CFP: School of Mamlūk Studies 2020, Nicosia (Cyprus)

Frederic Bauden's picture
July 2, 2020 to July 4, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Diplomacy and International Relations, Economic History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Italian History / Studies, Slavery


The Seventh Conference of the School of Mamluk Studies will be held at the Centre for Visual Arts and Research in Nicosia, Cyprus, July 2–4, 2020.

Guest convener: Georg Christ, University of Manchester.

The conference will be conducted in two parts and will be preceded by a three-day (June 29–July 1, 2020) intensive course on Venetian sources concerning trade in Mamluk territories and Cyprus, taught by Professor Benjamin Arbel, Tel Aviv University. 

The first, themed day of the SMS 2020 conference in Cyprus will focus on Mamluk-Cypriot relations in a wider Euro-Mediterranean perspective under the title “Commerce and Crusade: The Mamluk Empire and Cyprus in a Euro-Mediterranean Perspective.” On the one hand, Cyprus was a Crusader state and this status was crucial for its standing and for raising support in Europe. On the other hand, Cyprus was a regional power with limited resources that could not continuously battle all its Islamic neighbours and their European partners. Hence, it had to establish a precarious modus vivendi between Crusade and commerce. It had to judiciously reduce its crusading to an affordably low level without jeopardizing its status as a Crusader front state. It also had to maximize its trade connectivity as an emporium between east and west and thus inevitably side with at least some of its Muslim neighbors, notably the Mamluks. How did Cyprus perform this balancing act militarily, diplomatically, and commercially? How did it camouflage, rationalize, and market cooperation with Muslim powers, notably the Mamluks, and how did it manage respective conflicts of interest such as profiting from Crusading piracy and trade with the Mamluks?

This themed day could include (but will not be limited to) papers on specific moments and periods in these relations (such as Cyprus and the Mamluks during the decline of the mainland Crusader states; Hugh IV and his policy of accommodation with the Mamluks; his son Peter’s apparent volte-face and the attack on Alexandria; Cyprus, piracy, and the Mamluk conquest of the island; Mamluk Cyprus; and finally the transition of Cyprus to Venetian rule and its implication for both Cypriot- and Veneto-Mamluk relations) or themes (such as commercial and cultural policies and relations; naval and military policies and cooperation; the diplomatic and cultural ramifications of the claim to the crown of Jerusalem with regard to relations with the Mamluks and Mamluk perceptions of this claim; etc.).

We invite also papers that help us to comprehend the problem more widely, i.e., against the backdrop of wider European-Mamluk relations, including the question of how the Mamluk Sultanate dealt with European-Christian partners/vassals: Cyprus’ links to the Mamluk Empire were entangled with its relations to other European powers and their relations to the Mamluk sultans. We, therefore, welcome papers on issues such as the impact of the late Crusades and Papal policies on relations between the Mamluk Sultanate and Cyprus or Latin Europe more generally; Mamluk-Byzantine relations; Islamic concepts of imperial and international law (dār al-ḥarb and beyond); European trade and diplomacy; etc.

A maximum of 12 to 15 paper proposals will be selected. Should a greater number of proposals be received, the authors of those which are not selected for the conference may be offered the possibility to publish their contribution in the proceedings. Time allotted to each paper will be twenty minutes, plus ten minutes for discussion.

The following two days of the conference (July 3 and 4) will be structured in panels, which may focus on any aspect of the intellectual, political, social, economic, and artistic life of the Mamluk period. The panels will be organized into presentations of three to four papers of twenty minutes each. Panel proposals must be made by a representative, who will be responsible for its organization. Please note that in case of cancellation of two papers out of the three (or three out of the four) composing the panel, the panel will have to be withdrawn from the program. Time allotted to each paper will be twenty minutes. Discussion will take place at the end of each panel.

Language: The official language of the conference will be English.

Fees: The conference registration fees will be 50€ for participants and attendees. A farewell dinner will take place on the last day (July 4) at a cost to be determined. Payment of the fees (registration and farewell dinner) must be received by April 30, 2020 (information on the method of payment to be used will be provided in the first circular, which will be sent in January 2020). Please note that any cancellations received in writing by May 14, 2020, will secure a full refund of the fees paid, minus 20%. Refunds of fees paid will not be made under any circumstances for cancellations made after May 14, 2020. Participants must make their own travel arrangements; information and suggestions for accommodations will be provided in the first circular.

Proposals: Paper proposals for the themed day must be submitted electronically through the conference webpage (  by October 31, 2019. Panel proposals must be submitted in the same manner by November 30, 2019. No proposal will be accepted after the deadline.
Paper proposals require the name and a one-page CV of the speaker, a provisional title, and an abstract of a maximum of 300 words per paper. Panels must be proposed as such, not as individual papers. The panel organizer must provide the relevant information for each panel member and each paper, as well as the name of the panel’s chair (the chair can be one of the panelists). See the conference website for more information.


Acceptance: Paper and panel proposals will be peer-reviewed. A first circular will be sent by January 2020 to those whose proposals have been accepted, and to those who have expressed interest in attending the conference as listeners.

a) Themed day: selected papers will be published as a themed issue of Mamlūk Studies Review or an edited volume.
b) Panels: selected papers will be published in Mamlūk Studies Review.

Intensive course: A methodological seminar on Venetian sources concerning trade in Mamluk territories and the role of Cyprus in this regard
A three-day intensive seminar on a wide range of Venetian sources related to maritime trade in the Mamluk sultanate and to the role of Cyprus in this regard will be conducted by Professor Benjamin Arbel of Tel Aviv University. The course, which will focus on late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century materials, will be held immediately before the Seventh Conference of the School of Mamlūk Studies at the Centre for Visual Arts and Research in Nicosia, from June 29 to July 1, 2020. It is intended to develop methodological, palaeographic, and analytical abilities for the study of sources related to the above-mentioned field, such as decisions of Venice’s government bodies (particularly documents on the organization and control of commercial shipping), reports by Venetian consuls and governors, notarial contracts, commercial guides and tariffs, merchant letters, etc. An advanced or intermediate ability in reading Italian texts is required.
Since the number of the participants will be limited (a maximum of 12), those who desire to take part in the course are requested to submit a CV, a statement of purpose, and a letter of recommendation by someone familiar with your work to the following email address: by the end of January, 2020. Those who are selected for the course will be notified by the end of February, 2020, at which time information about the method of payment for the course fees will be provided.
The course fee is 315€, which also includes the registration fee for the subsequent conference (July 2–4). The fees must be paid by April 30, 2020. Registration and participation will not be confirmed until payment is received. Please note that any cancellations received in writing by May 14, 2020, will secure a full refund of the fees paid, minus 20%. Refunds of fees paid will not be made under any circumstances for cancellations made after May 14, 2020. Participants must make their own travel arrangements.

We look forward to meeting you in Nicosia.

Frédéric Bauden, Université de Liège
Antonella Ghersetti, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice
Marlis Saleh, University of Chicago

Contact Info: 

Frédéric Bauden

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