State Documents from the Medieval Islamicate World


farman of feroz shah bahmani  14 05 1406 a d

The various political states that existed in the premodern history of the Islamicate world share a remarkable characteristic: their archives do not survive. As this puts restrictions on the extent to which we can examine consolidation of power, hierarchy, bureaucracy, legislation and taxation, their political systems often remain only partially understood. However, historians have advanced helpful reinterpretations of what constitute “archives” and “original documents”, as well as called attention to (unexpectedly) large amounts of documents preserved in non-archival contexts which nevertheless relate to state administrations.

In view of these promising developments, the aim of this colloquium is to highlight some important original state documents which are preserved and currently researched, from the Cairo Geniza and the aram al-sharīf documents in Jerusalem, to documents from Afghanistan and India, while also continuing the discussion about alternative methods when sufficient original materials have not (yet) been recovered. By bringing together experts on 8th to 16th-century West Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia, the colloquium deliberately takes a transregional and diachronic perspective to the study of states and their administrations in the premodern Islamicate world. It is our intention that this will provide a useful cross section of the latest discoveries, lead to more disciplinary coherence, and stimulate innovative future research into documentary sources.


To attend the colloquium, please register using the form at this link. Participation is free of charge, but advanced registration is requested.

Colloquium details

  • Meia Walravens (University of Oxford)
  • Arezou Azad (University of Oxford)
  • Marina Rustow (Princeton Univeristy)
  • András Barati (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna / Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, Budapest)
  • Anna Steffen (University of Hamburg)
  • Arezou Azad (University of Oxford)
  • Bruno De Nicola (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna)
  • Christoph Werner (Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg)
  • Dai Matsui (Osaka University)
  • David Durand-Guédy (University of Hamburg)
  • Eva Orthmann (Georg-August University Göttingen)
  • Frédéric Bauden (University of Liège)
  • Jeremy Johns (University of Oxford)
  • Malika Dekkiche (University of Antwerp)
  • Marina Rustow (Princeton University)
  • Meia Walravens (University of Oxford)
  • Naïm Vanthieghem (Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes, Paris - Aubervilliers)
  • Reza Huseini (University of Cambridge)
  • Ryoko Watabe (University of Tokyo)!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d2469.795748112522!2d-1.2581860845506279!3d51.75505840038635!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x4876c6af14966483%3A0x931a8972400842fb!2sTrinity%20College!5e0!3m2!1sen!2suk!4v1675701078471!5m2!1sen!2suk

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