Call for papers – Colloquium ‘Dār al-islām/dār al-ḥarb: territories, people, identities’

Rome, 5-6 December 2012
Organized by the Dipartimento di Studi Orientali of Rome’s Università La Sapienza and the Dipartimento di Linguistica of Roma Tre University. The Colloquium aims to have a close look at the concept of dār al-islām as well as the dichotomy dār al-islām/dār al-ḥarb, starting from its origin and discussing its historical evolution, a subject whose centrality demands a thorough analysis.

Invited speakers:
Michel Balivet (Université Aix-Marseille)
Eric Chaumont (Université Aix-Marseille)
Maribel Fierro ( Madrid– CSIC)
Yohanan Friedmann (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Houari Touati (Paris – EHESS)

Dār al-islām and dār al-ḥarb, ‘the abode of Islam’ and ‘the abode of war’, are the two well known conventional expressions elaborated within the classical Arab-Islamic culture to identify respectively the domain controlled by Muslims (or the territory within which Islamic law is enforced) and the rest of the world. Having this meaning been taken for granted, the historical moment in which these non-Koranic notions were established as well as the different function and meaning they received by Muslim scholars of different orientations are yet to be thoroughly investigated and many questions still remain unanswered. First of all how could a universal religious law combine, in medieval Muslim thinking, with political boundaries and legal jurisdiction? Moreover, since these two notions did not use to receive specific analysis by medieval Muslim jurists, even though they frequently recur in their writings, we might also wonder if and when the two expressions ever gained the status of legal technical terms and when the dichotomy stabilized and was ‘canonized’.
Besides the specifically juridical issues, mainly connected with the introduction of a principle of territoriality within a system characterized by the personality of law, the reception of the two expressions, dār al-islām and dār al-ḥarb – as well as of other partly equivalent ones – in the Arabic lexicons, makes other kinds of questions arise. Their presence within other kinds of texts (geographical and historical writings, travelogues, etc.), if duly investigated, could also give us new insights into the topic. While a preliminary investigation in these fields has been recently attempted (G. Calasso, RSO, LXXXIII, 2011), they still have to be explored on the basis of a more extended corpus of sources.
By proposing to devote new research to the issue, we would also suggest to focus on the success of the expression dār al-islām among Western scholars of Islam, who have been currently using it with a univocal and permanent meaning. We could almost say that Western authors made this ‘formula’ their own because it seemed to correspond to their idea of ‘Muslim world’. But while in the last years the use of the expression ‘the Muslim world’, in the singular, has been the object of a debate (S. Denoix, REMMM, 2004), the expression dār al-islām, elaborated by Muslim authors to identify their world – dārunā ‘our dār’ – as a unity, has not yet received the attention it deserved neither in its juridical and political dimension, nor as a collective identity notion.
This Colloquium thus aims to open the debate to contributions with a juridical orientation – focusing on legal theory or on jurisprudence – but also to historical, anthropological as well as lexicographical contributions, in the frame of a comparative approach between different kinds of sources and different historical contexts.

250-word proposals for 30 minutes communications (in French, English, or Italian) + 10 minute discussion should be sent to not later than 20 September 2012.
Acceptance of proposals will be confirmed by 5 October 2012 on the conference website:

Sterenn Le Maguer

Archéologue spécialiste de la péninsule Arabique et du commerce dans l'océan Indien, vacataire à l'Institut catholique de Paris, chercheure associée au CEFREPA.

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