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Accueil > Research Teams > The History and Islamic Studies Research Team : Objectives and Practices

Theme 2 - The History of the Medieval Islamic World

Participants : Amélie Chekroun, Simon Dorso, Damien Labadie, Julien Loiseau, Shahista Refaat, Camille Rhoné-Quer, James Rouse, Deresse Ayenachew Woldetsadik

Associate Researchers : Ahmad Al Amer, Philippe Gardette

2.1 Contact and Exchange

The Arab and Muslim world are spaces in which circulation and territorial control were central issues in the construction and functioning of States in Medieval times. The work carried out in this research axis seeks to understand how cultural exchange (language, religion, knowledge and skills) can transcend political borders. With contact ranging from military conflict to peaceful relations, to “in-between” situations, several members of the team analyse themes such as the permeability of border zones, networks of circulation (land, maritime, fluvial), practices and discourses linked to jihad, as well as cultural adaptation, artistic interactions, and cultural exchange.
The research projects in this axis, all focused on a multiscalar approach, centre around two principal regions : a vast Asian region stretching from Anatolia to Iran and Central Asia on the one side, and the Horn of Africa on the other, open to the world.

2.2 The So-Called “Margins”

Several regions considered to be on the margins of Dār al-islām remain largely neglected, despite their central role in the history of the Islamic world. Located at the crossroads of several political/cultural entities, or even civilizational zones, the so-called “peripheral” regions capture the researcher’s attention through their diversity of centralities, territorial polarisations, and regional identities. The Khorasan and Transoxiana regions were points of contact between the Islamic Orient, the Indo-Chinese world and the Russian space, but also between political entities and even smaller groups. In the Horn of Africa, successive different Islamic powers interacted and were in competition with the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia and “pagan” entities, while at the same time maintaining strong ties with the authorities of Yemen and Egypt, and more broadly with the Indian Ocean.
If numerous studies have already looked at the Islamisation of regions such as North Africa, few have concerned themselves with this process in the Horn of Africa. Through their fieldwork several researchers at IREMAM are interested in gathering and analysing both archaeological and textual data, in particular in Ethiopia.

Program and Seminars :

ERC HornEast (Horn and Crescent. Connections, Mobility and Exchange between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East in the Middle Ages), 2017-2022, Director Julien Loiseau.

Historical Anthropology Seminar : Anatolia, Iran, Central Asia in the Middle Ages (Michel Balivet, Homa Lessan Pezechki et Camille Rhoné-Quer).

Seminar “Monuments and documents in Ancient Africa : Current research in History, Art History and Archaeology” at the INHA, Paris (INHA, Iremam, IMAF, Orient & Méditerranée) ; Amélie Chekroun, Marie-Laure Derat, Claire Bosc-Tiessé, Anaïs Wion).

Conferences by the Aix-Marseille Iranian research group (AMU/IREMAM ; Homa Lessan Pezechki, et Camille Rhoné-Quer).