International Symposium on Baghdad's role in Islamic civilization planned





Baghdad, founded in the 8th century as the capital of the Abbasid caliphate, soon became a vibrant city crowded by people from different races, colors, and creeds. Soon after its founding, it became a major center of not only commercial activities but also scholarship, culture, and civilization. The city produced countless scholars in many areas of knowledge, thinkers of all sorts, poets, artists, and diverse models of piety through many of its educational and pious institutions, booksellers, and libraries, in which groundbreaking literary and scholarly studies were carried out. The Nizamiya and Mustansiriyya madrasas pioneered the madrasa system in the Islamic world in both program and architectural style, thus playing a fundamental role in the history of culture and science in the Islamic world. Baghdad was the center of the Hanafi and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence, and Sufi and philosophical thoughts. It also contributed greatly to broader human culture and knowledge as the center of the transmission (and expansion) of ancient sciences and scholarship east and west into Arabic, much of which would be later translated into Hebrew and Latin. After its destruction by the Mongol conquests, Baghdad regained much of its previous vitality and importance under successive dynasties, including the Ottomans. Numerous celebrated thinkers in the field of philosophy, jurisprudence, historiography, and literature flocked to Baghdad for patronage.

Given its glorious history, Baghdad today is a cause for sadness and apprehension among the Muslims and scholarly communities around the world.The collapse of order and the ongoing destruction in Baghdad means much more than the necessary cost of reshaping the Middle East, as generally advocated in the media. It has far-reaching impact on human historical consciousness and far greater significance for the history , intellectual and political legacy of not only the Islamic world but the history of human civilization in general.

Amid this transformative moment in the history of Baghdad, the University of Marmara, the Faculty of Divinity, the Department of Islamic History and Arts, Umraniye Municipality, and the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture of the Islamic Conference (IRCICA) are organizing a symposium on Baghdad to be held in mid-November 2008. (The exact date will be announced later).

We cordially invite you to contribute to the symposium on any of the topics dealing with politics, economy, science and education, religious movements, social and religious life, non-Muslims, architecture, art, and literature in Baghdad during the following periods:

- Baghdad from its establishment to the Mongol conquests,

- From the Mongol conquests to the Ottoman Period,

- Baghdad during the Ottoman Period,

- Baghdad after the Ottoman Period....

Please send your abstract by 30 January 2008 by e-mail to: Dr. Nuh Arslantas, Secretary

E-mail: bagdadsymp@gmail.com


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