Colloque : Expectations of justice and political power in the Islamicate world (ca. 600-1500 CE), Leyde, 27-29/10/2021.

Speakers: Sean Anthony, Nasrin Askari (Keynote), Mustafa Banister, Enki Baptiste, Linda Darling, Sébastien Garnier, Hanna-Lena Hagemann, Najam Haider, Angela Isoldi, Büşra Kaya, Noëmie Lucas, Taryn Marashi, Christian Mauder, Aseel Najib, Marta Novo, AmirOr, Rana Osman, Marina Rustow, Deborah Tor. Decorative

In the Islamicate world, as elsewhere, requests for just rule surface constantly as notions of justice are debated and contested. Exemplary rule can be sought in direct and open ways, through entreaties and demands, but also subversively through irony, flattery and satire. Expectations of justice can be pursued through reform or revolution, or via secession, utopianism and millenarianism. This conference, organised in the framework of the ERC-funded Embedding Conquest: Naturalising Muslim rule in the Islamic empire (600-1000) project, examines how such expectations of justice shaped political discourse and behaviour in the early and medieval caliphate (ca. 600-1500 CE).

Participants will present  case studies discussing how just rule was defined and what actions and reactions it precipitated in specific historical, geographical and cultural contexts (local, regional and imperial). How was just rule or, conversely, the abuse of political power understood and defined? What solutions were at hand to redress unjust rule or to institute just rule? How was the call for just rule theorised, and what values (scriptural, moral, customary) were invoked? What concrete actions followed from them? Case studies may discuss single instances initiated by individuals (petitions, speeches, literary works) or groups (utopian settlements, revolts) or long-term initiatives (organised, large-scale, revolutionary movements, institutions and structures to implement just rule). Discussion is not limited to Muslim debates and initiatives but can include any group or individual in the Islamicate world.

The following themes are expected to occur as conference panels and applicants are invited to indicate if one of these fits their topic especially well. Papers that do not fall clearly under one of these themes will still be considered as additional panels might be introduced based on submissions.

I Expectations of justice as revolutionary action

II Getting rid of unjust rulers

III Calling on rulers to be just

IV Transparency and anti-corruption

V Alternative systems of justice

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