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School of Mamluk Studies

The School of Mamlūk Studies

First Conference of the School of Mamluk Studies, Venice, June 23-June 25, 2014

An International Conference jointly sponsored by Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia, University of Chicago, Université de Liège Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia, Italy, 23-25 June 2014

For more information about the conference, travel and accommodations, or the Workshop on Mamluk Poetry, please visit and click on the School of Mamluk Studies tab.

Conference Schedule

Download the schedule as a PDF


8.45-9.30: Registration

9.30-9.40: Welcome word

9.40-11.20: Chair: Thomas Bauer

  • ÉRIC GEOFFROY, Al-Suyuti as a Sufi
  • JAAKKO HÄMEEN ANTTILA, Al-Suyuti and Erotic Literature
  • RODICA FIRANESCU, Revisiting Love and Coquetry in Medieval Arabic Islam: al-Suyuti's Perspective
  • HEBA MOSTAFA, Al-Rawdah: Narratives of an Earthly Island Paradise in al-Suyuti’s Kawkab al-Rawdah fi Tarikh Jazirat Misr al-Musammah bi-al-Rawdah
  • Discussion

11.20-11.40: Coffee break

11.40-13.20: Chair: Jaakko Hämeen Anttila

  • STEPHEN R. BURGE, Al-Suyuti’s Qur'anic Hermeneutics Revised: A Comparison of his Tahbir and Itqan
  • MAHMOOD IBRAHIM, Social Origin of Qur'anic Abrogation: Al-Suyuti on the Issue of Naskh
  • JOEL BLECHER, Al-Suyuti and the Art of Hadith Commentary: The Case of Ta'zir
  • FRANCESCO GRANDE, L’histoire tend au système: The Protohistory of Arabic in the Muzhir of al-Suyuti
  • Discussion

13.20-14.40: Lunch (free)

14.40 -16.20: Chair: Frédéric Bauden

  • MUSTAFA BANISTER, Casting the Caliph in a Cosmic Role: The Transmission of al- Suyuti’s Historical Vision
  • CHRISTIAN MAUDER, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti’s Stance Toward Worldly Power: a Reexamination Based on Unpublished Sources
  • TAKAO ITO, Al-Suyuti and Problems of the Waqf
  • JUDITH KINDINGER, Reconceiving the Taylasan in al-Suyuti’s Works
  • Discussion

16.20-16.40: Coffee break

16.40-18.00: Chair: Marlis Saleh

  • MICHELE PETRONE, Al-Suyuti in the Catalogues of West African Collections of Manuscripts
  • CHRISTOPHER BAHL, The Raf' Sha'n al-Hubshan by Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti or "Preservation Through Elaboration in the 'Historicisation' of the Abyssinians"
  • YOSHUAA PATEL, Al-Suyuti on the Relative Value of Skin Color
  • Discussion


JUNE 24, 2014 PANELS

9.00- 10.40: Panel 1: Venice and Mamluk Egypt (Maria Pia Pedani)

  • MARIA PIA PEDANI, Mamluk-Venetian Relations
  • GEORG CHRIST, Urban Transhumance: Mamluk Imperial Power and Venetian Trade between Cairo, Alexandria and Damietta (Early 15th Century)
  • YUTAKA HORII, The Venetian Consul and Trade in Late Mamluk Egypt
  • ALESSIO SOPRACASA, The Mamluk Economic and Administrative Apparatus Managing the International Trade in Alexandria between the Second Half of the 15th and the Beginning of the 16th Century (with Some Topographical Elements Related)
  • Discussion

10.40-11.00: Coffee break

11.00 -12.40: Panel 2: Mamluk Palestine and Bilad al-Sham (Yaacov Lev)

  • YAACOV LEV, The 666/1267–1268 Truce between Sultan Baybars and Hugh III of Acre: Political and Geographical Aspects
  • JOSEPH DRORY, Arqutay, an Influential Safed Governor and Cairene Statesman
  • YEHOSHUA FRENKEL, Mamluk Bilad al-Sham: The Contribution of Environmental History to the Study of Land Tenure
  • HANA TARAGAN, Mamluk Patronage, Crusader Memories: Spolia and Appropriation in 13th-Century Bilad al-Sham
  • Discussion

12.40-14.00: Lunch (free)

14.00-15.20: Panel 3: The “Archival Turn,” or How Mamluk Diplomacy Serves Mamluk History (Malika Dekkiche)

  • FRÉDÉRIC BAUDEN, Bandar al-Tur, a Harbor on the Red Sea and its Significance for the Mamluks
  • MARINA RUSTOW, An Unpublished Mamluk Legal Document from the Cairo Geniza
  • TAMER EL-LEITHY, The Biography of a Coptic Alley in Cairo: Reproducing Home and Family, Rethinking (Dhimmi) Community and (Muslim) Courts
  • Discussion

15.40: guided tour to the State Archives
Important: since accessibility is limited, those who are interested in taking part in the visit are kindly required to write to the organizer ( by May 15 in order to confirm their participation .

20.00: Social dinner


JUNE 25, 2014 PANELS

09.00-11.10: Panel 4: Scribal Culture and Practice in the Mamluk Empire (Elias Muhanna – Adam Talib)

  • ELIAS MUHANNA, Innovation and Tradition in Scribal (Best) Practices: The Concept of Istilah in Chancery Literature
  • KONRAD HIRSCHLER, Moving beyond the Centre: Scribes in the Officers’ Administration
  • MAURICE POMERANTZ, The Administrative Imaginary: Governance, Geography, and Trade in a Maqamah Collection of the 8th/14th Century
  • ADAM TALIB, The Professional Professionals: The Illusion of Personality in the Works of Ibn Hijjah al-Hamawi and His Fellow Scribal Professionals
  • VALENTINA SAGARIA ROSSI, The «Mise en texte» of Some Manuscripts of al-Safadi's al- Wafi bi-al-wafayat: Techniques and Models
  • Discussion

11.10-11.30: Coffee break

11.30-12.50: Panel 5 Boundaries of Epistemological Models in the Mamluk Period (Caterina Bori – Livnat Holtzmann; chair: Giovanna Calasso)

  • CATERINA BORI, Firasah as a Source of Legal Judgment, or a “Semeiotic” Paradigm in the Service of Justice
  • GIUSEPPE CECERE, Sanctity and Knowledge in Ibn 'Ata' Allah al-Iskandari: A Sunni Sufi
  • FRANK GRIFFEL, The Epistemological Foundation of Ibn Taymiyah’s Critique Against Mainstream Ash'arism
  • LIVNAT HOLTZMANN, The Dream-Interpreter and the Later Hanbalis: Regulating Oneiromancy in Mamluk Damascus
  • Discussion

12.50 -14.20: Lunch (free)

14.20-16.00: Panel 6 Marked Bodies: Meanings and Practices (Marion Katz)

  • MARION HOLMES KATZ, Fattening up in Medieval Cairo: Religion, Medicine, and the Social Meanings of Body Size
  • RICHARD MCGREGOR, Thinking about Looking: Relics and the Rhetoric of the Body in Mamluk Egypt
  • KRISTINA RICHARDSON, Blue and Green Eyes in the Islamicate Middle Ages
  • SYRINX VAN HEES, Descriptions of the Body in Biographies and their Social Meanings

16.00-16.20: Coffee break

16.20-17.20: Panel 7 Conceiving Space in 14th-Century Syrian Hanbali Religious Thought (Livnat Holtzman)

  • ANTONIA BOSANQUET, Spacing Paradise: Ibn al-Qayyim's Discussion of Non-Muslims and the Afterlife
  • JON HOOVER, Ibn Taymiyah on God’s Relation to Space

17.20-18.00 Concluding remarks

The School of Mamlūk Studies (SMS) is administered by the Universities of Chicago (Ill., USA), Liège (Belgium), and Ca' Foscari of Venice (Italy), respectively represented by Marlis Saleh, Frédéric Bauden, and Antonella Ghersetti. It is currently based at the University of Chicago, where Mamluk-related projects such as Mamlūk Studies Review, the Chicago Online Bibliography of Mamluk Studies, and the Chicago Online Encyclopedia of Mamluk Studies are managed. The mission of SMS is to provide a scholarly forum for a holistic approach to Mamluk studies, and to foster and promote a greater awareness of the Mamluk sultanate (1250–1517). Drawing upon the format of the School of 'Abbasid Studies (SAS) as a model, SMS aims to offer a forum for interdisciplinary debate focused on the Mamluk period in all its historical and cultural dimensions in order to increase, address, investigate, and exchange information and knowledge relevant to Mamluk studies in the broadest meaning of the term. Conceived as a meeting for scholars and graduate students working on any of the many aspects of the Mamluk empire, without neglecting its contacts with other regions, SMS offers to everyone working in the field of Mamluk studies the opportunity to attend annual conferences organized in turn by each of the three collaborating institutions.

The annual conferences will be organized around a general or a more specific theme which scholars will be invited to address. In addition, proposals for panels on other relevant subjects may be submitted by individuals, research teams, or institutions. Accepted panels will be held at the end of the thematic conference. On an irregular basis, SMS will also organize seminars in various fields (such as diplomatics, paleography, codicology, numismatics, epigraphy, etc.) which will be aimed at graduate students. These seminars will be planned to take place prior to or following the annual conference in the institution where the conference is held.

Papers presented at each conference on the selected theme will be published as a monograph, while papers presented at the panels will be considered for publication in Mamlūk Studies Review.

Subject Guide

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Marlis Saleh, Bibliographer
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