Institut für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten



ISAP IX Conference 2023

The Perspective of the Countryside in the Medieval Arab-Islamic World: The Ninth International Society for Arabic Papyrology (ISAP) Conference (Fayoum University, 6–9 March 2023)

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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.

The Ninth ISAP Conference will be hosted by the Faculty of Archaeology (Egyptology Department) of Fayoum University and be organized by the board of the ISAP and the Munich Institute of Near and Middle Eastern Studies. The conference will start on the morning of Monday, March 6, 2023, and continue through the afternoon of Thursday, March 9, 2023. The programme will include 20-minute lectures, evening lectures, and hopefully a field trip. Conference languages will be English, German, French and Arabic. However, all lectures will be given in English.

Proposing a Presentation

Please send a 300-400-word abstract to Theresa Grabmaier (theresa.grabmaier at no later than 1 August, 2022. Notification regarding the acceptance of proposals will be made by 1 December, 2022.

Participation With no Presentation

Listening is free, however, full participation (including lunches and dinners) requires ISAP membership and the paying of the conference fees. Please send a notice of intent to participate to Theresa Grabmaier (theresa.grabmaier at no later than 1 November, 2022.

Conference Fees

There will be a conference fee of Euro 75 (25 for students and those without tenure-track positions). Participation in the conference will also require the payment of membership dues in ISAP (annual fee of Euro 25/15). Information on membership can be found on the ISAP website ( Conference and membership fees can be paid on site.

Travel Subsidies

It is hoped that the conference partners will be able to offer travel subsidies for scholars unable to obtain institutional funding for travel to Egypt and accommodation. Please let us know as soon as possible whether you plan to apply for a travel subsidy.

Conference Organizers

Lajos Berkes (New Testament Studies, HU Berlin); Ursula Hammed (Arabic and Islamic Studies, LMU Munich); Maher A. Eissa (Egyptology, Fayoum University); Andreas Kaplony (Arabic and Islamic Studies, LMU Munich); Marie Legendre (Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh); Matt Malczycki (History, Auburn University); Marina Rustow (Near Eastern Studies and History, Princeton University); Naïm Vanthieghem (IHRT, Section arabe, CNRS Paris); Khaled Younes (University of Sadat City).

Generous Support by

Fayoum University, Faculty of Archaeology; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Central Administration/Department für Kulturwissenschaften und Altertumskunde/Lehrstuhl für Arabistik und Islamwissenschaft; Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes, Section arabe

Further Questions

If you have any further questions about the conference, please contact Andreas Kaplony (andreas.kaplony at