Cfp: Virtual Forum Jews, Christians, and Muslims as Colleagues and Collaborators in the Abbasid Near East

This CfP might be of interest for people on this list (from Nathan Gibson, LMU Munich). Contributions on network analysis are explicitly welcome!

Call for Papers – Virtual Forum

Jews, Christians, and Muslims as Colleagues and Collaborators in the Abbasid Near East

Abstract Deadline: August 28, 2020


From the eighth century to the thirteenth century and beyond, scholars in the Abbasid realms pioneered study in medicine, mathematics, the astral arts, and many other disciplines. Scholarly treatises from that era together with biographical sources such as Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa’s History of Physicians and documentary texts from the Cairo Genizah show that this scholarly activity was not isolated to a single community. Instead, it emerged from a rich exchange between scholars affiliated with many different communities: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Hindu, Samaritan, and others. Sometimes this exchange occurred through books or letters while at other times it was face-to-face in formal, institutional settings, side-by-side in the workplace, or even mediated through patrons, servants, or family members.

In the framework of the project “Communities of Knowledge” (funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), we invite contributions to a series of discussions on the topic of person-to-person knowledge exchange among Near Eastern communities during Abbasid rule.

The keynote session will feature Dr. Ignacio Sánchez (University of Warwick), whose recent contributions to the field include helping to prepare a brand new edition and translation of Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa, The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians (Leiden: Brill, 2020).

Format and Date

The series is open to two types of submissions: research papers and project demos.

1. Research Paper Submissions

We’ll contact authors of accepted abstracts to set up a date and time that works with your schedule. Sessions will be held in the late fall (October to December). A preliminary draft of your paper for discussion will be uploaded 1–2 weeks before your session to an area where registered participants can read it and ask questions or make comments. During the live session, you’ll present a very brief sketch of your results (lightning-talk style), followed by short responses from 1–2 invited participants, and an extended general discussion.

Revised papers will be submitted in 2021 to a special issue of medieval worlds: comparative & interdisciplinary studies, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ISSN 2412-3196). Per the journal guidelines, research articles should be 5,000–10,000 words.

2. Project Demos

Accepted project demos will be scheduled according to the author’s convenience and included as brief presentations during one of the relevant live discussions. Project demos will also be submitted as short articles (2,000–5,000 words) to the forum’s special issue of medieval worlds: comparative & interdisciplinary studies.

Relevant Topics

We welcome submissions demonstrating state-of-the-art research on networks of interreligious scholarly collaboration involving the Abbasid Near East, including––but not limited to––the following:

  • Surveys of trends in dynamics between scholars of different religious communities, illustrated by case studies or by quantitative approaches

  • Studies of evolving attitudes toward interreligious collaboration (e.g., in historiographical or documentary texts)
  • Comparative studies of attitudes among different linguistic or religious communities (Arabic, Syriac, Greek; Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Samaritan, Zoroastrian, Hindu, and others)
  • Digital approaches to discovering scholars and their connections
  • Network analysis involving relationships among people, places, or books
  • Studies of non-scholars who facilitated interreligious scholarly exchange
  • Methodological reflections on the significance of labels for religious affiliation in primary sources
  • Studies of scholarly collaboration from areas adjacent to the Abbasid Near East (e.g., Andalusia, Byzantium) that have demonstrable parallels with or connections to the Abbasid Near East
  • Studies of non-scholarly interactions or networks that might be used to understand scholarly collaboration

Submission Process

Abstracts should be submitted by August 28, 2020 using this abstract submission form (Google Forms):

If you want to submit an abstract but aren’t comfortable with the privacy policy of Google Forms, please contact Dr. Nathan Gibson directly.

If you don’t want to present, but you’d like to participate in the discussions, watch for registration information on this page (

Published by Marten Düring
August 26, 2020

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