UMR ‘Orient & Mediterranee’ (‘Islam medieval’ research team)

Department of History/Art History/Archaeology
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne/National Center for the Scientific Research

The ‘Islam medieval’ team is one of the components of the Joint Research Unit (UMR) ‘Orient & Méditerranée’. As a dual research unit, this team benefits from the resources of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and two of the best universities in France in the field of SHS (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Sorbonne University). The team includes 18 researchers and teacher-researchers, as well as 52 doctoral students and 7 post-doctoral students, all working on the medieval Islamic world according to three main approaches: the history of texts, the history of art and field archaeology. The research unit is housed in the historic buildings of the Sorbonne, at the Institute of Art and Archaeology near the Luxembourg Gardens, and at Ivry, in the immediate vicinity of metro, bus and tramway lines.

The ‘Medieval Islam’ team is one of the most dynamic research units in France and Europe in the field of studies on the medieval Muslim world. The regions covered by the research of ‘Islam medieval’ team range from Central Asia to the Iberian Peninsula, with highlights on the Near East (Egypt, Syria), the Islamic West (Maghreb, Sicily and al-Andalus), from the beginnings of Islam to the 16th century. One of the team’s main strengths is the articulation between complementary approaches: history of texts, art history and archaeology. In addition, more specific fields, as history of Islam Art, medieval Arabic literature (and adab in particular), medieval history of sub-Saharan and East Africa, numismatics or commercial archives, fall within the team’s areas of expertise. The team organizes on average about ten symposia and workshops per year, according to its different research programs. These are organized in 3 main areas: 1°) Material culture and exchange networks: an interdisciplinary approach to the economic history of the Islamic world ; 2°) Islamization and social dynamics; 3°) Political powers, cultures and systems. Some of these programmes are carried out within the framework of international cooperation, with other European centres (SOAS, Leiden, Orientale de Naples) as well as with universities and institutes in the Arab world (IFAO in Cairo, IFPO in Beirut, Universities of Tunis and Manouba).

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