Appel à comm. : « Aegyptiaca in Arabic Context – Pre-Modern Perceptions on Ancient Egypt’s History, Civilization and Cultural Heritage », Ankara, 18-22 août 2013

Call for Papers: Panel on ‘Aegyptiaca in Arabic Context – Pre-Modern Perceptions on Ancient Egypt’s History, Civilization and Cultural Heritage’
World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies in Ankara, 18-22 August 2014

For obvious reasons the medieval Egyptians, Arab pilgrims, and Muslim traders who travelled throughout Egypt in the pre-modern Islamic period were much more familiar with Ancient Egypt’s ubiquitous material remains than their European contemporaries. Egypt became the epitome of magic, marvels, and treasures. This fascination for the merveilleux, however, did not preclude a serious scholarly interest in Egypt’s ancient civilization, its history and cultural achievements. On the contrary, a very rich and diverse literature provides ample evidence for the manifold attempts to ‘decipher’ Ancient Egypt’s material culture and to shed light on its forgotten past. Although some preliminary research has been carried out already, the majority of Arabic manuscripts treating aspects of Ancient Egypt’s history and culture are still unpublished and will demand a detailed evaluation and investigation in the future. This panel focuses on some of these Aegyptiaca in Arabic tradition by adopting an alternative perspective: while leaving aside dichotomies such as ‘authentic’ vs. ‘erroneous’ interpretations of Egyptian culture, the aim of this panel is to interpret the pre-modern Arab perception of Ancient Egypt in the light of a long-lasting cultural tradition of ‘Egyptianizing’ in the sense of doing Egyptian. Thus, Arabic treatises on Ancient Egypt’s history, civilization, and culture become unique testimonies to a remarkable continuity of traditional visions of Egypt firmly rooted in the region – including mistakes, misunderstandings and re-interpretations of well-known Egyptian motifs like hieroglyphs.
This panel pursues an interdisciplinary approach and highly welcomes contributions from scholars of disciplines such as Egyptology, Coptic, Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer you any funding. Please bear in mind that participants will have to pay for registration, travel and accommodation at their own expense. For further information on the conference please visit the following website:

Please send your proposal (no more than 300  words) and your CV to Isabel Toral-Niehoff ( ) before 30 November 2013.

Sterenn Le Maguer-Gillon

Archéologue, titulaire d'un doctorat (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), spécialiste de la péninsule Arabique et des pays du Golfe.

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