The Ascendant Field: Critical Engagements with Ottoman Arabic Literature


Friday, October 2, 2020 (All day) to Saturday, October 3, 2020 (All day)


Zoom (RSVP Required)

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations(NELC), the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Harvard University 

present the workshop 

The Ascendant Field
Critical Engagements with Ottoman Arabic Literature

RSVP here

Our workshop aims to contribute to the burgeoning field of Arabic literature of the pre-nahda Ottoman era (1516-1789). This period was dismissed as a time of decline and decadence, not worthy of study until relatively recently. This view is on a greater part due to the 19th and early 20th centuries revival of interest in Arabic literature both in the Arabic speaking world and Western scholarship. Scholars and general readership were mainly interested in the pre-Islamic, early Islamic and the "golden" ages of the Abbasid period until the fall of Baghdad in 1258. Literary historians who were influenced by Western literary historiography adopted the birth-rise-peak-decline-rebirth paradigm. The decline period from the 13th till the 19th century was at best ignored and at worst vilified - the Ottoman era in particular. By organizing this workshop, we hope to bring together scholars who are invested in revising this view. The end goal of the workshop is to publish the proceedings with the hope of further contributing to this ascendant field. 

Click here for Program

Friday October 2, 2020
9:00 AM EST/1:00 PM GMT 
KEYNOTE ADDRESSPatriarchs, Poets and the Tihāma Connection: Methodological Challenges and Thematic Innovation in Ottoman Arabic Literature
Hilary Kilpatrick
Introduction by Khaled El-Rouayheb (Harvard University)
11:00 AM EST/3:00 PM GMT 
PANEL I: History and Literature
A Republic of Arabic Letters? The Epistolary Network of a Sixteenth-Century Syrian Scholar
Helen Pfeifer (Cambridge University)
Losing the Plot in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul: The Poetics of the Maqāma Rūmiyya within the Breakdown of Pan-Ottoman Sociability
Ghayde Ghraowi (Yale University)
Familiarity with Persian among Early Modern Arabic Anthologists
Theodore Beers (University of Chicago)
Moderator: William Granara (Harvard University) 

Saturday October 3, 2020 
9:30 AM EST/1:30 PM GMT 
PANEL II: Ottoman Arabic Mystical Literature
Prophetic Piety and Mysticism in Pre-Modern Arabic Devotional Literature
Rachida Chih (Ehess-Cnrs, Paris)
The evolution of the Sufic zajal from its beginnings through the Ottoman period
Hakan Özkan (University of Muenster)
Moderator: Shady Nasser (Harvard University)
11:00 AM EST/3:00 PM GMT 
PANEL III: Single Author Studies: Māmayya al-Rūmī’s (d. 1577/9)           
Between Lamenting Vicissitudes of Life and Celebrating Ottoman Authority: Māmayya al-Rūmī’s (d. 1577/9) Times and Poetry
Hacı Osman “Ozzy” Gündüz (Harvard University)
Memory, Mimesis and the Modern: The Literary Heritage in Māmayya’s Poetry
Alev Masarwa (University of Münster)
Moderator: Justine Landau (Harvard University) 

Sponsors: The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC), the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)

Contact: Haci Gunduz


the_ascendant_field_program.pdf1.26 MB