Lorentz Center - Egypt Incorporated: Economic, Political and Cultural Developments from Late Antiquity to Islam from 12 Dec 2016 through 15 Dec 2016
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    Egypt Incorporated: Economic, Political and Cultural Developments from Late Antiquity to Islam
    from 12 Dec 2016 through 15 Dec 2016

 

Egypt Incorporated: Economic, Political and Cultural Developments from Late Antiquity to Islam

 

12 – 16 December 2016 @Snellius

 

 

The workshop had three main aims: (A) to advance methodological insights in the relevant fields, (B) to further scientific insights on the thematic of the workshop leading to an integrated publication and (C) to build on existing and form new academic networks through planned cooperative programmes. The workshop addressed two main questions: (I) what kind of interaction across the Mediterranean existed in the Late Antique and early Islamic period and what was Egypt’s role therein and (II) how did Egypt function in the Roman and Islamic Empires it belonged to? These questions were examined through three themes: (1) ‘Networks and Connected History’; (2) ‘Transregional Communities’; (3) ‘The Impact of the Muslim Conquests’. Participants of different linguistic and disciplinary backgrounds? working on different periods and areas discussed common topics together on the basis of pre-circulated papers. We invited specialists with different linguistic and disciplinary backgrounds who were in different stages of their careers. In doing so, we brought together expertise in various periods and areas.

We experienced the workshop’s format as very refreshing: rather than following a conventional format (papers followed by discussion), we organized various types of sessions in which thematic discussions in subgroups were alternated with discussions on papers that were pre-circulated by the participants and a three key lectures. This informal and low-key structure invited a lively interaction between the participants. In the plenary sessions the results of the subgroups’ discussions were brought together and put on the wall, so that these results remained visible during the workshop. The discussion of individual paper profited from this approach as it invited all to think about the relation of her/his individual study to the ‘bigger picture’.  One example is the connection made in one of the plenary discussion sessions between two papers widely diverging in topic and scope (one discussing central authority, the other one local scribal practices), which was identified as illustrative for establishing how top-level policy has impact on even the lowest level.

In the final session, all participants brainstormed about the framework of a volume, which will be the tangible product of the workshop. Its envisaged title is: Incorporating Egypt from Constantinople to Baghdad. We have formulated two main questions to which we request each contributor to relate to: 1) How was Egypt drawn into larger (political, economic, cultural) structures and developments? 2) How did Egypt operate within these larger structures?

 

We think that the title of the volume covers these two questions (question one = Egypt becoming incorporated in historical contexts; question 2 = functioning of Egypt while being incorporated) and that it, moreover, refers to our agency as giving a prominent place to Egypt in historical research. Moreover, with these questions as point of reference, the contributions will form a truly integrated academic account that is much more than a series of edited volumes, but rather offers a multispectral examination of the proposed thematic. Most participants have confirmed to contribute to the proposed volume.

As the organizing committee, we look back on a very successful and inspiring workshop. That the participants shared our experience was confirmed by the enthusiastic reactions we received afterwards. We warmly thank the Lorentz Center for hosting and facilitating our workshop and for the logistical support. We would certainly recommend other scholars to organize a workshop at the Lorentz Center.

 

Jelle Bruning (Universiteit Leiden)

Sylvie Denoix (CNRS Paris)

Janneke de Jong (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)

Petra Sijpesteijn (Universiteit Leiden)



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