Iranian Cities from the Arab Conquest to the Early Modern Period


Friday, May 1, 2015 (All day) to Saturday, May 2, 2015 (All day)


Friday, May 1: Science Center Hall A; Saturday, May 2: Science Center Hall D, 1 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies is pleased to present a conference organized by

Roy P. Mottahedeh, Gurney Professor of History, Harvard University

This conference will consider the social and economic history of Iranian cities and their hinterlands from the 7th to the 15th centuries (excluding the Safavid and Qajar periods), and including Persianate areas beyond the borders of modern-day Iran. Topics considered will include questions of arrangement such as the placement of symbols of authority and markets, systems of water distribution, rents and land ownership, the public space available to women, patterns of trade between cities, and inhabitants' sense of 'belonging' to their city or neighborhood. 

The conference and a subsequent publication will be funded by CMES's new Neekeyfar Fund for Iranian Studies, which was made possible by a generous anonymous donation to the Center. To download a PDF of speaker abstracts, click here.


Friday, May 1, 2015: Science Center Hall A

10:00 am:  Welcome: William Granara, Director, CMES, Harvard University

10:05:  Opening Remarks: Roy P. Mottahedeh, Harvard University 

10:15:  'From Shahristan to Medina' revisited, Donald Whitcomb, University of Chicago

11:00:  Inherited landscapes in Muslim BactraEtienne de la Vaissière, CETOBAC, EHESS, Paris
(Dr. de la Vaissière cannot attend; Prof Mottahedeh will read his paper)

11:45:  Iranian Cities: Settlements and Water Management between Antiquity and the Islamic period, Rocco Rante, Musée du Louvre 

12:30 pm:  Lunch Break (1 hour)

1:30:  Early Islamic Marv: From the Islamic Conquest to the Ghaznavid EraDeborah Tor, University of Notre Dame 

2:15:  What is Really Known about Ancient and Medieval Yazd? Jamsheed K. Choksy, Indiana University, Bloomington 

3:00:  Coffee Break (30 minutes)

3:30:  Balkh from the Seljuqs to the Mongol invasionJuergen Paul, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenburg Halle 

4:15:  Kashan, A Crossroad of KnowledgeMehrdad Amanat, University of California, Santa Barbara

Saturday, May 2, 2015: Science Center Hall D
(Day 2 of the conference will now be in Hall D)**

10:00 am:  Isfahan under Turko-Mongol rule (11th-15th centuries)David Durand-Guedy, Institut Francaise de Recherche en Iran, Tehran

10:45:  Early Sufis of Isfahan: A Forgotten Path, Hossein Kamaly, Barnard College 

11:30:  An Arabized exile's perspective on intellectual life in Seljuq Isfahan, Lutz Richter-Bernburg, Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen 

12:15 pm:  Lunch Break (1 hour)

1:15:  The Shiraz of Hafez: A Most Learned, Poetic, and Violent PlaceJohn Limbert, U.S. Naval Academy; former Deputy Asst. Secretary of State for Iran, US State Department 

2:00:  Tabriz before, under and after Mongol rule (6th/12th–9th/15th centuries): From the City Turning Imperial to the Kingdom Localized, Daniel Zakrzewski, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

2:45:  Coffee Break (30 minutes)

3:15:  The Writing Culture of Nishapur in the 11th CenturySarah Savant, The Aga Khan University, London, and Maxim Romanov, The Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University 

4:00:  A Tale of Three Cities: Nishapur, Tus, Jurjan, Richard Bulliet, Columbia University 

4:45:  General Discussion

End of conference

Contact: Elizabeth Flanagan
Sponsor: Neekeyfar Fund for Iranian Studies

iranian_cities_abstracts_in_program_order.pdf925 KB