Political Legitimacy in the Islamic West Workshop

With the support of FAMES and Leverhulme Trust

A workshop to complement the aims of the project was held between 13 and 14 September 2011 at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge. Its remit was to investigate the strategies of legitimation used by Muslim rulers in Islamic Spain and the western Maghrib, with a chronological focus on the 13th to 15th centuries CE.

The workshop was a rare opportunity for scholars of the Islamic West, providing an occasion for the in-depth presentation and discussion of research, as well as a forum for detailed exchanges of ideas on this particular area of scholarhsip. Speakers attended from Spain, North America and Morocco as well as the UK, delivering their papers before a similarly diverse audience drawn from Cambridge and beyond. All who attended enjoyed two days' of excellent papers and formal discussions, as well as more informal but similarly rewarding conversation in the hospitable environment provided by Magdalene College.

The British Academy has agreed in principal to publish a volume focusing on the theme of political legitimacy in the Islamic West, which will feature revised versions of several of the papers delivered at the workshop. In the meantime, further details of the speakers and their papers are available here.

List of Speakers

Keynote Address: "The 'Quest for Empire' in the 14th century Islamic West: Economic Foundations of Political Legitimacy and the Debate over Islamic Economic Performance"
Prof. Maya Shatzmiller, Professor of History, University of Western Ontario

"Drums, Banners & Baraka: Signs and Symbols of Authority during the First Century of Marinid Rule, 1250-1350"
Dr. Amira Bennison, University Senior Lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern History, University of Cambridge

"The 'Azafids of Ceuta and the Transition from Almohad to Marinid"
Dr. James Brown, Research Associate, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge

"The Genealogical Legitimization of the Nasrid Dynasty: the alleged Anṣārī origins of the Banū Naṣr"
Dr. Barbara Boloix-Gallardo, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of History, Washington University in St. Louis

"Honoring the Prophet's Family: A Comparison of Approaches to Political Legitimacy between Abū-l-Haṣan 'Alī al-Marinī and Aḥmad al-Mansūr al-Sa'dī"
Dr. Stephen Cory, Assistant Professor of History, Cleveland State University

"Court Etiquette and Cuisine as Forms of Power in Morocco under the Sa'dis and 'Alawis (16th-19th centuries)"
Prof. Mohamed El Mansour, Department of History, Muhammad V University, Rabat

"The Many Faces of Ibn Khaldūn: Critic, Counselor or Collaborator?"
Dr. Allen Fromhertz, Assistant Professor of History, Georgia State University

"Ransom and Refuge on the Iberian Frontier 1085-1350"
Dr. Camilo Gomez-Rivas, Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern History, The American University in Cairo

"Lisān al-Dīn b. al-Khaṭīb: a Quintessential Local Historian of the Islamic West"
Arshad Hadjirin, PhD Candidate, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge

"Nomadic Populations and the Challenge to Political Legitimacy: Three Cases from the Medieval Islamic West"
Dr. Russell Hopley, Post-Doctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Arabic, Bowdoin College

"Between Kings and Caliphs: Religion, Authority and Allegiance in Thirteenth-Century Sharq al-Andalus"
Abigail Krasner Balbale, PhD Candidate, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University

"The Nasrid Sultanate: A New Religious Order?"
Dr. Cynthia Robinson, Professor of History of Art & Visual Studies, Cornell University &
Dr. Amalia Zomeno, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid

"The King in the Islamic West as represented in Ibn al-Khaṭīb's Al-Ishāra ilā adab al-wizāra" Carlos Serrano Contreras, PhD Candidate, Deaprtment of Semitic Studies, University of Granada