Whither the Early Modern State?

Fifteenth-Century State Formations across Eurasia. Connections, Divergences, and Comparisons.

Closing conference of the ERC-funded project “The Mamlukisation of the Mamluk Sultanate (MMS): Political Traditions and State Formation in the 15th-Century Egypt and Syria”, directed by GCGS-member, Professor Jo Van Steenbergen.

The Ghent Centre for Global Studies is pleased to announce a three-day conference devoted to Late Medieval / Early Modern state formations across Eurasia, to be held at Ghent University (Room Rector Vermeylen, Het Pand, Onderbergen 1) on September 10-12. This conference is organised to bring to a close the ERC-funded project “The Mamlukisation of the Mamluk Sultanate (MMS): Political Traditions and State Formation in the 15th-Century Egypt and Syria” (2009-14).

One of the main goals of the project has been to rethink standard assumptions about the Syro-Egyptian Mamluk Sultanate (1250-1517 CE), about relationships between rulers and ruled and between elite groups and social, economic and symbolic resources in the 9th/15th-century Egypt and Syria in particular. A prosopographical methodology was adopted to analyse the overwhelmingly rich narrative source material, and our approach focused on micro-historical questions related to individual actors and their interactions, and on meso-historical questions regarding the changing nature of social networks and social strategies. These questions were all geared toward a better understanding of 15th-century political realities specific to the Mamluk Sultanate, though our macro-historical consideration of the structural dynamics of Mamluk experience were strongly inspired by compelling non-Mamluk perspectives (Europe and Asia) and theories of late medieval and early modern state formation, from which meaningful parallels can be drawn.

This three-day conference thus aims not only at presenting the main results of MMS and at engaging in careful and well-informed ways with the realities, opportunities, and limitations of its ambitious hypothesis of the formation of a particular Mamluk State in the course of the 15th-century, at a time of increasing interregional connectivity. The goal of the conference also is to act as the perfect opportunity to reach out to the scholarly community and to bring together a number of scholars whose research into issues of state formation in the Early Modern period from Europe to China has informed our own reflections. Overall, we hope that discussions, debates and reflections on self-evident and not-so-self-evident connections, divergences, and comparisons will inspire and further understandings of Eurasian political realities.

Participants include: Lisa Balabanlilar, Michele Bernardini, Wim Blockmans, Marc Boone, Georg Christ, Stephan Conermann, Yasser Daoudi, Malika Dekkiche, Kristof D’hulster, Jan Dumolyn, Suraiya Faroqhi, Roy Fischel, Antje Flüchter, Albrecht Fuess, Jean-Philippe Genet, Jane Hathaway, Stephen Humphreys, Dimitris Kastritsis, Metin Kunt, Beatrice Manz, Christopher Markiewicz, John Meloy, Colin Mitchell, Stéphane Péquignot, Carl Petry, David Robinson, Vasileios Syros, Jo Van Steenbergen, Peer Vries, Bethany Walker, John Watts, Patrick Wing, André Wink, Koby Yosef.

Please find the full program and further practical details on the website: www.mamluk.ugent.be/stateformationconference

 All are welcome. Those interested in attending should contact mamluk@ugent.be

This conference is organised by Jo Van Steenbergen, Kristof D’Hulster and Malika Dekkiche, and sponsored by the European Research Council, by the Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies (www.ugent.be/pirenne), and Ghent Centre for Global Studies.