25 January 2021

CALL FOR PAPERS: Expectations of justice and political power in the Islamicate world (ca. 600-1500 CE)

In the Islamicate world, as elsewhere, requests for just rule surface constantly as notions of justice are debated and contested. Exemplary rule can be sought in direct and open ways, through entreaties and demands, but also subversively through irony, flattery and satire. Expectations of justice can be pursued through reform or revolution, or via secession, utopianism and millenarianism. This conference, organised in the framework of the ERC-funded Embedding Conquest: Naturalising Muslim rule in the Islamic empire (600-1000) project, examines how such expectations of justice shaped political discourse and behaviour in the early and medieval caliphate (ca. 600-1500 CE).

Participants are asked to present a case study discussing how just rule was defined and what actions and reactions it precipitated in specific historical, geographical and cultural contexts (local, regional and imperial). How was just rule or, conversely, the abuse of political power understood and defined? What solutions were at hand to redress unjust rule or to institute just rule? How was the call for just rule theorised, and what values (scriptural, moral, customary) were invoked? What concrete actions followed from them? Case studies may discuss single instances initiated by individuals (petitions, speeches, literary works) or groups (utopian settlements, revolts) or long-term initiatives (organised, large-scale, revolutionary movements, institutions and structures to implement just rule). Discussion is not limited to Muslim debates and initiatives but can include any group or individual in the Islamicate world.

The following themes are expected to occur as conference panels and applicants are invited to indicate if one of these fits their topic especially well. Papers that do not fall clearly under one of these themes will still be considered as additional panels might be introduced based on submissions.

We invite paper proposals of 250 words to be submitted by 1 March 2021 to: emco@hum.leidenuniv.nl

We welcome submissions from leading and junior scholars, advanced graduate students, and independent researchers. The organizers are committed to gathering a diverse group of presenters and will do their best to give more visibility to the work of scholars from traditionally underrepresented groups in academia, including but not limited to junior scholars.

Please check the emco website for more details regarding the call for papers.