discuss rebellions in their immediate context and as part of a longue durée process. Team members Alon Dar and Reza Huseini presented their work in the workshop. Read more

29 – 30 OctoberArabic numismatics seminar with Arianna D’Ottone

The EmCo team organised  a master class workshop on numismatics, led by Prof. Arianna D’Ottone Rambach (Sapienza-University of Rome). Together with other interested students, we learned about coinage in the early Islamic empire, about forms, materials, and producing/production methods. We discussed how numismatics is an indispensable discipline within the study of the political, social, cultural, economic, and religious history of the Islamic empire. Read more

21 October│Lecture

Global Networks in the Medieval Mediterranean” by Petra Sijpesteijn at the University of Tunis.

9 OctoberEmCo guest: Antoine Borrut

The EmCo team met with Dr. Antoine Borrut and discussed several aspects of the early Islamic empire. Reza Huseini presented three different narratives on the conquest of Qom preserved in the book Tārīkh-I Qom and we had a fruitful conversation on historical memory, one of Borrut’s specialisation. Alon Dar presented his work on Umayyad governors in Egypt, and procedures and terminology of their appointment to office. In the afternoon we had a chance to hear from Borrut on his current work on the early Islamic empire as a cosmopolis, and to discuss his article on power and mobility of the Umayyad caliphs.

Read more on Antoine Borrut (University of Maryland).

7-8 OctoberPaper

EmCo team member, Ed Hayes gave a paper on“Ṣadaqa in early Islamic Law, and the Transition from State-Administered Duty to Private Piety”, at the workshop “Ḥadith and Law in the first Three Centuries of Islam: Ibadi and Shi’i Sources” convened by  Dipartimento di Asia, Africa e Mediterraneo, Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale” (Ersilia Francesca) and Law, Authority and Learning in Imami Shiite Islam Project (ERC Advanced Award: 695245), University of Exeter (Robert Gleave)

30 September – 2 OctoberEmCo guest: Étienne de La Vaissière

The EmCo team hosted professor Étienne de La Vaissière, who presented his work on the ‘Abbasid revolution in Marw. We also enjoyed discussing with him his book Samarcande et Samarra, on the origins of the institution of Mamluks and its integration to the Islamic empire. Team member Reza Huseini presented his work on Bactria in the pre- and post-Islamic conquest. Eline Scheerlinck’s talk focused on local elites in Egypt, and Alon Dar presented his paper on the banu Fahm rebellion in Egypt.

Read more on Étienne de La Vaissière (EHESS)

26 SeptemberLUCIS’ What’s New?! lecture

Ed Hayes delivered a lecture in the LUCIS’ lecture series “What’s New?!” entitled: “The Agents of the Hidden Imam and the Genesis of Twelver Shi’ism

19 SeptemberSymposium on Sacred Economies

Ed Hayes gave a short presentation on Early Islam during this symposium on Sacred Economies.

12 – 14 SeptemberConference: Negotiation in Conquest: wars, treaties and recollections of the rise of the caliphate

Together with LUCIS, the Embedding Conquest team organised this conference on the dynamics of negotiation in the process of conquest and the subsequent building of the caliphate. Find the list of speakers and programme here.

9 – 13 SeptemberConference: Ninth European Conference of Iranian Studies (ECIS 9)

Team member Reza Huseini presented his paper entitled: “The Idea and Practice of Justice in Eastern Iranian World in Late Antiquity: The Case of Bactria/Tukharistan” at this conference. More information on the conference can be found here.

Spring – Summer

28 July – 3 August
Conference: 29th International Congress of Papyrology in Lecce

Team members Petra and Eline gave papers at this conference, which is held every three years and which this year took place in Lecce, Italy. Find the publication here

8 – 11 July
Conference: Movement and Mobility in the Medieval Mediterranean (6th – 15th centuries)

Petra Sijpesteijn gave a talk entitled “Global Networks: Mobility and Exchange in the Mediterranean (600-1000)” at this conference in Barcelona. Find the video of Petra’s lecture here.

5 – 6 July

Ed Hayes gave a paper at the international Workshop “Text and Layout Structure of Arabic Documents (7th-16 Centuries)”: Granada, Spain

25 – 26 June

Ed Hayes presented “Institutions of Imamate: Towards a Social History of Imami Shiʿism” at workshop on Minorities in the Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates, 750-1000, Aga Khan University, London

6 – 7 June
EmCo guest: Federico Morelli

Greek papyrologist Federico Morelli from Vienna gave feedback on team members Eline and Petra’s presentations. The team and other colleagues discussed some of Morelli’s earlier work on the administration and mechanisms of justice and letter writing in early Islamic Egypt. Morelli presented the results of his project on prices of products in late antiquity.

21 – 22 May
EmCo guest: Nicholas Sims-Williams

Specialist of Bactrian and Sogdian languages and documentary practice, Nicholas Sims-Williams, visited the EmCo team. Team member Reza presented and discussed his research on the concept and mechanisms of justice in the Bactrian documents. Nicholas Sims-Williams gave an introduction to Bactrian documents and presented a Bactrian document illuminating family law. Team members Petra and Eline also presented some of the documents in Arabic and Coptic which they study, and discussed possible parallels in the Central Asian documentation known to our guest.

16-17 May
Seminar: Coptic Ostraca from the Theban Region

Team member Eline gave a presentation on the “Coptic Protection Letters from Western Thebes” at this seminar organised by Renate Dekker.

Take a look at the programme of this seminar, intended to bring this material to a wider public.

3 May
Book launch: Change and Continuity in the Abbasid Egyptian Countryside (with LUCIS)

Find the programme here.

Book launch of the volume “Authority and Control in the Countryside: From Antiquity to Islam in the Mediterranean and Near East (6th-10th Century)”, edited by  Alain Delattre,  Marie Legendre, and Petra Sijpesteijn. With presentations by, a.o., team members Petra, Alon, Cecilia, and Eline.

29 April
EmCo guest: Christian Müller

LUCIS Spring Fellow and specialist in Islamic Law sat down with the EmCo team members to read the documents that they are studying and to discuss questions such as “What makes a document a legal document?”

28 April
Lecture: Ziek, zwak en misselijk: brieven met klachten en rampen uit middeleeuws Egypte

Project leader Petra gave a public lecture (in Dutch) on request letters on papyrus from Early Islamic Egypt in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden.

Read here an abstract (in Dutch) of this lecture.

23 April
EmCo guests: Michael Macdonald and Ahmad Al-Jallad

On the occasion of the PhD defense of dr Fokelien Kootstra, the EmCo team had a round table discussion with one of the examination committee members, Michael Macdonald, and co-supervisor, Ahmad Al-Jallad, on the epigraphic habit of late antique Arabia. PhD student Abdullah Alhatlani presented an outline of his doctoral thesis: Early Arabic inscriptions in the Hijaz (Medina-Mecca-AL-Ula).

24- 25 January
Workshop: Acts of Protection in the early Islamicate Empire

Read team member Alon’s blog on this workshop!

Team member Eline and the rest of the Emco team organised a workshop with international specialists on the theme: Acts of Protection in the early Islamicate Empire.

This workshop explored the relevance of arrangements of protection, and threatened withdrawal of protection as part of the frameworks of reciprocity and solidarity which allowed the early Islamic Empire to function. Through specific documents, or the historical or literary presentation of specific events, the participants presented instances where protection is offered, requested, or withheld.

See our programme for a list of the participants.

23 January
EmCo guest: Hugh Kennedy

One of the speakers at the workshop on Acts of Protection, Hugh Kennedy, presented and discussed two of his current research projects: the economy of the Abbasids and the concept of sultan.


Fall – Winter

14 December
Conference presentation: Documents and Digital Analysis in Assessing the Early Islamic Tradition

EmCo team member Ed Hayes, and our research trainee Munirah Eskandar presented a paper in the Colloquium, Whither Islamicate Digital Humanities? Analytics, Tools, Corpora, at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 13-15 December 2018. The paper addressed how digital text-mining tools can be use to find parallels in the literary sources to documentary evidence from papyri and parchment letters.

27 November
Lunch talk: Networks of Protection. Travel documents in Early Islamic Egypt

EmCo team member, Eline Scheerlinck, gave a lunch talk in the Ancient Worlds Network at Leiden University.

16 November   
Shiʿi Piety: Theory and Materiality from Premodern to Postmodern, Early-career workshop funded by the Juynboll Stichting and LUCIS

Organized by EmCo team member, Edmund Hayes, at which EmCo member Reza Husseini discussed “Representations of the Shiʿa-Sunni conflict in Mughul Historiography: the case of Tārīkh-i alfī

Programme available here.

14- 15 November
LUCIS Annual Conference: Approaching Shiʿi Islam in the Academy

Organized by members of the LUCIS programme in Shiʿi Studies, including EmCo team member, Edmund Hayes.

Programme available here.

1 November
EmCo Guest, Aaron Hughes     

With Aaron Hughes, the EmCo team discussed ways of developing robust categories for conceptualizing religion (or avoiding religion as a category) in reading documents and writing early Islamic history.

September- October
LUCIS al-Babtain visiting professor, Wadad Kadi

The EmCo team spent several enlightening sessions reading papyri with Professor Kadi.

11-13 October          
Conference: The Reach of Empire – The Early Islamic Empire at Work, University of Hamburg

EmCo members, Eline Scheerlinck and Ed Hayes participated in the final conference of the Hamburg ERC project, “The Early Islamic Empire at Work – The View from the Regions Toward the Center” directed by Stefan Heidemann, learning a lot from other presenters, and from the Hamburg project team in the way they conceptualized the style of control, domination and influence within the empire and the role of local actors in different regional contexts.

30 September
Lecture: Vluchtelingen en hun beschermers in de Koptische en Griekse papyri van vroeg-islamitisch Egypte, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

EmCo team member, Eline Scheerlinck gave a talk at the Rijksmuseum, on the topic of her ongoing PhD research, refugees and their protectors in Coptic and Greek papyri from early Islamic egypt.

12-13 September
EmCo Guest Eduardo Manzano

Eduardo Manzano presented his ideas on how to understand medieval Islamic institutions, in comparison with medieval European institutions, and other areas of the pre-modern world, with the EmCo  team and a group of Leiden specialists, including Hilde de Weerdt, Ab de Jong, Jos Gommans, Berthe Jansen.

7 September
Conference: Research Trainees Program

EmCo’s research trainees Munirah Eskandar and Daan Sanderse presented their work on “Digital Innovation in Medieval Arabic History” and the integration of digital humanities to the field of early Islam.

Spring – Summer

25-27 June
EmCo Guest Robert Hoyland

Robert Hoyland presented his new research on the understandings of religion in pre-Islamic Arabia, and entered into conversation with the EmCo team and other Leiden specialists. See EmCo team member, Ed Hayes’s LUCIS blog inspired by the conversation here.

17-18 May
Leiden University  Global Interactions Conference: Correspondence, Cross-pollination and Control

This conference was organized by EmCo team members, Petra Sijpesteijn and Ed Hayes.

See the programme here.

12-13 April        
EmCo workshop on letters

In this workshop, the EmCo team invited specialists on various aspects of letter-writing in the early Islamic world: Maurice Pomerantz, Maaike van Berkel, Werner Diem, Sebastian Richter, and Ahmad Khan.

20-23 March     
International Society for Arabic Papyrology (ISAP) conference, Berlin               

The EmCo team visited Berlin together to present papers related to Arabic papyrology.

See the programme here:

11-19 March     

EmCo Guest Fred Donner

We read the fascinating “ʿUmar papyrus” with a blue-haired Fred Donner, and discussed Islamic origins.

6 March
LUCIS Guest Karen Bauer

The EmCo team took advantage of Karen Bauer’s visit as LUCIS fellow, to engage in a conversation on how to conceptualize emotions in documents.

15-16 February
EmCo Guest Arietta Papaconstantinou

Discussions with Arietta Papaconstantinou revolved around the nature of the pre-modern Islamic ‘state’, and the role of non-Muslim populations in making the Islamic empire.

1-2 February
EmCo Guest Jürgen Paul

Jürgen Paul presented some of his work on the hereditary elites of pre- and early-Islamic Iran, helping us to think about the interface between the centralizing authority of the caliphate, and the embedded authority of local elites.


Fall – Winter

1 December
Richard Payne (University of Chicago)

We met with Richard Payne and discussed his latest research on the Sassanid empire.

28 November
Kick off meeeting of the Central Asian Reading Group (November 2017 – May 2018)

EmCo members and other Leiden specialists participated and presented in a reading group on various aspects in the history of  central-Asia, organized by EmCo member Reza Huseini.

13-14 November
EmCo Guest, Majied Robinson (Edinburgh University)

We were happy to welcome Majied Robinson, who gave a lecture entitled “Marriage, Mecca and the immigrant Quraysh”. We also discussed the Emco team’s research with him.

9-11 November
Conference: Late Antique Religion in Practice: Papyri and the Dynamics of Religious Identification

Organized by Mattias Brand, Cisca Hoogendijk and EmCo team member, Eline Scheerlinck.

With papers by EmCo team members Petra Sijpesteijn: “Blessings for the Prophet and his family” and Eline Scheerlinck: “Like oil in their bones. Threats, Excommunication and Religious Identification beyond Late Antiquity”.

See the programme here.

Spring – Summer

31 August-1 September
EmCo Guest, Arezou Azad (University of Birmingham)

We were happy to welcome Arezou Azad, with whom we discussed her earlier project, the Balkh Art and Cultural Heritage Project.

9-12 May
EmCo Guest, Jennifer Cromwell (University of Copenhagen)

We had the honor of hosting the most eloquent Jennifer Cromwell, with whom we discussed her recent book,  “Recording Village Life: A Coptic Scribe in Early Islamic Egypt”.

Sarah Savant and Maxim Romanov

LUCIS Spring Fellow Sarah Savant and LUCDH (Leiden University Centre for Digital Humanities) guest Maxim Romanov talked on several occasions on digital humanities approach to Islamic History with the team members, who also benefitted from both scholars’ lectures.


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