NES seminars meeting from 12:00 to 1:30 pm, West Seminar room.

October 25: NES Lecture, Syriac Christianity and the Holy City of Jerusalem: Entangled Histories in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Catalin-Stefan Popa (Romanian Academy). The lecture introduces the audience to the process of interaction of one of the most important Middle Eastern Church traditions, Syriac Christianity, with the Holy City and the Holy Land. Even if scholars have often argued that the late antique pilgrimage to the holy places was not of interest in Syriac Christianity, the sources have demonstrated the opposite. At the end of Late Antiquity and beginning of the Middle Ages, the Holy City acted in Syriac Christian canon as a matrix for encountering holiness, and a standardized process of pilgrimage became part of a recurrent devotional custom of monks and lay people. To be held in the White-Levy Room (IAS) at 12:00 noon. The recording of this event can be seen here.   

November 10, 12:00-3:00 pmBuilding an Electronic Syriac Corpus using OCR: Preserving and Digitizing Cultural Heritage—Launch of Simtho III. Sponsored by NES and DS at the Institute for Advanced Study and Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute. The digitization of cultural heritage materials plays a crucial role in preserving and making accessible historical and linguistic resources. The Simtho corpus is a result of constructing an electronic Syriac corpus through the application of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology and correcting the OCR results in collaboration with young women and men in the Middle East who make up Beth Mardutho's Meltho Lab team. See here for event information and program.  The recordings of this event can be seen here.

November 15, Near Eastern Studies Seminar, Curating the Past: Coptic Historiography and Memory in late-medieval EgyptTamer el-Leithy (School of Historical Studies, IAS and Johns Hopkins University).

November 27, Princeton University Near Eastern Studies Seminar, Ephrem the Syrian and the Emergence of a New Literary Awareness, Alberto Rigolio (School of Historical Studies, IAS and Durham University), 12-1:20 pm Jones Hall room 202, Princeton University.

November 29, Near Eastern Studies Seminar, Ephrem the Syrian and a New Beginning in Syriac Poetry, Alberto Rigolio (School of Historical Studies, IAS and Durham University).

December 6, Near Eastern Studies Seminar, Beyond Bricks and Mortar: The Ashkenazi Synagogue in Cairo as a Living Archive, Yoram Meital (School of Historical Studies, IAS and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev).

December 6, Film Screening (5:00 pm Wolfensohn Hall): Galoot (‘Exile’ in Hebrew, 2003). In Galoot, Moroccan-Israeli filmmaker Asher Tlalim finds himself in London. Away from home, he reflects on Israel/Palestine anew. The film is an intimate saga told through compassionate portraits of his loved ones—his wife, his children, and Israeli, Palestinian, and British friends in London. 

Galoot touches the seeds of the pain, and the heart of the tragedies that have been and continue to play out on the political stage. An epic yet intimate journey that goes to Poland, Palestine, Morocco and England, Galoot considers the condition of exile: What are its heartbreaks? What are its insights? And perhaps more urgently…does it provide any hope?  Register to attend here.

December 15, Princeton University Classics Lunch Talk, Bardaisan and the origins of Syriac versification, Alberto Rigolio (School of Historical Studies, IAS and Durham University). Meeting from 12:00 pm, East Pyne room 161.  RSVP by Monday, December 11 to


NES seminars meeting from 12:00 to 1:30 pm, West Seminar room.

January 17: Near Eastern Studies Lecture, Boundary crossings in the pre-modern Islamicate world: The "Universal History" of al-Makīn Ibn al-ʿAmīd, Martino Diez (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan). The chronography of al-Makīn Ibn al-ʿAmīd (1206–1293) is a major work in the Copto-Arabic historiographical tradition. Its importance is twofold: on the one hand, its author, a high-ranking official in the Ayyubid and Mamluk administration, drew from different sources, some of them still close to late antiquity, to present an orderly picture of the events from Creation to his own time. On the other hand, his summary of Biblical, Graeco-Roman, and Islamic history attracted the interest of various readerships. It enjoyed widespread popularity among Oriental Christians, in Arabic-speaking communities but also in Ethiopia. It was consulted and quoted by several Mamluk historians, including Ibn Ḫaldūn and his pupil al-Maqrīzī; and finally, it was translated into Latin as early as 1625 by the Dutch Arabist Erpenius, providing early modern Europe with the first clear exposé of Islamic history. Thus, Ibn al-ʿAmīd’s chronography proved influential upon different audiences in various epochs; at the same time, it also constituted a major instance of Christian-Muslim intellectual interaction in the pre-modern era. Online event, pre-registration is required.

January 24: Near Eastern Studies Seminar, Fiscal Scribes in late Ottoman Egypt: the Rūznāmǧa, 1800s-1848, Adam Mestyan (School of Historical Studies, IAS and Duke University). 

January 31: Near Eastern Studies Seminar, Muslim-Christian Encounters in Medieval ItalySarah Davis-Secord (School of Historical Studies, IAS and University of New Mexico).

February 14-15: NES Workshop, Asterisms – the relations among their verbal, numerical, and visual representations across cultures in research and public outreach. Sponsor: Sabine Schmidtke (School of Historical Studies, IAS); Convener: Sonja Brentjes (IAS School of Historical Studies and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin). Funding for this event provided by the Otto Neugebauer Fund.

February 14: NES Public Event: The astral sciences and early cultures: why do we study them, and how do we share our interest with the public. Alexander Jones (ISAW, NYU) in conversation with Sonja Brentjes (IAS, MPIWG). Sponsor: Sabine Schmidtke, IAS; Convenor: Sonja Brentjes, IAS and MPIWG. Hybrid Event: 6:00-6:45 pm, White-Levy Room, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Registration is required for both in-person and online participation. Funding for this event provided by the Otto Neugebauer Fund.  The recordings of this event can be seen here.  Additional information can be found here:

February 16, 12-1 pm (EST): Near Eastern Studies and Digital Scholarship @IAS joint lecture: DAMAST - an interactive research environment, Prof. Dr. Dorothea Weltecke and Dr. Florian Jäckel (Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). Damast is an interactive research environment for visualizing the multi-religious situation in the Islamicate world from 600 to 1400 CE. For the first time, all the existing geographical and chronological data about communities of Dhimmis under Muslim rule have been gathered together into one Database. Over 8,300 pieces of evidence at more than 440 locations are part of the database. They are visualized on a map, a timeline and displayed in various tables. Various filters, such as time, location, religious community and source allow detailed inspection of the data. Results of the research remain accessible as a report and can be referenced. Our presentation will introduce the research environment and the underlying concepts, explains some of its features - and its shortcomings. 

February 28: Near Eastern Studies Seminar, “Translation Movement” – a concept without definition, but also without substance, at least for its ascription to the early Abbasid centuries?, Sonja Brentjes (IAS School of Historical Studies and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin).

March 20: Near Eastern Studies Seminar, Law in Translation: Revisiting Encounters Between Islamicate and Anglophone Conceptions of Law in Eighteenth Century IndiaThomas Robert Travers (School of Historical Studies, IAS and Cornell University).

March 22: NES Workshop, Scholarly Digital Editions of Arabic-Script Texts. Conveners: Adam Mestyan (School of Historical Studies, IAS and Duke University), Sabine Schmidtke (School of Historical Studies, IAS) and María Mercedes Tuya (Digital Scholarship @IAS). Meeting in the White-Levy Room (IAS). Details to follow at a later time.

March 27: Near Eastern Studies Seminar, Between Text and Image: Gender and Embodiment in Arabic Middle LiteratureZayde Antrim (School of Historical Studies, IAS and Trinity College).

May 16-17: NES Workshop, Misattributions and Forgeries in Middle Eastern Manuscript Traditions.  Converners: Grigory Kessel, (Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna), George A. Kiraz (School of Historical Studies, IAS) and Sabine Schmidtke (School of Historical Studies, IAS). Workshop to be held at the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna. See Call for Proposals here.


Past Near Eastern and Islamic Studies Events