Call for papers: Christianity in Iraq at the turn of Islam: History & Archaeology

Call for papers: Christianity in Iraq at the turn of Islam: History & Archaeology


Call for papers: Christianity in Iraq at the turn of Islam: History & Archaeology

Abstract: An international round table organized on May 4 and 5, 2019 at the University of Salahaddin (Erbil, Iraq) highlighted the interest for a collective work that will address the question of Christianity in Iraq at the turn of Islam. Les Presses de l’Ifpo launch a call for papers related to this theme.

Argument: The collapse of the Persian Empire and the decreasing of the influence of the Byzantine Empire after the Muslim conquest led to important institutional changes for the Christians of the conquered areas. In Iraq, the Eastern Church was no longer limited by the Sasanian Empire ruled by the Zoroastrians and gained new opportunities to expand.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to restitute the reality of this ancient Christianity and to assess the modifications resulting from the conquests. The architectural patterns of churches seem to attest to the proximity between northern Iraq and the Byzantine territories while southern Iraq and the Persian Gulf appear as a homogeneous region, as attested by certain similarities in the material culture, or the existence of burials with worship function (relics) both in northern and southern Iraq. It is difficult to link these differences and similarities with particular Churches, liturgies, and regional influences. Since the excavations of D.T. Rice in al‑Hira in the 1930s, recent archaeological projects as well as epigraphic and textual studies have documented Christianity in the Early Islamic period in Iraq.

The international round table Christianity in Iraq at the turn of Islam provided an initial assessment of research, particularly archaeological data. This has highlighted the continuity of the forms of Christianity before and after Islam, the turn of Islam being the best documented period, both by archaeological data and textual sources. The study of architecture and material culture reveals no rupture. Churches appear as not have been modified, stucco crosses motifs are difficult to distinguish according to chronological criteria, and ceramic types remain unchanged. If there were a rupture, it would have rather been in the course of the 9th century. The populations keep their religion, their way of life and their languages for at least two centuries after the conquests. This phenomenon, which has already been evidenced in Egypt and Syria, must be better documented in Iraq. Indeed, finally Christianity in this region has been very poorly documented. Evidently, it is crucial to reconsider ancient works whose publications essentially fall short, and to publish simultaneously the results of the works in progress. The international round table has also highlighted the richness of a comparative approach between sources: only the confrontation of textual and archaeological sources will make it possible to answer certain questions such as that of the religious buildings’ liturgy.

Editors and contacts: Narmin Ali Amin (University Salahaddin-Erbil) Julie Bonnéric (Institut français du Proche-Orient) Barbara Couturaud (Institut français du Proche-Orient)

Scientific Committee: Kayfi Ali (General Directorate of Antiquities in Kurdistan) Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet (CNRS UMR 8167 Orient & Méditerranée) Pauline Koetschet (Institut français du Proche-Orient/CNRS UMR 7297 CPAF) Karel Novacek (Palacký University Olomouc) Dominique Pieri (Ifpo/Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) St John Simpson (British Museum)

Submission Guidelines: Articles (max. 40,000 signs including spaces and without bibliography, max. 10 figures), in French, English or Arabic, should be sent in their complete and definitive form with illustrations before February 28th 2021 to the following address:

Papers should include:

– The text of the article in Word and PDF formats, whose presentation must comply with the guidelines of the Presses de l’Ifpo;

– A bibliography using the same guidelines;

– A list of captions of figures and/or plates;

– Abstracts in French, English and Arabic (1,200 signs maximum, including spaces).

Illustrations in TIFF format can be sent via download platforms such as Dropbox or WeTransfer.

Obtaining the necessary reproduction rights, including on the Internet, is the responsibility of the author.

The proposed articles will be double-blind peer reviewed and a response will be given to the authors within three months after the submission of their article. The publication of the volume is scheduled for the first half of 2022.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

Recent Publication: A History of the Islamic World, 600-1800

Routledge has recently published a new survey of Islamic history by Jo Van Steenbergen, A History of the Islamic World, 600-1800: Empire, Dynastic Formation, and Heterogeneities in Pre-Modern Islamic West-Asia.

Publisher’s Overview: A History of the Islamic World, 600–1800 supplies a fresh and unique survey of the formation of the Islamic world and the key developments that characterize this broad region’s history from late antiquity up to the beginning of the modern era.

Containing two chronological parts and fourteen chapters, this impressive overview explains how different tides in Islamic history washed ashore diverse sets of leadership groups, multiple practices of power and authority, and dynamic imperial and dynastic discourses in a theocratic age. A text that transcends many of today’s popular stereotypes of the premodern Islamic past, the volume takes a holistically and theoretically informed approach for understanding, interpreting, and teaching premodern history of Islamic West-Asia. Jo Van Steenbergen identifies the Asian connectedness of the sociocultural landscapes between the Nile in the southwest to the Bosporus in the northwest, and the Oxus (Amu Darya) and Jaxartes (Syr Darya) in the northeast to the Indus in the southeast. This abundantly illustrated book also offers maps and dynastic tables, enabling students to gain an informed understanding of this broad region of the world. 

This book is an essential text for undergraduate classes on Islamic History, Medieval and Early Modern History, Middle East Studies, and Religious History.

Praise for the Book:

‘This engaging and lucid history of the Islamic world from its beginnings down to the advent of the modern age combines a clear theoretical framework with an up-to-date understanding of recent scholarship. The result is a readable history of pre-modern Islamic societies which avoids both excesses of names and dates and the conventional “golden age” and “decline” narratives in favour of more sophisticated explanations of historical change. It will be a very welcome addition to many university courses on Islam and Islamic History, and will also be genuinely useful to a wider general readership.’

Andrew Marsham, University of Cambridge, UK

Want to read more? Purchase the book at Routledge.

About the Author: Jo Van Steenbergen teaches Islamic history at Ghent University, Belgium. He has published extensively on medieval Islamic history, including Order Out of Chaos (2006), Caliphate and Kingship in a Fifteenth-Century Literary History (2016), and Trajectories of State Formation across Fifteenth-Century Islamic West-Asia (2020).

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.