Call for Papers- Submission deadline extended
The Druze Millennium: Celebrating a Thousand Years of Diversity
American University of Beirut
30 | 31 October 2018
Submission deadline extended
1 April 2018
Researchers who already submitted proposals need not reapply
In the last decade, the Middle East and the world around it has witnessed the rise of several extremist groups, which seek to drag the region and its people back to an imagined past, which in their understanding, epitomizes the golden age of Islam. These groups’ fallacious readings of history is easily debunked by a simple historical investigation into the pluralistic and diverse composition of societies across the region, under the rule of the successive Islamic empires or later within the modern nation states. This mosaic of both sects and ideas across time and space stand in stark opposition to this extremist exclusionist rhetoric preached by some of these radical factions and by some of their western opponents.
For the Druze, a small heterodox Muslim sect, this diverse setting proved instrumental for its survival and development over the last ten centuries, permitting it to grow and even rule or administer Muslim domains in Mamluk and Ottoman Bilad al-Sham. Subscribing to the cult of the sixth Fatimid Caliph al-Ḥākim bi-Amr Allāh, the Druze, an offshoot of Ismailism and natives to the Levant have played pivotal roles in the socio-political history of the region, specifically in the evolution of the Lebanese entity as well as modern Syria and Jordan.
This year (2017) marks the millennial anniversary of the start of the Druze call (Da`awat Al Tawheed) which originated from the Fatimid capital Cairo (1017 AD) and succeeded in converting some of the Arab tribes across Bilad al-Sham to this esoteric form of Ismailism. Despite the death of al-Hakim and his main preachers, and while their movement petered out, the Druze of Bilad al-Sham were able to endure the radical changes while still preserving their particularity.
In commemoration of this millennial anniversary, the Center of Arts and Humanities and the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages at the American University of Beirut are organizing an international conference which will bring together leading researchers who have contributed to the field of Middle Eastern Studies with particular reference to the Druze. The conference will focus on the political, social and cultural evolution and/ or role of the Druze. This two-day conference which will be held at the American University of Beirut in October 30 & 31 2018 will also feature a number of activities covering art, food and culture allowing the public to become more familiar with these socio-cultural tools which brand the Druze community.
While this millennial celebration essentially focuses on the Druze, it will certainly incorporate the stories of many of the groups which inhabited the same regions and which through conflict and often accommodation and cooperation came to define the rich history of the Druze and of the region as a whole.
Please send your titles and abstracts before March 15, 2018 to Dr. Abdulrahim Abu-Husayn (email@example.com), Dr. Makram Rabah (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Bilal Orfali (email@example.com), and Ms. Rita Bassil (firstname.lastname@example.org).