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Tobunken Symposium and the First ASPS Gilas Seminar "In Quest of a Proper Polity: Political Discourses in the Early Abbasid Period"

Tobunken Symposium and the First ASPS Gilas Seminar
In Quest of a Proper Polity: Political Discourses in the Early Abbasid Period

Co-organized by the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo, the Kakenhi Project “Kingship and Legitimacy of the Islamic Dynasties: In the Context of Early Modern History,” and the Kakenhi Project “Antiquity Inherited, Antiquity Invented: The Case of Medieval Middle East,” with the support of the Japan Office of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies.

The Abbasid Revolution and the first century of the Abbasid rule represent a dynamic period of experimentations in quest of a sustainable Islamic polity and discourses to legitimize it. With two presentations that approach less utilized source materials with cutting-edge research questions, this seminar will shed fresh light on aspects of the experimentations that were under way in that crucial period of Islamic history.

Information

Date and Time: January 11 (Mon), 2016, 10:15-13:00

Venue: Room 303, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (Tobunken), the University of Tokyo
(Hongo Campus;http://www.ioc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/eng/access/index.html)

Program

Moderator: Kazuo Morimoto (Tobunken)

10:15-11:15
Manabu Kameya (Hokkaido University),
“Titles for Early Abbasid Caliphs: Tracing Their Evolution from Documentary Sources.”

11:25-12:25Hayrettin Yücesoy (Washington University in St. Louis),
“Mapping a Political Landscape: Ibn al-Muqaffa and the Contending Visions of Politics in the Abbasid 8th Century.”

12:30-13:00
Discussion

Abstracts

Manabu Kameya
Titles for Early Abbasid Caliphs: Tracing Their Evolution from Documentary Sources

Documentary source (in the context of early Islamic history, it includes papyrus documents, epigraphy, inscriptions of coins) is one of the most important sources for the studies on the early Abbasid history, because of the scarcity of the extant contemporary historiography, same as the case of the Umayyad. Accordingly, a study based on documentary sources must be a good starting point for the analysis of the early Abbasid Caliphate. In this paper, I discuss the changing of the titles of the early Abbasid Caliphs and what they claimed by adopting those titles, based on the investigation through documentary sources. It will elucidate the evolution of titles for Abbasid Caliphs, such as “al-Mahdī”, “al-Imām”, “Khalīfat Allāh”, “al-Khalīfa” and the Laqabs of each of the Caliphs, and make clear that it corresponded to the religio-political situation and its ideological background in the early Abbasid period.

Hayrettin Yücesoy
Mapping a Political Landscape: Ibn al-Muqaffa and the Contending Visions of Politics in the Abbasid 8th Century

The passing of the Umayyad rule was not simply a mere substitution of one dynasty for another at the very helm of the empire, but rather it was a collapse of relations, structures, and mental categories about the lived reality. This significant event and the critical decades following it offer us a chance to examine how the early Abbasids reimagined the post-Umayyad world and structured a new web of socio-economic, and political relations to support their ambitions. In this lecture Dr. Yücesoy will address Ibn al-Muqaffa's well-known, but still understudied, the Epistle on Court Companions as a record demonstrating a subaltern imperial scribe’s participation in the process of empire building by mapping out from ground zero, “the day after” the revolution so-to-speak, the human, geographic, and material topography of the empire as an administrable and controllable political territory.


The seminar is open to public and free of charge. No registration is required.
Contact person: Kazuo Morimoto (morikazu[at]ioc.u-tokyo.ac.jp)

Co-organizers:
Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo
The Kakenhi Project “Kingship and Legitimacy of the Islamic Dynasties: In the Context of Early Modern History” (JSPS 15H01895)
The Kakenhi Project “Antiquity Inherited, Antiquity Invented: The Case of Medieval Middle East” (JSPS 15H00707)

Supporter:
The Japan Office of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies

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