Symposium Dynamics of Transmission

Dynamics of Transmission : Families, Authority and Knowledge in the Early Middle East (15th-17th centuries)

7-9 March 2018

Lieu / Venue
Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Maison de la Recherche
4 rue des Irlandais, 75005 Paris, Salle Athéna




Maria Szuppe (CNRS, UMR7528 Mondes iranien et indien), Christoph Werner (Philipps-Universität Marburg), Albrecht Fuess (Philipps-Universität Marburg) and Nicolas Michel (IFAO)

Organizing team in Paris
Sandra Aube, Sacha Alsancakli and Emmanuel Giraudet (CNRS, UMR7528 Mondes iranien et indien)
with the cooperation of Anthony T. Quickel (in Cairo, IFAO) and Alberto Tiburcio (in Marburg, Philipps-Universität)


Following the three previous workshops held in Marburg (2015), Cairo (2016) and Naples (2017) which paid a particular attention to the sources, methodologies, as well as to the mechanisms and modalities which facilitated the transmission of knowledge through family structures, this Symposium moves away from an emphasis on families as transmitters, in order to focus more on other existing networks, such as institutions (for example madrasa, ateliers) or professional and spiritual links (master-disciple relationships), or on factors such as geographical mobility of individuals. This approach not only would enable the research to concentrate on the question of how transmission occurred, but also to investigate its circumstances.

Identifying patterns pertaining to the actors, the process and the forms of transmission is closely related to the question about the ways in which cross-cultural transmission occurred. This could have taken the form of trade, movement of books, or movement of peoples. The issue of transmitting across neighbouring cultural areas and movement within and between networks remains to be examined in more depth, especially as it directly touches the cultural and geographic spread of topics in the larger DYNTRAN framework. Exploring the movement between networks in Arabic, Persian and Turkic cultural, societal and political spheres could help to pinpoint patterns, characteristics and/or specificities of the areas under investigation.


- Le carnet de recherche du projet



Wednesday – March 7, 2018

Opening session

Keynote Lecture

  • Jacqueline Sublet (CNRS, IRHT) and Asma Hilali (Université de Lille)
    La transmission des textes en islam dans le Moyen Orient pré-ottoman : sources, concepts et histoire

10h45 - Coffee/tea break

1 - Learned Communities and Book Transmission
Discussant : Nicolas Vatin (EHESS)

11h15 • Christopher D. Bahl (SOAS)
Sharing Practices of Manuscript Transmission : a Transoceanic Community Reading Arabic Grammar Works

11h45 • Anthony T. Quickel (Philipps-Universität Marburg/Aix-Marseille Université)
Book Ownership, Intellectual History, and the Transmission of Knowledge in Early Ottoman Egypt : a State of the Art

12h15 : Discussion

12h30 - Buffet lunch

2 - Family Histories
Discussant : Asma Hilali (Université de Lille)

14h00 • Adam Sabra (University of California at Santa Barbara)
Hagiography and Family History in Ottoman Cairo

14h30 • Nicolas Michel (Aix-Marseille Université/IFAO, Cairo)
Families of Cairene Civil Servants, from Mamluk to Ottoman Times (15th-16th c.)

15h00 • Astrid Meier (Orient Institut Beirut)
Family Connectivities : Mobility, Stability and Continuity in Ottoman Syria and Beyond

15h30 : Discussion

15h45 - Coffee/tea break

Thursday – March 8, 2018

3 - Dynasties and Networks of Power
Discussant : Bernard Heyberger (EHESS)

09h30 • Albrecht Fuess (Philipps-Universität Marburg)
Ṣihr and Muṣāhara in Mamluk Royal Relations. Transmitting Power and Enlarging Networks through In-law Ties in Pre-Modern Egypt

10h00 • Sacha Alsancakli (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3)
Tribal Warriors, Sassanid Kings and Abbasid Caliphs : Questions of Origins and Dynastic Culture in 16th and 17th-Century Kurdistan

10h30 : Discussion

10h45 - Coffee/tea break

11h15 • Michele Bernardini (Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”)
L’indulgence paternelle de Tamerlan

11h45 • Malika Dekkiche (Universiteit Antwerpen)
“In the Name of my Father” : Timurid and Turkmen Parallel Diplomacy with the Mamluks in the 15th Century

12h15 : Discussion

12h30 - Buffet lunch

4 - Strategies of Transmission of Knowledge and Skills
Discussant : Nourane Ben Azzouna (Université de Strasbourg)

14h00 • Sandra Aube (CNRS, Mondes iranien et indien)
Tracing a Family of Woodworkers : the Lineage of Ostād Aḥmad Najjār b. Ḥoseyn in Māzanderān (Iran, second half of 15th century)

14h30 • Francis Richard (BULAC / Mondes iranien et indien)
Formation des calligraphes à la fin du XIVe et au début du XVe siècle : transmission d’un savoir dans le monde iranien

15h00 • Daniel Zakrzewski (Philipps-Universität Marburg)
Intersecting Networks of Transmission. Sufis and Calligraphers in 15th- and 16th-Century Tabriz

15h30 : Discussion

15h45 - Coffee/tea


Friday – March 9, 2018

5 - Building Family and Social Networks in Religious Contexts
Discussant : Nicolas Michel (Aix-Marseille Université/IFAO)

09h30 • Alberto Tiburcio (Philipps-Universität Marburg)
A Network Theory for Polemics and Conversion

10h00 • Christoph Werner (Philipps-Universität Marburg)
Sayyid Families of Mashhad and the Guardianship of the Shrine of Imam Reżā

10h30 : Discussion

10h45 - Coffee break

11h15 • Maria Szuppe (CNRS, Mondes iranien et indien)
Sufi Connections and Timurid Legitimacy in Safavid Herat : Issues of the “Family Memoirs” of the Khwājas of Barnābād

11h45 • Colin P. Mitchell (Dalhousie University)
Understanding Sufi Siblings in 17th-c. Mughal South Asia

12h15 : Discussion

12h30 - Closing remarks

13h00 - Buffet reception

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