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Religious Life and Neighborhood Identity in Abbasid Baghdad: The Karkh Quarter (762-1055 CE)

12 jul 2022 19:00 - 20:00

Carte Blanche with Nassima Neggaz, Assistant Professor in Islamic Studies and Islamic History at New College of Florida. Dr. Neggaz is a social historian of the medieval Islamic world with a focus on Abbasid Baghdad and its micro-history and 2021-2022 Paris IAS Fellow with Vanessa Van Renterghem, Inalco, CERMOM


Baghdad was the center of the Abbasid Caliphate and had a rich intellectual and social life. It was also a center of religious developments, including for the Shi‘i community, and the Imamis (Twelvers) in particular. In this talk, I examine how a specific community of Imamis established itself in a particular neighborhood of the city called al-Karkh. I discuss when and how this community developed its headquarters and communal markers in this area of Baghdad over three centuries, from the foundation of Baghdad to the end of Buyid rule (762-1055 CE). This talk sheds light on the relation between urban space and confessional identity. It highlights the importance of microhistory for understanding the social and urban history of Baghdad. This research is based on the examination of a plethora of sources; it brings together topography and social history data from medieval geography manuals, historical chronicles, local histories, biographical dictionaries, poetry, and travelers’ accounts. More than a quarter, al-Karkh acted as a city within Baghdad; repeatedly destroyed and burnt down, its history sheds light on urban life in the Abbasid capital, and on the development of Imami-Shi‘ism during its formative period. The results of this research have been published in the following article: Neggaz Nassima, “Al-Karkh: the Development of an Imāmī-Shīʿī Stronghold in Early Abbasid and Būyid Baghdad (132-447/750-1055)” in Studia Islamica, vol 114, n°3, 2020, p. 265-315. https://doi.org/10.1163/19585705-12341402

Practical Information

Carte Blanche in English.
No registration needed. Join this Carte Blanche on July 12th at 7pm (Paris time) on the IAS YouTube channel.

Sunni & Shi‘i Memories: Remembering 1258 after 2003
01 September 2021 - 30 June 2022
12 Jul 2022 20:00
Nassima Neggaz
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