Lecture by Jo van Steenbergen: Narratives of Royal Pilgrimage and Constructions of Muslim Kingship. Sites, agents, and tools of social memories in late medieval Egypt
(This event has passed)

Mar 19, 2015 6:00–7:00pm
Organized by: Netherlands-Flemish Institute Cairo (NVIC)
Venue: Netherlands-Flemish Institute Cairo (NVIC)
Address: 1 Mahmoud Azmi Street, Zamalek

This talk assesses the social meanings of Arabic literary texts from the Middle Period of Islamic history, between the long 11th and 15th centuries CE. More precisely, it explores the epistemological validity and added value of also considering such texts as cultural agents in social contexts, not merely remembering, embellishing or recording but also challenging, reproducing or even producing those contexts. After a generalising presentation of the social and cultural frameworks within which late medieval texts and social memories, their producers and consumers, and today’s related scholarship are considered to operate, this talk illustrates the validity and added value of this approach by looking at one text in particular, the Kitāb al-Dhahab al-Masbūk fī Dhikr man ḥajja min al-khulafā’ wa l-mulūk, a brief history of Muslim rulers' pilgrimages to Mecca by the well-known 15th-century Egyptian historian Aḥmad b. ‘Alī al-Maqrīzī (1363-1442).


Jo Van Steenbergen is professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Ghent University (Belgium). He teaches history and culture of the pre-modern Islamic world, with a particular focus on the Islamic Middle Period (ca. 1000-1500), on Egypt and Syria, on practices, discourses and structuration of power elites in the Cairo sultanate (ca. 1200-1517), and on the deconstruction of grand narratives in Mamluk/Islamic history.