This research team brings together historians and specialists in Islamic studies. Their research covers a broad timescale, from the 7th to the 20th centuries, and a geographic area stretching from the Maghreb to the Mashreq, including Turkey, Iran and Central Asia, as well as the Horn of Africa.
Working with approaches from social history, cultural history and political history, as well as legal and economic history, the historians in this team study a diverse array of themes and fields: religious figures, nationalisms and borders, archival practices and historiographical writings, circulations, teaching and education, law (studied through its sources, practices and applications), urban history and rural history studies, colonial and postcolonial studies. The history researchers in the team organise each month a training seminar for the Masters students, entitled “Writing the History of the Islamic World, 7th-20th centuries”).
The research carried out in Islamic studies looks at the doctrines and practices of Islam, from the Classical to the Modern era. In particular, this includes participation in the ANR Prophet project, as well as reflection and collective projects on the Hanbali school and the corpus of the prophetic tradition (hadīth). This work is also tied to research on the sociology of the religious field, and specifically of Islamic practices in France and in Europe. The Islamic studies researchers in the team organise a thematic training seminar for the Masters students, where researchers from the laboratory as well as external researchers are invited to present their work.
The members of the History and Islamic Studies team are particularly involved in the laboratory’s three cross-disciplinary axes (Educational Policies, Circulations, Regulated Spaces, and Conditions of Knowledge Production), as well as the research training provided for the masters students at the Department of History and the Department of Middle-Eastern Studies at Aix-Marseille University.
The research carried out by this team revolves around three main themes.
Researchers, Professors, Emeritus and Temporarily Attached to Education and Research: Ghislaine Alleaume (émérite), Hazem Al-Rahmany (ATER), Michel Balivet † (émérite), Baptiste Brodard (ATER), Eric Chaumont † (CR), Amélie Chekroun (CR), Juliette Dumas (MCF), Aurélia Dusserre (MCF), Claude Gilliot (émérite), Fârès Gillon (MCF), Denis Gril (émérite), Vanessa Guéno (IR), Didier Guignard (CR), Juliette Honvault (CR), Myriam Laakili (IGE), Olga L. Lizzini (PU), Julien Loiseau (PU), Brigitte Marino (CR), Sabrina Mervin (DR), Nicolas Michel (PU), Christine Mussard (MCF), Norig Neveu (CR), Mohamed Ouerfelli (MCF), Camille Rhoné-Quer (MCF), Iris Seri-Hersch (MCF), Michel Tuchscherer (émérite), Nadjet Zouggar (MCF)
Post-doctoral fellow: Simon Dorso (post-doc ERC HornEast)
Associate Researchers: Ahmad Al Amer, Nadia Ali, Ilyass Amharar, Saphia Arezki, Ahmed Bouyerdene, Francesco Chiabotti, Charlotte Deweerdt, Chiara Diana, Colette Establet, Philippe Gardette, Marianna Ghiglia, Mohamed Hamidoune, Mélanie Henry, Géraldine Jenvrin, Anna Lagaron-Khalifa, Samah Mohamed, Tommaso Palmieri, Antonin Plarier, Musa Sroor, Annalaura Turiano
Contributors: Hazem Al-Rahmany, Farid Bouchiba, Flavio Canuzzi, Eric Chaumont †, Ayoub Filali, Denis Gril, Myriam Laakili, et Nadjet Zouggar
Associate Researchers: Ilyass Amharar, Ahmed Bouyerdene, Mohamed Amine Hamidoune
The research in Islamic studies looks at the doctrines and practices of Islam, from the Classical to the Contemporary era. In particular, this includes participation in ANR Prophet, a French National Research Agency project (The Presence of the Prophet: Muhammad in the mirror of his community in early modern and modern Islam), critical thought and a comparative approach to anti-philosophical trends in the three monotheisms, and the corpus of the prophetic tradition (hadīth). This work is also tied to research on the sociology of the religious field, and specifically of Islamic practices in France and in Europe.
Research themes, programs and seminars
Between 2017 and 2019, researchers of Islamic studies at IREMAM explored the theme of the hadīth (corpus, practices and debates), particularly during the Masters seminar. This research theme focuses on the Prophetic tradition (hadīth), both as a set of texts with a complex history, but also as a science and a fundamental source, which all other branches of Islamic knowledge draw from (exegesis, law, theology, Sufism, etc.). Specific attention is granted to the debates around the hadith, as much by Muslim authors as by Orientalists.
Research on hanbalism in this group is structured around the research program HANBANET, funded for one year by the Central Bureau of Worship (Ministry of the Interior) through the funding program “Islam, Religion, Society”, which concentrates on references to Hanbali texts on francophone websites. The program aims to study how texts (books, fatwas, sermons, etc.) are chosen, translated into French, and shared online. A second objective is to understand the contents of the corpus, and how they are used, both by those who share them and those who read them. Led by a multidisciplinary research team made up of two Islamic studies researchers, a linguist specialised in the digital corpora, and a sociologist, the project makes use of lexicometric tools to analyse the contents of the websites under study.
3. The Presence of the Prophet
This research theme was created through the participation of members of the Islamic studies team belonging to the Franco-German ANR PROPHET, and aims to study the diverse forms of attachment to the Prophet, a key factor of Muslim identity, cultural and political history since the beginning of the early modern era – a period in which the Muslim world expanded and lost its centre, as is still the case today.
Program: ANR PROPHET (The Presence of the Prophet: Muhammad in the mirror of his community in early modern and modern Islam), Director Rachida Chih Faulks (CETOBAC - UMR 8032) and Prof. Dr. Stefan Reichmuth (Ruhr-universität Bochum), April 2017-April 2020.
Contributors: Sobhi Bouderbala, Amélie Chekroun, Simon Dorso, Julien Loiseau, Feruza Makhmasobirova, Shahista Refaat, Camille Rhoné-Quer et Deresse Ayenachew Woldetsadik.
Associate Researchers: Ahmad Al Amer, Philippe Gardette et Anna Lagaron-Khalifa.
2.1 Contact and Exchange
The Arab and Muslim world are spaces in which circulation and territorial control were central issues in the construction and functioning of States in Medieval times. The work carried out in this research axis seeks to understand how cultural exchange (language, religion, knowledge and skills) can transcend political borders. With contact ranging from military conflict to peaceful relations, to “in-between” situations, several members of the team analyse themes such as the permeability of border zones, networks of circulation (land, maritime, fluvial), practices and discourses linked to jihad, as well as cultural adaptation, artistic interactions, and cultural exchange.
The research projects in this axis, all focused on a multiscalar approach, centre around two principal regions: a vast Asian region stretching from Anatolia to Iran and Central Asia on the one side, and the Horn of Africa on the other, open to the world.
2.2 The So-Called “Margins”
Several regions considered to be on the margins of Dār al-islām remain largely neglected, despite their central role in the history of the Islamic world. Located at the crossroads of several political/cultural entities, or even civilizational zones, the so-called “peripheral” regions capture the researcher’s attention through their diversity of centralities, territorial polarisations, and regional identities. The Khorasan and Transoxiana regions were points of contact between the Islamic Orient, the Indo-Chinese world and the Russian space, but also between political entities and even smaller groups. In the Horn of Africa, successive different Islamic powers interacted and were in competition with the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia and “pagan” entities, while at the same time maintaining strong ties with the authorities of Yemen and Egypt, and more broadly with the Indian Ocean.
If numerous studies have already looked at the Islamisation of regions such as North Africa, few have concerned themselves with this process in the Horn of Africa. Through their fieldwork several researchers at IREMAM are interested in gathering and analysing both archaeological and textual data, in particular in Ethiopia.
Program and Seminars
Seminar “Monuments and documents in Ancient Africa: Current research in History, Art History and Archaeology” at the INHA, Paris (INHA, Iremam, IMAF, Orient & Méditerranée) ; Claire Bosc-Tiessé (INHA), Amélie Chekroun (CNRS, IREMAM), Marie-Laure Derat (CNRS, O&M), Anaïs Wion (CNRS, IMAF).
Conferences by the Aix-Marseille Iranian research group (AMU/IREMAM ; Camille Rhoné-Quer).
Contributors: Ghislaine Alleaume, Malika Assam, Juliette Dumas, Aurélia Dusserre, Vanessa Guéno, Didier Guignard, Juliette Honvault, Brigitte Marino, Nicolas Michel, Christine Mussard, Norig Neveu, Mehdi Sakatni, Iris Seri-Hersch, et Michel Tuchscherer
The members of the History team at IREMAM study the social, political, economic, legal and even religious dynamics that have crossed the societies and governments of the Maghreb and the Near East in the early Modern and Modern periods: Mamluk, Ottoman, early Nations or authoritarian regimes. These projects gravitate around three principal themes:
3.1. Arabic-Muslim Ruralisms
In Europe, rural history has seen a marked revival since the 1990s. If until recently, it had not reached the margins of the Arabic-Muslim world, this is no longer the case. The IREMAM history team participates actively in this newly growing field. Rural history lies at the intersection between the histories of law, economics, social practices and the environment. A group of specialists of Maghreb and Near-Eastern history, from the Middle Ages to the modern day, have invested in this field. Their research is based on a variety of sources:
-Personal accounts and field interviews
-Private archives (manuscripts, photographs)
-Land registry, notary and banking archives
-Legal and administrative archives, in particular those preserved in Aix-en-Provence (ANOM), as well as in the countries under study.
In a classical approach that combines historical geography and anthropology, the research team’s aim is twofold. Firstly, to understand the social, legal and institutional aspects of rural societies’ relationship with natural resources: forms of appropriation and recognition of rights, contracts, inferred social relations, demographic effects, geographic implantation (toponymy, buildings, boundary markers, etc.). And secondly, to study the interactions between man and its environment: techniques, skills, agrarian structures, landscapes.
Benefiting from access to a variety of terrains (Anatolia, Bilād al-Shām, Egypt, Algeria), and from an expertise for archival research and digital humanities (SIG), the researchers in this team bring together several different levels of observation and analysis: the agricultural exploitation, the village, the local area or “land”, the region, the natural setting. They focus on long-term change, in particular to measure the effects of political developments and upheaval: changes in regime, integration into larger political and economic entities, colonisation, industrialisation, socialist or liberal policies.
Program: EGYLandscape : Land and Landscapes in Mamluk and Ottoman Egypt, XIIIth-XVIIIth centuries, ANR-DFG project, Coordinated by Nicolas Michel et Albrecht Fuess (Marburg University), 2019-2022.
3.2. Disposing of Property, Transmitting Inheritance
Based on the comparison of the diverse archival documents from Muslim and Christian religious institutions (testaments, pious foundations, etc.), the research of this group explores the means and transmission of goods, inheritance and their revenue between the 16th and 20th centuries in Bilād al-Shām, Ottoman Egypt and Algeria as well as Istanbul. It pursues a number of epistemological objectives: the creation of corpora, codicological and paleography questions, cartographic practices, the materiality of research objects. The study of inheritance practices has made it possible to constitute a legal, social and economic history of the cities and families of the Ottoman Near East. It has also broadened our understanding of the complexity and functioning of the waqf and the role of the Treasury (bayt al-māl) in the financial management of succession. Thus, systems of redistribution and the social categories of beneficiaries can be ascertained, especially those of the poor. How did the founders of waqf execute works of charity? What charitable models were developed in the Near East from the 16th century by Christian missionaries as part of their proselyting mission? Finally, throughout the Ottoman era, administrators and pious foundations resorted to specific strategies when it came to inheritance. The study of these two groups raises questions about reforms, their relationships to the different legal systems and modes of governance.
Programs and Seminar
- “Ottoman and early-modern Alexandria”. Coordinated since 2001 by the Alexandria Research Centre (CEAlex) in collaboration with IREMAM, this is an ongoing program to catalogue, analyse and share the enormous collection of legal acts, specifically waqf acts, compiled on the city of Alexandria.
- Law, Sources, Practices and Habits: Pious foundations (waqf) in Alexandria in the Ottoman era (critical translations): Ghislaine Alleaume, Brigitte Marino, Michel Tuchscherer
- “MisSMO – Christian Missions and Societies in the Middle East: organisations, identities, the creation of heritage (XIX-XXI centuries)”.
- MMSH inter-laboratory seminar, “On the making of religious authorities: qualification, legitimation and integration of the Islamic “clerics”, on Christianism and Judaism in the Mediterranean”.
3.3. Knowledge, Memories, Power in the Imperial, Colonial and post-Colonial Arab and Muslim World
By opening a dialogue about the production of knowledge – including historical knowledge – its transmission – especially via schools and teaching – and its past and present implications, the researchers in this group aim to write a cultural and intellectual history of the Arab and Muslim world, without distancing it from other factors, especially political and social. The regions under study (Africa, from the Maghreb to Sudan, the Near East and Turkey), are studied over the longue durée, and some of this research participates in the dynamic field of imperial and colonial studies. This group reflects on the changes brought about by diverse forms of domination (Ottoman Empire, European powers), and their implications or continuation after decolonisation.
At the crossroads between cultural, intellectual and epistemological history and historical anthropology, this research is based on the study of a corpora of textual, iconographic and oral sources, and gravitates around three main research questions:
- The history of teaching and education: taking “the school” as an object of study in itself, this research aims to go beyond the well-documented history of institutions and structures, the better to take account of the school at a local level, as well as the social and political implications of the school for a broad array of actors: schoolchildren and their families, teachers and childcare staff, but also all those involved in the running of the school. “Crises and ordeals” is one of the favoured means of approach. Applied to the context of the school, to its daily life and objectives – always smoothed out by rhythms and discourse – they can be read as “moments” that open up a precious breach in the archives for the historian, but also serve as an ideal entry-point for apprehending the key issues of the school.
- Production and circulation of knowledge, and specifically the knowledge produced, in the broader sense, during the colonial era. Thanks to the sizable corpus of the “colonial library”, a cultural and social history can be written that takes account of the diverse actors and institutions at work, their practices and networks, while remaining attentive to abilities to resist and the thickness of the subjects under study. The study of the circulation of actors, practices, knowledge and skills between the colonial powers and their colonies, but also on an intra-imperial level, implies taking diverse levels and complex relations into account.
- Heritage/memories/representations: seen through the lens of state and identity structures, but also in light of current events (revolts) in the Maghreb and the Middle East, the processes by which material goods are preserved and given official or private heritage recognition contribute to the creation of historical narratives. By taking a plurality of memorial narratives into account, this research focusses on relationships to history, representations, forms of resistance and the social, intellectual and cultural demands of contemporary actors, as well as the social, political and cultural implications of heritage practices.
Program: MAGYC (Migration Governance and asYlum Crises), H2020, sponsored by Liège University.