This autumn, AKU-ISMC faculty member, Dr Sarah Bowen Savant, has given papers at three events. In these papers, Dr Savant presented research which will be published in her forthcoming publication, The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran: Tradition, Memory, and Conversion (2013). This monograph will be published by Cambridge University Press as part of its Studies in Islamic Civilisation series.
The book examines questions of loyalty and belonging in relation to Iran’s Persians of the 8th-11th centuries, who represented the first large group of non-Arab converts to Islam. In particular, through a focus on tradition and on memory, it looks at how the experience of conversion led Persians to recall their pasts in new ways and to accumulate new memories about their history.
Dr Savant spoke at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in September. Her paper, entitled “The Conquest of Tustar: Site of Memory, Site of Forgetting”, was presented at a conference organized by Professor Robert Gleave, as part of his Arts and Humanities Research Council Project, “Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic Thought.” Dr Savant's paper was part of a session on “Frontier Violence” in which Michael Bonner from the University of Michigan also offered a paper.
Also in September, Dr Savant spoke at the “Arabic Pasts: Histories and Historiography” workshop, co-sponsored by AKU-ISMC and SOAS. At this international workshop, Dr Savant spoke on “Genealogy and Ethno-genesis in al-Masʿūdī’s Muruj al-dhahab” and presented a new theory relating to the generation of texts in the first centuries of Islam.
More recently, Dr Savant was invited to speak at a workshop on Local and Regional History Writing in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, held at the University of Oxford’s Oriental Institute and organised by Nicola Clarke ad Harry Munt. Dr Savant’s paper was entitled “History and identity in early Islamic Iran: Perspectives on the conquests in local histories.”
Dr Peter O'Neill, Research and Grants Officer