The Perspective of the Countryside in the Medieval Arab-Islamic World, The Ninth International Society for Arabic Papyrology (ISAP) Conference, Fayoum, March 6–9, 2023
The majority of papyri from the Arab-Islamic world relate to the countryside, yet most modern studies focus on cities. The ISAP IX Conference hopes to shift the attention from urban elites to rural realities by exploring what documentary sources can tell us about the perspective of the inhabitants of the countryside. Texts preserved on papyri and other writing surfaces include stories of villagers often in their own words rather than from the perspective of outsiders. These everyday documents written in Egyptian villages in Arabic, Coptic, Greek, and other languages allow us to study the economy, religion, family life, agriculture, administration, mentalities, culture and many other facets of life in the countryside. Documents written in the cities, such as the Geniza corpus, also reveal rich details of life in the Egyptian countryside. We encourage participants to approach these topics from an interdisciplinary angle: materials from related fields, such as archaeology, hold untapped potential for papyrology. Comparison with other pre-modern rural societies are also particularly welcome, including documents written outside Egypt and longue durée perspectives.
Conference languages will be English, German, French, and Arabic. However, all lectures will be given in English.